Sunday, February 5, 2023

Our DisneyWorld round 2 trip: 2023

I don’t know why I do this but the weeks leading up to our trips I start to prepare myself for something to go majorly wrong. Like either the trip will have to be cancelled or it’ll pour rain the whole time or someone will get the stomach flu halfway through. My mind tries to convince me that nothing can go as perfect as I plan it. 

Well screw you, mind! Because it did go perfectly. It’s almost a shame it went so perfectly because now we’re all itching to go back. Despite saying “this will be the last Disney trip for a while” after we initially booked this. 

Our departure day went something like this: got to MSP at around 9:30 AM, plane left at 11:00 AM, then got to MCO at 3:30 PM.

Leaving MN!

My seat buddy!

Eating fruit and watching Casper

I remember looking outside when I got to the gate at MCO and saw the monorail with all the green grass and palm trees and I took a big sigh of relief and choked up a little bit. We are finally here. And it was beautiful out. What a warm welcome without even trying. We went downstairs to retrieve our stroller and it just never showed up. MCO couldn’t locate our stroller at first because apparently we were supposed to wait at the gate for it, but no one was there so we expected it at the oversized baggage as we’ve done on other trips. After talking to baggage, it was found and dealt with and after about 20 more minutes of waiting we finally received it. Totaling probably 45 minutes altogether. Mildly annoying and stressful but we were over it soon after. 

That issue caused us to miss the first sunshine flyer bus we would’ve been able to make, but have no fear, their buses come every 15-20 minutes and we only had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. 

Sunshine flyer is great and just like magic express was. It’s a really nice bus and they played classic cartoons on the little tvs. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful 86° evening. The girls requested to sit together in front of Adam and I and we heard them talking and giggling together, they were having fun. A core memory I’m sure.

We got to our resort, Port Orleans French quarter (we were the first stop) and the minute we got off and got our baggage, a bell services gentleman was right to our side asking to take our bags to our room. He put them on a hotel cart and walked with us to our room, while giving us a partial tour on the way. He was very nice and helpful; it was a great refresher on how superb Disney customer service is. After he brought our stuff to our room and left, Adam mentioned we should’ve tipped him. Shit. We only had a few bucks. Honestly we probably could’ve come up with $10 between the both of us but it just slipped our mind. We don’t get helped like this at hotels too often, and I thought it was just Disney being Disney. I hope to find this guy later and hand him some cash. 

Anyway, the girls were SO excited to be here. Jumping all over the beds and just having fun. Then they wanted to get their magic bands on that they’ve been so excited to wear. I love magic bands. They’re now $10 each but so handy. We can make all of our purchases with it, they store all our ride appt and reservation info, they’re our tickets to get into the parks, and more. The girls wanted to go swimming so bad, but it was dinner time and Adam was hungry. I mean none of us had lunch so we should’ve all been hungry but I’m sure their adrenaline was keeping them from noticing. We made plans to head to Disney springs because it’s an easy boat ride over. 

ordered an Instacart order and called the front desk to get us a microwave. I picked Instacart because I wanted to get a pub sub from Publix. I got a whole chicken tender sub and Adam and I would later split half of it, and then split the other half 2 days later. It was about 6:30 PM and dark now so we headed down to the boat launch to get to Disney springs. We actually ran into the cast member bringing the microwave up and said they can just set it inside the room. We stopped at the resort playground on the way so the girls could play for a few minutes and then went on our way. The boat was a small ferry and the ride was pretty cool at night. I’d say it was about a 15 minute ride tops. 

We got to Disney springs and everyone was so amazed by how big and vibrant it was. Hot air balloon, an erupting volcano, tons of marquees/signs and lights. You could smell all the delicious restaurants and hear music. The girls got excited. We got off the boat and Adam needed a pop asap. He was about to go low. I bought him a $6 coke from a candy shop. That’s right…. $6. Anyway. After that we decided to grab food at earl of sandwich. We had this in Disneyland and loved it. I got the holiday sub and adam got the club, and we got the girls a pizza bread thing to split. This was our test to see if having them share meals would work. Turns out Mira didn’t even like it at all so it was all Thea’s. She didn’t eat much either but you can bet they ate their dessert (cookies). 

