Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Destination Disney

A few months ago when Winter Break was a distant week on our school calendar we did a little family brainstorm session to see where we should plan to go. The majority of the family voted to go skiing. Snow is such a rare treat for our kids so the lure of it is strong. L.C. was slightly disappointed because her vote was Disney World.

Fast forward through some planning, and we quickly realized B.C. was slightly too young for a ski trip. We knew she wasn't ready for skis quite yet, but most resorts don't offer kids club services until children are at least two and a half. So we regrouped and determined that with everything else we have planned for the rest of year, the magical world of Disney was probably our best option. Our kids had a blast visiting last Winter break, and we knew the moment we strolled up to that infamous castle there wouldn't be a single disappointed one in the bunch.

Our vacation planning decision worked in our favor because it was the week of Thanksgiving and we found an awesome Black Friday deal from Visit Orlando. Some of our good friends were planning on going as well so we booked the same resort and we were all set for some magical Winter Break fun.

After a cold, and somewhat snowy winter, we were more than happy to head south to warmer temps and magical wishes when the time came a few weeks ago. We gladly packed our bags full of swim suits, sun screen, our mouse ears, and didn't look back.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

We arrived mid-day into Orlando and checked into our home for the week, Disney's Art of Animation Resort. The friends we are traveling with are Disney pros so I didn't do one bit of research before about the hotel. Anyone we mentioned it to when asked where we were staying gave it rave reviews.

I had no clue what to expect, but the moment you step onto the property it is a kid's Disney dreams come true. It is a huge resort and has several different sections, each designed after some of the more popular animated films (Cars, Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid).

I booked directly through the resort and they had told me they had availability in The Little Mermaid section. The girls were beyond thrilled about this. Due to the magic of Disney I was able to check-in our room via the Disney app, and we were able to drive straight to our room entering the property.

I'll admit when we first saw the room, I think Mr. Cute and I were both a little nervous. It was much smaller than we anticipated. As a family of five (and a whole lot of crazy) we tend to like to spread out a little bit. I also am a little OCD about traveling and like to unpack everything. With no closets and only three drawers to split amongst five people I was a little panicked.

Mr. Cute and Cute were more concerned with the fact we were sleeping in a room that look like The Little Mermaid threw up on every surface, and were ready to bail to the more manly Cars section. We decided to give it a try for a night before heading off to Radiator Springs (and more space).

In the end it was fine. 

Was a little tight for five people? Yes. 

Were we there only to sleep at night? Yes.

And that's why it didn't matter in the end. I checked my inner OCD and we just lived out of a suitcase for the week and made sure to stack them at least neatly each day when we left.

Some of our favorite parts of the resort were the fun characters and details in each section. You really felt like you stepped into parts of the movie. There were three pools on the property as well, and each one stayed true to its theme as well. It was so much fun and the kids LOVED it!

Bring on the Magic

Because we arrived mid-day we decided we just couldn't wait to let the fun begin. We hopped on the first bus from the resort to the Magic Kingdom and let our three kids unleash all that unused energy. 

We were nervous about how the crowd would be considering it was a holiday (President's Day), but it was actually pretty pleasant. After last year's Fast Pass fiasco, I made sure we were all set with passes entering the park this go around. 

The kids were so excited to ride some of their favorites and some new to them rides. Barnstormer was  first up since it was hands down their favorite ride from last year, and it still ranks in the top this year. It might have been a favorite of Mr. Cute too.

Then we made our way to make all of Baby Cute's dreams come true...

Minnie Mouse is her favorite and while she didn't really get what Disney was she totally understood her favorite Mouse and all her pink and puppy goodness. She was beyond excited to see Minnie in real life.

Behind Barnstormer I would say the next favorite ride The Cutes talked about was the Buzz Lightyear one in Tomorrowland and that still rings true this year too. This year I was prepared for the photo opp and had a little fun with it.

Then we chatted up Buzz himself.

After this the boys and the girls made our way to the Pirates of Caribbean before splitting up for the night. L.C. determined she was on a princess mission and first up on her tour was Belle.

We didn't get to see Belle last year, but after visiting this year I would say it was one of my favorite character encounters. I love how you get to play a part in the story of Beauty and the Beast while waiting and that Belle does a ton of audience interaction as well. So much more fun than the typical stand in line and quick chat/signature/photo session with a character.

After we wrapped up our princess fun we met back up with the boys for a few more rides, and night time fun.

We skipped the fireworks and Happily Ever After show because while the whole park was watching that we were able to ride three rides with less than a 5 minute wait. Totally one of our smarter Disney moves, especially with small impatient children up way past their bedtime.

We wrapped up the evening with a little bubble blaster fun and my personal favorite - a pineapple Dole Whip. YUM!

(Side note: Someone mentioned that you can make these at home with this mix. Have you tried it? Does it taste just as good? Is it easy to make? This is information I need!)

That wraps up our first day at Disney. Check back in tomorrow for a peek at our second day to the Animal Kingdom!

What's your favorite Disney park? 

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1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read about your other days. We are thinking of going to Disney next year and will have a 4, 6 and 8 year old and I'm a little worried about them being cranky with the crowds and heat!