Sunday, February 22, 2015

our magical family trip to Disney World

Jacob and I had an amazing honeymoon at Disney World.  When we were there all those years ago, we knew we would go again when we had a family of our own.  Fast forward 8 years and the day came and it was even more magical experiencing it with our girls.  By the end of the vacation they thought they were real princesses and was asking strangers if they wanted to take pictures with them. Of course we played along, because they ARE princesses to us.

I planned this vacation for a year. We stayed 7 nights at Fort Wilderness in our camper.  We loved it.  We love our camper!  It has a full kitchen and 2 bedrooms.  Fact is: we would've had to pay big bucks to stay in a resort with a kitchen and 2 bedrooms!  We knew we wanted do the Disney Dining plan and we were able to eat at some amazing restaurants and saved money by doing the dining plan. Our sit-n-stand stroller was a life saver!  We had 7 day park-hopper tickets. We did the Memory Maker pictures (totally worth it). For our girl's birthdays and Christmas we requested that instead of toys that they give our girls gift cards to be used for their souvenirs and special things, like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. We loved using our magic bands.  I was a little worried that the girls would mess with them and try to take them off, but the never did.  I made all my fast pass selections before we went.  I tried choosing the best/longest rides for them.  We didn't wait more than about 20 minutes for rides that we did not have fast pass reservations on.  January is known for the lowest crowds and one of the main reasons we chose to go then. However there was quite a bit of construction.  Magic Kingdom-they are expanding the area right in front of the castle, Animal Kingdom-they were doing work around the Tree of Life, Hollywood Studios-they were removing the Sourer's Hat.  The girls were 3 and 5 years old.  It was a great age to take them!

Day 1: I worked 1/2 day and we left around 3pm.  We drove a little more than 1/2 way and slept in our camper at a rest area.

Day 2: We couldn't check in until 1pm, so we took our time waking up and eating breakfast. We arrived at Disney around 12:30. Nana, Papa and Aunt T stayed at Port Orleans Riverside Resort.  We got settled in and headed to Epcot. We spent the evening walking around the world and excited as could be!  We ate a quick service meal at Sunshine Seasons. Bella & Lucy got fans from Japan.  They even wrote their names in Japanese on the side. We enjoyed a big pretzel while waiting for Illuminations.  
Magical Moment of the Day: Bella loved riding Soarin'....she rode it twice.  Poor little Lucy was too short to ride, we really wanted to sneak her on!

Day 3: This was our biggest day!  We got up before the sun came up.  During the sunrise we rode the ferry to the Contemporary Resort and ate breakfast at Chef Mickey's.

 Then we rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  Where we meet lots of princesses, rode rides & ate lunch at the newest Be Our Guest.
 After lunch we headed back to Fort Wilderness & we all took about a 2 hour nap!  Then we hit the ferry back to Magic Kingdom.  The afternoon was spent meeting more princesses, rides, Enchanted Tales with Belle.  The girls loved the Electrical Parade and the magical Wishes Firework's show.
Magical Moment of the Day:  The girls rode their 1st rollarcoaster: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!  It was so much fun doing this with them.  They loved it!  We would've rode it over & over but since this is Magic Kingdom's newest ride, it was the longest wait.  Thankfully we used a fast pass when we did ride it. 

 Day 4: Animal Kingdom!  Our 1st ride was Kilimanjaro Safari and it did not disappoint!  We enjoyed lunch at Tusker House.  It was one of my favorites.  The dessert bar was aMaZiNg!!!  We loved watching the Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the musical!
We headed back to the resort, the girls enjoyed the pool and water play area (January~~~crazy!)
Magical Moment of the Day: We rode on another breathtaking sunset ferry ride to the Polynesian resort, where we enjoyed dinner at O'hana.  It is a delicious Hawaiian themed restaurant.  
After dinner we explored Downtown Disney. It was so cool, all the different things they have to do there. It was also under construction as its being transformed into "Disney Springs". 

 Day 5:  We went to Hollywood Studios this day.  We loved Toy Story Mania, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Jacob's favorite-For the 1st time in Forever: Frozen Sing-Along.  For real, one of the guys telling the Arrendale's story was hilarious.  Jacob loved it!  We ate dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine In. Then Fantasmic was fantastic!  We sat front row & was so into it!
Magical Moment of the Day:  Bella nervously rode the Tower of Terror and LOVED IT!

Day 6: took us back to Magic Kingdom.  
 The girls used a huge chunk of their gift cards on the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  They wore their own dresses and chose their hair style and color eye shadow and nail colors.  In their little minds...they were now REAL PRINCESSES!
Afterward they went to another area for their "photo shoot".  It was hilarious how they posed them.  It's totally reminded me of glamour shots back in the day!
When we left it was the cutest thing...Bella was in the stroller waving and blowing kisses as if she was in her own little princess parade.  It was spectacular to see her shining!
Magical Moment of the Day: We left Magic Kingdom and went to the Grand Floridian to eat dinner at 1900 Park Fare.  While waiting in the grand lobby, there was a jazz band playing.  Jacob asked Lucy if she wanted to dance.  She accepted.  She stood on his feet and the 2 of them spun around and swayed from side to side.  No one else was dancing, but them. I knew he could've cared less what anyone else was thinking. He was in paradise with his youngest love as they danced.  It completely melted my heart.  Later Jacob and I were talking and he was saying how precious it was to have that sweet little face smiling up at him.  I think that is a mental picture that he will never forget as long as he lives.  People often talk about the best age to take their kids to disney & base it off if the child will remember it or not.  Whether our kids remember these moments or not... Jacob and I will never forget them!

Day 7: We went went back to Epcot for breakfast at Akershus.  It was wonderful...ALL the princesses were there and the girls got to talk with each of them again.  Bella and Jacob rode Soarin again while (too short) Lucy and I enjoyed a little ice cream.  They both had their faces painted. Then we went to Downtown Disney, explored a bit...ate a churro or 3.
Magical Moment of the Day: Was when we went back to Magic Kingdom that night.  I love fireworks....I think my heart smiles when I am near them.  I love the boom, the way the sky lights up, the way the glitter falls from the sky.  So when I learned of the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party, I booked reservations...and of course I loved it.  

Day 8: Our last day.  We hit up Hollywood Studios.  Jacob and I really enjoyed the era that you were taken back to at Hollywood Studios.  We all enjoyed Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage.  We ate lunch at Hollywood and Vine with all our Disney Jr friends.  The threat of rain was close, so we slowly headed back to Ft Wilderness.  It never rained so we explored the campground.  It was huge.  Horse and carriage rides, restaurants and beach area made it the nicest campground we've ever been to.  
Notice Bella's "Rapunzel's hair"?  (yes it is a scarf)
Magical Moment of the Day: when I realized our vacation was over, sure I was disappointed, but I was also so very grateful for the experience.  This long trip to Disney was pricey, but worth every penny that we spent!  We tried very hard to minimize distractions-mainly on our phones.  We tried to put them away (except when checking on my 3 month old nephew who was hospitalized for RSV while we were gone).  Other than checking on him and texting my family, we avoided Facebook and other social media so we could soak up every moment of this opportunity.  To see our girls was worth the planning and money!  I'm so glad we went!  Jacob and I have already decided that we might be heading back in about 5 years!  

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