Thursday, April 18, 2019

Our 2019 Disney Trip

Our Disney Trip

It will be such a cherished memory forever. We had honestly such an amazing time, just writing about it is making me so happy to relive everything. Cannot wait to go back. We are thinking in a few years we will again. There will be some awesome park additions by that time. Adam is looking forward to Star Wars Galaxy's Edge of course :) 

I realized I haven't blogged in forever, and I have been wanting to journal about our trip, so it was time to do a blog post on it. I'm breaking it down by day. This is more of a trip report and not a tips and tricks post. There are enough of those out there anyway. 

Day 1 
Travel day
Flight went great. We flew Delta out of Minneapolis. No delays or issues. Thea being 8 months and a crawler of course didn't want to sit still for 3 hours, it took some effort to entertain her. I had her in my Lillebaby carrier most of the time, and she did fall asleep for the last hour or so of the flight. We landed in Orlando during that golden hour before sunset. So happy. Got on the Disney express bus and had a beautiful 30 minute ride to the resort while the sun was setting. Really set the precedence to a beautiful trip. Didn’t use the luggage tags because we felt it was worth the extra 5 minutes to grab our own bag. This way we knew it would be with us when we arrived. I've heard if you use Disney's tags, the luggage takes 3 hours to get delivered to your room.

We did a split hotel stay this trip. We stayed Pop century for the first half. It’s very fun and lively. Love the smell of the lobby... What a delectable happy smell. In fact, when I got home from the trip I found wax warmers through this Disney site and they smell the same! I've been using them at home ever since. Food court area was packed, but the food we had was good! Adam and I had chicken parm, Mira had chicken strips. They have a ton of cool looking cupcakes. Of course Mira got about one per day on this trip. But do you think she ate more than a bite? Nope…

Our room was just as I expected, maybe a little better. I ordered some food/drink essentials (cereal, milk, granola bars, etc. oh and formula) from amazon prime and Instacart while I was on the bus. The food was delivered a couple hours after we got there. This is so slick and honestly addicting. We got a preferred room here and got building 10/70’s. Close walk to the lobby and pool without having to deal with all the commotion.

Got our stroller from kingdom strollers and it was perfect! It was a city mini GT. It was clean and seemed barely gently used.

They provided us with a Pack N Play for Thea. I'm glad I brought her sound machine! As expected, this resort has a lot of kids on school trips and what not so lots of random running down the halls and doors slamming. Noise maker is really helpful for not only the kids but for us too. 

Also it gets chilly at night! I had a light sweatshirt and pants on and I was cold. We did the normal thing where we shut all the lights off, and one of us goes down to the bar to get drinks, and comes back so we can drink them in bed with each other and quietly talk. Haha. This is parent life.

Day 2
Magic Kingdom day! 
It was a beautiful warm day. It was around 80 or so. We of course got going later than I hoped but after having to get settled in from arriving the night before, I decided to not set the alarm. We got to the park around 10. I had fast passes for Space Mountain, 7 Dwarves Mine Train, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Mira met the height requirement for all of them. She loves coasters at Valley Fair and Nickelodeon World. But was it a mistake to have Space Mountain as our very first ride? YES. Haha. Mira was pretty scared and a tiny bit traumatized afterward. Of course I was bummed because Space Mountain has always been my favorite. Luckily I redeemed myself when she rode 7DMT. She absolutely loved it. Oh and did I mention she gets to ride everything twice because of rider swap? Total win. Pirates of the Caribbean all 4 of us got to go together, it's such a staple ride. I mobile ordered Peco's Bill so we didn't have to wait in line. Sooo difficult to find a table here. Finally a family waved us down to signal they were leaving in a minute. The food here was okay. The toppings bar is pretty cool though. Then we went around Adventureland and Mira and Adam did a couple "little" kid rides with Adam that had shorter lines. Meanwhile, I took Thea, walked around to take a few pictures, and got myself a Dole Whip Swirl. SO GOOD. Oh and I use this time to look for fast passes. We did Barnstormer, a couple princess meets, and the tea cups ride. We were having so much fun I totally forgot I made a dinner reservation for Be Our Guest. I immediately called and asked for them to switch the reservation to Thursday and not charge me the penalty. And it worked :) It was now around 6:00 or so and the park started to get pretty busy. We walked around a little more and decided to skip the fireworks and head home early, it was probably around 7. Of course we couldn't get past all the cool glow toys without getting Mira something. Got a pizza from the food court and tried to get the girls to bed early-ish. Tomorrow is an early day.

