I never meant to go rogue the last half of last week, but I suppose a week at Walt Disney World wears me out more than I anticipated. Yes, DISNEY! We spent 6 glorious days in the happiest place on earth (for the first time) and lived to tell about it. I have a legal pad full of things we did wrong, what we got right, and my best tips for newbies, so I officially am calling this DISNEY WEEK on ze old blog so put on your Mickey ears (and bear with me as I overshare per usual).
First things first though, today is all about the highlights, AKA some of my favorite moments from our trip to the parks. The first thing I learned about Disney is that everyone has a different favorite that they swear you must do and the second thing I learned is no matter how long your stay, you just can’t do it all. So though I’m sharing my favs, make sure to seek out what will be the most fun for your family, and to those Dinsey pros out there, I’d love to hear some of your favs in the comments to give those with upcoming trips (which apparently is a lot!) rides and events to check out.
So here they are, our favorite Walt Disney World moments!
A Day at the Resort
We didn’t really intend on having this, despite it being suggested to us, but ended up driving straight through to Orlando rather than stopping halfway on Thursday. This gave us a full Friday to explore the Polynesian, ride the monorail, and splash in their awesome pool area.
Fun fact: they keep the water between 80-85 degrees year round. I would have been a little bummed if we missed this “free” time.
They loved their matching suits!
The Safari at Animal Kingdom
We were given the pro tip to fast pass this adventure early in the day while more of the animals are out. It must have worked because we loved seeing the lions, antelope, and hippos up close.
And to really seal the deal, we got to watch a baby elephant. It doesn’t get any cuter.
The Animal Kingdom in General
Perhaps it’s because I had low expectations (for some unknown reason), but this park we visited on our first day out really impressed me. There is so much to see just while you are wandering around, the tree of life is pretty incredible, there are music and street parties in each section, and oh yes, they serve beer pretty openly, which David and I took full advantage of at lunch at Restaurant-Osaurus (real name).
Everyone has their favorite ride and the one that sticks out most in my head is Soarin’ at Epcot. You have to be 40″ to ride, so Kaitlyn couldn’t do this magical adventure where you fly around the world, complete with breeze in your hair and scents that match scenes.
Hailey rode it 2 times (thank you rider swap) and David and I twice as well, thanks to extra magic hours.
Walking into Breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle
I have a ton of thoughts on this breakfast, some things I wasn’t thrilled about that I’ll share, but walking in is pretty magical. They announce your family’s name, then lead you in to get pictures with Cinderella. She whispered to Hailey to keep her eyes open for her mice friends, and sure enough, tucked away in a high corner you can find Jaq and Gus! Adorable.
Then you ascend the staircase and the whole thing just feels special.
Meeting Jasmine at the Princess Breakfast
Ok, a sneak peek, I almost cried sad tears watching Kaitlyn chase after a snooty Snow White trying to show her a wishing star, but the tears actually came (from joy!) as Jasmine arrived at our table and fully engaged with the girls. Pure magic!
PS: like me, you’ll think you will avoid a Disney meltdown moment, but you won’t. It happens to everyone.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Quick fun fact: Hailey’s favorite princesses are Belle and Tiana. Belle because she loves to read and has brown hair, and Tiana because she is a great cook and has a little sass. Because of this, I knew we had to visit Enchanted Tales at the Magic Kingdom, a 20 minute show where the kids get parts and are involved in throwing Belle a surprise birthday party.
It’s super cute and if your child gets a part, s/he gets a picture solo with the princess. Hailey ended up being Mrs. Potts and Kaitlyn was Chip.
Meeting Minnie Mouse
The girls love them some princesses, but Minnie reigns over all. We booked the Fantasmic Dinner Package at Hollywood Studios (more on that next), which included dinner at Hollywood & Vine where we met Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Mickey, and the queen herself, MINNIE!
Hailey tracked her around the room and when she came to our table, Hailey (who can actually be quite shy) jumped up, ran to hug her, and spurted out I LOVE YOU.
Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios
For being a show I hadn’t heard much about, I kick myself for how close I came to cancelling it. It. Was. INCREDIBLE. (note: if your child scares easily, it’s not for you, as there are loud noises, bright flashes, and Disney villians involved, but my girls LOVED it).
If you book the dinner package, they hold seats in the center section and you can walk right up 15 minutes until show time (which is 7:00 pm). The water displays, the pyrotechnics, all the beloved Disney characters, the music. Seriously, this rivals Soarin’ for my favorite MUST DO of our trip.
The Food at Dinner in the Beast’s Castle
On Valentines Day we dined at the Beast’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. This is probably the only time you will hear me mention food. Overall, the food of the trip was what was to be expected: fair. But dinner at the Be Our Guest Restaurant was delicious!
My pasta tasted truly homemade and the scallops were cooked to perfection.
They had great options for kids and we all finally got to try the grey stuff! (It really is delicious)
Tinkerbell flying overhead at the Fireworks.
My friend, Jodi, visited Disney about 2 weeks before us and gave us the pro tip that if you stand to the right side of the castle, Tinkerbell flies over your head. We booked it from dinner to snag our spot and the girls marveled as Tinkerbell did indeed fly over their heads.
FYI: “Wishes” fireworks display (which has been running for 15 years!) will be replaced by the new “Happily Ever After” fireworks display starting May 12.
Meeting the Beast
One of my favorite memories is walking with Hailey into the west wing to see the Beast’s magical rose.
She cautiously walked in then FREAKED, buried her head in my side, and begged to get out of there. When I asked why, she said “the beast does not want us in here; we are not allowed!” I loved her sincerity!
Because of this I thought she’s be nervous to meet him, but both girls curtsied for him, he twirled them around, and honestly, it was really the sweetest thing ever! Definitely a highlight.
Nana joining us.
My mom came down to join us halfway through to offer helping hands and join in the magic. We kept it a surprise from the girls and adorably surprised they were! It was really special to have my mom join in on these moments (and gave David and me a little solo time for Tower of Terror and EMH at Epcot!)
The girls becoming co-mayors
We ended up snagging lunch one day at The Plaza restaurant on Main Street. It felt great to cool off and get some food with a view of the castle, but the real treat came when randomly the Mayor wandered in and announced Hailey and Kaitlyn as the new co-mayors!
Kaitlyn was more thrilled than she looked, as were the adults when the mayor handed them a golden ticket to go into the fast pass line (no wait!) of any ride we desired. So cool!
Did I mention we took over 700 pictures? We did. Plus video (which David is working on compiling). So I guess I’ll be sharing even more pictures than usual (I know, how is that even possible?!)
Ok Disney pros— what are your FAVORITE rides, attractions, characters, experiences?!
Share with us!