A pinch of pixie dust + pinch of OCD = a fun trip for all! UPDATE 6/3
This is our second weekend home since our first WDW trip and the magic hasn't faded. My husband and I are spending our free time rewatching videos and looking at pictures from our trip (oh and planning next year's trip). The little bottles of Mickey shampoo we had left over the last day are almost empty, but the memories are still fresh. This has been our first vacation in 5 years and it has done so much to strengthen our family.
A quick intro: our family is composed of: me, a SAHM formally finance director at a non-profit, DH engineering supervisor, (do you see where the ocd comes in?) and DS lovable and tough two year old who has brought so much joy to our life. He has had a rough start for a two year old with 3 surgeries in his first 18 months, but really is the most easy going and cheerful 2 year old boy I have ever been around. (I might be biased)
This is my first trip report so bare with me. I am hoping that writing everything down will keep the magic alive a little longer.
The when: May 6-11
The Why: W3 haven't ever taken a vacation! Not even a honeymoon and we will have been married 5 years this year. Every time I planned one something bad would happen. I mean like really bad. Honeymoon was canceled because my dad fell ill, next vacation was canceled because my dad got worse and passed. (I said it was bad). After some grieving we planned a trip to Hawaii. Well surprise I was pregnant (that was a good thing). Vacation pushed back. We started talking about finally taking a little vacation with our new family when my son was about 6 months old. I started to book it, and that is when we found out he had cataracts. 3 surgeries later and here we are. I am not very superstitious, but I was a little apprehensive something bad would happen. But we did it. We went on vacation and no one died! (maybe that should have been the title of this TR). Now we plan to make this an annual thing.
First a look at my trip prep. This is where the OCD comes in. I was very excited about our trip, and I am a big fan of pintrist so I may have gone a bit over board on pre-Disney crafting, but it sure did help build the excitement. Here are my favorite projects. If you haven't been to Shannon Albert's blog www.wdwprepschool.com I highly recommend it. I got the license plate template from her site. I was also armed with my Disney binder complete with various budgets, maps, itineraries, and menus. Nothing turns around a bad day quicker than pulling out the Disney binder :)
I also put my OCD powers to work and had our suitcases packed in a fun and organized way. I am probably overly proud of this. The ribbon I had left over from my crafts was a pretty way to bundle together outfits.
We left on Monday May 6. Unfortunately we live kind of in the middle of nowhere so we had a grueling day of air travel ahead complete with a 2 hour lay over. Traveling with a two year old can be tricky, but sometimes things fall into place, and boy did they fall in place on our layover. It occurred right during DS's nap time, so I was really nervous, because the last thing I expected was for him to fall asleep at the airport. Then DH noticed a quiet restaurant tucked away, we set up camp there, ordered a nice meal and after DS ate he started looking sleepy. I remembered his bedtime paraphernalia was in DH's carryon so we set DS up in the stroller with blanket, dog and glow worm, and low and behold he fell asleep! This allowed DH and I a relaxing lunch and time to sip on a margarita. It was really starting to feel like a vacation.
DS flys a lot for his eye appointments (he was born with cataracts, which is rare and like I said we live in the middle in a rural area) so the flights were uneventful. If you are nervous about flying with a toddler I have 4 suggestions:
1) tablet or laptop with movies
4) sticker book!!!
We landed in Orlando at 7 pm, and boy were we grateful for the luggage service and Magic Express. It was so well organized, the bus was clean, we didn't have to wait at all and DS was supper excited to see "ickey" on the screen. It was like we hit Disney as soon as we got to the airport.
We arrived at AoA around 8 pm. I checked us in, and DH chased DS as he ran to get an up close view of Lighting.
We were past DS's dinner time and bedtime so I knew a melt down was coming but he did surprisingly well as we explored the cars area and our cars room. Our mistake was trying to brave Landscapes of Flavor with DS, or as we later came to call it "Landscapes of Despair, where sanity goes to die" more on that later. As soon as we hit LoF the long over due meltdown hit. Solution, I returned to the room with DS and DH stayed to take care of the grub. He returned to the room beat down but with pizza in hand. With food in our bellies our vacation buzz returned. We had an exciting night exploring the room and taking in all the little Disney touches.
Such a tired guy!
That concludes the Pre trip and travel day tale. I will return with our Magic Kingdom adventures and more photos!
Magic Kingdom - Part 1
Magic Kingdom - Part 2
A quick note about aphakia
AoA Part 1
AoA part 2 - finding Nemo
I'm in!! Can't wait to read more! Your DS is adorable! And I LOVED the way you divided the outfits!!
