Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Week of Magic part 5

This will be the last post from our family vacation in Disney World.  If you missed the earlier posts, check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 of our visit to the most magical place on earth.

It was Friday.  Our last day in the most magical place.  After breakfast, we hopped on the bus to Hollywood Studios.

Upon arrival, I booked our Fast Passes for Rock n Roller Coaster, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Tours and we went in search of characters.

The girls were really excited to see Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sofia from Sofia the First.
Yo ho, let's go!

The Rock n Roller Coaster was our first ride of the day.  Aleena wasn't tall enough so we rode in waves: Randy, Ellie, my brother and I went first while my parents waited with Aleena.

Ellie chose to sit in the front seat of the roller coaster.  I was a little panicked when I realized that the coaster went upside down a few times, but Ellie loved it.

Rock n Roller Coaster with Uncle Matt
Next it was my parents' turn to go and Ellie got to ride again using Aleena's Fast Pass.

Up next was the Tower of Terror.  Aleena is tall enough to ride this one, but once she saw how high the elevator went, she declined.  The first wave was Mom, my brother, Ellie and I.

I've gotta say, this one was scarier than I remember it being 20 years ago.  I had a death grip on my brother's arm while Ellie was all, "WEEEEEEE!  This is awesome!"

The second wave was Dad, Randy and Ellie again.  Lucky girl.

After the Tower, we headed to the Disney Junior Live puppet show.  The girls were excited about this one as it included, Jake, Sophia, Doc McStuffins and all of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang.  The show was really cute.

Star Tours was next.  Aleena was able to ride this one and since there were no big drops, she enjoyed it.  We're not Star Wars fans at all, but you don't have to be to have fun on this ride.

My mom had requested to see the Muppets 3D show and I really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast so we did both.  Neither were as good as I remember them being 20 years ago.

We finished up Hollywood Studios around 3:30pm and were all pretty tired.  Our jam-packed week was catching up with us so we went back to the hotel to relax and play in the pool.

Our flight home was at lunch time on Saturday so Friday evening was spent trying to get our goods to fit in our suitcases.

Such a great week.  I was sad to see it end, it went by so fast, but I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, showering in my own bathroom and snuggling with my pooches.

Here are a few things I learned while on vacation in the most magical place on earth:
  • Use the app.  I downloaded the My Disney Experience app on my smartphone.  I could check wait times and make reservations for meals, look at a park map and check show times on my phone.  Some people could book fast passes from the app on their phones.  Disney chose certain people to test this feature but it appeared to be only iPhone users.  Rest assured, this feature is coming!
  • Know the park layout.  On our first day, when we got our fast passes, I didn't request them in any specific order.  We ended up walking 10 miles that day because our first fast pass was at one end of the park, our second was at the other end and our third was back near the first.  We learned to be more efficient as the week went on.
  • Get Fast Passes early.  There are only so many fast passes for each attraction per hour.  If you wait until lunch time to get fast passes, your ride time will be after dinner.
  • Make reservations 180 days in advance.  I booked our Bibbidi Bobbidi and Akershus reservation exactly 180 days early.  I booked our lunch at T-Rex on that same day--178 days early--and ended up getting a 1pm lunch time, not ideal for us, but we made it work.  I should have made two reservation phone calls, one for T-Rex and another 2 days later for Bibbidi and Akershus.
  • Autograph books are fun!  The Little Ladies loved getting autographs from all of the characters.  I took pictures of them posing with characters and when we got home, I had the pictures printed in wallet size and glued the pictures to the autographed pages of their books.  The Little Ladies now have a fun keepsake souvenir to remember their week in Disney World.  Bonus: it was probably the cheapest souvenir we got all week!
  • Pick and choose.  You won't have time to do and see everything that the Magic Kingdom has to offer.  Make a list of the things that you absolutely don't want to miss. Hit those attractions and anything else will be a bonus.  When I was younger, everyone in our family got to pick 3 things they didn't want to miss.  We never went home disappointed.
  • Don't look at the credit card balance until you get home.  The prices will blow your mind...and can ruin the magical mood.  Just know that, even visiting with a frugal mindset, you'll spend double what you'd normally spend for a family vacation.  Our dinner with the princesses?  The bill for five adults and two children was almost $400.  I don't know about y'all, but that's not what we spend on a meal on any other vacation.  I threw up a little in my mouth as I paid our credit card bill when we got home.  Magic doesn't come cheap.
Our vacation was magical, exhausting, fantastic and totally worth the ridiculous amount of dollars spent.