eggplant / 11693 posts
We are on our way home from our Disney trip. It was hot, as expected, but relatively uncrowded and we did almost everything we wanted to!
I’ll try to do a quick (ha) trip recap:
Day 1: we arrived around 2pm and kids had already napped in the car. We checked into our suite at Art of Animation and went to the Big Blue Pool for a while and then checked out the Cozy Cone pool and got a cone to hang out in. The kids LOVED the Lion King theming in the suite and it was really nice having 2 bathrooms and a separate living room/bedroom. DD1 was obsessed with the table that turned into a bed with the light up Simba. The 2 bathrooms ended up being key for getting ready in the morning at the same time as DH. We stayed in building 6 on the 4th floor and our windows looked directly out to Simba. DD1 is obsessed with Lion King, so she was in heaven with all the theming. So we are spoiled since last time we stayed in a villa at Boardwalk and a family suite at AOA this time. Oddly, both kids AND my husband and said they preferred AOA over Boardwalk in spite of the walking access Boardwalk has. The new Skyliners were running several times while we were there, but they weren’t open to passengers yet, so we missed out on that. They look super cool though. We had our car, so we drive to every park except MK, since the bus goes straight to MK and not TTC. So we never waited for transportation.
After pool time, we got dressed and drove to Animal Kingdom Lodge for our first dinner at Sana’a. This was DHs favorite meal and probably the most impressive in terms of food quality. I was recently diagnosed with tons of gallstones so I can’t eat fatty foods (not even good fats) right now which I thought would be challenging on vacay, but it was a actually fine. We got the bread service (we loved all the sauces), I had a fish dish that was great, and DH had the Journey dish with butter chicken, shrimp, and lentils. Kids both had chicken and broccoli and ate well. Since we had the free dining promotion, DH and I also had two cocktails—some kind of special mojito that was good—and we all had desserts. Of course, I could only taste mine. The kids got the artist palette dessert (they loved the painting part but barely ate any of it), I had the slice trade candy bar (pretty great actually) and DH had the chocolate mousse cake. He finished all his and half of mine. Then we walked around a bit and saw giraffes, a zebra, some antelope, and birds.
Then headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime.
Day 2: we had Early Morning Magic at Hollywood Studios. Some people get up crazy early for this, but I knew we would struggle to arrive by 7:30. I set my alarm for 6:30 but woke up before my alarm and went ahead and woke up DH. We got dressed and I laid out the kids clothes and we finally woke them at 6:45. We were at our car by 7:05 and parked, through bag check and taps by 7:25. So we were kind of at the back of the EMM crowd but it didn’t matter at all, because we still rode Slinky Dog Dash as a family 2x, Aliens 1x, Toy Story Mania 2x....and then DH and DD1 split off from us to ropedrop Tower of Terror. I took DD2 to meet Jesse and then we rode SDD two more times before the huge wave of rope drop people came in. Hundreds of people filled up all of Toy Story Land and the line for SDD stretches out of the land. At that point, I took DD2 to meet Fancy Nancy while DH and DD1 rose Tower of Terror a 2nd time. Then we met up for the EMM breakfast at Backlot Express around 9:45. In 15 minutes, DH managed to eat 3 full entrees himself (two orders of chilaquiles and 1 order of the avocado toast. I had my own avocado toast breakfast and the kids both ordered the chicken and waffle option, although neither kid ate the waffle. They ate croissants from the continental breakfast and I mainlined some coffee. This was DHs 2nd favorite meal of the whole trip. I thought it was decent for quick serve. We appreciated all the options.
With Toy Story Land totally finished for us, we spent the rest of the morning doing Star Tours, seeing Frozen live and Disney Junior Dance Party. This was the only day where it legit downpoured about half the day. We did go back to the hotel for nap time and headed back to the park around 4pm because we had a dinner reservation at Hollywood and Vine. The buffet was fine—I’d read very mixed reviews of this character meal, but the kids loved the characters (they met Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Minnie, and Mickey—and they were all dressed in Halloween outfits), but the food was totally fine. Since I’m still avoiding fats, I don’t eat anything fried, but they had salmon fillet that was really good, several interesting salads that I liked, and a yummy vegan quinoa and chickpea patty that was really good. The kids ate fried shrimp, salmon, broccoli, and tater tots. DH basically ate everything. The fried foods looked like cafeteria quality but the other foods were pretty good and I was pleased overall. The desserts were kind of like cruise ships and all inclusive—not as good as they look. Which is fine by me, since I can’t really eat it anyway. The kids made sundaes but only had a few bites.