I'm in! :goodvibes
Before I move on I really want to say a couple of things about the Blushing Orange shampoo from the resort, it is really just that amazing. I am pretty sure they put actual pixie dust in that stuff.
My hair is a lovely combination of oily roots and dry ends. If I hydrate the ends my roots end up oily, if I get shampoo for oily hair I end up with dry ends. John Frieda made a shampoo for this kind of hair briefly, but it seems they have discontinued it.
I can't explain it but the Disney shampoo does magical things. I have been saving what is left for special occasions, I randomly used it again the other day and my husband even noticed (he is not one to generally noticed these things). He looked at me and said "Did you you use the Mickey shampoo?"
I am debating buying a big bottle on line.
Now, when I get the chance to return to the computer I really will report on our first day at MK.
Magic kingdom part 1
Our first day started rather early. DS went to bed surprisingly easily, but at 4:30 in the morning he popped up, pointed to the picture above the bed and shouted "car! Car!" We have speculated that what he was really thinking was "it wasn't a dream, we really are here!"
I got him to lay back down but I don't know if he went back to sleep, I heard a lot of babbling. I am also not sure if I went back to sleep, I was pretty excited. I have never been so excited to see the clock hit 6 am. I decided that this was a reasonable time to get up and jumped out of bed to get ready.
It didn't take long for me and DS to get ready, but DH was another story. Luckily I had anticipated this and chose this time to get out the tinker bell toy bag DS and I made before the trip. DH ordered a set of "Cars" figures from the Disney store to give as tinker bell toys each day.
Here is the bag DS decorated
This also gave me a chance to get the last photo I would get the entire trip of DS in his ear hat. He liked to look at the ear hats, not wear them.
DS was a little indifferent and confused by the tinker bell toy thing, but he caught on by the end of the week.
I also let DS finish decorating the Mousekeeping thank you note/tip envelope with left over stickers.
We finally made it out the door around 7:15. I am so glad we made it out early, because we needed to give DS plenty of time to explore the cars outside the building. As luck would have it we were in the Luigi building. "Pit, pit" (pit stop) is DS's favorite so we spent a good deal of time visiting with "pit pit" and we made a stop by Flo.
The great thing about traveling with a two year old, is you find out that normally mundane things are actually REALLY exciting. DS had never been on a bus until the magic express, and the novelty did not wear off when it was time to ride the park buses. I honesty think the buses may have been one of his favorite part of the trip.
We made it to MK in plenty of time for rope drop. DS relaxed in his stroller, and seemed pretty unimpressed with the opening show...that is until the "choo choo!!!!!!" arrived. Two year old mind blown.
Now, I have to thank everyone who recommended rope drop, posted sample itineraries and whoever suggested you memorize the map. All this made for a PERFECT morning.
However, I have a warning before I go on. We had absolutely no intention of trying to see everything, we plan to take many trips, and knowing the perils of traveling with a two year old set our expectations really low. I had a pretty intense itinerary just so we wouldn't have to think about what was next if we finished thing early. A wise blogger, Tiffany Dahle, said that when they go to Disney with toddlers they have a "see 1 thing rule". They choose something they absolutely want to see, do that first and consider anything else icing. This was great advice. You can see her other tips at http://www.peanutblossom.com/wp-comments-post.php. Disney is such a pretty place we would have been content to just walk around and take in some of the magic.
That said, the morning went way smoother than expected! We went straight for PP, grabbed our Pooh FP on the way, road PP with really no line, then went to Little Mermaid, road that with no line, then went over to Dumbo, with no line. After all that it was time for our Pooh fast pass so we went straight through with no line!
DS was very serious during all of this. It was a lot to take in. DH and I really enjoyed it. I think next year these rides will be much more exciting for DS.
DS and me waiting in line for PP (who is more excited?)
DS riding something.
Me and DS somewhere in Fantasyland
DS waiting for Dumbo
After that we were way ahead of schedule so we stopped to get some family photos in front of the castle. Here I should probably take a moment to praise DH for not only wearing the shirt I made him (with etsy's help), but also joining me in my red white color scheme. He completely indulged his wife's silliness. I was completely surprised when he offered to wear red shorts. Also, we were not this matchy everyday.
We had just enough time before lunch to do the Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor and get our space mountain FP. I was on the fence about DS being old enough to enjoy Monster's Inc., but he loved it! It got several good chuckles put of him.
