Santa brought Jake for Christmas a trip to Disney World. We've been wanting to go for the last few years, and it just seemed like something always came up that delayed us. Plus, the planning just seemed so overwhelming. Rob & I haven't been since we were kids and so much has changed (and it's not like we did any of that planning then anyway). We finally got our act together and booked our trip for February 12-15.
Note: There are 4 separate recaps and they will each be super long (you have to keep clicking 'older posts' to keep going) & super boring to everyone but me. But this is my memory book and if I don't write this stuff now in detail, I'll never remember it. There will also be tons of grammatical errors, because evidently I slept during every English class in school. Sorry!
On Wednesday morning, February 11th, I took our little munchkin down to Nana & Gran's to spend the next 6 days. I cannot thank my mom & dad enough for watching Hollon while we were gone. It allowed us to just focus on Jake and make the trip all about him. He has done so well with us adding Hollon to the family, he deserved a trip that was just for him! It was so hard to leave Hollon though. I missed her & that little tongue hanging out. But she was off having a great time with Nana, Gran, Uncle Billy, Aunt Leigh Ann and cousins Maddox & Marrell. Thank you guys so much for all your help and taking such good care of her!!
After dropping Hollon off, I went back to Birmingham, checked Jake out of school, Rob took a half day, we packed up the car and off to Orlando we went! About 2 hours outside of Birmingham, I realize that Jake took off his jacket inside and it didn't make it into the car. So he'll have no jacket while we are gone. Then as it was getting dark, I realized that I didn't pack him a pillow or blanket for the car ride. So we wrapped a shirt around a baseball glove for a pillow & he used my jacket as a blanket. We made do the best we could. Thankfully Mimi had packed him a tub of snack food and Nana had wrapped up 8 little gifts for him to open each hour we were in the car. Grandmothers think of everything! We finally made it to our hotel around 11:00 that night.
|Last picture of my little munchkin before we left|
Our hotel: We stayed at The Fountains which is a BlueGreen Resort. Where to stay was a hot topic between Rob & I while planning. I really wanted to stay on a Disney property. Robbie's parents are members of the BlueGreen time share, so they were generous enough to let us use their membership. So we would be able to stay in a super nice hotel for a great price. In the end, we compromised and I agreed to stay off site and Rob agreed to add an extra day so we could have an "off day". Once we arrived, I LOVED our hotel. It is basically right outside the gates of Disney World. When researching, it seemed like it would be better to stay on a Disney property, because they provided the transportation to the parks. But Robbie doesn't mind driving and it was nice to be on our own schedule and not have to wait for a bus or boat. And we were only a few miles away. Plus, it was a condo, so we had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, a kitchen & den. Since we added an off day, it was nice not to be crammed in a little hotel room. So while I initially protested staying outside of Disney, in the end, I'm very happy with how everything turned out. Thank you so much Mimi & Granddad!!
On Thursday, February 12th, we were up bright & early to be at the park when it opened. On the way there, we passed the hotel that my family stayed in when we went to Disney when I was 8. (In typical grateful kid fashion, the thing my brother & I talked most about on that Disney trip was the hotel we stayed in with the awesome glass outside elevator. I couldn't help but laugh when we passed by it. I haven't seen that hotel in 28 years, but recognized it immediately. And recognized those awesome elevators. And immediately made a mental note to remember to apologize to my parents for taking me to Disney and not killing me when I said my favorite thing was the hotel elevator.)
|The tall black lines in the middle of the hotel are the elevators|
Finally! We've arrived at Walt Disney World!! I was so excited, I was about to bounce out of the car.
|Waiting at the gates to get in|
|We took the boat across to the Magic Kingdom|
|Token family picture outside the train station|
Both Robbie & I have identical pictures with our families when we went as kids
First ride was the Tomorrow Land Speedway. Rob rode with Jake while I took pictures. Jake liked the ride but didn't think he was a good driver.