We walked around a bit after that. They rode the merry go round (it was something like $3 a person to ride), we went in the Star Wars shop, then to uniqlo for adam to get some shirts (I got one as well). Uniqlo is a Japanese company and it’s the first time we’ve used one of those self checkouts that you just set the items down and it knows exactly what you got. I don’t know how it works!! Then there was some live music and a dance party going on the main stage outside. I’m a sucker for live music, so while Adam and Mira went into the world of Disney store, Thea and I went to the concert. She got up to dance (front row) and made sure I joined her. This was really fun! They were playing popular (non-Disney) songs with a salsa spin. Did I say this was really fun? 

Then we joined Adam and Mira at the Disney store and each girl got a souvenir (Mira got a stitch stuffy and Thea got an aurora barbie). I recognized the Aurora Barbie and mentioned to Thea she already had the same one. Both her and Adam said the one at home was “different”. We’d later come home to find out it was the same one….. anyway, Mira was getting tired and begging to sit in the stroller so we knew it was time to wrap our night up. It was around 9 PM now. We headed back to the boat launch and rode back to the resort. Of course we had to walk by the pool (which was still open) and both girls were begging to go. We had to remind them how tired they just said they were. By this time our Instacart order was delivered, so we picked it up from bell services to bring it to the room. 

Got to the room, got the girls Jammies on and teeth brushed and got them to bed. Adam and I had to try the chicken tender sub sandwich while it was still warm. Pretty good but I don’t get the hype. I stayed up a little later to prep for the next day. Just making sure I had the things I wanted to bring all in order. I was excited!

1/26. First park day: Magic Kingdom

We decided to sleep in somewhat. We had a late night at Disney springs so we all slept until 8 AM. I know getting up at the crack of dawn to rope drop is all the rage but we also value our sleep. We had some of our groceries for breakfast. The girls had cereal, Adam had the microwaveable egg bites, and I wasn’t hungry but made a coffee with the aero press I brought. Much better than the Cuisinart single serve pod machine. I also bought apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, dried tangerines, yogurt, and cheese sticks to have in the room for snacking. 

We got to the bus stop and had to wait about 15 minutes. It was sunny but slightly chilly but still all I needed was a tshirt and leggings. That’s perfect enough for me. 

I did get a little teary eyed the moment we passed through the gate. I didn’t even see the castle yet. Just looking around and seeing the main building, town square, train, and music piping gave me all the feels. I figured it was time to make our first ride selection, but I also wanted to simultaneously be present and take the castle in. We walked down main street, watched the dapper dans sing, and took some pics in front of the castle. It felt a little chaotic in the moment because it felt like a lot was going on and then Adam kept asking me where we are walking to. I just said relax, we have all day give me a second to collect myself and figure out what ride to book. I made the call to use barnstormer as our first lightning lane. It’s a smaller coaster we can all ride and would be a good starter ride for everyone. Thea’s first coaster ever and she loved it!

We then did dumbo standby (posted 10 minute wait but actual was about 30), but got a seven dwarves ride appointment while waiting in line! After dumbo I mobile ordered sleepy hollow waffles (one a spicy chicken and one a fruit/Nutella) and made a pit stop to get the girls Mickey shaped pretzels. Decided to change the mobile order pickup time and go ride seven dwarves first. The girls loved it! Begged to go on again. 

We went to get our waffles then made a ride appt for space mountain. Mira had been asking about that one (a girl after my own heart). So after eating we headed over to Tomorrowland. We stopped at the monsters inc laugh floor since we’ve never been on it. That was cute! For space, since Thea wasn’t tall enough, this was a rider swap. Adam and Mira rode first. I took Thea around to look at toys at the little stands and to just soak in Tomorrowland. Once they were done Mira and I went. Always love that ride! A childhood favorite. Afterward, buzz was just standing outside on a stage nearby so we took a few pics with him and then Adam and Thea joined us. We snagged another ride appointment for seven dwarves, then went on Pirates of the Caribbean. After pirates, we got dole whip treats (yum!) I got the tropical serenade which is a coconut dole whip, covered in POG juice, with a vanilla cake pop with coconut flakes. It was 10/10. Adam got the pineapple upside down cake and the girls both got raspberry dole whips (their favorite). We sat and ate these by the magic carpets ride and as Adam was throwing something away he mentioned there’s a small line to meet Aladdin and jasmine. We asked how long the wait was and I think the cast member said 20 minutes, so we waited. It wasn’t technically that hot but we were standing in the sun so it kind of was. It felt nice! After meeting them, we did the Swiss family tree house. I just love Adventureland. It’s so jungly, love the vibes, and it was bright and sunny it just was beautiful. After that we decided to do haunted mansion. Mira stopped at a pin trader spot right outside to trade a pin. I bought pins on Amazon this time so the girls could trade pins. There are stations with cast members posted up all over the parks and it’s just something fun to do!