We then headed over to the Plaza for our ADR.
We don't go out to eat with DS a lot at home, so I was a little apprehensive about our ADR's, but I am so glad we gave it a shot. The plaza was a great break from the crowds for everyone.
It was so open and inviting. It makes it really enjoyable that they don't just pack a bunch of people in. DH and I had looked at the menus ahead of time so we were able to order right away. Side note: I had printed all the menus for our ADRs and put them in the magic Disney binder, we had several fun evening pouring over the menus and making our choices. Once decided i put all our choices in a spreadsheet to figure out exactly what we would be spending on dinning (it also showed me that for us the dinning plan was not worth it). For us it made dinning out less stressful because we had Pre-decided everything. I did the actuals and we weren't too far off, I just forgot to account for lunch dinning on our travel days.
I had the chicken strawberry salad, DH had the grilled chicken salad, and DS had the chicken strip Mickey meal. We loved, loved, loved the food here. The CM suggested the rasberry lemonade, and I am so glad she did. It was absolutely refreshing.
We couldn't resist getting some icecream for dessert. DH and I split the bananas split and DS had the ice cream that came with his meal.
After lunch DH and I were able to ride space mountain with our FP, and while we took turns, DS crashed!
And with that, I have gotten so long winded telling of our first day I will take a break. I am pretty sure the other days's updates will be briefer. I am really enjoying reliving our trip as I write (can you tell?)
MK part 2
The second half of our day did not really go according to plan, but was still wonderful. Before we left I debated, and got a to of advice on wether or not to return to the resort for a mid day break. We decided to plan for a break, but if DS was able to rest in the park to try and stick it out.
As you can imagine when DS fell sound asleep in the stroller, I thought "oh goodie let's take turns riding grown up rides while he sleeps!" There was a alight problem with this plan. DS fell asleep in a nice shady spot by space mountain, the rides we wanted to ride were in frontier land.
No problem, we will just wait until DS is in a deep sleep and walk over to Frontierland! Great idea right?
Not exactly. As soon as we hit a crowded spot DS woke up, and not a kind of stirring that he would soon get over, but the I am two, I was sound asleep and now I am awake and not happy about it kind of wake up. We ducked into Tomorrowland Terrace and managed to calm him down. In the process we decided that maybe DS did need a break and we should take our midday break after all.
I was able to get a decent family pic on our way out of the park.
If only DH wasn't making a weird face, we almost got a smile out of DS!
We took a nice rest at AoA. DS never went back to sleep buy the quiet time was good for him. My original itinerary had us leaving the park right after lunch and returning for the parade at 3. Since we toyed with staying for so long we ended up about an hour off schedule and didn't make it back until 4.
(DS was pleased as punch to be back on the bus)
We had an ADR at Tony's at 5:15 so we really didn't have much time. We decided to ride the train to Frontierland, walk through adventure land, get a jungle cruise fast pass and the dole whip we had heads so much about.
DS LOVED the train, so that was plenty of adventure for him.
We spot the choo choo!
A little less nervous to be in the choo choo at first.
When we hit adventureland we were a bit blown a way by how crowded it was. It was hard to even walk through the crowds. We pick up our jungle cruise fast pass, got our sole whip and found a cozy spot to sit. I think we were all a little overwhelmed at this point. None of us really like a crowd. DS loved his dole whip. I will be honest, I was a little disappoints, but that is probably because I had read so much about them. My expectations were pretty high.
After our oh so close to dinner snack we headed for Tony's and strolled around main street for a bit.
We really enjoyed Tony's. We had a nice table by the lady and the tramp fountain.
DH had the Cannelloni, which was okay. Nothing to right home about. I had the mushroom ravioli, which was AMAZING. Just listen to the description. "House-made daily with a pesto cream sauce and garnished with toasted pine nuts, baby spinach and crispy leeks." Yep, it was just as good as it sounds. DH wants to go back so he can get the mushroom ravioli for himself (I did share...a little)
DS had the spaghetti, which he inhaled.
Om nom nom
For desert I had the Tiramisu and DH had the Creme Brûlée. They were pretty average.
After dinner we really did not feel like battling the adventureland crowds again do we skipped the Jungle Cruise (I know, I know) and moved on to the next thing on our itinerary, monorail ride and resort tours.
We wanted to take some time during this trip to tour the deluxe resorts in case we wanted to upgrade to a Deluxe on future trips. Also, I thought it would be a nice way to wind down on the first day. The plan was to end at the Grand Floridian and watch the fireworks/light parade from their beach.