It was still pouring this whole time, so we got a FPP to do Tower of Terror again with all 4 of us, and surprisingly, even my 4 year old loved it. We also caught the Muppets show, and the girls met Fancy Nancy again, Vamparina, and Doc McStuffins. Then we went to the Little Mermaid show and heard the Fantasmic show would probably be cancelled as it was full on storming at this point with tons of lightning and thunder, so we went back to the hotel. I was sad to miss Fantasmic since we had reserved seats, but oh well. Star Wars land was not open yet. In spite of the rain, we had a super fun and productive day thanks to the Early Morning Magic.
Day 3: Epcot!
We started the day with a breakfast reservation at Akershus. The food was fine—typical breakfast food. This was our only kind of rocky morning. We left about 5 minutes later than I wanted, then DH exited at the wrong place and we ended up at castmember parking and it took us a while to get to Epcot. Then they inexplicably made us park way far back even though the lot was empty that early in the morning—not counting the preferred parking, they just had about 25 rows of regular parking that was left empty and they had all of us parking after that. So then we had the long walk to bag check and all that made us a bit late for our 8:05 reservation. We didn’t get to Norway until about 8:10 and then there was quite a long to get inside. We didn’t get to our table until about 8:20, so then I felt rushed. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for princesses—we saw Belle as we entered, then they did the princess parade and then Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora came to our table. We managed to eat, see princesses, and pay by 9, and were on Frozen by 9:05 am. Rope droppers were arriving but we had no wait at all, and we’re able to ride a 2nd time with only about a 5 minute wait. By the time our second ride was finished, it was about 9:20am, and the standby line was 25 min long. Then we went to meet Elsa and Anna.
When it was storming the night before, I played a little “late night lotto”, which is Disney speak for booking a Fastpass when it’s raining, on an outdoor ride can’t operate in rain. If you do this the last hour of the night and the ride closes due to rain, you can get an Anytime Fastpass that you can use the next day. I scored 1, so after frozen, we went to Test Track and used our anytime FPP there. Both kids loved Test Track, even though I was mildly annoyed with the single-rider lady that was placed next to us that kept inserting herself into our ride but giving us “helpful tips” that I didn’t need or ask for, such as telling us DDs had to ride in the middle (that’s not a rule) and kept telling DD to hold on (shit up, lady), etc. But the kids were oblivious to all that and loved the ride.
Then we headed for our FPP at Soarin, which everyone loved. We did Spaceship earth as our 3rd FPP, then Turtle Talk and Nemo, then got a 4th FPP (well, technically 5th of the day counting our anytime fpp) and went back on Soarin again—this time we snagged the top row, which was even more amazing.
We rode Figment, then headed to the hotel for naps. And then back again to Epcot around 5pm. We went to Club Cool, then headed back to World Showcase for the evening. We saw the acrobats in china, at a little in Japan. Then DH bought me and the girls a pick-a-pearl experience in Japan which we all loved!! DDs got equal size pearls, but DD2s was pink!! Mine was a really big one—the biggest one of the evening the woman claimed. They do a whole little ceremony when you pick your oyster and they crack it open, so it was an experience. You can choose to have your pearls set in a piece of Jewelry (for a price, of course) right there in Japan and come pick it up later, but I didn’t think we’d have time so I’ll have ours mounted at home.
We continued on to Germany, Italy (saw the juggler there), and Morocco where we ate more food. The quick serve meal in Morocco was also pretty amazing—we just had the shawarma platter with hummus but the salad was so fresh and the bread was so good. In Germany, we’d gotten the grapefruit Heffeweissen too, which was very refreshing. DDs were totally obsessed with the miniature train land. We stopped in France for a bit, but we’re way too full to eat anything from the bakery unfortunately.
We watched Illuminations somewhere in the UK,
And then headed home for the night.
I always regret not getting to spend more time in World Showcase, but that will have to be a kid free trip I guess.
