Yesterday was another fun Friday at the zoo. Especially with 78 degree weather! So bizarre for February, but never fear, it’s back to winter weather today with cloudy skies, a cool breeze and a current temperature of 52 degrees. On our way home from the zoo, Laney made me laugh. We passed by a Chick-fil-A and I heard her yell from the backseat “Chick Chick!” So I said, “Did you see Chick-fil-A?” And then totally unprompted Laney answered by saying, “Yummy!” I call that a parenting win! We probably eat Chick-fil-A once a week. Those are the Lord’s calories, so they don’t count. Amen.
Ok, now back to your regularly scheduled program:
O U R D I S N E Y T R I P R E C A P – Part 2
As promised, I will start by sharing my favorites of the things I asked you about yesterday:
Favorite Park — Magic Kingdom. No matter how old I get, there’s just something about walking through the entrance, smelling the popcorn, hearing the familiar music, strolling down Main Street USA and the seeing Cinderella’s Castle in all her glory. It’s twice the magic now seeing Laney’s excitement for these same things. I can’t wait to see Morgan experience this in October.
Favorite Ride — Space Mountain. It took me a long time to learn to like rollercoasters. Now I really enjoy them. I haven’t been able to do this ride in almost 4 years due to being pregnant during our last several trips and also not wanting to take time away from doing things we can do as a family but I know there will (hopefully) come a day when my girls will want to ride with me once they meet the height requirement.
Favorite Restaurant — This is a hard one. As a kid I would have said breakfast at Crystal Palace. This Magic Kingdom restaurant hosts a character breakfast featuring Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore, my favorite character. I still make their breakfast pizza at home from time to time. It’s delicious! Now? Let’s see. Both Italy’s Tutto Italia Ristorante and Canada’s Le Cellier are phenomenal as is Mexico’s San Angel Inn Restaurante but I’m really loving Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, also located in Italy. But sometimes’s it just depends on the ambiance you want. We dined at Coral Reef on our honeymoon which has tables against a huge wall of glass looking straight into a large tank filled with sharks, fish, stingrays and more. It was so cool. Magic Kingdom’s Royal Table is really neat too. You get to eat inside of the castle! In the mornings, it’s a character breakfast with the princesses or you can have a more romantic meal for dinner. And on the topic of character meals, my favorite now is Chef’s Mickey’s located within the Contemporary Resort. Great menu as well as music for dancing and swinging your napkin around in the air with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto.
Now back to your previously scheduled program.
Up to this point on our trip, we had had a rainy, hotel day, a day at Animal Kingdom & Epcot and now we were headed into our last day starting with Hollywood Studios. We knew we would want our FastPasses for Magic Kingdom so we got to Hollywood Studios at rope drop (park opening). Now when you book FastPasses, you can only book 3 per day at one park. You can’t book 2 at one park and 1 at the other, etc. You also can’t book any additional FastPasses until all 3 are used; then you can get them one at a time at that point. Once we were through the gates of Hollywood Studios, we went straight to the Disney Jr. Stage. They previously had a show featuring many Disney Jr. characters set up like an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We saw this show back on our December 2017 trip. This trip we had timed it just right — we were there on the morning of the grand re-opening debuting a new show and we were there for the very first one. The new Disney Jr. Dance Party show was awesome! Great music, crowd interaction and character appearances. Laney had an absolute blast dancing to the music and waving to the characters. I was mid-video one time and had to drop my phone to stop her from running past me — she was about to make a beeline for the stage to get to Mickey Mouse.
After the Disney Jr. Dance Party, we went over to the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. It’s a 30 minute show where the Royal Historians of Arendelle recount the story of their enchanted kingdom. Scenes from the movie are played on-screen and words are displayed when it’s time to sing. We loved it! It’s great for both kids and adults. The Historians are basically comedians with some pretty funny liners built in to their script. The adults were laughing through the entire show. We may have even had more fun than the kids since the jokes went right over their heads. But they are really just there to see Anna, Elsa and the other Frozen characters as they sing their little hearts out. No shame in my game though, I was singing too and loving every second.