We had a good time touring the contemporary, poly and Floridian. The Floridian was breathtakingly beautiful. We did decide to stick with AoA until DS is much older, AoA just has so much toddler appeal and it is so very Disney.
My firework plan at Floridian did not work out for two reasons. We were there way to early, and the beach was closed. We did watch the sunset from there dock, which was really perfect in its own way.
DS was really tired at this point so we decided to turn in early. Fireworks would just have to wait. It ended up being really nice because we didn't have to fight any crowds getting back to AoA and we left before DS was meltdown tired.
Back to the cars with enough energy to say goodnight to all our car friends
All in all it was a beautiful day. We learned a few lessons:
1) If DS is asleep in the stroller, don't venture near crowds.
2) MK is best in the morning and really a 2 day park (if you like to avoid crowds)
3) Having an itinerary but staying flexible made for a really stress free day
I will return with the tale of our Epcot adventures. A day that was filled with even more lessons :)
subscribing and following along.
Your little boy is precious and the ice cream at the Plaza looks yummy!!
Your son saying goodnight to the cars brings back memories for me :) On our first trip my youngest son was 3 and every night and every morning he wanted to see Herbie the Lovebug to tell him good morning or good night. We stayed at the All Star Movies on that trip .. When we look through pics I always remind him of that!
Joining in. :wave:
The next morning we were ready for Epcot. Everyone slept a little later and moved a little slower, but luckily Epcot is much closer that even though we left AoA quite a bit later we only barely missed rope drop.
DS had the bus routine down by now and was very excited to stand and wait for the bus.
We had planned on picking up a FP for soarin first thing, but we decided once we got there we would rather take it is easy and stroll through the garden festival on our way to Nemo under the sea. The garden festival was beautiful. DS loved the topiaries, especially Mickey and Goofy!
Here we are out side the Nemo ride.
The under the seas part was real neat, but we really enjoyed the aquarium, especially the manatees. DS also enjoyed the gift shop. He had fun "swimming" through the store with Nemo and Crush. The cuteness conned mom and dad into buying his first souvenir. He happily left the store with crush. Crush makes an appearance in most of the other photos for the day.
DS wanted to give Crush a chance to explore the flowers
After that we rode Spaceship Earth, which was enjoyable. We then explored the garden festival until our ADR at coral reef. EPCOT is such a beautiful place we were content to just wander.
Coral Reef started out perfect. DS was so well behaved at our other ADRs and content when we first got there we decided to really enjoy the lunch, go the whole nine yards and order appetizers and everything. After all we were sitting right by the aquarium and sea turtles and sharks were swimming by! We have experience dinning with a two year old so we were "smart" enough to order his food at the same time as the appetizer. We sat back, toasted our wonderful trip and settled in for our perfect meal.
Notice DS is already getting restless...this is a bad sign.
Before I get to the disaster let me tell you about the food.
We had the appetizer for two which consisted of crab cakes, crispy fried shrimp and lobster soup. The shrimp was really good the rest was okay.
I had the seared rainbow trout over white beans, arugula, tomatoes, crispy bacon, aged balsamic vinegar, and aged brown butter. It was so very good!
DH had the Caesar salad. Nothing to exciting about that.
DS had the grilled fish, rice and broccoli. He was really excited about the rice.
Unfortunately, as soon as our entrees came DS was done eating and so over the fish. He was also tired and cranky. When all distracting techniques failed, I left the restaurant area with my screaming toddler. His choice was to be held by mom in the lobby or sit in the restaurant. Normally love and logic choices work for us but he was past the point of no return. It was an utter meltdown. Eventually I made my way back to DH with screaming DH in hand. He was waiting for boxes to pack up, pay and get out of dodge. We tried a brief switch so I could eat but that caused even more chaos. To make matters worse as DH was struggling with DS a very sweet and very apologetic CM collided with him while carrying a full tray of beer. Poor DH, poor CM. It was so time to leave.
At least I can say we learned a valuable lesson. DS can do a restaurant like an angel for about 30 minutes and then it is game over. We should stick to our original strategy of ordering when we sit down and have a nice relaxing 30 minute meal.
Needless to say we left the park after that. To make matters worse DH had some issues come up at work so he needed get back to the hotel to log on and take care of things.