Day 3
Hollywood Studios
I'm me and my kids are half Wahouske so naturally we did not get going on time. Park opened at 8 and we got there around 8:15. We should've got there by 7:30 if we wanted to get in any normal spot in lines. It was 8:15 and the line for Slinky Dog was a mile long. Maybe a half mile, but still, it was a 110 minute wait already. We met some Toy Story characters since the lines were short, did Alien Saucers, marveled at Slinky Dog, then went off to do our fast passes (we had a Slinky Dog one for later). Star Tours - Mira was obsessed with. We did a bunch of Star Wars stuff like Jedi Training (such a cool experience for Mira). Oh and this morning was cold and WINDY. In fact, it didn't really let up the entire day. Mira and Adam did Tower of Terror. She was again, traumatized. I get it, I don't like rides that make me float either. I opted to not use the rider swap and skip it. When Mira and Adam do rider swap this is the time I either change or feed Thea, or both. It really works out. Mira also got to meet more characters; a lot of Disney Jr. ones. It was also cool to have a front row spot to an impromptu Storm Trooper/Star wars crew processional. At around 3:30 we decided to go back to the resort to warm up, take a nap. Luckily Thea had warm fuzzy blankets on her. The girls didn't want to nap, but we just hung out in the room. We went back to the park to do our Slinky Dog FP. Rode it a couple times, then decided we were too cold to enjoy being in the park any longer and had an early night again. Bus back to resort, food court, then bed.

Day 4
Animal Kingdom
Again, wanted to do 8 AM rope drop, but didn't get in until 8:15. This was okay, though. We had good fast passes anyway. We went to the Kilimanjaro Safari and there was no line. It was a good time to do it this early because all the animals were out and about. Another cold morning though. Mira and Thea wore their winter hats and mittens with fleece sweatshirts. I think it was in the high 40s in the morning and warmed up to low 50s in the afternoon. It was sunny though, and the park was quiet. I was just wanting a scarf for myself but couldn't find one anywhere. We grabbed some coffee and then went to It's Tough To Be a Bug. Another walk-on attraction with a short line. Then I had FPs for Everest. Adam did rider swap first with Mira. She was a little scared and didn’t want to go again, so I went by myself. SUCH a fun ride! Mira didn't like the Dinosaur! ride either too much. It's loud and jerky. We opted to not use rider swap for that either. We went over to Dinoland. Cute little area for kids. Mira got her face painted and rode a couple kiddy rides. Then it was time for Flight of Passage FP. This ride had so much hype. You know what? The hype was all. worth. It. Of course we used rider swap; Mira loved it. I loved it. I think I even got teary eyed. Couldn't wait for Adam to go and turned out he loved it too. While Adam and Mira were on it I mobile ordered Satu'li Canteen. The food was ready by the time they were off the ride. DELICIOUS food. Now that we used our 3 FPs I decided to grab another. I snagged another Flight of Passage for the evening. If you don't know Disney, this is super lucky! FOP twice (and 4 times for Mira) in one day. I need to get a lottery ticket. We decided to take the bus back to the resort to rest and warm up again and were excited to come back and see Pandora all lit up in the dark. It is SO cool. So cool. We all did FOP again; such a good finale to our night. The ride is even better the second time. Bus back to resort, food court, then bed.

