After a week surrounded by Disney magic, it was tough coming home. I’m not gonna lie – I wanted to stay at Disney World forever. But Christmas waits for no man, and we had a lot to do to get ready without much time to do it! We managed to squeeze in playing with friends, baking, decorating the gingerbread house, and wrapping gifts. The kids reprised their roles as angel and wise man for the Christmas Eve tableau at church and though we missed having grandparents with us we enjoyed cheese fondue and Christmas crackers before bed. With each tradition we replayed, from baking cookies to sitting on the steps waiting to be let into the living room on Christmas morning, Lola would exclaim “This is my favorite part of Christmas!” And I totally agree with her.
Despite the fact that we were at Disney World for 6 nights, we only spent 2 days in the parks. The rest of the time was spent relaxing by the pool and exploring the resorts. Our best new discovery this trip was Winter Summerland miniature golf!
. . . and we ate, and we ate, and we ate! We ate at Fort Wilderness with the zany Hoop Dee Doo Review, enjoying buckets of fried chicken and ribs with all the fixins (and pasta marinara for the vegetarian children) though the kids were laughing too hard to eat much. We ate at the Polynesian with hula and fire dancers and flower leis. We ate at the Grand Floridian with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and the step sisters. We ate pizza on the Boardwalk with twinkling lights and carnival games and street performers. We ate chocolate croissants for breakfast and had so many desserts that we couldn’t eat them all. Each meal was different, each an event in itself. I may never eat again!
After a day off to rest (and a quick trip to Tampa to visit Cigar City Brewing) we visited Epcot for the first time! Fletcher actually said his favorite ride was at Epcot (Mission:Space) but Lola wasn’t a big fan – lots of simulators and scary things. Raymond and I mostly thought it felt dated and odd . . . but we did enjoy the Nemo ride, Spaceship Earth, and Maelstrom. We were able to get a quick photo with Pere Noel in lieu of our regular Santa pictures, and we ate a pretty decent chocolate crepe, but overall we were not that impressed – until dinner, that is. The entire point of our visit to Epcot was to eat dinner with the princesses, something Lola Gray has been wanting to do for ages! We were met at the door by Belle, who had photos made with the kids before we were seated. Then we were visited at the table by Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel. Each took time to talk with the kids, sign autograph books and pose for photos. Snow White mentioned that she remembered Lola from our visit 4 years ago, and Ariel (our hands-down favorite encounter) explained why we had seen her the day before with her mermaid tail but at dinner she had legs! Lola’s face was absolutely glowing. They even brought her a special birthday cupcake to cap off the meal. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – and the food was good to boot!
After dinner we stuck around long enough for fireworks, then headed home exhausted. I don’t think we will revisit Epcot on our next Disney trip, but I’m glad we were able to give Lola her special princess dinner.
The first full day of vacation was spent in the Magic Kingdom, and magical it was. We arrived right as the gates opened at 9am, and planned to take full advantage of the “extra magic hours” and stay until the park closed at 1am! It turns out that was overly ambitious . . . .by 10pm Lola was beyond pooped!
The park was crowded, but lines were short and we never waited for long. We hit all our favorites like It’s A Small World, Dumbo, the Teacups and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. We met tons of princesses and other favorite characters – Lola even got to take part in a play with Belle! With some encouragement from Fletcher, Lo gave the Goofy roller-coaster another try but hated every second of it so we sat out while the boys rode Space Mountain.
We added a few new rides to our list of favorites this trip – unexpected favorites that I never would have tried without Fletcher’s insistence. The first was the People Mover in Tomorrowland, which seems unassuming at best but really gives you a great vantage to view the entire park. Then there was the obnoxiously loud Tomorrowland Speedway, which was so fun we rode it twice back to back! Based on the driving skills exhibited on the speedway track, I can only say I fear the day these kids get their drivers licenses!!! And finally, the new Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas, which sent the kids on a series of treasurer hunts through Adventureland. Give Fletcher a map and he is one happy boy, but add in secret, interactive Disney magic and he was on cloud nine.
We stayed long enough for the Main Street Electric Parade and then dinner and fireworks before heading home to collapse into bed. It was a full and perfect day.
As an early Christmas gift for the whole family, we just spent a whole week at Walt Disney World! It was amazing. Magical. We spent one day in the Magic Kingdom and one day at Epcot, and the rest of the week we just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We spent one whole day lounging by the pool and participating in the fun and games of the resort’s daily pool party. Lola won the hula hoop contest with ease!
We are in such a sweet spot with the children right now – they are old enough not to need naps or diapers or to worry about meltdowns, but young enough to still believe wholeheartedly in the magic of Disney. We had such a wonderful time together – and that time was the best gift of all.
There were so many photos I decided to break them up into a few different posts, but here are a the first bunch from around the resorts.