Challenged Accepted! Our Year of Disney with a toddler 2/27 x2

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by dtr_angel, May 17, 2014.

  1. dtr_angel

    dtr_angel You're really cute, but I have no idea what you ar

    Jan 13, 2008
    Welcome to my third trip report! This was our 6th trip to Disney, but there were so many firsts for us. This trip was completely different than our first 5. This time instead of flying, staying on site, and only using Disney transportation we drove from Maryland (!), stayed off site, and drove ourselves around. The best part?



    There is no time to be sad about this trip ending because we're about to experience a year of Disney! This trip went so well than in addition to a trip that we have planned for my 30th birthday in December, we're going to squeeze another WDW trip in before our AP/TiW expires next year!

    This was our first trip as a family of three. We sure did miss having Uncle Brandan with us though and cannot wait for him to join us again sometime.
    For those of you who may not know my crazy bunch, I'm Melissa and right now I'm 29. I currently answer to "Mom" which is the greatest title I could have ever asked for. Sometimes I use my other title "RN" and play nurse at the hospital. I'm blessed to be able to work a PRN position and haven't worked more than 2 days/month since my little one was 5.5 months old. My husband Daniel loves going to Disney World just as much as I do. He is also 29 right now. He works hard as a freight conductor (he builds trains and takes them apart) to earn the money we need to take these amazing trips together. Our little guy was born in July 2012 and is the light of our lives. He was 21 months old on this trip. His first trip was last year at 9 months old.


    All three of us!


    So much changes in a year! Disney was so different with an infant last year vs. a toddler this year. We had so much fun!

    This trip went really well although not according to plan most days (that's okay though! changing plans on the fly is fun!) If you are looking for a trip report with lots of drama, something that might include a family missing their flight TO Disney, this trip report is not going to be for you. However, this one might be

    We're late for a very important date! (My May 2103 trip report)

    This trip report might be for you if:
    -You want to hear all the details of a fun trip with a smart and spirited toddler
    -You will enjoy seeing a ton of pictures of said toddler
    -You want to see pictures of all the delicious snacks & food we consumed while on vacation (we took pictures BEFORE we ate the food in most cases)
    -You are interested in the adventures that come along with driving 16 hours each way to Disney
    -You want to hear all about our first offsite adventure and our time spent outside the Disney bubble as well as our time spent inside the Disney parks
    -You want to see pictures & hear about character interactions with TWENTY Disney characters (some we even met 2-3 different times!)

    If you took the quiz above and answered yes to at least one, this trip report might be for you and I encourage you to join me as I re-tell the story of our May 2014 trip to Disney World. Enjoy the ride, it's time for...

    Laugh, Splash, Giggle & Play - Disney the toddler's way! Our first offsite adventure May 2014

    Update - 2014 turned into a year of Disney with our toddler.
    May 1-10: 3 bedroom/2 bathroom condo at Windsor Hills (6 Disney nights) 21 months old
    October 12-17: All Star Sports standard room (4 Disney nights) MNSSHP x 2, 26 months old
    December 2014 - 3 nights Outer Bldg Garden View at the Grand Floridian, 6 nights 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo at Windsor Hills (9 Disney nights) Candlelight Processional, MVMCP x2, 28 months old

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  3. dtr_angel

    dtr_angel You're really cute, but I have no idea what you ar

    Jan 13, 2008
    I didn't do a PTR, so here's a quick run down of what our plans were before we left. We were really flexible since we did not know how Gavin was going to do this year. Toddlers are so different from infants.

    Thursday May 1 - Leave around 6am. Drive to Augusta, GA. Check in to Hampton Inn. Spend the evening with my friend Jenn & her family. Drive back to hotel. Get some sleep.

    Friday May 2 - wake up as early as possible. Have free breakfast or grab something for in the car. Get on the road to Orlando. Stop when necessary but no long meal stops. Get groceries from Publix on Vineland Ave in Orlando. Call to go order in to Outback. Pick up outback Order. Head to Windsor Hills and get into condo. Eat, unload car, and get ready for a night at the Magic Kingdom. Upgrade tickets to APs, get TiW card, pick up Memory Maker card.