Day 5
Might be my favorite? It's hard to choose honestly. Had a character breakfast reservation at Boardwalk Resort. Delicious food. Great character interaction too. And UM I want to stay at this resort next time. Took the boat across the lake to the entrance of Epcot (super slick - don't even have to collapse the stroller). Again, I had 3 Fast passes. But honestly the rides were kind of lame here. We did Spaceship Earth. Cool ride, but like don't need to do it twice. Adam opted to skip his rider swap. Then we did Soarin'. There was tons of hype over this too and turns out, it was kind of boring. Pro tip: If you do Flight of Passage, Soarin' will be a snooze fest comparably. Adam agreed. While I was on Soarin (alone because Mira didn't want to go again), Adam took Mira to the Nemo ride. She was kind of meh about that too. While they were finishing up Nemo I went and grabbed some lunch for Mira at this stand that had tons of health food. Epcot food rocks. I knew once we started getting food from the other countries Mira would be having none of it. We had a FP for Mission Space, but my gut told me to cancel it because of the type of ride. I just know Mira wouldn't like it. I replaced it with Test Track for later on. Mira met a TON of characters. And there were either short lines or we used Fast Passes. Our fast passes here got all over the place, I think there was a point where all 3 of us each had a different fast pass haha. Then we went around the world. MY favorite part. Adam's too. Ate a ton of good food. And lots of drinks. It was festival of the arts so there were a lot of artisian pop up booths that had unique, inexpensive dishes and drinks. France was my fave, Japan was Adam's fave. Mira loved Japan too. When we got to Mexico it was now getting dark and we were hungry (read: hangry). But Mira was throwing a fit about something and was not calming down. As much as it killed me to not get to eat in Mexico, we decided to head back to the resort. Oh and it was our second resort now; Coronado Springs. So pretty here. And we loved our room, and again it was a short walk to the lobby/food court. We ate at the CSR food court, a nice change of pace because they had Mexican. Mira needed to just get to bed. Hey, up until now, we made it 5 whole days without a breakdown.

Day 6
Magic Kingdom (again)
We aren't morning people so naturally we didn't make it to 9 AM rope drop again. We got in around 9:30. Today the security lines were SUUUUPER long, like taking a half hour to get through. Adam took one for the team and said give him the backpack so I can go through the stroller only line (which doesn't require getting looked through). We went to the bathroom, mapped out our morning, and then Adam was finally in. We did Under the Sea all together, then the fast passes this day got shifted around a ton, both by me and disney. We did Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion. Jungle Cruise got axed because it temporarily shut down. We did our Be Our Guest reservation. The food honestly sucked and it was so overpriced. But being in the Beast's castle was so flipping cool, I couldn't even be mad. It was hot again today, 80 degrees or so. We learned that Mira doesn't do well with long days without a break so we went back to the resort and utilized the awesome pool and waterslide. All 4 of us went for a swim. This resort is so much quieter than Pop Century, and the grounds are so pretty they make you feel like you're on a real vacation, not at a Disney summer camp. I want to stay here the whole time next time. So glad we fit in pool time. Magic Kingdom had extra magic hours this day so they were open until 10 PM instead of 9. So we got dressed and went back. We got a decent spot to watch the fireworks. Adam saved our spot and I mobile ordered Casey's Corner mac and cheese hot dogs to snack on during the show. So good. Fireworks were spectacular. It will ruin us the rest of our lives. And honestly I teared up during the fireworks. I can't believe it. The music, the story being told, soaking in the moment of being with my family, having a pinch me moment that I am finally back here after 10+ years. So many feels. After the show we wanted to utilize the extra time and Mira ACTUALLY wanted to go back on Space Mountain. I was thrilled! We had a blast. And the line was only 5 minutes. Naturally this is when Adam will change and feed Thea, but she fell asleep. We walked around and enjoyed the quietness and magic of the night. We did It's a Small World and a couple others. Then it was 10:00. Time to go! I got us some food court food to go back at the resort and then it was time for bed.

 This is the day that I decided I am now a Disney Koolaid Drinker. Everything went off without a hitch. Practically no hiccups. Adam and I didn't fight (I say this because we witnessed sooo many couples bickering), Thea was an honest to god angel baby, Mira had one tantrum, but otherwise was good. And everything felt magical. Sad that this was our last Disney park day but we at least had one more day at universal.