I’ll add Day 4-6 in a bit, but one quick thing: I formed a Memory Maker/photopass group through the Touring Plan website. I posted saying I wanted to form a group to share a Memory Maker account and split the cost. I got a bunch of replies, so the first 6 families that paid me were in the group. They just venmoed me and I paid the full amount. We each only had to pay $26. Then I formed a dummy account using a different email address, and I friended everyone in the group from the dummy account. Then I gave out the dummy account log in and password so we were all able to download our own pictures.
Huge savings and really easy. I highly recommend if you want Memory Maker but don’t want to spend the money.
pear / 1728 posts
@Anagram: Sounds like you had a great time! Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!
The two dining reservations I’m waffling on are Hollywood & Vine dinner and Akershus breakfast so thanks for sharing your experience with both of those!
apricot / 286 posts
@Anagram: I am loving your trip report !! I looks like you had a wonderful time. Sanaa is one of our favourites too. We just made our dining reservations yesterday and now the excitement is building !
Day 4: Animal Kingdom
Again, we had an early reservation—this time at Tusker House. I’m going to admit that this was about the point that I was feeling pretty done with a character meals. This was another meal with Mickey, Donald and Daisy, And Goofy. I loved the theming of Tusker House and I liked the interesting foods they offered—there was an African curry and a frittata/quiche thing with sundries tomato that was really good. The rest of the foods were standard breakfast buffet fare. Right as Mickey came to our table, DD2 got so excited she fell out of her chair and hit her head on the table and started crying pretty hard. Instead of being flustered, Mickey spent a lot of time with us and got her to cheer up—literally probably 10 minutes miming little jokes about hitting his head too and pretending to fall to cheer DD up, which she eventually did. So that was interesting to see.
After breakfast, we already had a FPP for the safari ride, so we walked to Navi River Journey then Expedition Everest, which had no wait and we rode twice before heading back to ride the Safari. I wasn’t sure if DD1 (just turned 6) would be ready for all the bigger rides, but both girls loved every single ride they were big enough to ride. Then I was lucky enough to score a same day drop FPP for Flight of Passage. DD2 wasn’t tall enough to ride it, so we did rider switch and I ordered quick serve meals in Satuli Canteen which were surprisingly good, and one of us would sit and eat with DD2 (a notoriously slow eater) while the other rode FOP with DD1 (she got to ride twice). We also watched Lion King, which my kids love.
A little Disney World secret is that there are same day drops of Fastpasses for some rides. In Animal Kingdom, the drop times are 11:01, 1:01, 3:01, and 5:01. I got on the app at exactly 11am and just refreshed like crazy and sure enough, Flight of Passage suddenly popped up and I was able to grab the FPP. Later in the day, I repeated that at 5:01 so we could all ride again and scored again.
Again, we went back to the hotel for naps. In the early afternoon, we went back to AK and rode Dinosaur twice, Triceratop Spin twice, the kids played in the Boneyard, and we saw Its Tough to be a Bug. Then we rode Expedition Everest a third time right before we went to our reserved seats for Rivers of Light, which the kids enjoyed more than Illuminations. Overall, another great day.
Our first Magic Kingdom day was the day Star Wars Land opened, so all the parks were opening early at 7:00am---since we'd been waking early every day, we didn't even attempt to arrive that early. Our first FP was at 9am, and we got through bag check right around then. Crowds were pretty low, which was great for us--we didn't feel like we missed out by arriving at 9am at all. We hit Peter Pan, Small World, and Belle's Enchanted Tales where DD1 was chosen to be Felipe and DH was chosen to be a guard--which is the exact same characters they were chosen for on our trip 2 years ago. The we hit Thunder Mountain and Splash mountain with no wait, and then we headed for a Morning snack break at Be Our Guest. Luckily, I'd pre-ordered through the app, because the regular line was super long and slow moving. We had time to get drinks and check out all 3 rooms before our food arrived. Since we had a big lunch reservation only 3 hours later, we only ordered 1 adult meal (the Beast's Fest) since it came with self-serve drinks and a tray of pastries--and this ended up being a great portion to share among all 4 of us. We were full, but not too full to eat again at lunch, and it was fun seeing the inside of the Beast's castle. After that break, we road The Little Mermaid, Barnstormer, Dumbo, and Alice's teacups before heading back up to Tony's Town Square for lunch. We had low expectations for Tony's due to reviews online, but we were very pleasantly surprised! I had the fish of the day (salmon) which had a nice crusted spice on it, and it came with a yummy heirloom tomato relish type thing. DH had the shrimp scampi and liked it, and the girls were happy with their spaghetti and cheese pizza. And the reserved parade spot was great---we didn't go outside until 2:15, (parade started at 2:00pm) and as soon as my girls sat on the curb, the first float was there. The girls had a perfect sight line for everything, and we were at the front of the park, which was perfect since we left immediately after the parade for a nap at the hotel.
