We took our first family trip to Disney World last week, and y’all, it was the trip of a lifetime. We started talking about it September 2016, and officially booked it in December 2016. I have been reading and plotting, researching and dreaming, praying and planning ever since then, trying to design the best surprise Disney trip for the kids, Scott, and I that I possibly could. And in one word, the trip was MAGICAL. I’ll have a second post tomorrow about everything we learned- what we’ll do and not do next time, but today’s post is all about the trip itself. Follow along and see the pictures and videos if you’d like!
We started out Sunday morning, headed to Orlando! The kids had NO IDEA that we were not, in fact, JUST heading to a hotel with a cool pool and bunk beds (though our first hotel was pretty cool!), we were actually heading down to Disney World. But we still had a pretty great time that first afternoon and evening! We arrived at the Holiday Inn Resort at about 4:00, and we got our luggage in the room and headed straight to the pool.
We swam for a while, and decided to get some dinner. And instead of coming back to the pool, we found a super cool pirate putt-putt course and took the kids to play! It was actually the first time just the five of us have gone to play putt-putt together, and it was so much fun!
We grabbed some ice cream, went back to the hotel, and got in bed. It had been a long day, and we knew that Monday was going to be a BIG one!
Disney Day 1: Magic Kingdom
I could hardly sleep, I was so excited. I got up, took a shower and got ready, then the kids woke up. I told them Sunday night that we could go to the pool again before we had to head back home, so when they started stirring and asking about the pool, I lead with the fact that we were not going to be able to go to the pool, but that we had to go ahead and start packing instead. Then our surprise was finally revealed!!
And we were off!!! We got dressed, packed up, stopped for a bit of breakfast, and headed straight to the Magic Kingdom! Our room at the Caribbean Beach Disney Resort was not quite ready, so we headed straight to the park, parked the car, took the tram to the ferry, hopped on board, rode to ticketing and security, where we walked right in with our magic bands, and WHOA. We were there!!!!!!!!
I nearly cried at the sight of the Cinderella’s Castle!
We got to the park around 10, and didn’t have our first fast pass until 1:15. So we just looked around and took it all in, and started working our way through! We watched the Muppets in LIberty Square, and then headed for our first ride- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin! The kids loved it, and mama did too!
And afterwards, we grabbed the first of many snacks, the one I was looking forward to the most, and my favorite we had all week- the infamous Dole Whip. And it was as good as I was hoping.
After our ice cream break, Jasmine and Aladdin were coming out to meet guests, and we got in line to meet them. We were super lucky, and never waited more than 20 minutes for anything the whole week! The kids were so excited and awe-struck!
After meeting Jasmine and Aladdin, we got some lunch. I had heard good things about Sleepy Hollow, so we headed in that direction. The kids got corndogs with chips, Scott got the pretzel dog with chips, and I got the sweet and spicy chicken and waffle sandwich. All were really good!
And we were off again! The carousel only had a 10 minute wait, so that’s what was next. Pretty sure we only waited about 5!
After the carousel, we rode It’s a Small World (classic! And the kids loved it!), and then Peter Pan’s Flight (another one the kids loved). Then we decided to split up. The girls wanted to meet Ariel and the boys wanted to do something a little more exciting, so me and the girls hit Ariel’s ride and met her in the grotto, and it was precious.
It is so amazing how the cast members do not miss a beat and just talk and talk and the girls just watched her adoringly and hugged her! It was just darling. And completely magical. Next, we went and met Tiana and Grayson’s favorite princess, Rapunzel. I think her life, thus far, was pretty much made.
Meanwhile, Ben and Scott were taking on the Tomorrowland Speedway! Scott let Ben drive, and hilarity ensued. THey also shared Ben’s first coke float, and he asked, “can we make one of these when we get back home??” Sweet boy!
After our separate adventures, we met back together for Enchanted Storytime with Belle. And it was AMAZING!! The kids were so good, and excited to participate in the show! Grayson was the horse, Brantley was Maurice, and Bennett, be still my heart, was the Beast! It was the cutest thing I had ever seen, and the kids just loved it.
