We have been back from an eleven day Disney World trip (yes, eleven days!) for about two weeks. Jack's birthday party was five days after we got home, (another blog post next week?)then we had a week of VBS, so I just now finally have time to sit down and tell you all about it. My mom, Aunt Elaine, the kids, and I were there for six days when Cory flew in to join us, and drive back home with us. We had lots of fun. We went to each park twice, except for Animal Kingdom. We also went to the Daytona Beach on the way there and the way back, which meant my kiddos got to see the ocean for the first time! And Addie started walking! I think the easiest way to break down the trip is by park. I'm just going to combine the days we spent at each park into one description.
If you can only go to Disney World for one day, make sure you spend it at the Magic Kingdom. (We spent two days there.) The kids were so, so excited as "Mickey's Castle" came into view on our ferry ride to the park the first day. With the help of The Unofficial Guide to Disney World, that I borrowed from my friend Stacy, and the companion website, Touringplans.com, and their amazing phone app, Lines, we were able to ride every single ride that the kids were big enough to ride. (I think there were maybe four that we didn't do.) We rode many rides multiple times. I don't think we ever waited in line more than 25 minutes. Jack's favorite ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. Harry loved Winnie the Pooh. Addie danced the whole way through It's a Small World. After pretty much every single ride, Harry cried because he wanted to ride again. We assured him that every ride would be fun, but he seemed to forget that each time a ride ended. Here are some pictures of us at Magic Kingdom!
We spent two days at Epcot. Thanks to fast passes, and the fact that Harry was too little for the ride, but could still get a fast pass, Jack was able to ride the totally amazing ride, Soarin', four times! Right next door was a boat ride that took us through the innovative gardens that Epcot was cultivationg. Harry totally loved this ride, even though it was kind of for adults. My kids LOVED the Tres Caballeros ride in the Mexico part of the world showcase. It was kind of like It's a Small World, but absolutely no lines, and it starred Donald Duck. Also, the very friendly workers plied my children with dozens of Mickey Mouse stickers every time we rode :) Another super fun thing we did there was the Kim Possible Mission game. They gave the kids a cell phone looking "communicator" that played videos telling where to go for their next clue. When they got there, something interactive happened. (They made a guitar play, a puppet dance, etc.) I have to say, I thought it was pretty cool! And, the very nice worker let us pick where we wanted to do our mission (Mexico) instead of making us walk far in the downpour and risk missing our Soarin' fast pass!
This park had a lot of shows, and most of the rides Harry was too little for( and Jack was scared of some of them, even if he was big enough. Tower of Terror lived up to its name for him!) But it was still fun! The Star Wars ride was really neat (even though poor Harry was heartbroken he couldn't ride.) We loved the Indiana Jones show, the Little Mermaid show, and the Muppet 3D movie. And the Toy Story ride was ridiculously fun!!! On the second day at Hollywood Studios, just the boys and Grandma went. Jack got to go to Jedi training and lightsaber fight Darth Vader! Then they got picked to go on stage during the Indiana Jones stunt show! And a popsicle seller gave them a free popsicle, just for being cute!
We spent one day at Animal Kingdom. The safari was really neat, and got us really close to the animals. (We were about half way through before Jack realized they were real animals!) The kids LOVED the Boneyards playland. (They would have happily spent all day there! And the Lion King and Finding Nemo shows were amazing! There was also a really fun Bug's Life show.
As an added bonus, Cory and I got to go to Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Thanks Chris!!!) And an added bonus to that, we went kid free (Thanks mom and Aunt Elaine!!!) It was our firt kid free outing since going to see the last Harry Potter movie in November, (eight months ago!) and it was the day before our anniversary, so it was perfect! I will just say it was completely awesome, and not go into tons of details like I am tempted to. We spent about eight hours in the park, and probably seven of them were spent in the Harry Potter section. That's how awesome it was (or how dorky I am?) I will now show restraint and only put two pictures up.
I will end this very long post with a few tips for taking little kids to Disney:
*If you have a baby in a stroller, bring a carrier with you too, as strollers are not allowed in any lines. The stroller parking is often far away from the rides, and one "stroller parking lot" can serve for an entire section of the park. This means you could end up holding your baby for a long time!
*We didn't do this, but you have the option of using your multiple day ticket over the course of fourteen days. So if you want a more relaxed pace, you could go the parks every other day (or whatever schedule you want.)
*You can bring pretty much any food or drink into the Disney parks, as long as they aren't in glass containers. You can save a ton of money by packing your lunches.
*Use the Lines app to see if one person should go grab fast passes for a ride, or if you should all just go get in line. Also, if you find out a kiddo is too small for a ride after waiting in line, they will give you a rider switch pass for up to three people.
*Strollers must be folded up before riding on any of the parking lot trams. Good to know before loading your stroller all the way up just to have to hastily tear everything out of it and quickly fold it down! Also, a double stroller is a pretty tight squeeze into the tram rows, so go for the first rows in each car. They are double rows with wider aisles.
*Character meet and greets: The best place to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto is at The Character Spot at Epcot. Go there first thing when you get to Epcot, and you will wait 20 minutes or less to meet them all! (Later in the day, it is 40 minutes or more.) The best place to meet the princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle) is the Town Square Theater when you first walk into the Magic Kingdom. Again, go there first for a 20 minutes or less wait.
*Don't waste your time at Stitch's Great Escape at the Magic Kingdom. Super lame!