Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Magical and Very Long Day at Disney World

I have a free and quiet hour today and thought I would pop on here and blog Camden's birthday and then I realized that I left off blogging four months ago in the middle of our Florida trip.

TG and I had discussed the possibility of going to Disney World while we were down there. Part of me was so excited about the idea of a day there with my mom. sister and nephew, and the other part of me was sad that TG would miss their first Disney trip. However, after he assured me multiple times that he wanted us to go we decided to take advantage of our proximity to "The Happiest Place On Earth"!

Our first stop of the day was at a store near our hotel in Orlando to get Disney tees for all the kids. Tutu gave them all a bit of money for that and a souvenir in the park.  After a quick drive we caught the monorail into the park and this happened. She's curtsying among all the commoners.

We walked in just in time for a show in front of the castle with princesses and the Disney crew of favorites. Aunt Tata is the best aunt in the world and lifted Riley up for a better view. You might be able to tell from this photo, it was blazing hot - all day.

Since this was an impromptu trip we had no plans on how to best navigate the park at all.  So we just headed left into Adventure land.  Once there we signed up for fast passes for the Jungle Book ride and then took a ride on the Magic Carpet, climbed the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, waved to Aladdin and Jasmine, and ate our picnic lunch.  Then we used our Jungle Book fast passes.  Camden absolutely hated it and was terrified of all the fake animals - this elephant popping up was the beginning of the end for him.

From there we moved into Frontierland. We got fast passes for Splash Mountain and waited in the regular line for Thunder Mountain during the time lapse. While we were in line a massive thunderstorm moved through and they shut down the park.  This worked in our favor as we were able to move way up in the roller coaster line after it cleared. The kids loved all the diversions in the line like the gold that sparkled. Though the tame Jungle Book ride scared him senseless Camden loved Thunder Mountain, go figure. Both my kids hated the "scary" animals in Splash Mountain, but it was one of the rides I remembered well from our visit there when I was younger and I loved it.

Again, with no plan or idea of the character schedules we got really lucky when we stumbled on the Toy Story meet and greet. Toy Story was big in my house last summer and I happily waited an hour in that line while the kids played in the shade nearby. No autographs, but we got some cute pictures and Riley and Camden were thrilled to see Woody and Jessie.

We backtracked through Frontierland after an ice cream treat and caught a parade. While they danced Gammy tracked down one of the big double strollers. By this point we had been there 5 hours at least with 7 more to go so I was thankful that she did.

We moved into Fantasyland next and got fast passes for the Peter Pan before getting in line for It's a Small World. This was an oldie but goodie ride that we all enjoyed.

Sadly, my little princess didn't get to enjoy much of the princess themed things in Fantasyland. She saw Belle's castle and Ariel's grotto, but we skipped most of the rides and activities in this area. We did ride Prince Charming's carousel though before moving onto Tomorrowland where we discovered the Merida meet and greet. This was another hour long wait at least, but it was well worth it. Gammy cooled off and rested in a restaurant nearby while Tata and I took the kids in. Merida was so cute and did such fun poses with them. The best pictures were of them pretending to roar like the bears in the movie.

After meeting Merida they had other activities like coloring and shooting with a faux bow and arrow. The girls on staff were very patient and made sure all the kids hit the target.

We met Gammy in the restaurant for dinner and then continued on into Tomorrowland.  We found a large dance party with characters and a jumbo screen that you could see yourself on.  They loved it and were super excited to find Stitch to dance with.  We were not as thrilled with the Stitch Experience though - if you ever go to Disney that's one I would bypass if foul smelling "burps" in your face in a dark room are not high on your list of fun.

At this point it was becoming evening so we got fast passes for Buzz Lightyear and used the time lapse to get souvenirs.  We had made them wait all day to choose one thing from all that they saw (in hindsight this might have been a mistake).  My nephew chose a pirate sword on the other side of the park and Riley specifically wanted the princess Minnie ears also on the other side of the park.  Cam the man thankfully chose a Buzz Lightyear action figure right where we were.  Tata and I made an executive decision to take my nephew with us and leave Riley and Camden with Gammy to ride the People Mover.

After we found the sword we split up so I could backtrack in search of the ears and they could ride the Pirates of the Caribbean.  Little did we know that they were getting ready to shut down the paths through the park for the big Magic Light parade.  Tata and I ended up sprinting through the crowds from Frontierland to make it back over to Tomorrowland where Gammy was.

By sheer luck and a dash of just not caring about the ropes we all met up on the bridge in front of Cinderella's castle.

Next up was Buzz Lightyear.  It's an interactive black light ride where you use cannons on your car to shoot the bad guys with laser beams and score points.

So. Much. Fun.

You'll be relieved to know that we defeated Zurg.

From there we hopped on the Speedway with no wait, and then on our way to ride Peter Pan with our fast passes we happened upon Tinkerbell flying down from Cinderella's castle and the fireworks show. I have always loved fireworks, but the ones at Disney put all the other shows I've ever seen to shame.  They were pretty incredible.

At the conclusion of the fireworks we hopped to the front of Peter Pan via our fast passes and then decided to ride It's a Small World one last time since there was no line to wait in.  (Keeping in mind at this point it was 10 pm).   On our way out of the park we once again had luck on our side and discovered that they have a second showing of the Magic Light parade and we were able to see all the floats coming around Liberty Square without a crowd to deal with and perfect front row seats.

Cinderella, Pete's Dragon and Tinkerbell were some of our favorite floats.

By the time we made it out of the park and onto the ferry back to the parking lot it was 11 pm and we had been at the park 12 hours with a 5, 4 and 3 year old.  We had walked several miles in the heat and all of us were exhausted.  I had underestimated how difficult it would be to carry two kids who were both on the brink of passing out completely!  Honestly that was the most stressful part of what was otherwise an amazing, amazing day at the Magic Kingdom.  I'm already looking forward to next time and a bit more planning, but I think for an impromptu all day trip we saw most of what I consider iconic Disney World.  I wouldn't trade my kids first Disney experience for anything.

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