Travel > Disney World

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My (and the kids) very first trip to Disney World was in the summer of 2012. Faith was 6 and Drew was 2. They seemed to be the perfect age to experience Disney. We spent a week there with Holly’s parents. 1900 pictures later, our trip was complete. What a Magical place! I felt like a kid again. The parks were spotless, the food was fantastic, the rides and attractions were spectacular, and our resort was fantastic! We stayed at the recently opened Art of Animation. Our room was Nemo themed with a separate bedroom/bathroom (for Holly’s parents) and a main room with a pull-out couch, dining table wall bed, kitchenette, and an additional bathroom. It is designed to sleep 6 people. The other areas of the resort are Cars themed, Ariel, and Lion King. Each one has its own courtyard and swimming pool. The resort also featured shopping, dining, and an arcade. The transportation around Disney is impressive to say the least, from the bus service from the airport to the hotel, between hotel and the parks/down town Disney, and the monorail. There are constantly buses going back and forth and rarely did we need to wait very long for a bus to arrive at the stop. There is also a ferry boat, which we didn’t ride, from the parking area to Magic Kingdom. We decided just to enjoy one park each day instead of trying to hop between them and it turned out to be a good decision as once we got into a park none of us really wanted to leave.

click picture to view the day 1 album

Holly figured out our which parks we would do each day based on some research she did online. We got up early the first day and got to the bus for Animal Kingdom. One of the first things we did was the safari. We saw a bunch of animals: hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, elephants, and rhinos. After the safari, we saw a very large gorilla and Drew got to use a telescope to check out some other animals. We then took a train ride to The World of Animals. The kids got to brush goats and a small pig there. One of popular photo ops at Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life so we took a few pictures there. We did a buffet character meal for lunch at Tusker House. We met safari Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, and goofy. After lunch we did the Finding Nemo show, which was one of my favorite things at this park. It was a Broadway style show and very well done. It ended just in time to take in the daily parade. The next area we visited was the dinosaur area which featured a bone dig area and a Dino ride. We then met Pocahontas and took in the Lion King show. It was a great first day at Disney World.

click picture to view the day 2 album

Magic Kingdom was the plan for day 2. We walked right up main street when we got then and went through the castle. This is where we met our first Disney characters for the day: Cinderella's step mother and sisters and then the fairy godmother. The step-sisters were very interested in Drew, but he wouldn't go near them for a picture. After a ride on the carousel, we went on it's a small world ride then the teacups and Dumbo the flying elephant. We then went around the park on the train and had a snack: huge ice cream sundaes at Storybook Treats. Nearby was the Winnie the Pooh ride so we went on that and it was a very cute ride. It was then nearly lunch time and we had reservations at the castle. We got to meet Cinderella before going upstairs for lunch. During lunch, the Disney princes some around to each table. Faith was given a wand and Drew got a sword. The food was really good and the kids has build your own cupcakes for dessert. We explored more of the park and met some characters before heading to main street to get seats for the light parade and fireworks. Both of these were exceptional.

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click picture to view the day 3 album

For day 3, we headed to Hollywood Studios. Right away we got to meet Handy Manny and go the Disney Junior Live on Stage. Drew loved this. Next up was the stage show of Beauty and the Beast. We then went to meet some characters: Mr Incredible, Fro-zone, Winnie the Pooh, and Wizard Mickey. After that, we went to the Indiana Jones show and I got picked out of the crowd to participate as an extra. It was fun, but hot. So the kids had Mickey ear ice cream bars while we waited for the parade. The parade had a bunch of awesome characters from some great movies: The Incredibles, Bug's Life, and Toy Story. Muppet Vision 3D and Midway Mania were up next. Muppet Vision was a 3D show with the Muppet characters. Midway Mania was also 3D, but was a ride where you tried to have the high score. Each part of the ride was slightly different. For example, one of the you were shooting rings on pegs and another was popping balloons with darts. Coming out of that ride we got to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody. For one of our meals, we went to 50's Prime Time Cafe. The food was really good and the desserts were awesome (see the picture in the album). No one was brave enough to go on the tower of terror. In the evening, we headed to Fantasmic early to get a good seat. The show was fantastic (one of my favorites of the entire trip). It is a light, fire, and water show and includes a bunch of the Disney characters.

click picture to view the day 4 album

Back to Magic Kingdom for day 4, after sleeping in for a bit. Drew wore a shirt that Holly made that had Mickey Mouse suspenders and a red bow tie. He got so many looks and compliments about how cute he was. One of the first things we did was the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride. This was one of Jan's and Drew's favorite rides. We then did the jungle cruise and Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride. Near there was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse so we explored that. We then got in line to meet Tinker Bell. Faith wore her Tinker Bell dress that she received from Uncle Mike. We also got to meet Aladdin and Jasmine before heading to Huck Finn's island. After exploring that, we headed to main street for a bit of shopping and then to meet Mickey and Minnie. We left the park early because we had dinner reservations at down town Disney. Before catching a bus, we took the tram that stops at several of the Disney hotels and Magic Kingdom. Dinner was at T-Rex and it was delicious! It was really cool inside too. There are a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs and a large aquarium. I had the bone yard buffet and we tried a bunch of different desserts including a chocolate cake volcano. After we ate, Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to be stuffed dinosaurs at Build a Dino (which was right inside the restaurant).

click picture to view the day 5 album

The rainiest day of our trip was when we went to Epcot on the 5th day. We started with some of the indoor attractions like the aquarium and turtle time with Crush. Once the rain stopped, we went past the jumping water feature and started heading around to the different countries. We had character dining again at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. We got to meet Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty. Drew had Mickey Mouse shaped tortellini. We continued to make our way around the different countries before settling down for the evening entertainment: IllumniNations. It was another lights, fire, and fireworks show.

click picture to view the day 6 album

We had a mission our last day at Disney when we arrived a Magic Kingdom. We wanted to head right to Merida from Brave. Faith wore her Brave dress. The area was very cute with the three brother bears and kids being able to try shooting a bow after meeting Merida. We then hit a few of our favorite rides before heading to a character lunch at the Crystal Palace. It was Pooh Bear and friends. We had perfect timing after lunch to meet Pluto. We then went to the Laugh Floor with Mike from Monsters and did the Buzz Lightyear ride. After that, we took an elevator ride up to the astro orbiters which gave us a great view of the park and the castle. Next up was Autopia, which is basically go carts that follow a track. We did a few more rides (Peter Pan ride, it's a small world, and the carousel) before enjoying our last fireworks show of the trip.