    FP+ 4:45-5:45pm Meet Mickey Mouse
    get pictures taken on Main Street USA
    ride the People mover
    buzz/monsters inc if we have time to kill
    FP+ 5:45-6:45 Space Mountain/rider swap (take Gavin on CoP, buzz, or people mover)
    mad tea party
    FP+ 6:50-7:50 Pooh
    7:40 dinner ADR at Crystal Palace
    pictures on Main Street in the dark
    MESP/Wishes IF we are not to tired, but probably not
    (Originally we were not going to the park at all on arrival day. The reason we added this was because the people mover was scheduled to go down for refurb on Saturday 5/3. I really wanted a picture of the three of us on it just like we got last year (it was Gavin's first ride!) so we made this plan to squeeze some time in at MK that night. It ended up not being necessary as they pushed the rehab back to June but oh well, it was a great night and I'm glad we went!)

    We could not make any more FP+ reservations until after we got to Disney and upgraded to APs, so the rest of the plans were loose since we didn't know what kind of FP+ we were going to get a few days out

    Saturday May 3 - Epcot
    Head to TT first and rider swap (take Gavin to the Mission Space play area while we trade)
    Rider Swap on Mission Space
    The Seas - Nemo/Turtle Talk
    FP+ Soarin/Rider Swap
    Character Spot (didn't realize this was a Tier 1 until we were there, had thought we would FP+)
    Head to World Showcase
    meet Donald in Mexico
    get school bread in Norway
    Maelstrom (also could not FP+ this because of TT/Soarin')
    Lunch - CS in America
    grab snacks in Germany, Japan, and France
    Get Disney Visa picture at 1pm
    If we have time to space - Spaceship Earth, Club Cool, Innoventions, Imagination Pavillion (Gavin might like this)

    After our break at the condo for Gavin's nap, order Giordano's pizza for dinner, swim & relax!

    Sunday May 4 - Magic Kingdom
    (hopefully meet up with khertz & marDgreen88 who will also be at MK today!)
    *IF* 7DMT is open, get to MK super early and head there first. Daniel will wait first to ride standby while I take Gavin to meet Ariel and ride Under the Sea. Then Daniel will take Gavin to ride the carousel and get a snack at Gaston's. I will meet them there when I am done. (This did not happen haha)
    If not, we all go to Under the Sea first.
    FP+ ETWB
    Mad Tea Party/Storybook Circus - Dumbo & character meets
    FP+ Peter Pan
    Lunch at Be Our Guest
    FP+ Rapunzel & Cinderella
    take train from FL to exit
    break at the condo for Gavin's nap
    swim & make steaks for dinner at the condo and relax

    Monday May 5th - Hollywood Studios
    Daniel rides RnRC standby
    Ride TSM standby
    meet Buzz & Woody

    in no particular order...
    meet Mike & Sulley starting
    meet Donald and Daisy
    meet Minnie
    snack at Starring Rolls
    get pictures taken with Lightening & Mater
    Meet Chip, Dale, Pluto & Goofy
    see Disney Jr. show
    let Gavin play at HISTK playground while Daniel rides ToT/RnRC?
    FP+ Star Tours
    FP+ TSM
    Great Movie Ride if we have time
    -break at the condo to nap-
    Characterpalooza 6pm
    dinner ADR 50's PT 6:55pm
    back to the condo right after dinner
    (I had been stalking for a 50's PT or Sci Fi ADR for Sunday night to do characterpalooza that night before eating and going back to the condo. I had no luck getting ADRs for decent times so we did have Beaches & Cream booked for the night we planned to do characer palooza (drive to DHS, see characters, take a boat to the boardwalk, eat at B&C and then boat back to DHS) luckily I snagged an ADR for 50's PT not too long before we left which made things a lot easier!)

    Tuesday May 6th - AK
    Rider Swap EE
    Dinosaur (D rides first while M/G do Triceratops Spin, then D takes G to boneyard to play)
    Finding Nemo the Musical 11am
    Jungle Trek to see tigers
    FP+ safari
    Lunch ADR 12:45 Tusker House
    Rafiki's Planet watch IF it's not too late
    break at the condo for Gavin's nap
    Dinner ADR at Boma 5:55pm
    (seriously wish I would've realized before we were seated at Tusker House for lunch that day that 2 Disney buffets in one day is not a good idea...)

