Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DISNEY WORLD


OUR DISNEY WORLD EXPERIENCE


Per request, I am sharing our family's Disney World experience. This was our children's first time to Disney World & we were able spend this memorable time with other family members as well. Unfortuantely, this is not a "Disney on a dime, or Disney on a budget" post, but I do have some advice on how to save here & there. I would love to share with you guys our favorite things, parks, food, characters, hotel, & offer advice here & there about our trip. Our must do/see, & "whats worth it".

I will share our day by day itinerary, pictures, & advice as I go to give you all a better idea of what to expect, & hopefully offer helpful advice to those who would like to go to Disney World in the future.


Day One 
Magic Kingdom
 
Port Orleans riverside Disney hotel 
Bus ride to Magic Kingdom 
Christmas Trolley song & dance 
Meet Pluto and stitch 
It's a small world ride 
Journey of the little mermaid ride 
Enchanted tales with belle 
Tea cups ride 
Cosmic rays for lunch 
Tomorrow land speedway 
Carousel of progress ride 
Dinner at hotel restaurant 
Meet Ariel


We woke up pretty early Monday morning to make it to Magic Kingdom. When your staying at a Disney resort hotel they have buses that go to & from the parks every 20 minutes. However, we missed the first one & had to wait for the next one so we missed the "welcome show" which I hear is pretty cool. Its kind of like a parade as you walk in the park (from what I've been told), the park opened at 9 a.m and we got there about 9:30 a.m. The buses can get very crammed, so if your claustrophobic I would recommend waiting for the next bus if the first one is too full. Also, you may be rushing out of your hotel to catch that 8:40 bus to get to the park at 9, but truth is you may not get on that bus because sometimes there is a huge line of people & not enough space on the bus, not to mention you might have a slow driver, or the bus ride at least for us was about 15 minutes to get to the park. Better to leave earlier than planned if you want to get to the park right when it opens. 

According to the Disney World book I purchased off amazon for 12$....(worth it)
https://www.amazon.com/Birnbaums-2017-Walt-Disney-World/dp/1484737776/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483481365&sr=8-2&keywords=disney+world

We chose one of the least busiest times of the year to go November 27-December 2....let me just tell you that it was still busy in my opinion, and lines for rides were still over an hour long. I will NEVER NEVER NEVER go to Disney during their busy seasons, you wouldn't even be able to enjoy a trip in my opinion. The parks are very big though, and not super crowded feeling which is good. The book I listed above mentions all the restaurants, must rides, a lot of good information to help you plan accordingly.

If you want to get a picture in front of the castle without people behind it, your best bet is to book a breakfast in Magic Kingdom that is BEFORE the park opens, that way you get in before everyone :)

As we walked in there was a Christmas trolley, the dancers were magnificent & they were singing a Christmas song & dancing right there in the street. Yes, the park was completely decked out in Christmas, lights everywhere, christmas mickey ears, the whole deal! There was a huge Christmas tree at all the entrances to all parks, which were great for pictures.




We stayed at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Hotel.
The hotel itself was beautiful, the property is huge, it had like 4 separate bus stops. Now honestly for the money, I don't think we would stay at this resort again, only because we have stayed at Marriots & Hilton Inns with nicer rooms for HUNDREDS of dollars less. The room was just very small, no microwave which is a huge deal breaker for me because I love my heating pad, and my body ached like crazy from the whole trip. The mattresses made noise when you sat on them, but they were sleep able lol. I did really like the pull out bed that came out of the wall with the alligator from the frog princess movie painted on it for Matthew to sleep in, and the scenery is amazing. Ponds, greenery everywhere, hidden pools, easy laundry room access. There were several restaurants in the hotel, and a cafeteria. The huge pool was awesome, it had a totally gated in baby pool, hammocks, a slide, hot tub, bar. If your afraid of alligators, cross this place off your list, we didn't see any but there were ponds right next to where you walk on the sidewalks within a few steps, and signs everywhere saying beware. 


We were able to book Fast Passes 60 days in advance since we stayed on Disney property. However, my travel Agent was up bright and early & still couldn't get all our first choices, so don't get your hopes up. We rode "Its a small World" for our first ride. I wouldn't miss this one, yes its a slow ride, no thrill, just rides around. But its awesome to see all the different "worlds". Its super cute for the kids, very visual and a lot to look at. 


The voyage of the little mermaid was awesome, but we are mermaid lovers so we may be bias. The kids really got a kick out of that. I love the detail that Disney has put into the sound effects and the characters its amazing. The robot characters look real & really look like they are singing. This is also a non thrill ride.


