I am excited to share the second part of our Disney trip! If you missed Part 1 and want to know more about our Disney Cruise, check it out here.
My husband, Brent, experienced Disney with his family and cousins when he was about 10 years old. He has so many great memories from that trip. The first time I made it to Disney I was 22 years old. I had moved to Florida the year before and I finally had my chance to experience the wonder and magic of Disney! I was fortunate enough to go with my brother, Keith, for the first time. He was in the Airforce and traveled down with a friend to visit. What surprised me was how magical Disney was, even in our twenties! We ran through the park like kids again! This magic was why Brent and I could not wait to take our kids there!
We left the cruise early Monday morning and drove straight to Disney World! We had 3 full days left of our vacation to enjoy the parks!
Here is what I will be covering:
- The Caribbean Beach Resort
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Dinner Plan
To stroll or not to stroll…that is the question. Since our kids had just turned 4 and 6, we had been stroller free for some time when planning our Disney trip. This topic was a big debate between my husband and me. Do we go without a stroller…but then we would end up carrying at least one of the kids at some point. Do we get a single stroller for Mahlia…but then they would probably fight over who’s going to ride in it. We finally determined we needed a double stroller. Once we decided we needed a stroller we then had to decide which rental company to rent from, or do we rent one of the hard plastic strollers Disney provides at the parks? Too many options out there!
We had heard great things about Kingdom Strollers. Their prices were reasonable; the stroller was clean, and is dropped off at your hotel. When we were done with the stroller we left it at the Hotel’s concierge for them to pick up! You can also add-on bottled waters, and they have cribs you can rent if needed. Very convenient!
We went with their Mini GT Double stroller since it fit up to 48” inches and we have tall children. The stroller came with a collapsible cooler so we could throw in water and snacks. The days can get hot in Florida and we averaged 10 miles walking each day, the kids would rest and cool off under the canopy. The stroller was not difficult to maneuver on the shuttles to and from the parks and we were thankful to have it as one child, if not both would fall asleep in it by the end of the day. At the end of our trip Brent said and I quote, “The stroller was our best purchase of the trip”! I do not know what we would have done without one!
Inside our stroller/handbag:
- Bottled waters;
- Travel size sunscreen;
- Water misting fans (the kids loved this when it got too hot);
- I brought a couple of pieces of leftover fabric from our pirate costumes to tie on our stroller. This helped us to easily find ours.
- We strapped the same Minnie Mouse watch we used on the cruise to our stroller to help easily keep track of time.
2. Magic Kingdom
Our travel agent, Lisa Tekippe with Treadway Travel Company, recommended we take two full days at Magic Kingdom. And we are so glad we did! There is just so much to see, it’s impossible to conquer it all in one day!
We arrived at Magic Kingdom by 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning after leaving the Disney cruise. We were so excited for our first full day at the parks!
Right off the bat, we had a major parent fail. So tip number one, please check the map and see which rides have warnings. Our very first ride we went on was Lilo and Stitch. It’s a cartoon and it’s not actually a moving ride, how bad could it be? Well I am here to tell you, bad, just awful for our 4-year-old! Once the bars caged her in her seat, there was no escaping! The lights went out with spooky noises coming at you from all directions. Poor Mahlia was screaming and crying and all we could do was wait it out. I grabbed her as soon as I could but the poor little lamb was already traumatized. We had trouble getting her on rides for a while after that incident. We convinced her to go on the little mermaid, but all she did was cry the entire time. She eventually came around, but please…check the map if you have little ones!
We had so much fun exploring the parks and rides! Dumbo by far has the best setup for waiting in line! This is a popular ride, so the line was always long! But you eventually make it to the circus-themed play area where you are given a pager. The kids are free to play and the parents can sit and take a rest ( in air conditioning)! When your pager goes off, that’s your queue to get back in line and then its just a short wait from there.
One of the best things we could have done on our trip was to take a break in the afternoons. That beautiful Florida sunshine eventually got to everyone, making for tired, cranky children…and mommy!
Once we cooled off in the pool, rested and got some food, we headed back to Magic Kingdom just before the sun went down. We were so thankful we did this, since we opted to skip the parade and fireworks (Mahlia does not like the big booms), we were able to enjoy shorter lines for the rides!
The kids loved the tea cups. We were able to stay on the ride for several rounds since no one else was in line!
We were also able to get right on the classic ride, “It’s a Small World”. The fireworks started going off while on this ride and ended soon after we got off. Yes, the ride goes on and on! We tried getting on Peter Pan right after, but the heavy crowds returned and we ended up waiting over an hour. Poor Mahlia fell asleep in our arms and missed the beauty of flying over Neverland and battling Captain Hook! After that ride we left immediately for the shuttles. Both kids were sleeping at that point, again very thankful for the stroller!