The girls were so exhausted they napped from 3pm until almost 6pm! We headed straight back to the park, where we rode Space Mountain twice (we traded off taking DD1 there while the other parent took DD2 on Buzz Lightyear or People Mover). DD1 LOVED all the roller coasters and loved Space Mountain the most. We crossed the park to hit up Pirates of the Caribbean and Aladdin's Carpets and grabbed some food from Pecos bill's cafe (it was just okay) and then we hit our first planning mistake of the day. Since crowds were so low all day, I thought we'd be safe coming to the Happily Ever After fireworks show right as it was starting. But I was wrong. The castmembers had all the areas roped off and weren't letting new people join in, even when there was space!! So we shuffled from bad viewing spot to bad viewing spot, with cast members constantly shouting at us to keep moving. That was my only negative experience of the whole trip--we ended missing the first 10 minutes of the show and then we finally found an unobstructed viewing area near the Plaza restaurant, so we finished the night happily and even had time to ride Space Mountain one last time before the park closed at 10pm.
apricot / 362 posts
@Anagram: I have loved reading your recap! It sounds like your family had a great time!
Our last day was a check out/half day in Magic Kingdom day. By the time we packed up our bags and were dressed, it was past 9 when we arrived to MK. Luckily, it didn’t matter because with the hurricane news and the fact that it was a Halloween Party night (so park closes by 6pm), the crowds were super light.
We walked into the park and went immediately to the magic shot in the Plaza lawn—it’s a shot where a camera on top of the Plaza building takes your picture with an animated/movie zoom in feature. There was no line at all, so we scored a cool 5 second family video.
Then we walked onto Peter Pan, then rode Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain again, and Pirates again before stopping for some snack food (Ice cream and pastries). Then we got FPP for Space Mountain and Speedway (again!—our kids were obsessed with those 2 rides for whatever reason), and then did Buzz Lightyear twice more. Then we finally ate our last quick serve meal at Cosmos Rays (pretty meh food, after all our really good food on previous days) and then we realized that despite DHs very best efforts at snack eating (he was seriously having 2-3 ice creams a day), we still had 11 snack credits left. So we popped over to the Big Top souvenirs and spent our 11 credits on bags of fresh caramel popcorn, Mickey shaped cookies, caramel apples, and Minnie rice crispy treats. We are still eating those 4 days later, so it ended up being a fun way to use those last credits.
We were back in our car and on the road back home to the NYC area by 2pm. The kids didn’t even mind that we had to leave Disney World, because we stayed with some family in Virginia and they have a farm, so my kids were totally obsessed with the new baby calves and the fresh food from the garden. Disney World was 1 week of a 2.5 week long road trip from NYC/NJ-Pennsylvania-West Virginia-Virginia-Tennessee-Georgia—Florida; then back Florida-Georgia-both Carolinas—Virginia—W.Virginia—Pennsylvania—back Home to NJ/NYC again. This was a nice reminder that kids don’t really need places like Disney World for vacations (as fun as Disney is!)—-they are equally entertained swinging on an old tire and feeding a baby calf and seeing a vintage tractor in rural Virginia.
Our kids have become really good and pleasant at road trips and we had a blast overall. Can’t wait to do more trips with them next summer!
pear / 1992 posts
@Anagram: This sounds like such a fantastic Disney visit! I definitely learned some new tricks from your recap - thanks so much for sharing everything
And you are right about the light crowds thanks to Dorian - I know a bunch of friends who took advantage of this and went down to the parks and had amazing times with little to no wait for rides and light crowds overall.
pomegranate / 3658 posts
little Disney World secret is that there are same day drops of Fastpasses for some rides. In Animal Kingdom, the drop times are 11:01, 1:01, 3:01, and 5:01
I've been following Disney blogs for six months and I did not know this!! What are the times for the other parks?