From there, we went to go explore the newest part of the park, Toy Story Land, which opened last summer. The concept is really neat. Once you enter Toy Story Land, you become the size of a toy. Everything has been built to scale to make you view everything from a toy’s perspective. Genius. The rides had really long waits so we just walked around before heading to grab some lunch. To make it easy we just went to the ABC Commissary. It’s your standard quick service location with an array of menu options and lots of seating which is key. The remainder of Hollywood Studios is basically thrill rides, 3-D attractions and shows not intended for toddlers so after lunch we headed for the exit and on to our bus stop.
Refreshed from a nap at the hotel, we were ready to take on Magic Kingdom! We had a FastPass coming up for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, so we quickly made our way through the park to Fantasyland upon arrival. As soon as we got off the ride, it looked like a quick rain shower had come through. Do yourself a favor and pack a plastic rain cover for your stroller. They are fairly inexpensive and are good to have on hand. We would put ours over the stroller every time we went on a ride just in case. And it saved us from having a soggy seat for Laney to sit on. Because of this rain, the line had shortened tremendously for the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride since most of the wait is outside and uncovered. We took advantage of this, got in line and were on the ride within 25 minutes.
Our next FastPass was for the Jungle Cruise aka the Jingle Cruise at Christmas time. For Laney, this is a fun ride because she gets to ride on a boat with lots to look at. For us adults, the ride is filled with many, many punny jokes so it is very entertaining. This is a great ride for the whole family. By the time we got off, it was around 7:00pm and we were ready to find something for dinner. We had definitely noticed the crowds picking up on our walk from Fantasyland to Adventureland to ride the Jingle Cruise, but it was even more crowded once we got off of the ride. And it only gets worse the closer you get to Christmas through the New Year. [When I was younger, my family celebrated several Christmases at Disney World. I remember us having to make sure we were in a park early in the day because usually by lunchtime they had reached capacity and had to close the entrance gates.]
We made the quick walk over to Frontierland and decided to have dinner at Pecos Bill’s. It used to be a burger place, but recently they updated their menu to offer Mexican fare. I had the chicken nachos and Brad had the steak tacos. It was delicious! Unfortunately they didn’t have quesadillas, which Laney would have loved, so she went the peanut butter and jelly route. We had one last FastPass left for Dumbo at 8:35pm, but we were all getting tired, the crowds were thick and we knew we’d be back in October. We decided to make our way to the bus stop and head to the hotel to get packed up.
The next morning, we finished packing, loaded the car and drove over to Disney Springs. But first let me share a funny story about the little Christmas tree I put in our room. I got a great deal on this 2 ft. tall pre-lit tree from Target prior to our trip. When I opened it once inside our hotel room, I realized that it didn’t have the base in the box. What are the odds?! I ended up rigging a Nike shoebox as the base and did my best to cover it with the tree skirt. Luckily I had the box from getting new shoes from the outlets on our way into Orlando at the beginning of our trip.
We didn’t do much shopping at the parks but had planned to grab a few things we had seen and wanted on our way out of Magic Kingdom the night before but you could hardly move inside of the stores on Main Street USA, so we just kept moving. Brad dropped me off in the parking garage entrance to Disney Springs and I ran into the World of Disney store and picked up most of what I was looking for. A couple items were sold out, but we left with a stuffed Donald Duck and a toy Disney Bus for Laney (both of which Santa gave her a couple of days later), a couple of Disney rice krispie treats (my favorite!) as well as a Baymax Christmas ornament. Nothing caught my eye for Morgan but my parents did buy her a Dumbo Baby’s First Christmas ornament so we will count that as her momento.
Speaking of Baymax, if you haven’t seen Big Hero 6 you definitely need to! It takes on a different spin from typical Disney movies. Brad loved it and Laney’s eyes were locked on the TV throughout the entire movie. You can’t help but fall in love with the main characters.
Laney didn’t have any meltdowns throughout our entire trip and I attribute that to keeping the schedule flexible and not rushing around. We had a great vacation at Disney World! Until next time!
Curious if I have any tips or takeaways worth sharing when traveling to Disney World? Stay tuned for an upcoming post on these very things.