being a first born, type-a, list maker, planner person….I sure am glad I married a guy who’s the complete opposite. we do things last minute. fly by the seat of our pants. together we are spontaneous and make things up as we go. back in May, I was at a girls dinner and came home and my husband had booked our tickets for our first trip to Disney! and now….we lay in bed until 10pm booking another trip just 23 days ahead of departure…oh my.
one would think we would get our act together and actually PLAN a trip to Disney, but the pieces fell together and it is just perfect. magical. I could cry [actually I did] watching the “holidays at walt disney world” promo. my kids, no doubt every. single. day. say “we’re going back to Disney world”. to their teachers at school, to me, at church, driving down the road, while we’re eating breakfast. and they remember their last trip in such detail- “we’re gonna ride dumbo” and “meet mickey” and “ride mr horsey” and “see the fireworks”. it’s quite precious. so, cheap airline tickets, and a splurge for the holidays means the Elders are headed back to Disney the week before Thanksgiving!
so let me finally post my “tips for Disney” and a little recap that I wrote in the car on our epic summer road trip…
On a wild hair, my husband and I decided en route to a wedding we have in North Carolina, we should take a road trip stop at Disney World! There’s something you should know about me…I’ve been coming to Disney for over 20 years! Mulitple trips with my family [when I was young, and as a married woman], our senior trip was at Disney + I even came to church camp one year at Disney. My love for Diseny runs deep. My parents actually came a month ago to “scout out” what it would be like with Camp + Asher. Alison reminded me that we were talking about taking the kids to Disney the morning we were about to meet them for the first time in Ethiopia. It’s something we constantly talk about- when can they go, how old should they be, how tall do they need to be…and on and on. So deciding that we were just going to pick up and go just the 4 of us was sort of a big deal. But oh, are we glad we did! The FIRST day we took the kids to Magic Kingdom will be forever engrained in my mind. I’m so glad we experienced Disney with them for the first time just the four of us. I know there will be many more Disney trips, but nothing will beat this one.
now for my tips:
- get to magic kingdom early
- my disney experience app – plan your fast pass before hand
- bring juice boxes, water bottles, snacks with you in backpack
- rain cover for stroller
- kids under 3 are friends of micky + free
- we got day passes
- stayed off property [hotwire] and drove our own car
- naps in the afternoon are key if you want to come back for the evening activities
- ponchos or rain jackets for all
- meet micky at hollywood [it’s inside too!]
- honey I shrunk the kids @ hollywood is fun playground for kids
- dream with micky at MK – on the side of the castle there are shaded areas w/ benches perfect for little ones to watch from
- enjoy seeing the magic + wonder through your kids eyes
We woke up super early Monday morning and taxied over to Magic Kingdom so we knew we’d be there on time [ we later decided it was best/cheapest if you aren’t staying on property to drive your own car + park[. I couldn’t wait to see the faces of the kids when we drove through Disney on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, and it was priceless. Camp sat in my lap and called out everything he saw as we whizzed past. We got there early enough to see the “welcome show” at Magic Kingdom before the gates opened at 9am, and that was one of my favorite parts of the day: we both literally had tears in our eyes as Micky + Minnie welcomed us to Disney. I can still hear Camp + Asher saying “Micky! Minnie!” and waving to them like crazy as they came in on the train. Such priceless memories! Walking into MK, I absolutely knew Camp would go crazy over the castle because every time we watch Frozen and the Disney castle comes up he says “disney! disney!” and he absolutely did the same seeing it for real in person. First thing we did was take our picture in front of the castle, then we headed to Fantasyland.
My mom said the key to Magic Kingdom was getting there early, and she was right. Before 10 am we had already ridden the tea cups, dumbo, peter pan’s flight and it’s a small world! After a quick snack break, we decided to walk around and stumbled upon Country Bear Jamboree in frontierland. So cute! Asher loved the music and the animals, and so did mr. camp. It seemed like we just kept hitting everything right- on the way to ride the train, we came across the Dream with Micky show at the castle and had the perfect spot in the shade under a tree to watch the fun. This was also one of my favorite parts of the day! Camp + Asher calling out all the characters they saw, and dancing to the music. I really had forgotten that so much of Disney is about DREAMS! It sounds cheesy, but it really did inspire me to keep dreaming and believing that dreams DO come true! We have to believe, and believe in each other!
Another fun favorite was the move it, shake it celebrate street parade dance and then onto the Disney Train! We rode around the park and stopped back at Fantasyland for some splash park fun, and Camp’s favorite Micky Philharmagic 3D show! We were sorta melting down at this point, but one more stop at Dumbo for our fast pass then it was back to the hotel to nap. The key to Disney for us, was naps! Too bad the kids didn’t want to nap after we got to the hotel, so we had fun swimming at the hotel for a few hours, then when we had worn them out enough it was time to nap!
We got all cleaned up and headed back to MK that night and it was nice to stroll around the park. We had a yummy dinner outside during a quick rain storm, and then we rode the carasole because camp wanted to ride “mr horsey!” It was absolutely adorable to see them strapped into their own horses, having the best time! Stephen + I fast passed my personal MK fave, Space Mountain and took turns riding it. While I had the kids, we went and watched the sunset over the castle and it was dreamy. I reminisced over all the years of memories I have at that place, and how today was a new day!
It was the most special to see the fun, joy and magic through Camp + Asher’s eyes. This trip wasn’t really about “us” it was about them – and that’s what parenting is, dying to self. there is so much joy in this!
Stephen took the kids back to the carousel while I rode Space Mountain, and after we met up and found a spot for the light parade! Camp was hilarious during this! He has never met a stranger. He was talking to everyone around us, going up and touching them and he even got in a selfie! There was a young guy asleep on the ground and Camp went to pull his hat off of him and gave him a hug. Hilarious! Camp + Asher were singing let it go and putting on a show for everyone. Once the parade started, Asher got on stephen’s shoulders and I held Camp. We started walking back while we waited for the castle portion of the show, but that part was awesome too! it was one of my favorites. I again, had tears streaming, as I just remembered and thanked god for this moment with the kids! so magical!
the second day – the kids slept in! we were so tired and worn out from the day before, and didn’t leave the hotel to go to Hollywood until 10am. It was super super hot that day. When we got to Hollywood we went straight to the Disney Junior live show! Camp loved it – he stood up the whole time and screamed and squealed and sang along. Right after we stopped and met Jake! so fun to watch them see them for the first time in person. after that stephen + I had fast passes for rocking roller coaster so we took turns riding. when he rode, we had snacks outside the brown derby, and when I rode they went to play at honey i shrunk the kids play ground. then we had lunch at sic fi! my fave! kids did pretty good and it was our one nice meal at the park. worth it! went back for naps and there was a storm so pool was closed, kids didn’t nap so we got dressed to go back up and it started raining as soon as we pulled out of hotel. we sat in car at Hollywood for awhile b/c the rain was so bad. we decided to brave it and ran into hollywood to meet micky. classic and priceless – asher at first gave micky her puppy! they waved and hugged him and loved meeting micky. then we went to muppet 3d and camp loved it. hilarious. got some souvineers and headed home! hollywood was hard with them – 1/2 day would have been perfect there.
well…if you are still reading [hi mom!]….but in reality, this is just for my own personal memories. I didn’t record the other day at Disney, but as I read these words, it takes me back. If you are planning a trip to Disney any time soon – ENJOY!!!