Site Meter

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Disney World - Travel and Day 1

Back in the Fall at an Auburn game, my sister-in-law Kate was talking about the trip to Disney World that she and Jay were planning.  All of a sudden I asked her if we could plan a trip at the same time.  Heath wasn't completely sold, but agreed to let me pursue it and the rest was history! 
We planned a trip for February and surprised the kids with it on Christmas morning.  They each opened a Disney book that played music, and afterwards we told them that we would actually be flying in an airplane to "Disney Junior" as Turner refers to it.  They were excited, but then quickly moved on to the next Christmas toy in all the madness.  So a few nights later, we decided to make an old-fashioned paper chain to count down the days until Disney World.  We sat down and wrote all the things we were excited about Disney (such as Jake and the Pirates, Minnie Mouse, Doc McStuffins, etc.) and wrote them on each strip of paper.  Then each day we tore one off until the time for the trip - I am thinking it was about 67 days...the boys never forgot:)
After so many days of anticipation and excitement, we were finally scheduled to fly out of town on February 12th.  We had a flight through Atlanta, leaving late morning and arriving early afternoon.  Sounded easy enough.  Two days before, the weather started taking a turn and it looked like Atlanta was going to be covered in snow.  The next day we had to make a call - wait and see how the airports did (didn't seem promising) or go ahead and leave a day early and drove.  We decided to go for it and make the drive.
These arrived in the mail a few weeks before we left.  They are Magic Bands, and they were fabulous!!
Side note - I had no idea what to do at Disney World, and a friend recommended using a Disney Travel  agent.  I was introduced (by phone) to Kendra Wolfe at Zipadeedoodah Travel and she was wonderful!!  She planned every single detail of our trip - helped me decide park passes, days at the park, hotels, dining plans and most importantly food while we were there.  I didn't have to pay her anything - she was compensated by Disney for booking us.  We had a fabulous experience with her and I will definitely use her again!
Just a little excitement in the car.  We loaded up on movies and crayons and coloring books and stickers and headed on our way.
We stopped in Tallahassee to get gas on the way down, and actually ran into Caroline - Heath's new step-sister!  How crazy is that?!  She would kill us for this picture, but she is in culinary school and had just finished class and was on her way home.  
We drove about an hour longer, and ended up stopping in Lake City, FL for the night.  Since the storm had hit Atlanta, more people than we realized were driving south to get away.  It was crazy, and we snatched up the last "suite" at a Country Inn and Suites.  We were lucky enough to get a jacuzzi tub right in the room.  It grossed me out - it was really in the middle of the hotel room.  But, I somehow got over it and found it a perfect place to bathe my monkeys.
We keep it classy:)
First of many sibling pics - after a hearty breakfast at Cracker Barrel
We grabbed breakfast and then drove about 2 more hours.  The kids were pretty patient, and did well in the car.  Princess even fell asleep as we got close to Orlando.
The excitement did her in
Yay!  I stood out of the sunroof to get this picture, so I was just as excited I guess!  We checked in to our hotel (Port Orleans French Quarter) and it was 80 degrees and sunny.  Collins and I stayed in the car while Heath and the boys got us settled, and then we woke her up and decided to head to Animal Kingdom.  It was only about 1:00 at this point, and we didn't have dinner reservations until 8:00 that night.
Waiting on our bus to Animal Kingdom.  The buses at the hotel were very easy to navigate and dropped us off at the front of every park - we enjoyed them!

On the Dumbo-like Dino ride
We spent some time in the Dino section of Animal Kingdom first.  We rode some dinosaur rides and then ate lunch in Dino-land.  There was a Mickey parade that mesmerized us, a "boneyard" playground where we could dig for fossils and ran and played, and then our favorite thing - a safari!
We loaded this "tour bus" and geared up for our African safari.

