Bammy’s Disney Birthday

For my mom’s 60th birthday, my parents took my whole family to Disney World over the week of Thanksgiving.  After we had the most magical time last year, we were so excited to have the opportunity to go back so soon!  And this time, with Bammy, PaDaddy, Uncle Ramsey, Aunt Beth, and cousins Sally Kate and William! 

And we knew that just like last year, we wanted to SURPRISE the kids!

*Yes, we wanted to surprise them to see the excitement in their faces and the thrill of the spontaneous trip, but also so that I wouldn’t be driven to the brink of insanity by their anxious questions about “how many more days til Disney??” every day for months leading up to the trip.*

Here’s the video of Bammy telling the kids the big news via Facetime:

So we told the kids at about 8am (they thought we were headed to Bammy and PaDaddy’s house), and we were on the road 30 minutes later!  Packing was no big deal since the kids knew we were traveling (just didn’t know it was Disney), but I did almost blow my cover as I was sewing all their matching shirts!  After we got off the phone with Bammy, I gave the kids their shirts for the trip down, and we were loaded and ready to go.  

The trip took about 7 hours, but the kids were really pretty good.  They each got to pick a movie (Disney, of course, ha!), and before we knew it, we were pulling into the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and meeting the rest of the crew!

Typically with our family of five, we wouldn’t have been able to book the Port Orleans resort because the room maximum is four people.  But for our room reservations, we were able to add one of the kids to my parents room and it all worked out just fine.  And it was great!  The Port Orleans was really nice, we loved the property.  It felt like you were really walking through old city streets, with horse drawn carriages and all!  

Almost as soon as we arrived and unpacked, it was time to head to our first dinner reservation!  We headed just down the road a bit to the Wilderness Lodge Resort to the Whispering Canoe Restaurant.  And it was amazing!!

The Wilderness Lodge was incredible and decorated for Christmas already!  It was beautiful!

The kids were thrilled to see their cousins Sally Kate and William, and they were inseparable all week long.

Whispering Canyon was DELICIOUS- probably one of my very favorite Disney meals we’ve had!  And SURPRISE, now adult table service meals come with an alcoholic beverage where that wasn’t the case in years past.  Great news since these margaritas would have run us about $12!  

The food at Whispering Canyon is barbeque, ribs, sausage, and all that kind of good stuff.  We ordered the “All You Care to Eat” Skillet which is served family style, with ribs, chicken, brisket, sausage, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, baked beans, cornbread, and salad.  And it was all SO GOOD.  We all remarked at how good it was and exceeded our expectations.  We also got dessert with our meal, and got a chocolate cake a la mode which was just as good as the rest of dinner.  We will be sure to come back to Whispering Canyon on our next trip!

We returned back to Port Orleans after dinner, and the kids changed into their jammies and headed to the common area to watch Aladdin in the courtyard.  

And after the movie we headed to bed and I believe these kids fell asleep before their heads hit the pillow.  Ready to take on Magic Kingdom in the morning!

Tuesday morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn (or so it seemed) to head to the bus stop to take us to the Magic Kingdom!  And just as we did last trip, instead of buying every last souvineer from each and every shop, kiosk, and cart in the parks, Mickey brought secret special surprises for the kids while they slept!  Thankfully, I had a little help with this for this trip.  I made all the shirts for our crew and my sister in law, Beth, took control of all of Mickey’s morning surprises!  It was a great partnership, for sure!  So Tuesday morning, before we headed to Magic Kingdom, Mickey left cups, magic towels, and glow sticks for the firework show later in our day.  The kids loved it! And the plan worked- they didn’t ask for the first toy or souvineer in the parks the whole week. You can also download my “A Note from Mickey” notecard printables here!

We got the kids dressed, our backpacks packed, and headed to the Magic Kingdom!

I found the girls’ cute princess dresses in a Facebook group, and my sister in law got the girls their matching ears from!  And my sweet friend Courtney helped me out with the boys vinyl shirts (and all the other vinyl shirts for the trip!).  Our little Prince Charmings sure were cute!!  We were off! 

First thing was first- we were off to Space Mountain!  It was shut down last year when we had a fast pass so we didn’t get to ride it.  We didn’t have a fast pass for it this time, so we headed straight there before the lines got too long.  We only waited about 30 minutes, which wasn’t bad at all.  By the time we got out, it was already a 90 minute wait!  Brantley is NOT a roller coaster rider, so she headed off with the others while me, Scott, Ben, and Gracie rode Space Mountain.