Next up were the teacups at the Mad Tea Party. Jake loved this one!
|I think this is my favorite picture out of all 4 days|
The laughter and joy in Jake's eyes & smile were priceless
We hit up The Barnstormer. It is a kiddy roller coaster. We figured that it would be a good test to see if Jake would enjoy some of the other faster rides at Disney. He loved this ride!
|Jake kept his arms in the air for the ride|
He loves roller coasters like his mom & dad!
Jake & I rode Dumbo. This was the first of a mini meltdown. It was still pretty early so we had very little wait times. The Dumbo ride had a playground area for kids to play in while you waited to ride. Because the wait time was so little, there wasn't really any time to play. Jake got upset and after we rode, he kept asking to go play. We knew we only had a limited time early in the morning to take advantage of short wait times. We promised him we would come back and play when wait times were longer. Thanks Disney for making the waiting area more fun than the ride!
Our first fast pass ride was the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger game. Jake & Robbie shot the guns & I drove the cart. This was one of Jake's favorites. We rode it several times.
|I love Robbie's face|
Defeating Zurg is serious business
Next up was the Astro Orbiter. I loved this one because you had such wonderful views of the park.
|A little pick me up snack|
While waiting for the Peter Pan Flight, Jake spotted Nana's name. We had lots of people tell us how awesome the Peter Pan ride was. It was okay, but not Jake's favorite.
We finally took Jake back to the Dumbo ride so he could play on the playground.
We had a fast pass to ride Space Mountain. Jake liked it okay. I don't think that he liked that he had to ride by himself, but he did ask to ride it again.
Other rides we rode that day that I didn't get pictures of:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We LOVED this ride. We ended up riding it several times Thursday. The first time Jake rode it (he was sitting with me), he screamed the entire time. I could tell he was also laughing. After the ride, I asked him if he was scared. He said no. So I asked why he was screaming if he wasn't scared. He said he just likes to scream on roller coasters because it is more fun that way. Haunted Mansion. Jake said he liked the ride, but didn't want to ride it again. Winnie the Pooh. Jake liked the ride okay, but really liked the play area in the waiting line. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. Jake really liked the show and he ended up doing it again on Sunday. Pirates of the Caribbean. This is one that I thought Jake would love. He said it was just okay. (This was during a time he was having "moment".) Cinderella's Castle. Jake was super excited about seeing the castle. He wanted to go explore it. We explained ahead of time, that he wouldn't be able to go all up in the castle. Unfortunately, half of the first floor of the castle was closed for renovation and the other half housed the Bippity Boppity Boutique. So the castle was a little bit of a let down for Jake.
We did not plan any character meals, because Jake didn't seem too excited about it when I showed him pictures and talked to him about it. As it got close to dinner time Thursday, we just went to the restaurant that was closest to us at that time, which happened to be Be Our Guest Restaurant. I walked up, asked if they had availability for a table of 3. They said they had 1 left and it would be available in 45 minutes. We said okay! Later, I found out that this is a restaurant that people try very hard to get reservations for and it is almost always booked far in advance. We just happened to be lucky and walked up at the right time. (Had I realized that we would only have enough luck for 1 event, I would have passed on having dinner at Be Our Guest. More about that on Day 2.) Be Our Guest is housed in the Beast's Castle from Beauty & the Beast.
|Jake and his fancy cupcake dessert|
After dinner, Jake caught his 2nd wind. The Buzz ride only had a 20 minute wait, so we rode it one more time.
At 8:00 that night, they were having the Main Street Electrical Parade. We planned on taking Jake, but he said he didn't want to see a parade, he wanted to ride more rides. Since this trip was all about him, we obliged. He picked to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Afterwards, we watched the fireworks show and then called it a night.
Thoughts: Jake did so good day 1. We ended up spending 13 hours in the park. He had no nap, no stroller. We didn't have any major meltdowns, just a few little pouty moments. He tried every ride and didn't complain too much about the longer wait times. (The longest we waited for any ride was 60 minutes, and that was only for 2 or 3 rides.)
Go Figure: My child would get upset that the lines were not longer enough for him to play in the wait areas.
Jake's Favorite Rides: Buzz Lightyear & Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
My Favorite Moments: His smile on teacups ride. His screams on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The excitement in his eyes during the fireworks.