After meeting Belle, we had a bit of time to spare, so we grabbed a few Mickey pretzels and Mickey Ice Cream pops, and paused for a moment in front of the castle to watch the character show and have a snack! After that, we used our last Fast Pass of the day on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was a highlight for Ben and Gracie (Gracie said it was her favorite ride)!! We learned, however, that Brantley is NOT a fan of roller coasters, or any rides that go “too fast.” We would learn more about this in the next few days too!
We had about 3-4 hours before dinner, but decided to go ahead and leave the Magic Kingdom, go check into our hotel room, and hit up the pool for a bit before dinner. Plus, it was nice to have a bit of a break and grab a cocktail! The Banana Cabana was perfection.
After the pool, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We took the bus to the Magic Kingdom again, and took the monorail to the Polynesian Resort where we ate at Ohana. Food wise, it was the best meal of the trip, as far as I was concerned! When we finally arrived at the restaurant and checked in, Scott headed to the bar to get us a few drinks. He comes back with these two HUGE pineapples with straws and garnishes coming out of them! I asked if he knew the drinks were going to be huge pineapples, and of course, he said no, and we laughed and drank every last bit, because they were AMAZING, hahaha! THe dining room was beautiful, dark, and overlooking the lake and Magi Kingdom. The staff was so accommodating and the food was DELICIOUS– we had the pineapple bread, an Asian tossed salad, teriyaki noodles, vegetables, chicken wings, and dumplings, then the grilled shrimp, steak, and chicken. It was all served family style and kept being brought to us until we were full. And so we were STUFFED! The kids learned the hula and had a ball.
Once dinner was over, the waiter brought out rice krispie treats and pineapple bread pudding with caramel sauce. I’m not even a big bread pudding fan, but it was AMAZING. But the best thing, was that once the fireworks show started at the Magic Kingdom, they piped in the music and we could see the fireworks out the window! It was beautiful and such an amazing dinner and evening. We caught the bus back to the hotel, and Ben and Gracie both literally fell asleep standing up, they were so tired. We got back to the hotel, put the kids in bed, and rested for Day 2!
Disney Day 2: EPCOT and Ben’s Birthday
Our second day at Disney was so special because it was our big boy Ben’s 5th birthday!! The kids woke up and were surprised that Mickey had left gifts for them in our room! Disney coloring books, crayons, and an autograph book made their day… thus far!
We got dressed and got ready to head out to Epcot for the day! Had to get a few shots of the birthday boy (and crew) first!
And we were off! I pushed back our first fast pass until after 11, so we had a bit of time to walk around when we first arrived. We went to Under the Seas with Nemo and Turtle Talk with Crush right away, since there was virtually no wait. Turtle Talk with Crush was so cute!! Afterwards, we headed to the world showcase to hit up the food carts, because we were pretty hungry!
We grabbed several different things from several different countries, and used snack credits for each item! We got a funnel cake and lobster roll from the USA, BLT Salmon Sushi and Pork Dumplings from Japan, and Hummus Fries, Beef Kafka, and Chocolate Baklava from Morocco. Everything was AMAZING. We didn’t know until we arrived that the EPCOT food and wine festival was going on while we were there! Jackpot!!!
After we got a tummy-full, we headed back toward the big ball, and met Alice in Wonderland in England on the way!
We hit up one of the big gift shops and let Ben pick out his birthday present, and Gracie picked out her one souvenir for the week (more about that tomorrow!) before we headed to the classic Spaceship Earth. The kids actually really enjoyed it, and I did too! It’s amazing to see how far the rides and experiences have come. We grabbed some cheeseburger meals from the Electric Umbrella, ate them while we had a short rain shower outside (the only rain of the entire trip!), and then headed to Mission: Space.