I hadn't purchased the universal studios tickets yet because I could not decide if I wanted to do the Islands of Adventure side or Universal or both. I looked at the weather forecast and it was supposed to rain all night and through the morning until 10 AM. I made the decision to just get Universal tickets because I figured we could use the rainy morning to sleep in.

Day 7
Universal Studios
The rain actually stopped around 9 AM. I got room service (because I can't believe we've almost gone the whole trip without getting Mickey shaped waffles!) Then we took an Uber and got there around 9:45. The sun came out and it was another nice day. 70's this time. Bag check was a lot more lenient here than Disney. The park was practically empty too. We did Shrek 4D and a few other rides. Of course I had to do The Mummy, my all time favorite ride. I went by myself because Mira was too short. I love how universal has Single Rider lines for all the rides. Adam went and loved it too. Then it was time for Harry Potter World (Diagon Alley)… we spent a ton of time there. For a park being so empty, HPW was pretty crowded. We ate at the Leaky Cauldron, and if you thought Be Our Guest was bad, this one takes the cake. Overpriced and not only bad food, but tiny portions. Terrible combination hahaha, usually it's one or the other. In fact, Adam thinks he got sick from this place. He had some sort of stomach bug later in the day. Mira got a Hermione wand from Ollivanders, Adam and I rode Escape from Gringotts. Fun ride! Then we decided we needed to explore the rest of the park. Honestly my Disney Koolaid was acting up because I was missing it. Universal isn't as clean, the cast members aren't as friendly, the theming is an afterthought or just non existent (but I will say they are on POINT with the Harry potter part). I loved it as a teenager for the rides but as an adult with children, I'm not too into it. Definitely a skip for next time. Mira loved the little kid area (it had like Barney, Spongebob, etc.) and then we did the ET ride. Oh and we also did the Transformers ride twice. IMO that one is better than Escape from Gringotts. I had fun. The park closes at 7 so we didn't have a ton of time. We got an Uber back at around 6:30, since Adam was feeling progressively more sick. Oh but I had to quickly run over and ride The Mummy one last time before we left LOL. When we got back I went to the food court by myself to grab stuff to-go. I don't think Adam ate much, he was miserable. 

We had an early flight the next morning and Adam still wasn't feeling well. Smooth nonstop flight again. And we got back on Day 1 or 2 of the Polar Vortex I think. What a slap in the face. Adam started to feel better that evening and luckily no one else got sick.

Random thoughts:
-One weird thing I miss from Disney; the sound of our magic bands scanning. I gained a weird comforting attachment to hearing that jingle. 
-I might be a unicorn but the crowds didn't bother me. I know it was January and not the busiest time of year, but doesn't mean there aren't still a lot of people there. I went to look at the crowd levels posted after a few days and turns out I can't tell the difference between a crowd level 6 and 10. It's like trying to tell the difference between -5 and -25 degrees. 
-I planned on buying a bunch of souvenirs, and a lot of christmas ornaments. But turns out ornaments are $25 a piece, even for simple ones. They only go up from there. Dangit, Disney. 
-Obviously I'm biased, but age 5 is the best age to take to Disney! Mira was in the perfect spot to still believe in all the magic, everything was so novel and big to her, yet she can roll with Adam and I on all the big rides (and maybe get scared on a couple). I LOVED being able to see the magic through her eyes. Pretty soon, if not already, she is going to know there's a person inside that Princess Sofia costume. 
-Thea was also an awesome age to bring. Infants are so much easier to travel with than toddlers. She can hang out in the baby carrier or stroller and nap right there. She's not antsy yet; all we have to do is give her a plastic spoon and she has her entertainment for the next half hour. It also helps that she's just not a fussy baby. 
-We didn't do the dining plan and never will. I have a ton of reasons but the main ones being: you would have to book a sit down meal every day... and we quickly realized that wouldn't have been good use of our time and removing a lot of spontaneity. And second being it's just a ton of food, because each person in your party needs to have their own plan, so if you decide to split things you're gonna end up with unused meal credits. 

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