We've been planning this vacation with my parents and brother for the past year. Back in October, I made the reservations for our dinners and activities. All reservations can be made 180 days in advance. I highly recommend this. One of my reservations, I made 178 days in advance and we had to eat lunch at 1pm because there were no 12pm or even 11:30am reservations available. Seriously?! A little advanced planning is much better than not being able to attend any character meals...and if you want to see characters, a breakfast, lunch or dinner is the way to go. No long waits and no running around trying to find the characters. They're all in one place. Very convenient. More about this later.
Disney World is called "the most magical place on earth" because it really is the most magical place on earth.
Our whole week was full of fun and magic...it was also exhausting. We all came home needing a vacation from our vacation...we also came home with bank accounts a fraction of the size they were before we left but it was all worth it.
I'm going to share with you what we did, what we loved, what we should have done....about everything except the resort. We stayed at The Shades of Green, a resort, on Disney Property, for military families. Most people have never heard of it because most people aren't eligible to stay there. If you or a family member who you'd be traveling with is active in or retired from the military or works for the Department of Defense, send me a message and I'll fill you in about The Shades of Green.
I have no idea how many posts will be in this series. I'll figure it out as I write. I don't want the posts to be super long.
We arrived in Orlando on Saturday afternoon. We unpacked, my dad and Randy went to the grocery store for snacks and booze...you didn't think I'd have a vacation without alcohol, did you?...and we had dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants.
We set our alarms for 6:30 Sunday morning. Breakfast was at 7 and the first bus to Magic Kingdom left the hotel at 8. I'll tell you this now: we never made the eight o'clock bus. Not a single time all week. And that's ok. This vacation was stressful and exhausting enough with the masses of people and keeping track of my children...adding stress of opening the parks every day wasn't necessary.
Speaking of keeping track of my children, one of the days....it might have been Sunday....we were all walking along the crowded streets of Magic Kingdom, Randy was pushing Aleena in the stroller and a feeling of panic came over me. I looked around frantically and yelled, "Where's Ellie?!"
She was holding my hand.
Crowds do that to me.
We all chuckled about that for the rest of the week. In all seriousness, I'm a basket case in a crowd. Completely panicked that I'm going to lose my kids. I bought both girls a RoadID just for this trip. I had their names, my name and cell phone number, Randy's name and cell phone number and any drugs they're allergic to engraved on them. Both girls put them on when they got dressed every morning and didn't take them off until bath time at night. Other parents asked me about the RoadIDs several times throughout the week when they noticed them on my kids. I wish I could take credit for this awesome idea. Last year a Twitter friend, Shannon, mentioned that she bought RoadIDs for her kids when they went to Disney. I thought it was brilliant.
Sunday was the only day that the park was super crowded. There were certain times during the week when we were in a crowd, but it wasn't constant. Only times like immediately following a parade or fireworks show. This is a perk of going during the off-season.
Sunday morning, we went to the Magic Kingdom. We got Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain and Under the Sea. The line was short for Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road and we ended up not using our Fast Pass time. We should have done a Fast Pass to Enchanted Tales with Bell instead. We ended up waiting for 55 minutes for that one. It was the longest wait for an attraction all week. There was one longer line that we waited in, but it wasn't for a ride. It was to see characters. I'll bet you can guess who they were.
|On Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. When the ride finished, we asked Aleena, "Did you like it?" Her answer: "Not. At. All."|
|Ellie's first of three rides on Space Mountain.|
Sunday afternoon, we had our first (of two) Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream on a stick. You know....vanilla ice cream...chocolate shell...on a stick. So they're $3.75 a piece...money is no object when you're at the most magical place on earth. Ha.
|I can eat Mickey Mouse ice cream and take pictures at the same time.|
I think I'll stop here but I'll leave you with a cliffhanger: on Monday we went to Animal Kingdom and Ellie has been having nightmares about Yettis ever since. Awesome.
Have you ever been to the Most Magical Place? I've been three times, but the last time I went was 19 years ago. A few things have changed since then!
Have you taken your kids? This was our first trip with the kids. I'm sure we'll go again, but not for several years. Cha-ching!