This is a part in series of posts documenting our first family vacation to Orlando, Florida.
Disney World is best known for the catch phrase ” Where Dreams Come True” and to be honest I never really understood what was so magical about a theme park that it could say dreams came true. I had never been to Disney although I was a HUGE Mickey Mouse fan all my life. Seriously, I had a Mickey blanket I used on my bed even in high school. I actually still own it and now my daughter uses it.
We had the opportunity to go to Disney World for 3 days for our first real family vacation.
The kids could feel the energy as we pulled into the park each day and so could I. It was a amazing experience to have with my family.
We went to EVERY SINGLE PARK.
Yes. In 3 days.
One day was devoted just to Magic Kingdom. This park was my favorite.It is the iconic park, with Cinderella’s magic castle. The opportunities to see many characters plus the large array of rides for all ages is very important in a Disney vacation. I think there were only 2 or 3 rides in the whole park my boys could not ride due to their size. It was nice that they didn’t have to miss out on a lot of the fun. One of their favorite rides was Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. I think we rode it a dozen times.
The Dance Party Parade was one of my favorites. The characters get down off the floats and dance in the streets with the guests. Talk about some close time with the characters! It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately we did not get to see the nighttime electric car parade due to inclement weather one night and then our dinner reservations another night. We did however get to see the Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers in his own parade and my husband who is a big time Packers fan was totally thrilled!
The next day we went to Animal Kingdom very early and finished out the day at Hollywood Studios. My advice, get to Animal Kingdom early and head back to the safari first. The animals are waking up, stretching and out looking for food. It was awesome! My kids LOVED seeing all those animals up close and personal! Now, the 3-D “Its Tough Being a Bug” Ride I do not recommend for small children. Even my 8 year old was scared. In my opinion, its a 4-D ride and not just a 3-D experience. you get these pokes in your back and bottom to make it feel like bugs are all over you or the water that hits you in the face when the poisonous bug sprays you. My kids were in tears and I had to put my hand over C-man’s mouth to muffle his screams. It was NOT what we were expecting at all so keep that one in mind if you go. Animal Kingdom is beautiful though. I love The Tree of Life in the middle of the park. While there, get one of Disney’s Photo Pass Photographers to take your little ones picture with their hands open. When you log onto your photo pass account to see the pictures, Tinkerbell will be in your child’s hands! It is so neat and one of my favorite pictures of my daughter.
Hollywood Studio is a Toy Story Fans favorite park. My sons loved this park for 2 reasons. Toy Story and Star Wars! Unfortunately we did not get to the park early enough to sign C-man up for the Jedi training but he loved watching the show anyways. He was also thrilled to get his picture taken with a storm trooper and Darth Vader. The parade at Hollywood Studio was a lot of fun. My kids really enjoyed this one. The main attraction other than the Jedi Training show was Toy Story. My little Jake loves Toy Story and I will never forget him leaning against the glass and looking in at Woody and Buzz taking pictures and signing autographs. He was in love!
The last day we went to Epcot in the morning and finished the evening back at Magic Kingdom. It rained this day so it made Epcot a little difficult to do. We spent a bit inside looking at things and in shopping areas. We were prepared with rain jackets, we just didn’t want to get that wet early in the morning when we still had a full evening planned. The hit for my kids at Epcot was the Interactive Crush. Hands down the best. Crush spoke to C-man and then of course to MOM! It was very cool! I enjoyed walking through the countries and tasting some french baked goods. So yummy. A must if you go to Epcot. The boys slept a lot at Epcot. I am glad we had the double stroller from Orlando Stroller Rentals.
We also did 2 character dining options. The first was Breakfast with Alice and Wonderland. You MUST DO a Character Dining! It will be the best money you ever spent! I loved the breakfast. The food was amazing and each and every character comes to your table to interact with the kids. Sitting down, talking, hugging, signing autograph books and of course smiling for the camera. It was amazing! We had Wendy from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland(of course), Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, and Mary Poppins. My favorite was Mary Poppins of course. I just loved that movie as a kid!
Our second character dinner was Chef Mickey. This was my kids favorite. It had all the main characters. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. My husband didnt like this one as much because obviously the characters do not talk plus he was a little upset that so much of the food on the buffet had seafood and since he is allergic there was not much for him to eat. It was for the kids though and they LOVED it! Chef Mickey is a great character meal if you are wanting to see all the main characters. It is pricey and it books up quickly!!! If you know you are planning a trip, book it now!
My advice if you are planning to head to Disney World. Plan ahead but be prepared for things to change. Go with the flow and enjoy your vacation! Take in every moment, every smile with your children. And use the Fast Pass when available!
We are already planning our next trip. We all want to go back so badly. It was a family vacation I wont soon forget and I am so glad I was able to take my family on this amazing journey.
**Disclosure: I was given 2- one day Park Hopper Passes from Disney World. All other ticket admissions were purchased by myself and all opinions stated are my own. There was no monetary compensation exchanged.