I loved having a magic band, the food was charged on to it, these are what opened our hotel room doors, and we just scanned them at the front of the park to get in. So easy, and way better than carting your debit card, and tickets around. My mom & I ordered stickers from Etsy to put on our Magic bands to dress them up! 



Enchated Tales With Belle, its not a ride, but its on the fast pass thing. You walk through, & listen to a play. It was awesome. They choose kids out of the audience to play parts like "the beast, or lumineer" & they get to stand up there with Belle, They only let like 20 people in at a time so your kid has a big chance of getting in the play ;) Then Belle invites all the kids in the room to walk around with her, to take pictures with her and do autographs. Also when you first walk in they have a talking mirror and it turns into a door its seriously the coolest thing. So magical. 

PHOTOPASS 
If you don't get this and your spending the week at the park your crazy. You HAVE to get the photo pass. Any photo taken with any character, any place randomly throughout the park from a proffessional photographer they just scan your band and you get the photo, its worth every penny. They don't just take one photo,they literally take a ton at each place. Sometimes there is lines like by the Christmas tree or a pretty scenery spot but the lines were never more than a few people for us. All your pics are uploaded on the disney app and super easy to access them, you can also download them all to your computer. 


When you first walk into Magic Kingdom there are two character spots right there by all the shops in the center. The characters change every certain amount of time. Obviously we didn't wait in line long for Stitch and Goofy, however still a line lol. Also if your standing in line for over 30 minutes and Minnie mouse leaves in at 10, it doesn't matter if you have stood that long, she is still leaving at 10 and the person managing the line will inform you that your now waiting in line for someone else, you don't get grand fathered in unfortunately. It sucks, however Minnie gave Aurora a kiss as she walked away while we were still in line, so I guess that's okay. I used my autograph book from when I was 9, for the kids to get signatures. Matthew actually cared he's 4, Aurora could care less (1).


There is literally snack places almost every 40 steps if that. Ice cream galore that is for sure. We had the Delux dining plan, we actually ended up having 5 snacks to spare after 5 days, we just got water with them. Yes, you can use bottled water as a snack. The delux dining plan was worth it meal wise, but too many snacks. We also wasted snacks on specialty chocolate covered stuff lol. Also, this was snacks for 3 people for five days, plus Aurora who didn't count. Since she was 1, she did get a magic band, but she didn't actually have a ticket, or count for anything, she was free. We did add her on food reservations so they knew we would need a highchair. 


Tomorrow land speedway was super awesome, my four year old is just the average height of a 4 year old & there was literally maybe 4 rides total from all parks that he couldn't ride. I wouldn't suggest bringing a 3 year old or 2 year old thinking they can ride stuff like this though only because they won't be tall enough. However Aurora (1) really got to ride a lot of stuff since a ton of rides are just sit on and move around rides lol. We did a fast pass for this one, the line was always 30 minutes plus. This is like a go kart ride. 


Meeting Ariel at her grotto was another fast pass we did. This specific Ariel was so kind & fun! The kids really loved her! If your an ariel friend all ariel related things are a must because they are all worth it. 


THIS IS A MUST HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REGRET PURCHASE. I was advised by several friends to rent from Orlando Stroller Rental Company. You pick your drop off location & time and pick up location & time. They pick it up from your hotel and drop it off. It comes with a rain cover and a cooler. You can also purchase insurance for 20$ which is totally worth it since its like a 600$ stroller, and there are hundreds of people at Disney capable of stealing. It was like 110$ for 9 days to rent this. It was not hard at all lugging it around, the buses were super accommodating with strollers, this specific stroller folded up extremely easy. There is stroller parking at every single ride with a Disney worker who kind of watches over them. I wasn't ever worried about the stroller. It was with a TON of other strollers parked nicely. So much space for parking. Just park & ride! & if you think your four year old wont ride in it, your nuts, even my over active kid wanted to sit in it over half the time. The seats reclined all the way back for naps too. This is the city mini double stroller GT wheels. 

Also, I would have brought like an ergo or tula to carry Aurora in. Because when your waiting in the lines without a stroller with a one year old, it kind of sucks chasing them around, obviously they don't stand in line still. I would suggest getting a mommy hook for the stroller if you don't already have one, it holds bags and stuff. The under carriage had good space too. 

The teacups and the typical mall carousal have like 10 minute wait times, so just wait, and let the kids enjoy. 