Ben was a HUGE fan of Space Mountain, but it was a bit too dark and had a bit too many dips for my Gracie!  She likes roller coasters, but only the ones she can see!  After Space Mountain, the four of us rode the Astro Orbiter (twice!), while Brantley was able to meet Winnie the Pooh with Sally Kate.

After a fun morning, we were ready for lunch!  We headed to the Columbia Harbor House, which I had heard was good, but hadn’t been to yet.  And we loved it!  I got a lobster roll that was really good.  Everyone else seemed to enjoy their food too.

After lunch, we were able to go to the Hall of Presidents.  Being the huge history nerd that I am, I was super excited about this since it was closed last year.  Again, total nerd, but the program brought me to tears!  America is such an amazing place and it made me very proud to be an American.

We didn’t really have any plans until Belle’s Enchanted Tales after dinner, so we were able to leisurely walk around and ride what we wanted.  We rode the carousel and Ariel ride, then we split up and I got some time just with my girls! We got Dole Whips (trip made!), walked through the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, rode Aladdin’s magic carpets, and then headed back to meet everyone.  The kids even got a picture with the wicked stepsisters before we headed into Belle’s Enchanted Tales!

Belle’s Enchanted Tales was one of our favorite experiences last year, and it was fun to do again this year.  Brantley was the beast, Sally Kate and William were salt and pepper shakers, Gracie was a plate, Ben was Maurice, and even my dad got a part as a knight!  It was so, so cute and the kids loved it.

After Belle, we ate an uninspired dinner from Pinocchio Haus.  I’m glad we tried it so I’ll know for the future that there are MUCH better options all throughout the park for a better quick service dinner!  But it served the purpose and we were out for some more rides before the fireworks.

First was the People Mover- we needed a ride that Brantley would be okay with- then Buzz Lightyear- always fun- and then the Philharmagic show to take up some time.  As much as the kids LOVE 3D shows, I knew they’d like it, and they did!  It was really cute!  We handed Brantley off to my parents, and me, Scott, Ben, and Gracie went off to ride the Mine Train!  Gracie had a much better time than on Space Mountain, but look at Ben’s face!!  He had a ball!

After the Mine Train, we headed to Main Street to get a good spot for the fireworks.  We were there for over an hour since the fireworks didn’t start until 10 (why so late, Disney??), but it was worth it!  We had a ball and the Magic Kingdom did not disappoint.  We had a blast!!

Day Two started with more gifts from Mickey!  Workbooks, flashcards, and key chains kept the kiddos busy during all our downtime, ha!  These little gifts each morning kept the kids happy and they didn’t ask one time for a gift in the parks!

Helllllloooooo Epcot!  And Bammy’s official birthday celebration day!

First thing was first… we didn’t have fast passes to see Elsa and Anna, so it was the first place we went, and didn’t wait five minutes.  We walked right through!

And right after we met the princesses, we went on the Frozen ride.  It was fun, but we almost lost Bammy.  She does not do rides!!

But all was good after we were through, and went to the Norwegian bakery for a kringla!

Scott met us a bit later at the park and before he got there, me and the kids went to the Pixar and Disney short 3D film festival.  We saw three short films that were so cute!  I have a few little 3D movie buffs on my hands!  After Scott met us, we headed to the Country Showcase, and had some lunch in Germany!

As we were headed for more fun after a few beers and brats for lunch, we saw that SANTA was in America!!  We got in line and only waited about 15 minutes to see Santa Claus!  

After Santa we were able to sneak in and meet Jasmine in Morocco, before we headed off for wine in France and Ice Cream in Canada!  I love Epcot.

After ice cream, Scott took Ben and Gracie off to Mission to Mars, and Brantley and I headed off with the rest of the group to Living with the Land.  Mission to Mars was where Brantley had a MAJOR freak out last year, and I have anxiety attacks just thinking about it again!  Living with the Land was much more her speed, ha!

After Living with the Land, we headed back to Canada for beer and poutine (I was trying to use up all our snack credits!), and then we went on Soaring.  It was probably my favorite ride the whole trip!  You feel like you’re hang gliding over the Great Wall of China and the Eiffel Tower and all over the world.  It’s amazing!

After Soaring, we headed over to Disney Springs for mom’s birthday dinner at Maria and Enzo’s.  It was our first time at Disney Springs which was pretty awesome!  I’d love to spend more time there on our next trip.  The kids ate spaghetti and every last adult ordered the Ribeye and roasted potatoes, red wine, tiramisu, and coffee!  It was delicious and the service was really nice.  It was a wonderful dinner, and I think Bammy enjoyed her birthday celebration!

