Growing Up With Disney – Our Family Trip 2010

Growing Up With Disney – Our Family Trip 2010

I have posted on my first trip in 1990 and my kids first trip in 2008…  But we have continued our visits to Walt Disney World as we were able to since.  Our next family adventure was in 2010.  The kids had grown a bit, but were still small…  Ethan was 10 and Cameron & Colby were just weeks away from their 7th birthday.  These were great ages, because they were all big enough to ride the roller coasters!!! YAY for us parents!

Ethan, Colby & Cameron sporting their Donald shirts and posing with the duck himself!

When we went in 2008, it was our first trip and we went during the absolute busiest time of year (except Christmas) – mid July!  The crowds were CRAZY!  Even though we had a wonderful trip, we decided that we would do a bit of research and find a more enjoyable time of year to go.  A co-worker of mine and her family go in September and she told me that the crowds were low and the parks are more manageable, so we decided to give this a try!

September was still very hot, but she was right about the crowds!  We went on Labor Day week, so the kids missed 4 days of school.  I spoke to the principal and the teachers and they were all on board with my plan and even though the days were unexcused, they were able to make up assignments and tests. 

We also made changes on this trip on where we were to stay.  Last time, we stayed off site in a condo, but we wanted to fully immerse ourselves in the Disney experience by staying onsite.  Finding accommodations for a family of six is not always that easy…  Emily, then 16, was supposed to go, but decided she was too old for Disney (gasp!) and stayed home with her grandparents – a decision she regrets to this day! But anyway, I needed a room for 6 when I booked and we decided on the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.  And I am so glad we did!  We LOVED the cabins!  It is literally your home away from home since you have not only a bedroom and bathroom but a living room and full kitchen! 

 
 

The grounds to Fort Wilderness is huge!  If you look at a map, the grounds are about twice the size of Magic Kingdom.  Needless to say, it isn’t a resort that you can walk all around… so they have golf carts you can rent and an internal bus system to take you where you want to go.  Our first day, we just spent at the resort swimming in the pool, exploring the grounds, visiting the horses and seeing the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.  This is one of three dinner shows offered at Disney World and is located in Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness.  On the dining plan, it is two credits per person, but well worth it.  The food was really tasty and plentiful as it is served family style and the show is hilarious.  We had great seats right in the middle and were called to participate.  Being native Louisianians, our kids were wearing Saints t-shirts.  Of course, we are in Florida which is “Gator Country” so we were deemed to be gator-bait. (LSU and Florida are SEC rivals…)  That is something we will never forget!

 
Another first for us was the Disney Dining Plan.  A fabulous reason for going in September is that Disney offers the Dining Plan is free (with selects stays, yada, yada).  Some say this is not a great value, but for a large family it is!  I was smarter about the planning and made ADRs for the places we wanted to try.  We had some great dining experiences and it was nice not to be eating mostly burgers and chick nuggets like the last trip…  (Note – this was totally my fault as I was not prepared and had no reservations and had picky eaters that wouldn’t eat much else).  Our favorite restaurants were T-Rex at Downtown Disney and Sci-Fi Diner at Hollywood Studios!
 
 
This was a vacation of firsts for our family…  Staying onsite, getting the dining plan and pin trading!  Last time at Disney World, I discovered pin trading and was completely drawn in!  I bought several pins during the trip but when I got home, I wanted more and hit ebay…  I bought lots and lots of pins during the two year interval between visits to WDW.  So when we arrived this year, me and the boys were ready to trade!!!  Some of the best interactions with cast members came from pin trading.  Cameron & Colby especially were hooked and you could see there heads swivel around looking for the lanyards worn around CMs necks or the pouches on their belts.  They wanted to spend more time doing this than riding rides!!!  And to this day is one of their favorite activities at Disney.
 
 
Overall, it was the best family vacation ever… up to that point (they just seem to get better and better or maybe I am just fearing my boys growing up and I won’t have these experiences with them anymore as children).  Here are some of my favorite memories from that trip:
 
Magic Kingdom
 

 
Hollywood Studios
 

 
Epcot
 

 
 
Animal Kingdom
 

 
Water Parks: Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon
 
 



 
I just love looking back on these amazing memories that can only be made at Disney World!  I am not saying it is not possible to have a wonderful family vacation somewhere other than Disney, but no where else has the magic and no where else has my kids begging to go back!
 
Alisa 


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