Monday, November 24, 2014

Magic Kingdom Day 1

We spent 2 days at the Magic Kingdom, and I think that was just the right amount of time to do everything that we wanted to do.  We awoke early Tuesday, had a quick breakfast at the hotel, and then we drove ourselves to the Magic Kingdom to avoid the bus situation.  We had to park about 1/2 a mile from the monorail, and then we jumped on it to get to the gates of the park.  This was an easy transition, and we just kept the kids in the stroller the entire time. 

Upon arrival, we took the must take castle pictures, and then immediately headed to Splash Mountain.  It was still early, and a little chilly so there was virtually no line. I think Caleb and I waited all of 5 minutes.  We rode it, and he LOVED it.  He and Nick rode after we got off, and he was all laughs after.  We then headed to fantasy land, and rode the Little Mermaid, and met Ariel.  We had lunch and watched the parade, and then headed to ride Pirates of Caribbean.  Caleb rode Big Thunder Mountain with Nick and I, and then we headed to the bus to head back to the hotel for a nap.  We decided to ride the bus back mid day because we knew there would be no crowd. 



We napped for a few hours at the hotel, and then got ready for our reservation at Cinderella's Castle.  I got Mckinlee all dressed up in her Princess dress, and put make up on her. She looked so beautiful, and she was bursting with excitement.  We jumped back on the bus to head back to the park for our reservation.  Unfortunately, we arrived at the park as the electrical parade was going on, so it took us forever, to make our way down main street to the Castle.  We watched the remainder of the parade, and then bolted to the castle as soon as they opened up the road. 

The entire castle experience was amazing!!! It is a must do if you have a little girl.  It was everything I ever dreamed of when I thought of taking my daughter to Disney.  You begin downstairs where you meet Cinderella, and have your photo made with her. *your meal includes 2 free professional photos with Cinderella*.  You then ascend up a spiral staircase complete with stain glass windows.  It is gorgeous.  The food was amazing, the service was perfect, and Mckinlee was in heaven.  She oo and awed with each passing Princess, made wishes with her wishing wand, and asked Nick to be her prince.  It was magical!! Caleb was happy because they gave him a sword.  *Cinderella's castle takes 2 of your table service meals from your dining plan.  All you have to pay is tip*.

After the castle we headed out for extended magic hours.  We had the best time. The park was virtually empty so we were running through the streets, Nick was flying Kinlee in his arms, and we walked onto a bunch of rides.  Our favorite was Peter Pans flight.  Mckinlee was so cute because she thought the glitter from her dress was pixie dust. She threw glitter during the ride and said "here is your pixie dust now fly!" At that moment our seat started flying so she legit thought she caused it to happen.  It was precious.  We took a few moments before we left to dance in front of the lit castle.  Nick and Kinlee slow danced after she asked him to marry her....(I mean I melt). 


We walked back to our car, and headed back to the hotel for a very short sleep before another adventurous day. 


Hollywood Studios

Monday was our first real day at Disney, and we headed to Hollywood Studios.  We woke early that morning, had breakfast at our hotel dining hall, and then caught the bus to Hollywood Studios.  At the resort we had to wait for about 30 minutes for a bus. The line was outrageous (this should have been our first sign..).  The park itself was crowded as well due to the fact that it was an extended magic hours day.  It was not crazy packed, but still crowded.  The streets in Hollywood Studios are more cramped so I think that added a little more to the crowded feeling. 

**We had used a Disney Vacation Planner plan our trip.  I highly recommend going through one! They are no expense to you, but are paid by Disney.  She set up all our reservations, fast passes etc.  She had fast passed mostly shows for us on this particular day.  I would say that shows do not need a fast pass in general.  It insures you a closer seat but that is about all.  You can use the Disney app to change your fast passes, but some of the best rides are not available the day of. If we were to do Hollywood Studios again I would for sure fast pass the Toy Story ride.  **

We began our day by attending the Disney Junior Live show.  This is a must do!! The kids loved it! It features Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters, Doc McStuffins, Jake/pirates and Sophia and gang.  It is very interactive, and has a lot going on.  It kept all of us entertained.  After the show Nick took Caleb to meet Jake, and I stood in line with Kinlee to meet Sophia. 


After we met the characters we ventured to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground to kill some time before our next fast pass.  The kids, and Nick and I had a great time playing.  I put Paxton in the Ergo, and climbed around the jungle gym with them.  It was a lot of fun.

We then went to watch the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  Anything Ariel was a huge hit with Kinlee.  It was a cute show.  Caleb was not thrilled with it because it was a "girl show", but it was short and sweet. 

After that we headed for our table meal at the 50's Diner.  I really wanted to get a reservation for the character meal at Hollywood Studios but they were booked.  The 50's diner had amazing food, and was decorated cute.  I don't think the kids loved or hated this meal, but they didn't have much to say about it. They did however, eat their food and have a great dessert, so that was a win. 

After lunch we headed to ride Toy Story.  We waited in line for a long time, but it was so worth it.  This ride is a MUST DO!!! I can not stress this enough.  We were also able to meet Woody and Buzz.  Caleb wanted to meet them, but he did not want his picture with them....??

We then headed to the Frozen Sing Along show.  This show was great.  It had jokes that kept the parents entertained, and it full out snowed at the end of the show.  Like foam! It was awesome. 

As we were walking to the next ride the entire street lit up with Christmas lights. We were not expecting it, so we were really surprised.  It was an amazing light show, and the kids had a great time watching it. 