We were able to take the ferry back to the resort after dinner which was a welcome change to all the buses!  It was a little chilly, but that was pretty nice too!  We got back to the resort, and turned in a bit early.  But not before a bit of moonshine outside our hotel rooms, haha!  On to Hollywood Studios!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!  Mickey’s gifts brought books, puzzles, and jump ropes and we were off to Hollywood Studios!

One of the only things I really knew I wanted to do all week was make sure we got Bennett signed up for Jedi Training.  Being the Disney newbie I was last year, I didn’t relaize you had to sign the kids up first thing in the morning, so little Ben’s dreams were shattered last year when he was not able to participate.  But I was bound and determined to get him signed up this year.  So, just as soon as we entered the gates, we made a beeline for Jedi Training registration, and we got him signed up!  It was also nice to have some one on one time with my sweet boy!  While we went full-on Star Wars, the girls went and met characters.

Pretty sure becoming a “real Jedi” was the thrill of this little boy’s life.

After the Jedi defeated Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, we headed to the Frozen Sing Along!  It was one of the things I most enjoyed last year, and knew my mom and my niece would just love it.  And it didn’t disappoint!!  Mom was sniffling as we left, just like I was because it’s just so sweet and the kids enjoy it so much. Disney is just so magical!!

And afterwards, it was time to eat again!!  We went to the ABC Commissary and had hamburgers, chicken fingers, ribs, and you name it as we fueled up for the rest of the day.  We headed to the Muppet 3D movie, since, like I said, we have a few movie buffs on our hands!!  Grayson LOVES a good 3D movie!!

Then it was Tower of Terror time!!!  Scott had an equally traumatizing experience with Ben and Gracie last year on Tower of Terror like I had with Brantley on Mission to Mars, but I really wanted to ride it again.  Last time I was on Tower of Terror, Ramsey and I were in middle school!  Ben decided he was brave enough to try it again, so, me, Scott, Ben, Beth, and Ramsey went for it!  Once we entered the first elevator that takes you up to the actual ride, Ben decided he was, in fact, not quite brave enough yet, and so Scott volunteered to take him back down.  So me, Ramsey, and Beth rode Tower of Terror together!  It was so much fun and I screamed and then laughed in between because I seem to laugh at extremely inappropriate times, but it really was fun. And also scary, ha!

After Tower of Terror, we took it down a notch and watched the Beauty and the Beast Show.  It was wonderful!  But what I loved the most was watching how enthralled the girls were.  Like they were soaking up every last moment.

After Beauty and the Beast, it was time for dinner!  We had a great Thanksgiving buffet at Hollywood and Vine, complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and all the other buffet offerings.  The kids loved the food, but were far more interested in seeing all their favorite characters!

We had a few more fun things to do after dinner, including seeing the new Toy Storyland!  It was in the dark, but it looked pretty amazing.  We went to another one of our favorite rides from last year, Toy Story Mania, and the whole fam joined in!  It was so much fun.

After Toy Story Mania, me, Scott, and Ben booked it over to the Aerosmith Rockin’ Rollercoaster just to be turned away since Ben was only about 2 inches too short!!  Poor boy cried his little eyes out, so we left Scott to ride the roller coaster (he DID bail on Tower of Terror for Ben), and Ben and I headed over to Star Tours.  A little bit more time with my boy!  Brantley and Gracie rode the new flying saucer ride in Toy Story Land with the rest of the family, and then we all met back up for the ride back to the hotel.  And a little more moonshine outside the hotel rooms to finish off the night!

Friday morning, before our long ride home, the kids got their last gifts from Mickey- coloring books and crayons for the car.  And then we headed out to our last meal together, breakfast at Ohana!

My favorite meal of our trip last year was our dinner at Ohana, but breakfast was really great too!  The characters were really fun, but the breakfast was awesome.  It’s served family style, with waffles, sausage, eggs, bacon, pineapple ham, pineapple coconut bread, and fruit.  It was really, really good, and I’m not much of a breakfast person!

Just like last year, I was so sad to see our trip end- the kids got along SO WELL, we saw and ate and rode just about everything we wanted to, we had wonderful family time and celebrated my mom’s birthday, and we had another magical experience at Disney World.  

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Disney, DO IT.  Call up a Disney planner and start working on a trip.  It is as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids, it creates incredible memories and bonding that few other vacations can mimic.  If you want some tips or things that I learned that make a trip a lot easier, check out the post I wrote last year, I didn’t stray too much and really wouldn’t add much to it after this second trip.  But if you couldn’t tell, we had an AMAZING time, and are HUGE Disney fans.  A huge thank you to my parents and my brother, sister in law, and niece and nephew for making this Disney trip extra special and SO much fun.  And Happy 60th Birthday to my mom!  We had the best time celebrating you at the happiest place on earth!!

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