Even though we live in Florida we have only ventured down to The House of Mouse twice in the last three years. Our first trip the kids were three and one and our time was split chasing the baby or standing in line to meet characters. This time around was a lot more fun! We did not do a dining plan and we had one reservation the whole week. It works better for us to pack food and eat while we wait for rides or characters.
We decided to stay on Disney property this time and we stayed at Saratoga Springs. Our room was a one bedroom villa and was perfect for our family of four. We were directly across from the hot air balloon at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and a five minute walk from The Rainforest Café. We were complete newbies to staying on Disney property and was winging it most of the time but ended up having the best week of vacation!
Monday headed over to Magic Kingdom for the day. We took drinks, sandwiches and a bag of snacks and had a great first day. We always start with Mickey on Main Street first because it calms the crazy, overwhelming feel when you get into the park. This time Mickey was special because he could talk! We then spent the day walking from land to land riding what had the shortest wait time. It was relaxed and exciting to get to see the kids ride roller coasters for the first time. By the afternoon the kids were already asking if Tuesday could be our off day. We closed the park and I am glad I took pictures the whole day so I could remember everything we did!
Tuesday we spent the morning at Disney Springs and enjoyed seeing all of the new shops and restaurants that have been built since we were there last. The afternoon and evening was spent swimming at the pool, eating s’mores and playing at the craft room. Did you catch that? A CRAFT ROOM, stocked with workers and enough crafts to make any kid happy. Parents can help or sit back and let the workers help. Kids over 12 can even hang out there by themselves! We headed to bed early to prepare for the next day.
Wednesday we got up early and enjoyed Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom. The characters and the Wilderness Explorer stations were not open yet, but we were able to get on the Safari and we saw almost all of the animals! We rode everything we wanted to ride and saw all the characters we could and enjoyed most of the park while wearing parkas in the rain. It turned out to be a fun day despite the weather. We found some ice cream to make up for the bad weather. We closed Animal Kingdom and relaxed for a few hours at our room and ate dinner. Then we headed over to Magic Kingdom for extra magic hours until 1 AM. The kids were Disney Warriors, I counted and AJ was up for 19 straight hours!
Thursday was a slow morning because it was our Not So Scary Halloween night at Magic Kingdom. AJ wanted us to all dress up like the characters from Frozen. She was Elsa, I was Anna…and the boys wore t-shirts with characters on them. We had a blast! We had great spots for the parades and shows. The boys went off to ride roller coasters and we girls took it easy. We stood in lines to meet a few characters, rode a few rides and wandered around the park with no specific agenda but to soak it all in. It was a wonderful night!
Friday we took as an “off day” at Hollywood Studios. The kids were not so excited about this park. AJ actually called it “The Park of Boredom.” The shows were really entertaining and I am glad the kids saw the Mickey Mouse Club House before they got too old to enjoy it. The Frozen Sing-a-long was the highlight of the day. We tried the Tower of Terror and the kids were NOT fans. Parenting fail. We did all enjoyed Fantasmic. Such a great show! Then we headed over to Epcot to meet some friends and grab some food. AJ got her Turkey Leg that she had been dreaming of and we ate food from China. TJ was done and slept through everything after Fantasmic.
Saturday AJ had her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment at the World of Disney at Disney Springs. The two of us headed over there while the boys slept in and relaxed. After we got checked in our Fairy Godmother took us to a back room (Mama was losing it: our card didn’t work, they overbooked, etc) BUT she asked if AJ would like to have a magical moment and get to be the princess in the window! She was over the moon! I talked her into going with me to Epcot to see Belle and a few other princesses. We got there and were told Belle needed to take a break, no big deal, we headed off to find Jasmine and Aladdin. BUT the worker chased us down and asked if AJ would like to have a magical moment with Belle. Say what?! Sure thing! She sat down and had a conversation with AJ and then they took a stroll all the way through France. They were chatting and skipping along. It was a magical memory. We spent the rest of the time at Epcot meeting royalty, eating sugar and chasing lizards.
Saturday night the resort had Halloween activities and candy. It was much more than we were expecting! Mickey and Minnie were there and the Headless Horseman rode through. There was face painting and fun games and LOTS of candy! We had dinner at Rainforest Café and it capped off a great week.
Sunday I woke up early and had a pedicure at the Senses Spa. I wish I had gotten there even earlier to really enjoy the spa and relaxation room. Then we packed up and walked through Disney Springs one last time. I remembered AJ was supposed to get pictures with her princess package. Everyone got really uncomfortable and jittery when I stopped to ask about her pictures. Apparently someone was supposed to direct us to a studio for AJ to get professional pictures taken after her boutique appointment. While at first it seemed like we had missed out we were able to have the pictures of her and Belle at Epcot printed instead! Much better than stiff studio photos.
The kids were out within ten minutes of leaving the Happiest Place on Earth!
I would love to be a Disney expert and know how to get the absolute most out of every park but for our stage in life I feel like we covered all the bases. Are you a Disney Super Star? Where have you stayed and what was your favorite experience?