These are my thoughts on life, kids and Walt Disney World.
I realized I had lost me somewhere along the way the past several years. I have been the perfect Mommy, wife and volunteer anyone could ask for. What I was missing was being there for me. I am going to take this year to get back to the real me and these are my thoughts along the way.
So this is my story of life, kids and my quest to learn all I can about Walt Disney World (my laughing place!) and earn my Disney PhD!
We never expected to be to Florida on Saturday. We left Michigan Friday after school and made it as far as Louisville, Kentucky the first night. We left about 8:00 am Saturday morning expecting to land somewhere in Northern Florida or Southern Georgia for the night. But, we made it all the way to Walt Disney World!
When we called to reserve a room at Walt Disney World for the night the only room left in a moderate or value resort was at Pop Century. We were happy to have a room on property so we took it. There was a dance/cheer competition and the start of baseball training camp this weekend so rooms were scarce.
We have stayed at Pop Century before so we were familiar with the rooms and the layout of the resort. We were in the 80′s section. It is easy to tell when you are in a value resort, bright colors, outdoor corridor and three-story iconic items dominate each stairwell. The rooms are clean and simple. It is still Disney. Some look down on the value resorts but as Disney continues to raise the prices for a resort stay they are still on Disney property and allow you access to all the action.
The rooms are comfortable and basic. Two double beds with a night stand width in between the two beds. A small cafe’ style table with two chairs sits against the wall across from the first bed in the room. A curtain separates the dressing room from the rest of the bedroom. Some people are bothered that the sink sits in the dressing room but we really don’t care. It works for us for a night or two but now that we have two “larger” kids we definitely need more space to keep our sanity for ten days.
If you are planning on using a fold up cot, rental, there is enough room near the window for it to rest but it is a tight squeeze. If you try to place the cot anywhere else as you can see from the photo above floor space is limited and you may be hurting yourself tripping over something in the middle of the night.
Here is one of the famous towels that was on our bed when we checked in. It is just these little touches that surprise us when they happen at the Walt Disney World Resorts and we love them. No, you may not get one everyday. They are little magical surprises that you have to appreciate when they come along throughout your stay.
We spent the morning at the computer pool before checking-out to check-in to our next hotel. There were two large cheer leading groups practicing nearby but our kids were the only two in the pool for about an hour. Check-out was efficient and we were off to our next resort for the next ten days.
This was our first “real” vacation in three years. Our lives have pretty much been in turmoil since the end of 2011 when we found out the company my partner worked for was being sold. So after weathering the sale of the company, looking for a new job, moving half-way across the country, starting our kids in new schools, living in a rental house, buying a new house and settling in we were finally really ready for this vacation.
It was tough at first. We went from -20 degrees when we left home to the 88-89 degree record high temperatures with 90% humidity in Florida. Then everything was new to us on this trip so we couldn’t rely on our usual Disney way of life. We were in a resort we had never been to before, new section in Magic Kingdom, new Magic bands, new Fast Pass system and my children are a tween and a teen now. What they wanted to do in the parks every time we went before they now wanted to do different activities – Sorcerer’s, Rockin’ Roller Coaster and eating around the world in Epcot were high on their list of must dos.
But by the fourth or fifth day we had finally settled into the routine that worked for us. Every family is different and every family has to find their rhythm for how and when to tour Walt Disney World. For us the sleep in and tour early afternoon with a dinner between 8 pm and 9:30 pm really was the best for us. We tried the early morning be at the park before opening the first two days and everyone ended up cranky and mad at each other by 10 am. But, if we slept in until 9 am and did not go to the parks until noon and stayed until closing we were happy and had fun together. It worked for us. That is what you have to find. What works for you and your family.
After 10 full days we were ready to return to the “real” world. We have found that 10 days at Disney leaves us feeling that we have done everything we really wanted to and we are ready to leave knowing that we will be back again to have more fun. And, of course we are ready to book our next trip and begin the planning all over again.
I am jump out of my skin excited that we will be leaving in just a few days for our trip to Walt Disney World. Since it has been quite awhile since our last trip we decided to do a mix of old favorites and new restaurants for our dining reservations.
Our plan is to have a taste at every counter service around Epcot over the two days we are there. We usually order one or two combo meals and split them among the four of us. That way we all get a taste of each country but aren’t filling up on any one thing.
We are also planning on returning to ’50′s Prime Time Cafe, Crystal Palace, Cape May Cafe, Beirgarten and Citricos. These were chosen by both children as some of their favorite places to eat.
I then chose new restaurants for us to try such as Be Our Guest (for my daughter’s 14th birthday), Tusker House Breakfast, 1900 Park Fare Breakfast and Whispering Canyon Cafe’.
