Monday, May 28, 2012

Disney World Recap



So here's the wrap up of our EPIC Disney trip! A good time was had by all. There's lots to share in one post, but it's a complete one! Bear with me!
(To read about our trip preparations go see my first post here)

We arrived 45 minutes before Magic Kingdom opened. A little eager. 

Mom and I
Bursting with excitement on the bus!

Watching Mickey and friends open the gate at Magic Kingdom


I've been trying to figure out how to best share our pics and moments from Disney with the blog. You see in our family, Mommy is in charge of the photos and Daddy is in charge of videos. This has worked out great for 'memory management'. Not too much for one person to handle. But this time my husband used a bunch of my photos in his video montage of our trip so I thought I would share his handiwork here. It's about 10 minutes so watch it if you have time or I've shared a few photos below as well. 


I have to say that Disney is probably not for everyone, but we are certainly a Disney family. We've been a bunch of times. Before we had kids went at least a half dozen times and enjoyed it, but going back with kids is a totally different experience. This is our second time. Our first time, my daughter was 3 and my son was 1. It wasn't ideal since one of us had to hang back with Davis for naps in the stroller and split up a lot. But this time was just right. Lily is 4 1/2 and still into the whole princess aspect and Davis is 2 1/2 and all about anything to do with Toy Story. He loves him some Buzz Lightyear. We invited my parents to go with us this time so we could show them all around 'The World' and it was fun to see them enjoy it all with me as the tour guide. 

My mom and I took Lily to the Bippity Boppity Boutique at Cinderella's castle (reserve this way early if you want to do it. We made an appointment months ahead and noon was the earliest appointment available) It was a fun surprise for Lily and it was a great way to hang out in some air conditioning right before lunch while we let the guys go on a few other rides. 
I bought this dress on sale months ahead and surprised Lily with it when we got to the Boutique.
Saved us $100.
Not kidding. 

All the Godmothers-in-training busy at work

My kids love having the hair cut/ done... by other people. 

What a pretty princess!


Lily was so excited to see her Prince
she ran up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. 



I truly enjoy the process of planning and scheduling our Disney trips as it feeds into my control-freak nature. And there is extensive planning that goes into it. Where to stay, which park to go to, what dining plan to get, what dining reservations to get. And did you know that you have to have dining reservations for every single sit down meal you plan to eat. And it's recommended to get these reservations 180 days in advance! 180 days! I have trouble deciding what we're having for dinner a few hours before said dinner. So to plan all of our meals that far out is no easy feat let me tell you. And I certainly over scheduled our meals this time. We ate like we were going to be led to slaughter after our trip was over. We were not hungry the entire trip and I wasn't hungry for days after we got home. But we got our money's worth out of that deluxe dining plan, that's for certain. 
There are healhier options, but you have to have willpower of NASA-grade steel.
Hmm. Green apples or jelly beans for dessert. Lemme think. 

I was excited to see an Odwalla smoothie on the menu. Unfortunately this was just my preamble to a symphony of banana bread french toast. Incredible!  And I'm not even a breakfast person!

Mickey shaped food to make us feel like home!
This was MY appetizer at T-Rex.
Yummy bruschetta. 

And dessert for all was the "Chocolate Extinction"
which included special effects!
Tony' s Town Square at Magic Kingdom. Delicious food!

The 50's Prime Time cafe at Hollywood Studios had the best decor of any restaurant in the parks! It was designed to look like 'Mom's Kitchen' from the 50's. The waiter even told me not to put my elbows on the table and he called my dad Skippy! And I had s'mores for dessert. Yum!

Our final dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby. We let the kids get pixie dust glowing drinks. Best idea for sleep deprived kids at a fancy sit-down meal! The were highly entertained.  

And a word about character dining. It's a great way to see all the characters without having to stand in line and waste your time in the parks. It's also great for antsy kids who really don't want to sit down and wait for their food, because they are mostly buffet style and characters come to your table throughout the meal.
At Chef Mickey's the first night. 
He snuck up on us when we least expected him. Davis called him a goofball. 