We saw the warnings that Mission: Space was a thrilling ride, etc., but we had NO IDEA how realistic it actually would be. Long story short, Brantley was absolutely TERRIFIED, and screamed the whole entire time. I spent the whole time trying to console her and calm her down (without being able to touch her or really see her since we were in chest restraints and turning side-to-side was EXTREMELY disorienting!) and it was HORRIBLE. I have never felt like a worse mother. Honestly, even thinking about it now starts giving me terrible anxiety, it was so traumatic! Ben and Grayson, however, LOVED it, and ended up riding it again with Scott! Funny how different our kids can be, and how we learn those things about them, right? So while Ben, Gracie, and Scott rode again, I spent the next hour apologizing Brantley and doing whatever she wanted, haha! We first got some pictures taken and went to meet Pluto.
We walked through the countries, looking for a special treat, and settled on some Ginger-Caramel Ice Cream, and a Peach Bubble Tea from China. We walked, and looked, and shopped, and generally calmed down until the other three were ready to meet us. We met back up with Pluto, so Ben and Gracie could get their picture taken too. 🙂
We had some time to kill before dinner, so we walked through the countries again. As the kids played the drums in Africa, Scott and I enjoyed some wine and beer from Germany. Hooray for EPCOT! Ready for an adults-only trip next!
We spent time looking at the little mini train village and counted 25 lizards living on and in the houses! The kids loved it. We also watched an Italian street performer which was super fun.
Ben loves pizza, so we made reservations at Via Napoli in Italy, which is known for it’s good pizza! And pizza, we ate!! We started with a caprese salad, and then the girls got cheese, Ben and Scott got pepperoni, and I got ham, eggplant, mushrooms, and artichoke. It was delicious!
We ordered some wine, and dessert! The kids got vanilla and chocolate gelato sundaes, and Scott and I shared zeppoli donuts and tirimisu. The best part, though, was when the entire wait staff came to our table to sing Happy Birthday to Ben! is smile was so big (and messy, thanks to the pizza and ice cream), but that kid enjoyed every second!
After dinner, we had one more fast pass for Frozen Ever After! It ended up being one of my favorite rides, and even the atmosphere in Norway and in the waiting line was so much fun.
After Frozen, we headed out of the park, back on the bus, back to our resort, and straight into bed. The birthday boy had QUITE a day, and we were all exhausted!
Disney Day 3: Hollywood Studios
Halfway through with our trip on Wednesday, we were ready to head to Hollywood Studios! And surprise! Mickey brought surprises again!
We went to Star Tours early, and though I nearly had a panic attack before we got on (I was SO afraid Brantley was going to be so scared again), but we all enjoyed it! Afterwards, we headed to the Muppet 3D movie, which was much more Brantley’s speed, haha!
We grabbed some more of those yummy Mickey pretzels, and headed over to the Tower of Terror! Ben and Grayson were feeling brave and went with Scott, while Brantley and I did some more walking around, grabbed some drinks and scoped out some shops and the rest of the park. After the brave three met up with us, we met for hotdogs and chips in Pixar Place right outside Toy Story Mania.
We loved the Toy Story ride!! It’s a spinning 3D arcade-style shooting game ride, and everyone LOVED it. Afterwards, Ben, Grayson, and Scott all went to ride Star Tours again, but not until we watched the Star Wars show– Ben was entranced! He loved every minute. Brantley and I walked around some more, watched the Jedi recruits, and met up with our thrill seekers just in time to grab some popcorn and a BB-8 drink for my little jedi.
Then it was onto the Frozen Singalong, which might have been my favorite thing in all of Disney World! The cast members were amazing and so funny, we all sang all the songs, and Elsa made it snow at the very end! It was amazing, and I pretty much cried the whole time, haha! To see your kids so joyful– it was nothing short of magic!
After Frozen, we walked around a bit, met some Hollywood Studio friends on the street, did a little shopping, and headed to dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
The kids ate macaroni and cheese, I had fried chicken, and Scott had meatloaf, and it was pretty good (my chicken was GREAT!). But after a looooong day, Scott did NOT like the 50’s schtick, and the fact that our waitress tried to make him eat his green beans, haha! I told him that it was part of the act, but he was not having it! But the apple crisp, brownie, and sundaes were good!