There were a few rides that we wanted to take Caleb on that Kinlee was not tall enough to ride.  We designated this as her rest time in the stroller, and Nick and I did child swap with Caleb for Star Wars.  It was fun, and when he rode with me his picture popped up on the screen as the "spy".  He was so excited. 

We then had a quick service meal for dinner.  **With the dining plan we were given 4 quick service meals and one table meal plus 4 snacks per day.  They were all on our magic bands, and your receipt would tell you how many you had left after each use.  The quick service meals are large enough to split.  Nick and I would split one adult for one meal, and the kids would split 1 kids.  That way we had one adult and one kids left over to split for our next meal of the day.  It worked out perfectly.  We never had to purchase additional food while we were at Disney.**

After dinner Nick took Caleb to ride the Tower of Terror.  I had a feeling he would hate it, but he was excited to try.  I took the younger 2 to watch Fantasmic.  After the show we met back up with Caleb and Nick, and Nick told me that Caleb did indeed hate the ride (mama knows best). 

It was getting into extended hours times, so anyone not staying on location at Disney had to leave the park.  We took this time to ride Toy Story once again since the line was short,  and we also rode The Great Movie Ride.  We had a pretzel and popcorn for a late evening snack, and then we headed to the bus stops to head back to the resort.

**the bus line for our resort was insane. It was very far away from the entrance, and once we arrived, we could not even get through the crowd to get in line for our bus.  The kids fell asleep in the stroller, while Nick and I stood in line for over and hour for the bus.  We had 2 strollers, and 3 sleeping kids to pack onto a standing room only bus.  I put Paxton in my ergo, slung Mckinlee on my hip, and we had to wake Caleb to walk.  Nick grabbed both strollers, and we got onto a very crowded bus.  Thankfully a man offered a seat for me and the kids, but I had three overly tired kids on my lap in ONE seat.  I eventually stood with Paxton and let Caleb and Mckinlee have my seat.  It was nightmare!**

We were very grateful to arrive back at the resort, and Nick and I vowed to stay at a more expensive hotel for our next Disney vacation.

Magic Kingdom up next


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Downtown Disney

We arrived at Disney on Sunday.  We had a reservation at T Rex café at 3pm, and my plan was for us to freshen up in the hotel before departure. However, once we arrived at the hotel we were informed that our room was not yet ready, so we changed and got ready in our car.....

I'm going to take a moment and pause and speak on accommodations this trip.  This time we decided to save a bit of money and stay at one of Disney's budget friendly resorts. We chose the All Star Sports.  Over all the rooms were clean, the food was good, and the resort was nice.  However, I feel as though it was missing a little of that Disney magic that you find at the more expensive resorts.  We were spoiled by staying at the Boardwalk previously.  Upon arrival there your bags were taken from your car by the cast members, and promptly delivered to your room.  At the budget resort, our room was not ready upon arrival, Nick helped unpack our car that night, and it took them over an hour to bring our bags to our room.  Another con of staying at a budget resort was the bus lines.  They were so so long.  So long in fact that we ended up driving to the Magic Kingdom, and walking into the parks to avoid them..... (more on that later).  All this to say, that if we had to plan over again, we would have paid an extra 500.00 for a more expensive hotel. 

Anyway, back to Downtown Disney.  Upon arrival we headed to our dinner reservation.  We had dined at the T Rex café before, but the kids did not remember it, so it was all brand new again.  They loved it, we received more food than we could ever eat, and we had a great time.  (PS the Disney Dining Plan is the only way to go! We happened to be staying at a time when the dining plan was free). 

After dinner, we explored Downtown some.  The biggest hit was the Lego Store, and the Lego race cars.  Caleb had a blast building and racing his own car.  Kinlee had fun riding the train, seeing the Frozen décor, and loved receiving her crown from daddy to make her a real Princess.  Caleb made a Star Wars lightsaber and was in heaven.  Paxton passed the time looking around, smiling, and sleeping :). 

Once we arrived back to the resort, we waited for our bags, got the kids bathed, and in bed, and I packed our bags for the next morning.  Hollywood Studios post to come.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Vacation 2014

We just got back from a 2 week vacation to Florida, and it was amazing! Unfortunately, we had to leave the heat and palm trees, and return back to a cold reality of snow, and freezing temperatures. My bones are still cold due to this.  We had such a great time, and I want to make sure I document our memories before I forget (Lord knows I have been forgetful lately).

We decided to drive once again, because quite frankly flying a family of five, and all of our stuff would have cost a million dollars.  We generally drive at night when we know the kids will be sleeping, but this trip we decided to drive during the day and break the trip up.  We left early Wednesday and drove 7 hours to Atlanta to visit with Nick's cousin and aunt.  Paxton was a horrible traveler.  He cried more often than not, and I was getting my work out in twisting back and forth trying to console him.  We had a nice time visiting with Nick's Atlanta family, and slept well.  The next morning we said our good byes and headed to visit Nick's grandparents in Florida.

We had a nice visit with the grandparents. This was their first time meeting Paxton, and he was cute and sweet for them.  The kids had fun listening to their bedtime stories about Gurty the Gull, and A whale whose name I can not remember.  It was so cute when grandma was telling the whale story.  Caleb was all into it, and she said that the whale dove deep into the ocean, and suddenly he felt something grab him....Caleb immediately yelled (A giant squid!).  We all started laughing because it was quite hilarious that he knows that much about a giant squid. 

While we were there we attended a fall festival at the local elementary school.  The kids had a blast playing the games, racing on the inflatables etc.  We then enjoyed a nice dinner out, where Caleb tried crab legs for the first time (after being bribed by grandma).  He ended up liking them.

It was a great visit.  Next up for us was Disney World.