Remember MONTHS AGO when I built up so much hype about our trip to Disney and then literally NEVER POSTED A SINGLE WORD ABOUT IT? Oy. Okay, well, I’m going to post some words about a day that was glorious and wonderful and fun.
To begin, we’ll just say that I did my due diligence in terms of researching, planning, scheduling, etc. With only one day in Mickey’s presence, I wanted to make sure Charlotte and Henry (but mostly C, because H didn’t really notice) got the most out of the experience. SO, all of my research concluded with this carefully thought out schedule…
To access the full doc: Disney Itinerary R
Now, some might say that I over-planned or that they’d worry such a rigid plan would feel stressful, but let me just say, we ALL enjoyed my psychotic planning. We were able to see everything we wanted to see – parades, rides, meet and greets, etc – in such a strategic way that it felt like a natural transition into the next ride or activity. I had booked all of our fast passes ahead of time (maybe 2 months out?) and our dinner reservation a month out. It was AHHHMAZING.
A few pretty important items that we packed: double stroller, neck fans!!! (it was SO damn hot and these were so crucial. They were cheap and effective), snacks (pouches, etc), sunscreen for us and the kids, hats for the kids.
Also, matching shirts…
So now, the photos and fun details…
We missed the park opening… because let’s be honest… we are ALWAYS. LATE. When we first got in, we started waiting on line to see Minnie and Goofy, but ended up leaving to start the rides because it was taking way too long. In hind sight, I do wish we would have seen Minnie. C still talks about how she wasn’t able to give Minnie a hug and a kiss. A month or two ago, she came up with the idea that we should bring her Minnie stuffed animal back to Florida to give to Minnie as a gift. So sweet.
Our first ride was Dumbo. Being that it was C’s first ride, I wanted to pick something that was in the open so she could see exactly what was going to happen. It was a great first ride. When it was over, she instantly said that she wanted to stay on. And thankfully, the magic of Disney had rubbed off on her, because despite her wants, there were no meltdowns… the whole day… with either child.
After Dumbo, we walked to the next ride over… the barnstormer. It was a mini roller coaster that seemed fast, but not so fast. I let C watch it and asked if she’d like to ride. YES!
Let’s just say that there was NOT a lot of breathing for either of us on that ride. It was FAST! I’ll post the video, but afterward as we were getting off, C said excitedly, “That ride was SOOOOO FASSSTTTT!!! I no like to go so fast!” It’s funny because when we put her to bed that night, she told us that her favorite part of the day was going “SO FAST!!”
After the barnstormer, we went to the Winnie the Pooh area and waited in line to meet the characters. Our next fast pass was for the Winnie the Pooh ride, so we waited to see the characters and then immediately went on the ride. It was pretty silly meeting them. Charlotte was so excited, but ultimately, very timid with the characters.
In contrast, Henry LOVED them. He was petting them, high fiving, laughing and loving every minute. It was pretty darn silly.
The Winnie the Pooh ride itself is a little scary and just intense. There’s constantly so many sounds going at one time, moving from one scene to the next quite quickly. And, of course, it seems like there’s an excessive amount of time in the “Heffalumps and Weasels” rain storm nightmare. PASS!! I could have done without that one. And C seemed like she wasn’t a fan either. I feel like I remember her saying she didn’t like it, but then maybe asking to do it again later.
Somehow, by the time we finished the Winnie the Pooh ride, it was time for lunch. We went to the Pinocchio’s Village Haus for a ridiculously priced kids meal. BUT, the positive is that we were able to find a seat easily.
Clearly the only logical follow up to lunch is the teacups. SO, we tested our luck and took C on the teacups. Simultaneously, Henry began his only nap of the day… which lasted maybe 30-45 minutes.
After the teacups, we went to the Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Grotto ride. This was the only ride we waited in line for, and probably only waited about 20-25 minutes. All along the way, there were cute little things to look at. It was an easy wait and nicely shaded, which was great. Because, did I mention that it was 97 DEGREES THAT DAY!?!?! Hot.
The Little Mermaid ride was one of C’s favorites! She seriously just LOVED it! It’s a cute little story type ride where you get to hear tons of songs and see all the characters. Thumbs up to that one.
After little mermaid, we decided to take one more ride on Dumbo before catching the train to Main Street. I nursed Henry while we took our flight – nursing bucket list?! Of course, C loved Dumbo once again. It’s seriously just a great one. Especially on a hot day.
The train was pretty awesome, too… EXCEPT, we had to fold up our double stroller to ride, which meant making everything nice and tidy again… which was far from where we were at. We had things stashed in every cup holder and pocket. Thrown in the under storage, etc. We were littering our items through the entire line. But, no worries. The train ride was great, gave us an opportunity to sit and reapply sunscreen.
When we got to Main Street, it was time to grab ice cream (and a GIANT starbucks coffee for me) and watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. In true form, we were cutting it close, but ended up getting a great spot and really loving the parade. I think it’s the parades and shows that really make Disney unique from other Amusement Parks. Getting to see your favorite characters, seeing the spectacle… it’s just fantastic. And seeing it through the eyes of a 2/3 year old is just magic. Charlotte believed everything she saw. Whether it made sense or not, she totally believed it. She experienced true magic throughout the day. No questions asked, totally naive, untainted trust in the Disney magic. It was just pure and awesome.
When the parade was over, we went over to use our next fast pass for the Buzz Lightyear ride, which is just so much fun. Maybe less fun for C than some other rides, but the adults enjoyed it!
Then, we headed back towards Main Street where C and Mark watched the Friendship Faire (hello, more Frozen characters and songs) and my parents, Henry and I waited for our dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace. I also had to nurse little Henry while we waited.
Dinner at the Crystal Palace was fun! I hadn’t realized that it was only Winnie the Pooh characters there, so it was a bit of a bummer that the kids wouldn’t get to meet any other characters, but seriously so much fun. I just love the character meals. By that time, C was pretty hot and exhausted and didn’t really want to interact with the characters; although, she enjoyed watching Henry play with them.
The food itself was pretty decent! I mean, let’s just be real… it’s not about the food. And when is a buffet really THAT good? But it did the trick and was super fun (and air conditioned!).
After our 4:45pm dinner, we took a slow walk back to the car. The kids were beat, my parents were beat and we were ready to get the kids in bed so that Mark and I could go back for fireworks, parades and a couple faster rides.
Mark and I got back at firework time. We got greedy and weasled our way to the front, which turned out not to be the best spot. In hind sight, we should have stayed back towards the front of the park where we walked in.
Anyway, afterwards, we went to find a drink. We quickly discovered that there are NONE TO BE FOUND unless you have reservations at a sit-down restaurant. Dang. I settled for a Diet Coke and then we watched the “Once Upon a Time” show, which is a projection on the castle with music. This was my favorite show of the day. It’s just fantastic.
Next, we got a FREE cream cheese stuffed hot pretzel (they were about to close), which was phenomenal, and went on the Buzz Lightyear ride and Space Mountain. Space Mountain is just so fun. I still just really love that ride.
With our adrenaline pumping, we decided we had to go ride Big Thunder Mountain. SO, we literally ran/hop/skipped our way across the park (in the heat) to haul ass to Big Thunder Mountain before the park closed. We made it and rode one more ride before calling it quits on our big Disney day.
We slowly walked back to the Ferry with tons of people hauling exhausted kids, pushing sleeping kiddos in strollers and just dragging themselves. Disney is hard work.
All in all, we had such a great and fun-filled day!
Here are some other photos from our trip to Florida – including our hike to Coco Beach…