After dinner, we were all pretty worn out, hot, and ready for a break. We left the park, headed back to the hotel, but put on our bathing suits and headed to the pool again! The water was so refreshing, and so were the cocktails!
We headed back to the room and crashed again– and rested up for our final day at Disney!
Disney Day 4: Magic Kingdom
We returned to the Magic Kingdom for our last day, since we knew we wouldn’t get to all of it n the first day! And man, how right we were. Mickey brought the kids new pajamas (the least exciting surprise from Mickey, haha!), and we got going! We started out simple- with coffees and a caramel apple on Main Street.
Ben was taking his Princess Protection Agent job very seriously, haha!
We headed straight to the castle to watch the show again, and admire the beautiful day!
We had a lunch reservation at Be Our Guest at the Beast’s castle, which was so much fun. Plus, the castle was amazing! Scott got a French Dip, I got the Croque Monsieur, Ben and Brantley got the grilled cheese, and Gracie got shrimp. Everything was good! And such a fun way to eat lunch.
After lunch, we rode Buzz Lightyear’s ride which was fun, and then lit up the Teacups and Dumbo since the wait was so short. And the new play place while you wait for Dumbo? Brilliant! Is was nice to get to rest and cool off while we waited and the kids played!
After Dumbo, we grabbed some snacks! Cake pops for the kids, and caramel corn for me. After that, Gracie and Scott were off to Space Mountain while Ben, Brantley and I went to the Tomorrowland Speedway. Second time for Ben, but the first for Brantley and I!
We met up with Scott and Gracie again, who weren’t able to ride Space Mountain (it was closed for a bit, and then when it reopened, everyone was trying to use their fast passes all at once), but did get on the Astro Orbitor. While we waited for them to finish, Ben picked out his souvenier, and then when they were done, we headed over the Barnstormer! That was a fun little roller coaster, and Ben LOVED it. We had just enough time for Brantley to pick out her souvenir before we took the monorail to dinner at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort! The kids could hardly wait to meet Mickey and all his friends at dinner!
Dinner at Chef Mickey’s was SO much fun. It was our only character meal, but it was awesome! The buffet was really good, and the kids had a blast making their own plates, and then meeting the characters.
After dinner, Ben and Gracie wanted to go to the pool, but Brantley wanted to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. We decided to divide and conquer, and Scott took the littles to the pool, and Brantley and I headed back into the Magic Kingdom for the evening!
We rode Carpets of Aladdin one more time, walked through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and rode Pirates of the Caribbean (and got soaked!!). On our way back to the castle, we grabbed one last Dole Whip for each of us (I do not share my dole whips, ha!), ran into one shop for a last minute souvenir (for me!), and found a great seat for the fireworks!
To say that is was magical is an understatement. It was wonderful, I cried, I hugged Brantley, and we had an amazing time wrapping up the day just the two of us.
Luckily, from where we were, we made a quick bee-line out of the castle area to Main Street and were able to get out of the park and to our bus pretty quickly. We were exhausted, but the fireworks with Brantley was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. We got back to the room, and she was OUT in about five minutes! I wasn’t far after her. We had made the most of every second that we could on our trip, and the fireworks were just the cherry on top.
Disney Day 5: Heading Home
Mickey left one more surprise for the kids on the morning we were leaving. We got packed up and got going pretty quickly, in the hopes that we would beat traffic and get home at a decent time, which we did. We cashed out our remaining snack credits (we only had 3 left, which I thought was pretty good!), said goodbye to Disney, and practically began planning our next trip on our way home.
It was everything everyone said it would be, and more. An incredible vacation that made the kids so happy, and in turn, made Scott and me so happy! Disney, thank you for making this vacation truly magical for my family and I. It was an amazing trip, and one we will never forget. See you real soon!!!
**Tomorrow I will be posting about all the things I learned on this trip- the things we liked and the things we didn’t, what we’ll do again, and what we’ll do differently next time. Make sure you check it out!**