This was a great morning. Maybe it was the best part of our quick trip. I don't know. It's hard for me to pick one moment of a Disney trip that is better than another... any time at Disney is a win. But this particular morning seemed to go exceptionally well for us.
We woke up early. Well, I woke up early. Then I dragged the rest of the family out of bed. We packed up our stuff and the car. For breakfast, we ate at the hotel cafeteria. It was meh.
After we fueled our bodies, we hopped in the car and drove over to the Animal Kingdom. The plan was to be there when it opened, run over to the new Pandora section, and get on one of the new Avatar rides.
We rested for a bit in the hotel room. Epcot was fun, but we needed a recharge before heading into the Magic Kingdom for the night.
Alright, enough cute young Riley for now.
*sigh* The Magic Kingdom in the fall is so beautiful. I love all the pumpkins and fall leaves. If only the temperature would cooperate and drop a few degrees...
There was a snafu with our Magic Bands at the gate. Something went terribly wrong at the hotel check in... Somehow, my sister-in-law was checked in and Stu was left off. And the rest of us were wearing the wrong bands. We put the Bands in my bag and used our Annual Pass cards to gain entry and for our FP+. No worries.
Since you are only allowed 3 FastPasses per day and we used 2 at Epcot, our only one left was for Buzz Lightyear. That's Riley's favorite ride (next to Splash Mountain - which is currently closed for refurbishment) at MK. And Buzz ALWAYS has a long line. Anyone can ride it, kids love it, grown ups like it... plan to wait or FastPass this ride.
While we waited, Riley and I rode the PeopleMover. This is one of my MUST dos. I love this ride. There is very rarely a line for it. It is long (8 minutes) and it is relaxing. Some of the funniest and best photos we have are from this ride. Want to see some?
That was fun. Good times. Now, back to the present.
We met up with Stu and Reagan. By this time, it was getting kind of late, so we went to the Starlight Cafe for dinner. It's across from the Tomorrowland Speedway. Riley had a tiny meltdown while waiting for the food. He told me he was done and just wanted to go back to the room.
Dinner perked him up though. So we powered through. Both kids wanted to drive the race cars on the Speedway. The standby line was about 30 minutes. We went for it. This was BY FAR the funniest thing we did the entire trip. Reagan and Stu were in the first car. Riley and I right behind. Riley could not see the road ahead, he had no idea there was a rail keeping all the cars in specific lanes. He kept trying to pass Stu and Reagan, which would smash us into the center rail and cause our car to jerk around. I think my back cracked a dozen times. I laughed the entire time. Riley screamed and yelled and laughed the whole time. Luckily, Stu had the foresight to video it:
Reagan and I rode Space Mountain together. Riley was tired and did not feel like trying anything else new. So he and Stu hung out. They went on Buzz again (no line because people were at the castle waiting for the fireworks), then they watched the fireworks from the PeopleMover.
And that pretty much ended our night. We left just as they were doing the slide show on the castle (that's super cool to see, if you haven't seen it before, plan to at least once). The bus was packed, but we made it.
It did not take long for the little Stus to pass out after their showers. Now it's time to rest up and get ready for Animal Kingdom!
And please don't forget to vote & vote often.
Every single time we go, we have fun. Every single time we find something new to do. This trip was like Riley's first time... he experienced a world of new rides, new resort, new food.
1. Set your child up for success!
Weddings are so exciting. Disney is magical. Smash the two together and you have an incredible experience!
No, I did not get married at Disney. It actually did not even cross my mind. My wedding was a classic, über traditional church ceremony followed by a fabulous, country club reception.
Both of my sisters got married in 2014. One eloped (smart girl, saved herself lots of stress and headaches). The other chose Disney as her venue. You may or may not know this, but we are Disney people. (I hope you know that.)
So, why am I writing this more than two years later?
I don't know.
Honestly, I am surprised that I have never previously written about that weekend. I am shocked that I didn't share anything from it on the site. Sure, I wrote about the Resort. We stayed at the Grand Floridian. And it definitely lives up to its name.
Better late than never?
It has been a few years since our last Not So Scary party. My mom decided she wanted to take her grandkids to Mickey's Halloween Party this year. Halloween is a BIG deal in our family.
After talking and planning for a bit, we narrowed it down to Grammie, me, the monsters, Jackie and Meghan. I spent a while on the phone with Disney to find a few nights available at the Fort Wilderness Cabins that corresponded with a party night. We booked for a Sunday-Tuesday. The Halloween party was Sunday night. Perfecto.
We had some time to kill before our cabin was ready. So, we drove over to Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf to knock some balls around.
I like this mini golf place. It's in the parking lot of Blizzard Beach. The theme is all about Santa, his elves and how they kill time in their off-season. Winter Summerland offers golfers two course options: winter or summer. We played winter.
Disney is magical any day of the year. But there is something extra exciting about it when you combine the Happiest Place on Earth with a holiday. September always kicks off the start to my holiday season, at least that's how I feel when I walk into a store and get overloaded with Halloween stuff. And Walt Disney World transforms in late August/early September into a fall paradise (it's still 90+, but it's pretty).
If my memory serves me correctly, we have spent every single holiday at Disney at least once. The only exception to that is Easter. I can't recall ever searching for eggs at Disney.
Let me give you the low-down on a few of our past experiences. For the sake of your time, I'll post one at a time.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
As you know, we LOVE staying in the cabins at Fort Wilderness. This Disney Resort has so many incredible things to offer families.
Don't fret if you forget to pack something. There is an Outpost store on the Resort Property. You can ride your golf cart or a bus to pick up any essentials. Or, you can get in your vehicle and drive off Disney property... there are several Publixes within a few miles.
You're on vacation, and you do not want to cook? No problem. There is no shortage of eateries at this Resort.
Mickey's Backyard BBQ is the BEST character dining experience at Disney. Yes, you can quote me on that. Yes, there are other great places to go and get up close and personal with the characters, but nothing like this.
This BBQ is held outside, under a large pavilion. The dinner is served buffet-style (same food as the above spots). The food is so yummy. The tables are incredibly long picnic tables, and families are seated by Disney staff upon arrival. There is a stage and a few "dance spots." Once everyone has had a bit of time, the characters come out. You'll find Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. They don't make the rounds as they do elsewhere. Here, they dance. And kids are encouraged to go dance with the characters. The characters are out for long periods of time and, trust me, you will have plenty of interaction with them. It's awesome.
The Backyard BBQ is not available every night. They only run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from now (Sept) through December. Then they drop down to Thursdays and Saturdays. This is a seasonal restaurant, the weather effects its dates of availability. Remember, I told you this was outside. You can always call Disney to ask questions, or to book (up to 180 in advance).
You will NOT be disappointed.
For dining reservations and questions, call (407)WDW-DINE.
Our Disney Sides
We are fortunate enough to live a short drive away from the Happiest Place on Earth! And we take full advantage of it!