We made it back to AoA in the early afternoon. DS had a little rest (he did not nap, but some quiet time was all he needed). After his "nap" DS and I hit the pool for a nice swim. While DH took care of work. The swim was so refreshing it was just what we needed. And I must add the AoA had the most attentive lifeguards I have ever seen. They were constantly surveying the pool and constantly moving.
It was just me so no pictures. I promise a plethora of resort pictured are coming.
After our swim we headed back in for our ADR at Biergarten. DS was super energetic on the bus, but as soon as we got him in the stroller he fell sound asleep. This was actually perfect. It gave DH and I some alonish time to explore Epcot.
I booked Biergarten more for DH and I but DS had a ball! He woke up just as we made our way to our table. The buffet had a great kids section, and I LOVED the German food. Oh and Pretzle bread mmmmm. We also enjoyed sitting with other people. We sat with a group from Canada.
Best of all there was a dancefloor and polka music! When DS got restless we could hit the dance floor!!!
On the way out of the park we explored the garden festival more and DS saw his first and only character, Duffy the bear. We only saw him walking and DS looked both confused and startled by this giant walking bear. Not long after that we stumbled upon the Duffy store and DS went home prize in hand.
Despite our lunch time hiccup Epcot was a great day!!! It is a beautiful park and even though we didn't ride much this trip we made some great memories.
We also learned what not to do when dinning with a two year old. We also learned at some point during this day if we were having trouble getting DS in the stroller we just had to say "if you get in the stroller we will ride a bus!" He was obsessed with the bus!
Quick a quick note on the cm's at AoA.
How to do you have such a large organization and keep everyone happy, polite, and empowered when it can't always be easy. From check in, to dinning, to Mousekeeping everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. When DS was having a meltdown in Landscapes of Flavor that first night we were already at the table with drinks and some snacks for DS (grapes, apples etc). I was having trouble juggling it all while DH was getting our pizza. A CM came to my rescue and helpedme get everything bundled up and to my room.
I read about a mom who Pre parents thank you notes for her kids to give to cm's that go above and beyond. It keeps everyone looking for positive things and it is a great lesson in gratitude. I plan to do this with DS when he is older.
Now for some pictures of the fun thins Mousekeeping left for us.
If you are curious about AoA, stay tuned. Lots of resort photos are coming!
By our 3rd day DS had tinker bell toys figured out.
Here he is playing with his cars
We made it to Animal Kingdom by Rope Drop, and it was packed!
Our plan was to head straight for the safari. Apparently this is everyone's plan. As we made our way in that direction we overheard the guy next to is on his phone "you want to meat at the safari? Okay...just look for me when the crowd of a 100,000 people hits". Okay that is probably a bit of an exaggeration but that is what it felt like.
Once we got to the safari a super long line had already formed so we chose to get a FP. We noticed the panagia trail was right there so we decided to go there instead. Great decision! We were practically the only ones on the trail.
I am not sure if I mentioned this before but DS has vision problems so zoos have always been hit or miss. This made me a little worried AK may not be that exciting for him, but I was so wrong.
You get so much closer to the animals DS was able to see them better than he ever had at the zoo!
The trail was so peaceful. We LOVED the birds, the fish, the hippos, and the gorillas!
As soon as we finished the trail the train was opening. Since it was the first run of the day there was no one over there. We had a train car all to ourself. DS had such a great time in the train we decided we will ride it more next visit.
We made it over to the affection station and DS had the whole petting zoo to himself. He didn't really want to touch the animals but he liked seeing the goats up close.
We could not have timed the morning better. As soon as we were done with the train it was time for our safari FP.
I honestly think the safari was my favorite thing at WDW. We had a great tour guide and saw so many animals. DS was most excited about the "floo floos!" (Flamingos)
After our safari it was almost time for our ADR at Yak and Yeti.
DH and I were probably most on the fence about our Yak and Yeti ADR and almost canceled, but it ended up being his favorite! I thought the food was good, but it wasn't anything amazing. We also didn't have anything that out of the ordinary. We both had won ton soup and fried rice. Still, DH brings up Yak and Yeti all the time. The environment was great and it was very peaceful inside.
After our Epcot meltdown the day before we stuck to our leave right after lunch plan. I know we missed some cool things at AK, but we really had a perfect morning.
We got a few good photos on our way our.
Best part, since we left before DS got over tired he was able to take a great nap back at the resort, which he so desperately needed.
After DS took a nap we all spent some great time at the pool. I will be back with the first of many AoA photos.
Sent from my iPhone
Your little guy is SOOO Cute! Wow you really are an organized packer! You would be scared for my packing skills! lol
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