I am so exhausted this morning that it is hard to believe that this time a week ago, I was full of energy and excitement as our family visited The Magic Kingdom.
It’s been one week, yet it seems like a year already!
It was a rather ‘last minute’ trip to Disney- if you had asked me even three weeks ago when our next WDW trip would be- I would have laughed and said:
“We were just there last year- give it a few years!”
Of course as life is unpredictable… our last minute decision was spawned by my children as we drove through Ohio on our way to join my husband in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Mom! This Interstate goes all the way to Florida! Let’s just kidnap daddy- not tell him where we are going and head to Disney for our Family Vacation next week!!”
My teenager has all the good ideas.
Of course my six year old starts in:
“Yes!!! Let’s go to Disney!!!”
Yeah. Like we would go to Disney World, let alone Florida in July! What kind of crazy Canadian does that?!
We arrived safely in Louisville.
Without any knowledge of the car conversation with the kids, that night at dinner my husband says:
“I was thinking, about our trip next week- we should consider going to the Florida Keys….”
The kids and I looked at each other and burst out laughing before letting daddy in on their kidnapping/WDW plot! At first he wasn’t amused… out of our family foursome- he isn’t as ‘Disney Happy’ as the rest of us…
(Actually after a week straight there he can turn into Grumpy…which is rude…out of all the seven dwarfs I am Grumpy!)
After a few days of careful consideration about other places in the U.S.A to visit… we chose our Florida shenanigans. Daddy was reluctantly on board with a quick Disney trip!
Florida in July.
When I was younger, staying on site at Disney was never an option for my family- that seemed like a dream that was reserved for rich families. We always stayed off site in Kissimmee- Near Old Town (which is a fun little spot to visit) and would drive back and forth to visit the parks…some vacations was just one day at Disney.. other trips we sprang for multi-day tickets…Most times we would take a hotel shuttle and skip parking the car at Disney.
When I ended up with my own family- guess what? Staying at Disney was the way to go. Both times we have spent week vacations on site and by clicking the link I have provided- you can read all about those trips here: https://theyoncecalledherpumpkin.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/disney-dreaming/
The Last Minute Disney Trip!
This time around we were obviously just going for the day and staying off-site. The day before we arrived in Florida- using Expedia – my husband booked us in at The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott (in Kissimmee) just a few blocks from Old Town (It was in walking distance and we spent our first evening/night in Florida hanging out there) If you are looking to stay at a hotel in that area..I highly recommend it- they had a great breakfast buffet! (Complete with Mickey Mouse waffles!)
I would just make sure that you ask for a room that is NOT near the pool. They originally gave us one and between the noise and the people who could see into your room- I walked right back out and they were able to accommodate us on a different floor in a quieter part of the hotel.
I re-downloaded the My Disney Experience App to my phone (It is a MUST if you are going to visit the Disney Parks!) and I purchased our tickets off the app and printed it out using the hotel printer…thus skipping the admission line. At the gate- she scanned the print out- double checked my credit card matched and produced a keepsake card/ticket for each of us- Finger-print scan included.
(There were already going to be a ton of lines that day… if you can make your life easier by avoiding a line up… do it!)
After asking how much the Shuttle cost… we decided that the $12 per person wasn’t worth it- (We only paid $20 to park our car at the Magic Kingdom) – Truth be told as handy as the shuttle would be- I much prefer having our own car and staying on our own schedule. Bonus: It is was NOT a far drive from our hotel to Disney.
Despite the raging heat and humidity (I was cheering when it clouded over and the rain came and people started exiting the park like they would melt…) and the crowds (Which was odd… it didn’t ‘look’ busier than what I am used to in the winter/spring seasons but the lines were longer…) we had a lot of fun.
A few things of note from this trip:
1) I didn’t have our Magic Bands from last year- which would have been nice.
2)My youngest didn’t have her autograph book– some kids may not like this… but luckily she was pretty cool about it and said she would just get the missing signatures another time.
3) I didn’t have our rain ponchos packed for this summer vacation- which is a must for when you are visiting the Disney Parks let alone any amusement park (you can buy them there… but if you are traveling cheap… dollar stores and Walmarts have them cheaper)
4) Since our trip was also part ‘Birthday Shenanigan Celebration’– I got to live out a childhood dream- Disney for my birthday! Complete with a button! It was fun having everyone wish me a Happy Birthday! (especially since my real birthday was stuck in a car driving home with no celebration to be had…I did have a nap though…)
5) We didn’t purchase Fast Passes with our tickets. If you go to Disney- FAST PASS what you can! We waved it off this time around- but ultimately ended up kicking ourselves. When we went in April 2016- we walked on so many rides without needing them that we got cocky this time around. Bad idea and I will never make that mistake again!
6) Use the My Disney Experience App to figure things out! I was always checking ride times and was able to catch Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at a 20 minute wait when it had been at 60 minutes most of the day!
7) We didn’t have restaurant reservations: You can make same day reservations and catch cancellations… but honestly… in the past we have done so many of the character meals etc… and it was so hot out that we weren’t that hungry. One thing we did realize is that we liked not having to worry about making our reservation times if we were caught in a ride line. It took some of the pressure off. It was so humid that we were just happy going to the smaller restaurants to grab some fries, chicken fingers and drinks to sustain us. It isn’t the healthiest of eating… but for one day? Meh- We were okay with that.
8) The fireworks: Okay… the new Happily Ever After Fireworks was the most brilliant and beautiful Fireworks displays that I have ever seen at Disney (or anywhere else!) and we had a tree blocking half our view! We always… ALWAYS forget to grab a good Fireworks spot! We get so caught up with the rides- we forget about the light shows! Don’t be like us. Don’t forget about seeing this show and try to make arrangements for seating (you can reserve good spots) because it is absolutely magnificent! Disney has outdone themselves!
9) I was able to buy my Maleficent hat!! There is a picture from our 2016 vacation somewhere that has me modeling it. I put it back but it became a family joke that it was something I desperately needed…especially at Halloween when I felt like I could have used it. Well guess what? Mama OWNS IT NOW!
It was too hot and muggy to wear around the park (though I did have it on for about twenty minutes snapping selfies and waving at people who thought my hat was insane…) but I did treat the kids to a Descendants scene reenactment… Eat your heart out Kristen Chenoweth!!!
“Do you want to be EVIL like me… Do you want to be cruuuueeeel…..” (It’s a song! I swear!)
Now I just need to return and buy the Maleficent headband…….
That Magic Feeling…
If there was one thing that we agreed on as a family- it is that staying off site is great… visiting a Disney Park for one day is fun…and there is something really neat about doing it last minute- especially if you are a Canuck wandering the great American countryside…
Nothing and I mean NOTHING beats staying onsite at the Disney Parks – having extended Magic Hours, Themed Rooms, Magic Bands, Dining Plans and buses to your hotel!
(My kids even complained that they preferred flying and taking the Magical Express to the resort versus driving….. After being stuck in an I75 traffic jam and paying a ton of tolls on the Florida Turnpike… I don’t disagree….)
As we stood on the Ferry watching the Magic Kingdom grow smaller behind us my teenage daughter sighed:
“Bye Disney! See you in about six years!”
To which my husband replied:
“Or sooner… “
I’m sorry… did someone say SOONER?
Tinkerbell…. The Pixie Dust WORKED!!!!!
I shall leave you now with some photos and hopefully some magical vacation inspiration!
All Photos Were Taken By Me ©TheyOnceCalledHerPumpkin