Between 2 days at Magic Kingdom we were able to get in almost all the rides!
We got to see so many princesses and characters earlier that week on the Disney Cruise, so we did not feel obligated to wait in the long lines at the park to see them! We did have to squeeze Tinkerbell in since we missed her on the boat and Peter Pan is a classic favorite in our household! But with a FastPass, the wait was minimal.
Splash Mountain was Brent and Paxton’s favorite ride at Magic Kingdom!
Mahlia’s favorite was Dumbo and Aladdin!
3. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
We had our heart set on this resort and were excited to get their pirate room! the rooms were very nice! The beds are a little smaller than their regular rooms but the beds are pirate ships, which the kids loved! And let’s be honest, no one cared about the size of the bed since we were all so tuckered out by the end of each day!
We enjoyed our afternoon breaks at their beautiful pool!
They have a zero entry, along with tunnels, slides and a fun splash pad area!
4. Hollywood Studios
Our original plans were to take a full day to hang out by the pool and go to Downtown Disney to eat at the T-Rex restaurant. But my son and husband…and possible our whole family may be a little obsessed with Star Wars!
We knew we couldn’t pass up a chance to go to Hollywood Studios and see Disney’s Star Wars display! We ended up canceling our lunch reservations and Lisa, our travel agent, hooked us up with tickets to the park!
Our priority was to get Paxton signed up for Jedi training so we arrived as soon as the park opened. This is where Brent turned into a Power Daddy. I have never seen anything like it before! With calves stretched, white sneakers tied tight, this man ran through the park pushing both children in the double stroller like he was running in an ultra marathon! His efforts paid off, after an hour and half, he crossed the finished line with his son signed up to be a future Jedi! Don’t underestimate the power of a determined Dad!
Still scarred from the Lilo and Stitch ride, Mahlia would not go on the Star Tours simulator. Whats great is that Disney has a rider switch service! So I sat with Manila while Paxton and Brent went on the ride. As soon as they got off, Brent took Mahlia and I was able to hop on the ride with Paxton without waiting again!
Poor Brent had no one to go on the Tower of Terror with him, but we did make it to The Little Mermaid show and the Disney Junior section!
5. Disney’s Dinner Plan
I’m not going to lie, Disney’s dining plans confuse me. Another good reason to have a travel agent! Lisa was able to book us a dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle at Magic Kingdom and breakfast at Chef Mickey’s as part of our dining plan. Did I mention we booked our trip only 4 months before going? They say you can make reservations 180 days in advance and I hear they book quickly. Lisa really took the stress out of trying to figure all of this out!
Tuesday morning after a late night at Magic Kingdom we had an early 7 a.m. reservation at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary resort.
I had read some not great reviews about the food at Chef Mickey’s, but I really didn’t care since we were in it for the character interaction. But I have to say the breakfast buffet was so good! But then again how could Disney get breakfast wrong! I mean its bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles, pastries, fresh fruit! They also had a variety of breakfast dishes to try! With only getting maybe 5-6 hours of sleep tops the night before, I was happy with just my cup of coffee!
This was the first day of our entire Disney trip that Paxton would interact with the characters. He ended up getting the autograph itch after this experience!
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Our last day of vacation was spent at Magic Kingdom with reservations to Cinderella’s Royal Table in the afternoon! Of course we had to bring Mahlia’s princess dress for the occasion!
The afternoon reservation was nice since it was starting to get hot outside and this kept us in the cool air conditioning for a while!
The restaurant itself was so bright with all the natural light coming in!
Mahlia was excited to see even more princesses! And these were princesses we didn’t get to see on the Cruise!
Wands and swords were handed out to each table, Paxton’s hard work posing with Cinderella paid off!
And the food…amazing!!!
My Brother, Keith, proposed to his now wife, Bree, in the castle! It was fun to think of these two while in there! What a fairy tale!
With Disney’s dining plan, meals were so easy whether we got food at the park or at the resort! We were being conservative with our meals at first to make sure they lasted us through our last day. And with each meal you get so much food! We found that we could share meals with the kids, otherwise we were throwing a lot away. By the last day at the parks we were trying to use up our snacks! So my suggestion…if you want cotton candy…get it! Get the famous Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom, your on vacation…enjoy yourself! Since we still had a lot of snack points left over, we picked up goodies to eat on the way to the airport early the next morning and snacks for the plane ride. So that worked out well!
For a description of how the meal plans actually work, Lisa would be a great contact to ask. She is the expert in everything Disney!
We may have had a couple hiccups at the beginning of our vacation, but this was a trip we will always cherish! We definitely want to go back!
But Disney will have to wait a bit as we will be heading to a tropical island for our next family vacation in the near future!