Blogging our trip is important to me so in order to get it all documented, I am going to recap all our days in a few posts and then do one all encompassing post at the end full of information and tips. I know there are a million Disney tip sites out there but I feel like everyone's trip is unique and there is always something you can learn that can be helpful. But let me say this was our first Disney trip with kids so we are no experts but I am happy to share our experience and tell you about what worked well (and didn't work well) for us.
When we started planning our Disney trip a year ago, I knew I wanted to go when Georgia was around three and before Jack was big enough to be toddling around everywhere. We thought spring 2016 would be the best time for us based on school calendar, crowd levels, weather and ages. Since Marcus and I both work for a school system, we will always have to respect that when we plan our trips.
I booked our trip last September. I didn't use a Disney travel agent, however I've heard others who highly recommend them (they're free!) so I might do that next time. We do have a cast member friend and she was able to get us some nice discounts on our park tickets and resort reservations. Thank you sooo much Becky! You're our favorite person now :)
Now, on to the recap!
Day 1-Travel day
We also knew that based on the ages Georgia Grace and Jack would be in spring 2016 that flying was a must. A twelve hour car ride with two kids three years old and under just didn't sound like a good time. I started racking up our frequent flyer miles a year out so most of our tickets were paid for-thank you, Southwest.
This was Georgia's fifth flight so she is an old pro by now. She doesn't even acknowledge take off and landing anymore. It was Jack's first flight and I was hopeful his first experience would go as well as hers did. The first ten minutes he was super mad that he was contained and unable to move around freely but then he fell asleep and all was right in the world the rest of the flight hallelujah!
We were allowed six check-in bags and let me tell you we used every one of them. I had one whole piece of luggage just for food and drinks (bottled water and bottled juices).
Our 1 hour 45 minute flight left Nashville at 4:25pm and we arrived in Orlando at 7:00pm (we lost an hour going over to ET). We decided that we would use all Disney transportation so the Magical Express picked us up from Orlando International and transported us to the Caribbean Beach Resort. We stayed there our last visit in 2012 and since this was our first visit with the babies, we decided to stay where we were the most familiar.
We requested the Jamaica village because it is the most convenient for the buses and was a convenient bridge walk over the barefoot bay to the main resort pool and courtyard.
By the time we settled into our room, it was bedtime so we called it a night to get rested up for Magic Kingdom the next day.
One hiccup we did have the first night was with our luggage. Disney will let you check your luggage and they will deliver it to your room for you so we elected to do that since we had so much stuff. The down side was we had an evening flight so our luggage did not arrive to our room until 2 am. That made the next morning a little stressful since we did not have all our things laid out ready to go but we made it work. I still think I would do it again to get out of wagging my luggage around.
Day 2-Magic Kingdom
I broke all the Disney touring rules and planned for us to be in Magic Kingdom our first day in the parks. I knew we were going to make two days for Magic Kingdom and I just couldn't keep Georgia away from Cinderella's Castle a day longer.
We woke up early so we could be at the park 30 minutes before it opened. It took us longer than expected but we still managed to get there about 10 minutes early. The bus transportation is nice in that it drops you off close to the park's gates but it can sometimes be a frustrating experience too.
We finally got everything checked and scanned and we were headed down Main Street USA! I caught Georgia's reaction when she spotted Cinderella's Castle for the first time. She was so excited!
We decided it would be a good opportunity to take some castle pictures while the park was pretty empty. It was a picture perfect day (actually week, we had amazing weather!) of blue skies and 75 degree weather.
After several months of planning, our Disney vacation was finally here!
Their first Disney vacation-Georgia, 3 1/2 and Jack, 11 months
I purchased the PhotoPass feature that allows you to have your picture taken by Disney photographers that are uploaded to your Disney app just by the photographer scanning your Magic Band. I am so glad I did it. I took a lot of pictures with my iPhone 6s but having pictures in high resolution and pictures that the whole family is in makes the PhotoPass worth it in my book.
We started our morning in Fantasyland. We were able to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea-Little Mermaid, Peter Pan's Flight, and see Enchanted Tales with Belle and Mickey's Philharmagic. We had a fast pass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but decided to not try it. She was barely going to meet the height requirement and Daddy didn't like the idea of that so we changed our fast pass. She will be ready next time!
She loved Under The Sea and Winnie the Pooh.
Jack was on easy street this trip. He rode in the stroller a lot but liked to be out so he could see everything. He napped whenever and wherever. Being a little brother is tiring sometimes!
We took a midday break for lunch and a little rest in the room. It was nice to break the day up but getting back to the park on the bus on this day took forever. At this point we were doubting taking the break due to the time in transport!
We came back rested and ready to see some more of Magic Kingdom.
We rode Walt Disney World Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree and It's A Small World. It's so great how many attractions are baby friendly.
The sweetest girl in all the kingdom. She didn't shed one tear the whole vacation. It really was the happiest place on earth!
We had reservations for dinner at Be Our Guest restaurant with the Beast. This is one of the newer dining experiences at Disney World so I was very lucky to book dinner reservations which is the only meal that the Beast dines with you. We were excited!
Outside the doors to the Beast's castle.
The dining room was spectacular. It felt like a scene taken straight from the movie.
After a nice meal, we got to meet the Beast! This was our first character encounter so I was a little nervous, especially considering he's probably the scariest Disney character ha!
But she wasn't scared at all. We went right to him and posed for pictures like a big girl. I was so proud of her!
Jack also thought the Beast was great and we got a pretty good family picture with him.
And a whole group shot as well!
After our dinner, we caught a small part of the electrical parade as we headed for the exit. It had been a long day and we were afraid to burn both ends of the candle so we headed back to the resort before the fireworks. We would do that later in the week.
Our first day was hectic but we got our rhythm and made lots of memories. I felt like we maximized our time well considering we had two babes and a double stroller to maneuver through the crowds. It was a good, solid start to the week!