Cosmic Rays
We ate lunch at Cosmic Rays in Tomorrow land for lunch. It was good, and fast. Hamburgers, chicken fingers. The line for the chicken drumsticks was super long so we didn't wait in that one but I hear those are awesome. 

Dinner at Hotel Cafeteria 
The hotel cafeteria had several options like sandwich, Italian, desserts, hamburgers kind of like a mall cafeteria. I had pasta & enjoyed it :) When you book through the disney hotels you get a free travel mug, you can refill it as much as you want at the hotel, catch is you can't use it at any of the parks, yes stupid I know. 

Carousal of Progress ride
This ride was cool. I felt kind of trapped lol but I have anxiety so...yeah. Anyway you just slowly move from slide to slide watching robot people evolve over time. I wouldn't suggest it for kids, they actually fell asleep :)
FAST PASSES
Now I know what you may be thinking "They only rode like 4 rides"....yeah that is all we had time for! We left the park at around 8 p.m. Walking from area to area is a crazy long walk. I would suggest booking fast passes near each other or at least try to, that way you can ride all those rides close to one another and then move on. There is like four separate places in magic kingdom. Like Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, so on. Also the earlier you get the fastpasses done the more rides you can ride. For us, it seemed like every night the fast pass selections ended around 6 p.m so you couldn't select anymore after that. If you use all three of your fast passes then you can book one more, once you ride that one you can book one more and continue until the end of your day. We never seemed to get all the fast passes done fast enough to book anymore, only a few times! A little trick I found out pretty quick, when your selecting a fast pass on the app, you just pick how many people are riding and it shows you all available rides and times at the park your at, however if you don't like what you see, refresh the page, go back and enter in the amount of people again and it will pop up with new rides and new times. Sometimes if I wanted to ride something bad enough I would literally refresh 20 times plus till I found the ride and time I wanted. People are constantly canceling, and changing fast passes, so don't get your hopes up if you didn't originally get the ride you wanted at the 60 day booking mark because it will show up eventually (unless its frozen or mine train) those literally never showed up no matter how many times I refreshed haha. So yes I've heard Seven Dwarf Mine train (roller coaster) is a MUST, and we weren't willing to wait in over an hour line so we didn't ride it, that was the only ride at Magic Kingdom that we didn't get to ride that we wanted to ride, so make that a fast pass priority when booking, because it won't show up on the refresh, no one cancels lol. This is one of those things that I did appreciate booking at a Disney hotel for, because if you aren't at a Disney hotel you can only book fast passes 30 days in advance not 60 days. & if our first choices were already gone at 4 am at our 60 day mark, I can't imagine whats left over at 30 days. The fast passes are super awesome, for example our fast pass time for little mermaid ride was 11:15-12:15 that means you can show up ANYTIME between that time, and they are also nice and everyone that we encountered gave us a 15 minute grace even when we were late. So you had a whole hour to get there, to each ride. You don't wait in a line you just walk up to the fast pass entrance not the regular wait entrance and scan your band and off you go!

If you have little's, don't expect to spend the entire day at the park without a fit being thrown or someone falling asleep. I had unrealistic expectations of the kids. We didn't get to see the fireworks because the kids were literally just DONE by the time 7 p.m rolled around, it was awful. I would suggest taking breaks in the middle of the day and coming back to the park. The kids just get overwhelmed and get to a point where they don't want to walk, they don't want to ride, and they don't want to be held they just want to leave. Yeah, its the happiest place on Earth, but my 4 & 1 year old weren't having it, they were exhausted. 

My Disney experience APP 
This is an app on your phone, it shows all your reservations, food, hotel, fastpasses, it holds all your photos, it has maps, GPS, shows all the ride wait times (make sure to refresh for accurate wait times). Make sure you download it on your phone, don't use the GPS it doesn't work in our experience lol, you'll end up at the other side of the park and be running to get to you ride that you have a fast pass for hehe. Also, even if the wait time says 20 minutes, I waited for 8 minutes at one that said 20....so they aren't completely accurate but close. 














Monday, November 4, 2013

VOTE FOR MATTHEW....Gerber Photo Contest!!


All you do is login to facebook, "like" the Gerber facebook page & follow one of their posted links to the Gerber Photo Contest 2013 :) Type in Matthew, Woodstock, or the Entry ID!! Please!! You can vote everyday for him, if you really want too :) 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Wedding....July 26 2013....Number Two :)













































Once again, please feel free to ask me where anything is from or if you have any other questions :)