    Wednesday May 7th - 7DMT?
    Rider swap BTMRR/Splash
    Liberty Square Riverboat
    Jungle Cruise
    Lunch 1:35 LTT
    If we have time - HM, Magic Carpets, Meet Aladdin
    break at the condo for Gavin's nap
    dinner off site at Miller's Ale House

    Thursday May 8th - last day
    did not make plans
    lunch at MK with a very special DIS friend at 1:05 :)
    leave in the evening
    hopefully Gavin sleeps all night while we take turns driving
    arrive home sometime in the afternoon on Friday

    Daniel goes back to work at 4pm on Saturday 5/10 :(
  4. MeeskaMomma

    MeeskaMomma DIS Veteran

    Apr 27, 2013
    I am in ::wave::

    Our DS is just a year older than yours. I can't wait to see the food pictures.
  5. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

    Jul 19, 2008

    So excited about this!!!

    Sounds like a lot of fun.

    I'm in!

  6. Dugette

    Dugette DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2009
    Yes to all of the quiz questions! :cheer2: I'm in and can't wait to hear all about your trip! :hyper: So glad you had a wonderful time. :goodvibes
  7. mousetravel

    mousetravel DIS Veteran

    Oct 16, 2007
    Joining in on your TR!!!
    We were there around the same dates, and by looking at your schedule, we were at MK the same day you were!!!

    Can't wait to hear more!!
  8. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Aug 10, 2008
    Of course, you know I am in!! :cool1:
  9. marDgreen88

    marDgreen88 DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Yay!! I'm here, of course!
  10. MiaBella05

    MiaBella05 DIS Veteran

    Oct 7, 2006
    popcorn:: joining in popcorn::
  11. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2008
    Joining! Interested to see how things went with toddler Gavin compared to your last TR.

    Oh, and congrats on the Annual Passes!
  12. Feberin

    Feberin Mouseketeer

    Apr 6, 2014
    I read your last trip report and am excited to read this one. My daughter is a month older then your son and we also just returned after driving from MD.
  13. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2011
    Joining in! Looking forward to hearing all about your trip and the drive from Maryland! We live in the DC area and I've been contemplating about driving down to Disney on one of our future trips so I'm very curious to hear how all things went.
  14. Biggie Smalls

    Biggie Smalls Mouseketeer

    Apr 28, 2014
    Joining in!! Going with our toddler next year !!
  15. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

    Nov 6, 2010
    I'm here! Better late than never! It's taken me awhile to catch up since my trip, but I'm slowly getting there.

    Gavin's 21 months old?! What? I guess since I've been reading your TR from when he was 9 months old, I forget how quickly time passes. From the sounds of your intro, though, that was a great age to take him to Disney. Your excitement in how wonderful your trip was has made me excited to read all about it! :goodvibes

    And YAY for being Annual Passholders!!! Isn't it the greatest? You just feel so happy knowing you have year-long access to the parks. :thumbsup2
  16. dtr_angel

    dtr_angel You're really cute, but I have no idea what you ar

    Jan 13, 2008
    The days leading up to our trip were nothing like the days leading up to our trip last May. I stayed organized, on top of our to do list and didn't feel stressed at all. In fact, I did some spring cleaning (those random things you don't do often like washing the shower curtain, etc) and cleaned the entire house top to bottom. Everything was packed and ready to go.

