I decided to challenge myself with a multiple-day post and what a better time than to tell you about our latest trip to Disney. While it seems like a far-off memory now, it left an impression on all of us. We are officially Mousketeers and will be Disney fans for life!
We first went as a family three years ago, adding days to a work conference I had in Orlando. And because I spent most of that week working, we only had one day at Magic Kingdom. So, at that time, the girls had to decide what they wanted to do? Ride the rides, or meet the Princesses. It was a unanimous choice: meet all the Princesses. And we pretty much did it too, including five of them at Cinderella’s Royal Table for lunch. It was magical, it was fun and it was exhausting too.
We’ve been talking about it ever since. Trying to find the best time to go back and do it all over again. So, when D’s sister, her husband and kids were talking about going, we decided to make it a family trip! Timing wise, it was a bit of a challenge. Anyone who know me, knows April is my busiest month of the year. There are so many birthdays and celebrations that it’s hard to find time for anything else, let alone a 7-night, 8-day stay in Orlando, Florida. Oh, and it was our nephew’s Confirmation and Communion this year too. Two brothers, two celebrations and two more things on the calendar – one of those in April!
But we didn’t let a full calendar stop us! No way! We rented a beautiful home in the Solterra Resorts, in Davenport, Florida (about 15 minutes from Disney World). This house was spectacular, with six bedrooms, a pool, two family rooms and plenty of space for the eight of us. We took advantage of the Canadian promotional tickets Disney had and were looking forward to four days at the parks.
We knew that GamerBoy and Paxter (13 and 8 years old) weren’t going to be interested in meeting any Princesses, and so while I recommended that they go to Universal Studios, my brother-in-law wanted to do Disney. That just meant that we would be separated while at the parks, so we could each do our own thing.
I booked FastPasses for everyone, for all four days. We were going to Magic Kingdom, Epcot Centre, Hollywood Studios and then back to Magic Kingdom, while G, L and the gang were going to do one day in each of the four parks.
Our first day was at Magic Kingdom. After spending some time with Guest Services (because I did something and ended up removing GamerBoy from our FastPasses) we said goodbye to G, L and the gang and made our way to our first FastPasses – to meet Rapunzel and Tiana.
Tiana was a big one for us, because three years ago, we tried several times to visit with Tiana in her gazebo, as she was the Little Mouses’ favouite, even choosing to wear her costume to the park. However, with threats of lightening throughout the day, her meet and greets were closed a couple of times. When we finally ran over at the end of the day, she was greeting the final two guests in her line. The cast member wouldn’t let us in to see her and Prince Naveen. We begged him. Showed him the Little Mouse’s costume. But they had a limit and they couldn’t let us in. It was disappointing, but we waited for her to finish and pass by. She said hello, hugged the girls, but there were no autographs to be had.
This time, she did sign our books and we did get to talk to her. I always encourage the girls to ask the Princesses something, and they asked how Naveen was, her answer was that he was still playing his ukulele and making music. The girls loved how she spoke with her New Orleans’s accent.
Rapunzel is a household favourite of all of ours, so she was equally as great and fun to meet.
We had some time before our next FastPass at Princess Hall, so while we waited we gathered around to see The Sword in the Stone ceremony. We stood right up front, watching the cast members choose two big guys from the audience to try to pull the sword out, and they just couldn’t do it. Suddenly they took the Little Mouse up to try, announcing that she was Princess [Little Mouse] from the Kingdom of Canada!
In pure Disney magic fashion, she put her hands on the sword as we counted down and sure enough, she pulled that sword out of the stone. And the crowd went crazy!! It was adorable to watch and the cast members were so great! The Little Mouse was pretty proud of herself and couldn’t stop talking about it.
We went on to meet Cinderella and Elena of Avalor. The girls once again asked Cinderella about her slippers, as last time she told the girls she now had to have a strap across her shoes so she didn’t lose them! She showed them her strap again, and spoke to them about having extras in case she lost one again. Elena was also great. A relatively new Princess, the girls asked her about her sister and she was very friendly.
Since we only got to do one ride three years ago, we wanted to make sure they got to ride as many as they could this time. Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride was up first. While it was just barely ten o’clock in the morning, the kids were starting to get tired and hot. Dumbo’s ride takes you through a bit of a maze, through the circus tent and back and forth through the aisles. They weren’t having it. We plied them with water and snacks and before you know it we waiting to board an elephant.
Nothing makes me happier than to see huge smiles plastered across their faces, and that’s exactly what they had as we enjoyed the ride.
Since there were eight of us on this trip, I took advantage of the Memory Maker PhotoPass, and told my sister-in-law to stop and take lots of pictures. We stopped where we could and that included for some “magic” shots in front of the Beasts’ castle on our way to Under the Sea – the Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Let me pause for a moment…we all know I am NOT a fan of the Little Mermaid, however I did wear a Little Mermaid tee shirt that day. I don’t HATE her; I just hate what she stands for! That being said, that ride was probably one of my favourites! The shells, the colours, and the music are amazing. I had Under the Sea stuck in my head for the rest of the day!