I wish I had gotten a pic of Minnie's shoes. They are giant yellow pumps. Adorable. 

By far the hardest reservation to get is at Cinderella's Royal Table inside the castle at Magic Kingdom.
 It's a once-in-lifetime thing.
However... it was the only meal in which we recieved bad service and the food had no taste.
We can check that one off the list now!

This was breakfast at Hollywood Studios. We cancelled Disney channel last year so we really didn't know many of the charachters, but it was a good way to get in the park before it opened!


This was breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at the Floridian the day we left. It's a random assortment of charchters. This is the Madhatter playing with Davis' Rex figurine. Davis was amazed by his prosthetic nose! 



If you're planning a trip and you are a control freak like me there are a few sites you should check out. For some really detailed advice about trip planning you should go to YourFirstVisit.net. They have some great advice on when to go, down to the exact day you should arrive and they have intinieraries you can follow exactly or alter to your needs. I've also used a lot of the info from AllEars.net. That site helps to keep you posted on the lasted news and promotions. 

If you aren't a control freak there are some travel agencies that specialize only in Disney trip planning and they don't charge you any extra to take all the stress out of planning (yes, I enjoy stressful trip planning. I'm weird like that.) An agency I've had reccommended to me over and over again is Ears of Experience. They are a family of Disney experts and they enjoy planning so much, they decided to do it for other people as well! If I ever give up control I will certainly be calling them!

A few of my favorite random photos:


At Cinderella's wishing fountain behind the castle.

Making wishes with Pops
Refreshed from naptime and headed back to the Kingdom


Watching the parade

Fireworks with Tinkerbell

Our kids are finally not scared to watch the fireworks! Worth staying up late!

Buzz and Buzz at the Lego store- Downtown Disney
Just a few words about how impressed I continue to be with Disney. Yes, it is an expensive vacation. No doubt about that one. But they make it worth every penny. The whole resort is so tailored to kids that any inconvenience of waiting in line becomes part of the attraction. 
The line for Winnie-the-Pooh at MK looks like a playground at some points. 

Waiting in line to meet Buzz and Woody at Hollywood Studios
 was filled with other fun photo ops to distract you. 
And as a mom I so appreciate the kid-level sinks everywhere! The last thing I want to do is have to lift them up after I've been walking all day.

And we had a kind of scary experience while we were eating at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My 2 year old was being a 2 year old and horsing around at the table and smacked his head. Hard. and screamed like I have never heard him scream. I had to run him outside to calm him down. When I returned to the table there was a pack of ice waiting for us to put on his swollen lump and the manager came over and offered to call EMS. He was acting pretty strange- he wouldn't lift his head up from my shoulder and wasn't talking. EMS was at the table within 10 minutes. They checked him over and offered to take him to the hospital, but he had perked up and we weren't so scared anymore so we declined. We enjoyed the rest of our meal including the dessert bar (the buffet was incredible too- food from all over Africa- highly recommend it). When we went to pay the bill the waiter told us our meal had been 'taken care of'. In the middle of all of this my son also lost a Disney trading pin under the cushion of the chair and we asked if we could pick the cushion up and look under it before we left. But they said to go to the gift shop and they would replace the pin at no cost. My friends, we were so shocked by the level of customer service that night. I think my mouth might have fallen open in awe. In this day of companies scaling back and cutting corners, it is such a rarity to experience this level of customer service. So a huge THANK YOU to all those kind souls who helped up that night. You not only helped soothed a scared family during a tough time, but you won our hearts over to Disney vacations for life!
EMS at the table. That's service, friends!

In the week that has followed our trip we have enjoyed catching up on sleep, detoxing our diets (seriously!), remembering the fun memories and looking forward to making future Disney memories. The last part has been mostly the kids as they wake up everyday asking me when we are going back to Disney World! Someday, kids, someday!

This is the mass exodus after fireworks are over.
 Get your game face on. 






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