Now Thea has actually done haunted mansion twice before; once when she was 8.5 months and once in Disneyland with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. She did just fine both those times. Well, this time she wasn’t as brave. I’m sure she’s just more aware and it was not themed after her favorite movie like the last time. She was terrified, that little sensitive girl. I hope I didn’t traumatize her but she did need a lot of hugging afterward, she cried into my shoulder a little. I feel bad. 

Luckily we had yet another seven dwarves appointment next and I knew that would make her feel better. Everyone was complaining a little about being tired and wanting to go back to the resort, but it was only about 5:00. Mira wanted to swim but it was only 68° at this point, as the sun was starting to get low. So we rode seven dwarves again and decided to head back to the resort under the premise that we will “probably” come back for fireworks. 

Well we didn’t come back for fireworks. We stopped at the resort food court, I got shrimp and grits, Adam got some creole burger, and the girls shared a large slice of cheese pizza. We also got this cool looking 50th anniversary raspberry cheesecake. Mira didn’t like the pizza but Thea gobbled hers up. We all shared the cheesecake and Mira got cozy in bed with her iPad and it got a little more chilly out. I think 58° or so. I put on my Patagonia and said we should go back to the park but Adam didn’t seem to want to deal with the logistics and Mira said she didn’t want to at all. So after coming to terms with that I said okay we will be able to see fireworks our other MK night. But it’s only 7:30 we should at least go find the movie under the stars. Mira wanted to hang back alone in the room. This is new but okay. 

Adam, Thea and I wandered around and couldn’t find the movie playing, so Thea went to the playground and played on that for a while. I asked a cast member and he said the movie was playing inside likely due to the cold. So we went in to catch it, then Mira called and joined us shortly after. They had coloring sheets for the girls to also keep busy too. Adam got some beignets and we just hung around while the girls watched and colored. The beignets are yummy and fun! They come with chocolate, caramel, and strawberry dipping sauces. 

Went back to the room and gave the girls baths, and lights out at about 10:20 PM. Then Adam and I showered and were in bed by 11. 

1/27. Second park day: Epcot

Epcot has a newer ride, a Guardians of the Galaxy coaster. And the only way to ride it is to get into the virtual queue at 7 AM sharp, or pay like $15 a person. We are no stranger to the virtual queue since we did it with Rise of the Resistance in Disneyland. So I set my alarm at 6:55 to get ready for the virtual queue. I had Adam get the world clock on his phone so I could look at the seconds countdown and boom, joined at 7:00:00 and got boarding group 73. I silently cheered of excitement! 

Adam went back to bed and slept another hour or so. I for some reason couldn’t fall back asleep. I went to go to the ice machine down the hall to fill up everyone’s water bottles for the day and took the scenic route to walk around the resort a little. Then the girls woke up, they and I ate cereal and Adam had his egg bites and went down to the food court to get fresh breakfast sausage. Adam and I made our aero press coffees and put them in the Mickey Mouse to-go cups that they provide. 

It was a little bit of a cooler day again today. High of 67°. The morning was something like 55° so I wore jeans, a tshirt and my Patagonia “light” winter jacket and the girls wore pants and sweatshirts. 

We got on the bus and got to the park around 9. It was chilly but sunny at least. We walked in and gazed at the big Epcot ball, then saw goofy and Minnie were doing meet and greets. Goofy’s line was short, probably only 5-10 minutes so we got in line for that one. After taking pics with Goofy we decided to start walking around the world. We started in Canada and made our way around, exploring the little nooks and crannies on the way. Took a lot of pics in the UK because it’s just so picturesque, then got a ride appointment for Remy’s Ratatouille in France. So we get to France, ride the ride, then ate some light fare (croissants, quiche, and a macaron). Yum! Epcot does this thing called “kidcot” where the kids collect a little passport at each country and get it stamped. Then they get a little suitcase shaped ziploc bag to put them all in. It’s something fun, in between pin trading, for Thea to do while we stop at each country. They started doing the passport thing in France. 