    We only had one minor pre-trip snafu (except for Gavin having the worst stomach virus but luckily he had fully recovered well before it was time to go!). DH and I have the same kind of vehicle - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limiteds. My Jeep pretty much became the family Jeep, we drove it every time all 3 of us needed to go somewhere together. This made no sense considering my Jeep is a V8 Hemi and his is a straight 6, but anyway... after Gavin outgrew his infant bucket seat I got the fancy convertible seat (the brand new Chicco Nextfit when it came out last April and I LOVE it) At that time we didn't invest in a second seat because it was so rare that Daniel needed to take Gavin somewhere in his Jeep. Eventually I ordered a cheap Cosco Scenara seat for $39 from Walmart as a "just in case" for his Jeep. Well we could not get it installed tight enough. I thought it was the brand of the seat, so I returned it and bought another Nextfit. Almost $200, but hey you can't put a price on safety. I knew I wanted the "better" seat in his Jeep anyway for when we drove to FL in May so at least we didn't have to play musical car seats before the trip. We had the same issue trying to install the fancy Nextfit in his Jeep. We knew we had to figure something out before the trip because it did not make sense to take my Jeep that averages about 12 miles to the gallon on a good day. Not that his is any better, but still. (In case any of you are wondering why we both drive such gas hogs we live in the mountains where it is practically winter 9 months out of the year. We both have jobs that require us to get to work not matter what the weather conditions are) We luckily found a program through the local Health Dept. that managed to get the seat installed safely in DH's Jeep in April. We were estactic! We had the oil changed and his Jeep got a clean bill of health for our upcoming trip. 2 days before we left we had an appointment to have it detailed. Silly to do it before it getting dirty on the road but we thought it would be more comfortable if his Jeep didn't smell like railroad and who doesn't love a clean car? I told him to tell them not to touch the car seat and figured they would probably just work around it. It's not like his back seat was that dirty anyway. Of course he forgot to tell them not to touch the car seat and they uninstalled it. Plus the cleanear they used on the leather seats made it very slippery. Did I mention that it took the lady that installed it a while and some fancy well placed pool noodles to get it in there correctly? DH was sure he remembered how she did it. We drove Gavin less than 5 miles to his dentist appt and Gavin kept pulling on his neck and saying "ow". I insisted it was not installed correctly. DH insisted it was. Needless to say we argued the entire way home from the dentist. I told him that I was not taking his Jeep to FL and we would have to take mine. DH was not happy and insisted I was over-reacting. I was serious. I told him if he could get the lady to look at it and tell him it was in there right, we could take it. Otherwise we could have to scramble the next morning and get my oil changed and gas it up (we had also already filled his tank up and mine was empty). He told me there was no way they would be able to work him in that day but I told him to call anyway. To our luck, the same lady was available to check our car seat out in an hour! HAH! I told you so! SO whew, all is well and we were set to leave the next day. ​
  17. alicat8

    alicat8 DIS Veteran

    Jun 17, 2013
    You quoted my daughter's former favorite book in your title! Grabbed my attention ;)
  18. dtr_angel

    dtr_angel You're really cute, but I have no idea what you ar

    Jan 13, 2008
    Thanks for joining in! There will be plenty of food pictures!

    Yay you're here! It was so much fun, I cannot wait to share!

    YAY thanks for joining! Everyday with a toddler is fun but of course Disney was extra special!

    Oh wow I wonder if we crossed paths and didn't know it! Thanks for joining in!

    You're also part of the story ;) Thanks for following!

    You're also part of the story ;) Thanks for making it over!

    yay thanks for joining in!

    Thanks for joining in. Thanks! We're so excited about going back again this year!

    I hope your drive with a toddler went as well as ours! Thanks for joining in!

    Hey thanks for following along! Driving was not bad at all, but we didn't drive through the DC area. It was a completely different experience driving vs. flying definitely a positive experience this time (December with an almost 2.5 year old could be a different story :rotfl2:)

    Thanks for reading! Hopefully you will learn a little something for n
    ext year :)
    Hey Alicia welcome back! I'm failing miserable at staying caught up on TRs since we've been back so you are doing good! It's crazy how time flies. The first year of his life went super fast but I think the second year is going even faster! It was such a great age to take Gavin. I'm so glad we decided to go as I think if we waited until December (at 2y4m) we would've missed this super fun stage he is in right now.

    I'm so excited about having APs but at the same time it makes me nervous. What if we end up not doing again before they expire? We didn't break even on our TiW card yet either. Here's to hoping nobody breaks a bone in this house this year :thumbsup2
  19. jedimeg16

    jedimeg16 Mouseketeer

    Jan 8, 2007
    Joining in! My boys were 34 months and 13 months during their first trip, so it will be fun to read about Gavin's adventures since I've only had younger and older than the really fun toddler age so far.
  20. dtr_angel

    dtr_angel You're really cute, but I have no idea what you ar

    Jan 13, 2008
    I have the entire book memorized! :thumbsup2 It's one of Gavin's favorites as well.
  21. alicat8

    alicat8 DIS Veteran

    Jun 17, 2013
    Me too!! It used to be our "last book before bed" every night. But now she has her own opinions, so I no longer get to pick, ha! Taking her on her first trip this summer-she'll be a little over 2. :)

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