We also have plans to hit as many counter service restaurants as we can in each park. My kids, who are Disneyphiles just like their Mommy, have been talking about which food they want to try at each place and of course all the snacks!
I will be posting lots of new reviews and pictures in the coming weeks so be ready!
Posted in Inbetween Trips, Trip Planning Tips
Tagged Between trips, Counter Service, counter service restaurants, Crystal Palace, Disney, Disney World, Planning, reservations, Restaurants, Walt Disney World
Wow! My family sure has changed since this picture was taken in Disney Hollywood Studios. My daughter is now as tall as I am and my son is about 9 inches taller too. Can’t wait to get an updated picture on our trip next week.
Yes, we are headed back to Walt Disney World in less than a week. I am picking up my tape measure and my little notebook and heading back. I plan to update the sizes and seating for the new rides and attractions. I know that most turnstiles are gone and are now open gates so that will make things easier entering the parks and certain rides for Pooh Sized or as I describe myself Ursala-esque people. I am so excited to experience the changes!
I will be measuring chairs and tables at new restaurants and distances from chair back to chair back to check how far tables are spread apart. I hate feeling like I can’t comfortably get up and down from my table without disturbing anyone behind me. This was a huge problem 2 years ago at Boma. I almost felt trapped the chairs were so close.
If there is anything you would like me to check out or measure let me know! Can’t wait to come back and post all my findings.
Everyone is posting pictures of their Disney Side for the new Disney advertising campaign.
When I thought of the one thing that represented my Disney side I immediately thought of this sweatshirt. I LOVE this sweatshirt. I bought it almost 20 years ago on our honeymoon at Walt Disney World.
I those this shirt because it was a wildly expensive purchase for me then, I believe it was almost $30! But this shirt has come to represent not only Disney to me but a huge chunk of my life.
I wore this shirt during the birth of both of my children. The first pictures of me holding the children have Tigger right next to them.
I wore this sweatshirt while volunteering at the different schools my kids attended. Children would stop and hug me saying, “I love Tigger.” Most of these kids were not trusting of adults but Tigger always got a mention when I wore him.
I wore this sweatshirt as we packed up our house to move 550 miles across the country.
I am wearing it now as we get ready for our 15th trip back to Walt Disney World since I purchased Tigger.
I don’t wear Tigger much anymore because he is getting thin and frail. But, every once in a while I need to pull him out when I need a smile. On this snowy day as I am planning our trip “home” Tigger still makes me smile.
I am a planner.
I was a first timer once. Almost 20 years ago we came back from our first trip to Walt Disney World and everyone was talking about how beautiful the countries of Epcot were. Sure, they were nice but…. Wait. Gardens? Weren’t they just buildings with restaurants and stores? Yes, we literally walked all the way around the lake looking at each country from the walkway. We never realized that there was more if we took the time or knew enough to explore each country.
I use the My Disney Experience website to make all me reservations and plans but I also have an excel spreadsheet that lays out where we can eat each day, what we might want to eat (yes, I am THAT bad!), our fast pass times, what special events we may be attending, where we want to be for parades and park hours with our suggested arrival times and departure times each day. Then I also laminate 4×6 cards with all the information on it because if my phone dies and I need to retrieve a dinner reservation number or need our itinerary I want to be prepared.
It sounds excessive to some people but it makes me happy!
When I have helped others plan their Disney trips I try to reign myself in but I want them to be prepared for their first trip. Most of them thought I was crazy in the beginning but I kept telling them to really enjoy their trip they need to have as much information about what they want to do and where they want to go ahead of time so they don’t make the same mistakes we did.
When I hear people mention how bored they were in Walt Disney World or how they waited in lines for hours at a time I try to gently begin questioning them about if they stayed on property, if they made Advanced Dining Reservation or used Fast Passes? I usually get blank stares from those people or the “What are those?” questions.
As someone once said to me, “When you purchase a major appliance for your home you spend several hours researching the best brands, the features and reading the reviews. When you are spending more than that on a vacation why wouldn’t you do the same?”
So I plan.
Everyone has their little tricks to try to save money toward a trip to Walt Disney World. Above is our change jar. I made this over 10 years ago from a giant pretzel jar and pictures cut from Disney catalogs (remember those?).
Each day whenever we spend cash we always use dollar bills and all the change in my purse and everyone’s pockets goes into the jar. It may not seem like much but at the end of the year we will have saved about $250 to use for our treats at Disney World.
This year we are also going to book a trip 1 year out and make monthly payments on it so that we don’t feel the pinch of the trip just before we leave.
What are your tips to save that extra bit of cash to spend on your favorite treats at Walt Disney World?