We drove up on Tuesday (day after Labor Day) morning and headed straight for the Magic Kingdom. The kids had picked out Fast Passes ahead of time. The first was for Space Mountain at noon.
The drive up was easy. Actually, it was incredible. The traffic was nearly nonexistent on the Turnpike. The funniest part was that Riley fell asleep in the backseat. I cannot remember the last time he slept in the car - including the drives from North Carolina and Tennessee. Crazy.
Ok, NOW Epcot.
Coronado Springs Resort
The kids and I have stayed at Coronado Springs before. You can read about it here. The Resort is nice. It is located in the Animal Kingdom Resort section of Walt Disney World's Orlando property. At the time of writing this (May 2018), the Resort is still undergoing a major renovation. The rooms have been overhauled and they are beautiful. Currently, they are constructing a massive tower which will hold more hotel rooms and convention center space. The project is expected to be completed in early-mid 2019. Don't let the construction deter you... this is a great time to get excellent rates at this Resort.
We drove our car from our hotel to the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. From the Outpost we hoped on a Disney bus and rode it down to the settlement. For the first time ever, in our Disney experience, everything went without a hitch and we made it to Pioneer Hall in record time... which meant we had an excess of time to kill before we needed to check in. Luckily, there is a playground.
This year, Reagan's birthday is going to be overtaken by a cousin's wedding. So we went to Disney early in December to celebrate! This was the first time we had been to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. We've been at Walt Disney World for Christmas festivities a handful of times in the past - including actually being there when Santa came (the two images below are from 12/25/10 at the Magic Kingdom)!
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?
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!