Some views from our ride...Turner helped maybe a little too much with some of the pictures:)
Check out those horns!!
A white rhino
His version of a "selfie" - luckily he doesn't know that term yet
This zebra was about 2 feet away!
Turner took this one
We loved Animal Kingdom!
After our safari, we decided to head back to the hotel.  Orlando has some crazy weather, and it decided to storm right as we were getting on the bus.  Perfect timing, since we made it on the bus in time!  We rested for a little bit and got ready for dinner at Ohana, inside the Polynesian Hotel.
It is a Hawaiian themed restaurant and SO DELICIOUS!!  Clearly our travel agent insisted we go there, since our reservation wasn't until 8 p.m.  It was pushing it a little, but it was 7 our time and we were running on adrenaline.  There is no menu, they just bring you luau-type food.  We had steak, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, noodles - all family style and delivered to our table.  It was great!
Delicious drinks too:)
During dinner, there was a game where kids could pick a coconut and sweep it across the restaurant.  It was hilarious and kept John Burke especially entertained.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel.  On our monorail and bus ride, we met a nice family from Wisconsin who told us they had had 46 days straight below zero.  It made me put our winter in perspective!  They had 2 kids that played with our kids in line for the bus and on the way to the hotel.  It was so fun meeting people from all over!
Some thoughts at the end of the first day - I was already impressed with the layout of the hotel, playground, buses, etc. and the ease of the Magic Bands.  It was our room key, our meal ticket, our ticket into the park, etc. - so EASY!  A little thing but I really love all the Disney options on the hotel t.v. and the fact that our dining deal included a mug for use at the hotel soft drink fountain for unlimited drinks during our stay.  Yes. Please. Also, Collins had her own little "bedroom" (small space) behind a curtain next to our bathroom, and it was so nice to partition her off!  
The next morning, we headed to Hollywood Studios.  We had a reservation for 9:10 at Hollywood and Vine to eat with Jake (of the Neverland Pirates!!!)
This is Katherine from the blog - I read her blog and it is so funny.  My stalker self spotted her walking in with her family, and against Heath's advice I went and spoke to her.  Luckily she was very sweet and her dad even wanted to take a picture - it was like a celebrity (blog-a-lebrity) to me and I was so thankful she didn't think I was insane!  She and her family were eating at Hollywood and Vine as well.
We also spotted this celebrity - our cousin Ellie!!  We were so excited to eat with her.

Delicious buffet complete with Mickey waffles and then our Disney Junior favorites came to visit...
 Doc McStuffins

Sofia the First - John Burke was obsessed, Collins a little doubtful.  They were the perfect age for these characters - it was so magical for them and they hugged them and asked them to sign their books. Such a fun memory!
We danced and ate and finished with our signatures and then headed to walk around.  Thanks to Fast Passes (also accessed by our Magic Bands), we had a schedule set for us of a Disney Junior show, Little Mermaid show and then Buzz Lightyear.  First we found the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and stayed there for about an hour until the Disney Junior Show.  

Waiting outside of the Disney Junior show.  It was so cute - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First all mixed in one show.  They were in love!
We were on the front row - thank you Fast Passes!

The Little Mermaid show
Outside of the Toy Story ride
views of Andy's bedroom in the ride - SO COOL!

Outside of the ride.  After this, we were tired and headed back to the hotel for lunch and a nap.  Everyone slept, and I think that is what made the trip enjoyable with Collins:)  We didn't stop and go back to the room every day, but we tried to when possible to avoid meltdowns.
We woke up and decided to head to get our first glimpse of the Magic Kingdom.  Our travel agent gave us some great folders with information about each park, etc.  One of them mentioned that the Barber Shop near the entrance of Magic Kingdom offered first haircuts for children.  It was different than the Bippity Boppity Boutique - Collins was still a little young for that, but we (I) thought we would give the Harmony Barber Shop a try.  Heath was a little hesitant, but I reminded him of this mullet.
Time for her first haircut.
They were so sweet and got her all set up
She wasn't so sure, but Skittles helped motivate her as they sprayed and cut

Pardon all the air time, but it was her first hair cut!! I think Turner got an entire blog post for his first haircut.  Collins just got hers lumped in at Disney World!

She warmed up as everyone fussed over her
Then they sprinkled "fairy dust" on her
She got her own little Mickey hat and a certificate and they gave me her hair in a special pouch
So cute and much better cut!!
Someone else couldn't resist the fairy dust - Disney cast members just understand kids!!
The temperature started dropping outside and we headed to our first ride in Magic Kingdom - It's A Small World!

We walked around a little more, grabbed dinner at Cosmic Ray's and geared up for the parade and fireworks.

Stroller buddies - mesmerized
Again - Disney knows how to wow kids (and adults)
Castle at night
Light show on the castle
I REALLY love fireworks - even on a chilly February night
We headed back to the room and Jay, Kate and Ellie came to visit.  Perfect ending to the perfect first official day!!!  More to come...and sorry for all of the pictures, but I don't want to forget!!

No comments:

Post a Comment