@PawPrints: yup! Of course, it's not guaranteed, and even if you see a same-day FP drop, by the time you click on it, someone else may have gotten it. But it worked for us! I recommend getting on the app a couple of minutes early and either using an already booked FP for something else and hitting "modify" and then constantly refreshing by clicking different time frames (like click 11:00 am, and then click 11:30 am, then click 11 am again) and you will hopefully be able to catch anything that's released immediately. I got both Flight of Passage in AK this way and a 2nd ride on Soarin in Epcot this way. We already got all the other headliners with regular FPPs.
AK: 11:01, 1:01, 3:01, 5:01
HS: 9:31, 12:01, 2:31
EP: 11:31, 1:31, 3:31
@Anagram: I am so pleased to have acquired this information. Also googling on this has led me to discover MouseHacks and their explanation of "tap/grab/modify" in general as a strategy to pack your day with FPs so I'm now feeling much better overall about our rides strategy. We're offsite so need all the help we can get. My approach thus far has just been hoping really hard that DD will not ever become aware that SDD exists since it's hopeless.
@PawPrints: yes, this is the first trip we've modified a ton. It never occured to me that I could modify my pre-booked FP up in time, but it worked about 50% of the time (the rest of the time, there were no other options in the time frame I wanted).
The method really works. So if we tapped into one FP ride, I would usually just go ahead and try to modify our next FPP up a little in time while I was waiting in line. SO instead of having our FPP at like 9, 10, and 11. I was able to tap into 1 at 9 am, modify the next for 9:15, then go there and tap in, then modify the last to be at 10 am, and then after tapping in there, we'd be able to continuously grab FPP all day long.
But, I also had to remind myself to put my phone away and enjoy the day. It's a balancing act. A few times, I found myself pulling out my phone while on a ride to try to see what FP I could get next--that's ridiculous. So I forced myself to enjoy the moment and put the phone away as much as possible.
@Anagram: @PawPrints: I am intrigued by this since I had thought I would need to save/use my pre-picked FPP before getting any more, but this sounds interesting! Especially since this is our first time trying to park-hop between MK in the morning and Epcot in the afternoon. So, we will have to FPP on the fly for all of Epcot since we can only make our advance choices at MK.
And really great point about staying present. I think that's one of the reasons I like to plan so much ahead of time, and then plan some more alternatives haha. Then, I don't have to think or plan on the go and we can just enjoy ourselves. The main reason I plan so much ahead though is that I have fun doing it!
@Anagram: That is a really good point and hilarious about modifying FPs while literally on a ride I could definitely see how it could get that addicting.
Hi ladies! I'm trying to sort out how to get from the Orlando airport to the hotel with my two and four year old when we head to Disney in November. Ideally without having to bring car seats along. I don't really want to have to lug them in addition to the stroller, luggage, and two very wound up kids!
We're staying at Shades of Green - we're on Disney property, but not in a Disney resort. So we can't use Disney's Magical Express transportation to get from the airport to hotel. The hotel where we're staying has some suggestions for taxi/shuttle services, but one of them asks that you bring your own car seats for kids and the other (that seemingly will provide car seats) has some bad recent reviews that I read online and it's making me nervous to use them. I thought of using Uber Car Seat to get from the airport to the hotel (and back), but we'll need two car seats and it looks like they only provide one.
My husband suggested we could rent a car (and car seats), but that feels kind of silly since we won't use it other than to/from the airport. I've almost come around to the idea though, since we could pick up some snacks and diapers from the grocery store more easily if we had a car. But it just feels like overkill to rent the car, when we'll hardly use it during the week.
Any suggestions for getting to/from the airport in this situation? Do you think it'd be worth it to have a car? Is there a shuttle/taxi situation that you'd recommend? Should I just deal with it and bring car seats?
@caitcat: I know it’s not the safest, but what about just a booster for the 4 year old? Or do you have a friend whose booster you can borrow? You could try one of those bubble bums. Alternatively, how about buying a Pico Wayb or Immigo seat for both kids as a travel seat to use for every travel scenario?
@caitcat: you could take a Minnie van, which is really nice and has 2 car seats. It’s $$$, but maybe cheaper than renting a car.
@Anagram: I wondered about a booster for my 4 year old to make it a bit easier. She's only 32 pounds right now, so I feel like we're a ways off weight-wise. (Gosh I can't wait for her to be ready for a booster in general though- the harness on her car seat is a daily frustration for us under the best of circumstances!!) Those other seats you suggested look amazing for travel. If we flew more with the kids, I could definitely justify something like that.