As we hummed our way to It’s a Small World, we realized that we needed to pack more snacks for the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot, but they needed more variety. The first question they started asking was “do we have a FastPass for that?” and while we didn’t have one today, the wait was only 20 minutes. Considering it was a beautiful day in April, after Easter weekend, the crowds weren’t that bad. So, we waited. And we finally got to ride what has become our family favourite It’s a Small World. Both girls sang along, pointing out which cute doll I look at next.
That was my favourite ride as a little girl, and I will admit that I still love it. I can easily take over 100 pictures on that ride alone. And the best part was, we had a fast pass to ride it again three days later.
Because we had spent almost an hour with guest services that morning, the lovely cast member awarded all eight of us some extra special FastPasses. These passes could be used at any time, without booking. But we had to make sure we weren’t in another FastPass “window”. So, after It’s a Small World, we decided to use it for Peter Pan’s Flight, since the wait for that ride was 70 minutes long. Another great ride that the kids enjoyed.
We had one more stop to make before lunch, and that was to meet Ariel (again). When we went in to see her, she noticed the Little Mouse’s shirt right away, that had a picture of herself on it! And, she noticed mine. I got called a Mermaid Mommy, and she insisted I be in on a picture, which the girls loved. She was cute and it melted my cold-heart about her…but only a little.
We had lunch and then decided to make our way over to Tomorrowland, where our next FastPass was for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin ride, but decided to stop-in on Stitch’s Great Escape. I’m not going to lie, this ride (experience? show?) confused me. See, we had just watched Lilo and Stitch about a week and a half before our trip, and the girls loved Stitch. He was cute and cuddly.
And then you go inside. This ride is was dark, and scary. Stitch wasn’t cute or cuddly, but mischievous and tricky. Neither of the girls liked it. I didn’t see the point of being thrown into darkness – like pitch black darkness. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The sound (and smell) of Stitch all around us, had the kids screaming and on the verge of tears and the little boy beside me was actually crying.
I read somewhere online that this ride is going to be replaced with a Wreck-It Ralph ride, and no offence Disney, but that’s a good idea!
Thankfully Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a ton of fun, and we even left with some video of us on the ride. The kids loved it and if you ask them, they each killed the most aliens than anyone else on the ride!
As we came out of that ride, we walked around Tomorrowland and noticed that the Incredibles were having a dance party, so we joined in on the fun for a while and then finally gave in to the girls and got a treat. The Little Mouse enjoyed a Mickey ice cream bar (appropriate, right?) and the Little Bird enjoyed an Olaf Frozen Lemonade Strawberry Bar.
As we sat, taking in the beautiful day, the girls kept asking what the People Mover was, since the line was non-existent, we went for a ride. I have seen people suggest this is a good way to take a break, see the park and enjoy the sites. And it was, until you went into the tunnel, where it again is pitch-black and stops for periods of time (unsure if it is supposed to do that or not), but the kids hated it.
We knew the day wasn’t ending well, with them hating Stitch and People Movers, so luckily when we made are way back around to try to go and meet Merida, the show was just about to get started in front of Cinderella’s Castle, so we stopped to watch it. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fare featured Tiana, Naveen and Louis, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider and a couple of Pub Thugs, Ana, Elsa, Olaf and of course Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daisy and Donald! It was fun and a great way to forget the past couple rides.
G, L and the gang had left the park long ago, as the boys wanted to go back home to swim, and we knew the girls were getting tired, so we agreed to go and meet Merida and then go home.
I love all the meet and greets, as it’s such a great way for the kids to come up close and personal with their favourite characters and adds to the magic of the day. But I will say that my favourite meet and greet of them all is Merida. This princess has the hottest corner of the park, wears a long, velvet dress and has the biggest mass of red curls and yet is so personable, so friendly and so funny.
Three years ago, she took our autograph books and asked the girls if they knew what they called that book. Of course, they were awe-struck, so they didn’t say much as she opened the book to a picture of Snow White kissing her Prince and made a face. She then flipped it to Sleeping Beauty kissing her Prince and said “blah”. She did the same thing when she found Cinderella kissing her Prince too. So, she told the girls she would find a page in the back to sign her name, because she didn’t need a Prince and she didn’t want a kiss either! It was amazing!
This time, she noticed that the girls were wearing Minnie Mouse hats, and jumped back and asked them if they were turning into bears, as she touched their ears. It was so great. The kids laughed and told her no. Asking about her little brothers, to which Merida said they were still causing trouble and were around the castle somewhere. She pretended to poke their ears, testing to ensure she was safe and then went in for a big hug with both of them.
Our final stop before leaving the park that day was to attempt a picture in front of the castle, as we were rushing in the morning and didn’t get one. However, with pure exhaustion on the girls faces, you could say it wasn’t a keeper. We did manage to catch the Move it, Shake it parade before heading out, which the girls liked. We got to see Judy Hops from Zootopia, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Chip and Dale and Phineas and Ferb.
They both conked out in the car and woke up in time for a dip in the pool before we called a close to day one of Disney fun!