We also went during Epcot’s festival of arts, which was not by accident! We happened to go during FARTs on our last trip and fell in love. This is an awesome festival for food and drink and other entertainment. There are booths all over that offer creative dishes and drinks (keeping on theme with each country they’re located in) that are a foodie’s dream and also lots of different performances scattered around. The booths and entertainment don’t open until 11 AM so they were just starting to open around this time. 

Went to Morocco and walked around, then Japan. Went inside the large gift shop and got some Japanese candies. I snagged a ride time for the Frozen ride in Norway so it was good we were heading there next. 

Stopped to get Mira her easel painting cookie that she had been dreaming about since our last trip. Got one for Thea too. Mira made a cool design on hers and Thea cried because she thought her paint job was ugly in comparison. So Mira ruined hers a little to make her feel better, aweee, what a good big sister.

I looked on my app and noticed our Guardians boarding group was called. So we made our way to Norway to ride Frozen first. That was a cool ride. Thea got scared at the yeti part and couldn’t watch that though. 

We kind of skipped past the rest of the world in order to get over to guardians. I rode first since Adam had been going first on most rides. Thea was too short, so Adam took her on Mission space (the green side). And dude…. Guardians was the best ride ever!! I put it above all other rides I’ve ever ridden and am so excited we have a second Epcot day so we can ride this again. Mira agreed, she was so excited to ride that. That made our day. 

Then Adam rode with Mira next. While they rode, I walked around with Thea listening to some street performers that were playing tin trash bins as drums. Pretty cool. Then she was hungry so I took her in the connections eatery for some chicken strips and oranges. I let her get a sprite and she was so excited. 

After Adam and Mira were done (he loved it too, was now his favorite ride as well), we did Turtle Talk with crush. This wasn’t a ride but a little show. It was really fun! While we did this I booked test track. We looked around the turtle talk gift shop and Mira got a pin. She had been pin trading this whole time but wanted to add a couple stitch ones to her collection. Then we finally got to ride test track. Mira absolutely loved this ride and she couldn’t decide if she put it at the same level as guardians (it’s a cool ride but is she crazy?). Test track had this whole immersive experience after the ride was done. I had to dip out to go pee while Adam and the girls played around with all the car stuff. After the bathroom I hit up a festival booth and got scallops and a Riesling. Yum! 

After the girls got out I said okay, let’s go to Mexico. Mira said “what! Mexico! That’s far away.” Just being facetious. We walked over and went inside the pyramid, I waited in line to get myself an avocado margarita and Adam just said surprise me. Him and the girls looked around all the Mexican shops inside. The bar is a fun little area! I just got our drinks to go. Then we walked outside and made our way to Norway again as the sun was setting. Got ourselves the cult favorite school bread from the kringla bakeri and the girls shared a Mickey Mouse shaped cinnamon roll. The school bread was delicious. Adam walked inside the little building with the Norwegian swords and the girls followed him.

Headed over to china now and went inside that gift shop. Mira got a butterfly shaped hair clip and Thea got a Chinese fan. Then we walked toward Germany. Adam and I got in line at the festival booth here. He got the wild boar dish and I got a rosé cider. We really liked them both. Then I mobile ordered the famous pretzel bread pudding from the Germany quick service restaurant, Sommerfest. I thought it was good but not world class, Adam seemed to like it a lot more than me. Then we went to Italy and I got a moscato. Then we were at the American pavilion. Mira wanted to try one of those huge turkey legs so we got her one there. She didn’t like the outside skin so Adam had to eat that all off first 😆. As I’m reading this back it probably sounds like we were just super gluttonous and ate and drank constantly, which we kind of did, but also lots of time passed between each thing we ate. 

Then made our way to Morocco again where there was live music. A Moroccan group with a belly dancer. Thea was having a blast dancing to that. We stayed and watched for a while then decided to find a spot to plant for the night show, Harmonious. I heard this is a really good show so I didn’t want to miss it, despite Adam saying “do we really have to…” We found a little nook next to the water in Morocco and stayed there for about a half hour to ensure our spot. That was probably not necessary but at least we had a good spot. The show started at 9 and it was amazing! I love seeing the girls faces as they react to everything. 

After the show it was like a bunch of cattle leaving the park. The bus lines were long too. We were the very last to get on the bus and had to stand. Thea had fallen asleep on Adam so he had to hold her while standing, while also holding onto the handle to not fall. We got back to the room and admired the cute way housekeeping made the beds and decorated them with the girls stuffies and Mickey ears, put Thea to bed and then Mira went promptly after. 

To be continued for part 2….


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