@charm55: I haven't thought of that! At a glance, it does look pricey, but it might be cheaper than renting a car. (Also, the name "Minnie van" just makes me smile. My four year old thought that we were getting a "Minnie" van when we got a minivan last year. Imagine her disappointment when it was gray and boring instead of pink with mouse ears and a bow!)
Only 3 days away from our Disney visit and I am so excited and so ready for a bit of relaxation and fun after a VERY busy month.
Time to pull out all my planning notes to review them one more time and make sure I didn't miss anything!
@lindseykaye: that’s so exciting !! Have a wonderful trip. Are you planning on riding the Skyliner or seeing the new Epcot fireworks show?? I can’t wait to do both but it’s still 150 days away for me haha
@charm55: I really want to ride the Skyliner. It was under the first stages of construction during our last visit and I think it's going to be so cool! But - we're just there for a couple days so I'm not sure if it will be part of this trip or not. I think Saturday morning (our departure day) might be the time for us to explore and ride it around a few stops. I'll have to see where we could park and ride without having to pay for parking...
apricot / 429 posts
Has anyone done the early morning magic at MK? New dates were released and it’s going to be the morning we were planning on going to MK. We have a BOG reservation before park opening, but I’m thinking we may splurge and do the early morning magic. I know it’s kind of pricey but all the reviews I’ve read say how empty it is and you can walk on the 7 rides over and over. Plus we get breakfast so wouldn’t have to do BOG.
pomelo / 5501 posts
@MommySLP: I had planned to do it, and booked it for our upcoming trip, and then talked myself out of it and cancelled. It’s only 6 rides now - they seem to have taken Peter Pan off the list - and the only one that’s really hard to get a fast pass for is Mine Train. And for my family of four it was going to cost $370 (US, which is closer to $500 Canadian for us). I couldn’t justify it for 75 extra park minutes.
That being said, we’ll be on the dining plan so getting an early BOG reservation doesn’t cost us anything, plus I’m not sure that my younger son will reach the height limit on Mine Train, PLUS we have 3 days planned at Magic Kingdom plus 3 extra any time fast passes from a screwup with our account, so we’ll have plenty of chances. You might have a different calculation. I have a friend who did EMM at Toy Story Land and said it was worth every penny.
@erinbaderin: those are all good points that I’ve thought about but I’m still leaning towards doing it! Mostly because we’re off site so 30 day fast pass window and BOG would be $100+. Plus my in laws are going with us and they’re already iffy about going so I thought maybe if we start with an empty park, it’d be a good way to start off!! I’m going to keep thinking about it...
@MommySLP: We love BOG breakfast but only because we are on the dining plan. It is expensive out of pocket for what you get... in your case I think I’d splurge and pay the extra for EMM instead !
@erinbaderin: EMM at HS sounds awesome and I would totally do it ... except for that Cdn dollar
@charm55: I just tried to call and book and they said it’s sold out?! Crazy after a few days and it’s a Tuesday in late Jan. Bummer.
@MommySLP: oh bummer for sure !! Keep checking online though. People do cancel.
Just wanted to update after our trip - we had a great time last week!
We started the week in Magic Kingdom on Monday. Discovered very quickly that my four year old totally panics on rides that go through scenes in the dark, so I re-arranged our fast passes to focus on rides out in the open that she could see. We went on the tea cups about six times that day! My four year old is obsessed with Figaro, so we spent lunchtime finding as many pictures of him as we could in the Pinocchio Village Haus.
We went to Animal Kingdom on Tuesday. The girls really enjoyed the Dinoland section, especially the large playground area. I think after so much time in the stroller, they were excited to move around. The Kilimanjaro Safari was one of my favorites that day. And I guess the ride around in the jeep lulled my two year old to sleep because she fell asleep on the go for the first time in over a year during it. Seeing the animals up close was really neat, and my four year old was so into it.
On Wednesday, we took it easy in the morning. Our girls were starting to fall apart by Tuesday evening, so we needed a little down time to get them in better moods. We headed into Magic Kingdom again just in time to catch the parade. The girls loved it! We spent most of the afternoon Tomorrowland. The kids loved the Tomorrowland Speedway. That evening, we saw the Frozen "Holiday Wish" show at the castle. The girls loved the music, the lights, and the fireworks. We had a great view up close, and I'm glad they could make it that late in the day to enjoy it. Taking an easy morning so we could stay later in the park worked out really well that day.
On Thursday, we went to a character meet and greet at our hotel first thing in the morning. The girls favorites were Minnie, Mickey, Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White. I think my four year old would have just spent the whole morning hanging out with Minnie if she could. I loved how excited she was to meet her. We then went into Epcot and started in Norway to ride Frozen Ever After. My four year old was not happy that it was a "dark" ride, but said it was worth it to see Elsa. Ha! We worked our way through the countries in the World Showcase through the rest of the morning, and I'm so glad we were there for the Food and Wine Festival. I ate better there than I had all week! We wrapped up the day in Future World. My husband and I traded off riding Soarin' and then taking our younger daughter on the Nemo ride over and over again.
On Friday, we went back into Magic Kingdom at the girls' request. We'd been thinking we'd do Hollywood Studios that day, but the kids kept talking about the parade and a few rides they wanted to repeat. We ended up splitting up, so my husband could take our four year old on the Barnstormer, Dumbo, and teacups as many times as she wanted...and I could take our two year old on the rides in the "dark" that she liked. She especially loved It's a Small World. We wrapped up the day in Frontierland with Jungle Cruise. It was cute how they decorated everything through the ride for Christmas too. I was so impressed with all the Christmas-y stuff through the parks in general. We watched the parade again that afternoon and then headed back to the hotel for some pool time and to turn in early for the night.
We had a 4am wakeup the next day to catch our flight home. The girls handled the early morning so well, and I'm glad we had an early flight. My in laws flew out later that afternoon and they said the airport was so much busier then. We had smooth sailing when we were there super early, and the girls napped on the plane home.
We were all pretty wiped by the end of the week, but the kids had a blast so that's well worth it!
Oh, also just in case anyone down the road wants a suggestion for the car seat problems that we'd been running into with getting to/from the hotel and airport...we ended up using a car service called Tiffany Towncar and they were great. I think it was about $150 roundtrip for us, and they provided the two car seats we needed no problem. They were timely, friendly, and super helpful with all of our bags at the airport too. I'm glad we didn't end up renting a car...we wouldn't have used it at all during the week.
kiwi / 500 posts
@caitcat: Thanks for the report, that was fun to read! It sounds like both your girls were able to have the experience that fit them best by splitting up on Friday. I’ll have to remember that.
Our trip is in 17 days. Hard to believe! We almost cancelled because DH got an unexpected job transfer that starts in 40 days. It’s a welcome change, but it complicates our lives, to say the least. We have decided to stay the course, with the reasoning that this vacation will be our reward in what will otherwise be a stressful and busy time for us.
The last time we were at Disney, we spent a huge amount of time waiting around for buses to arrive (and sometimes having to wait for a second because the first was too crowded). I don’t know if we just had bad luck or what, but I have decided that time is so valuable at Disney that I am not doing that again. We’re staying at Pop, so we can ride the Skyliner, and we are going to use Lyft to get to MK (dropping us off at the Contemporary and then walking over). Of course, that might change if a bus is already there and if it isn’t too crowded, but I am totally at peace with the extra expense.
We were hoping to potty train our 2.5 year old, but first we had a close family member in the hospital, and then we all got sick. So I’m not sure if we should potty train this weekend and hope for the best, or just put potty training off until we get back from Disney.
@Hypatia: I wish we'd split the girls up sooner for a few rides earlier in the week. We spent a lot of time switching off, waiting with one or the other, when they had different interests...I had noooo idea my oldest would be so freaked out by rides that went in the dark!
Good luck with the potty training decision. That's a tough one. We traveled when our oldest was sort of potty trained and it was hard to be sort of in limbo at that stage...but gosh, it's nice to not deal with diapers if you can avoid it!
Also, I'd totally forgotten how much waiting on transportation there is at Disney. I think the extra cost with Lyft would be totally worth it to save time!
@Hypatia: I would definitely wait on the potty training - much easier to occasionally change diapers than to have a newly potty-trained kid announce they have to pee halfway through a line!
I get so excited when I see the Disney thread is active again. Under 100 days until our trip....
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