Some things in life are out of your hands… We had thought that after our family trips in 2008 and 2010, that they would become a bi-annual tradition. Well, then life happens and you have to put off those trips. So it was five long years before we made it back to our second home at Walt Disney World. We were so excited to return!
We decided to try something new on this trip… flying! We had always driven the long 15+ hour drive to Orlando, but decided that a 4 hour flight sounded better… This was the first time our kids had ever flown so they were both nervous and excited! This also meant it was the first time we would get to ride the Magical Express!!! Long story short, we had a issue with the plane’s fuel cap in Alexandria, so we missed our connection in Atlanta. The ladies at Delta were so nice! Well they took pity on me anyway when I turned into a blubbering mess crying that I just wanted to take my kids to Disney World. They got us on priority standby for the next flight and we were off! We arrived a couple of hours later than expected, but it was ok, we were there!
One thing we kept the same was staying in the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Campground. For a family of five, the cabins are great as they are large and spacious with a bedroom that sleeps four and a pull down Murphy bed in the living room that can sleep two. Oh, and a full kitchen! We arrived late, so the internal bus system had stopped running so the really nice cast members put us in a van and took us home to our cabin.
Ahh, now we are ready to play! First day – Saturday – Hollywood Studios. After a nice rest, of about 6 hours, we jumped up and made it to the park for Extra Magic Hours at 8:00. We made a beeline to sign Cameron & Colby up for Jedi Training Academy and then took off to get in line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster, since we didn’t have a fast pass. We convinced the kids to ride… which now they say they will never ride it again… 🙁 Well I hope they will change their mind next time, but if not, they can hang out in Club Disney next door while us adults ride! By the way, Club Disney is a great spot! It is air conditioned (woo hoo!) and has bathrooms and charging stations and you can boogie down with some of your favorite characters.
We had a great day with the boys getting to experience Jedi Training Academy for the first time and we were able to ride all of the rides and see most of the shows. We also had a great lunch with the Disney Junior characters at Hollywood & Vine, which was part of a Fantasmic dinner package – where you get the best seats in the house!!! Those people who say Hollywood Studios is a half day park are wrong in my opinion! We were there from 8:00am to close and were not able to do everything!
Day Two – Sunday – Animal Kingdom. Let me note here that we picked our parks based on utilizing Extra Magic Hours, which I thought would be the best since it gave us more time in the parks. What it gave us was heavier crowds! This was in September in the ‘slower’ season, but we had an unbelievable crowd day at Animal Kingdom! After further research, I have determined that it is better to skip the parks on the days they have EMH and just get to each park at rope drop and stay until close (if possible).
Any who… We again rose early and made it to AK at 8:00am for EMHs. This is such a beautiful park and in my opinion has two of the best shows at WDW with Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical. They are both incredible and are a must do for my family! Plus the theaters are air conditioned which is like heaven on a blistering 90+ degree day! We had a great safari and scared the kids on Dinosaur. But due to bad weather, we were unable to ride Kali River Rapids or Expedition Everest. Is it just me or does it rain EVERY time I step foot in Animal Kingdom?
So we went back to the cabins to dry out and Jason & I went to the trading post for some groceries and snacks and then we boarded a bus for Downtown Disney. It is a family tradition to eat at T-Rex on every trip. This place is just amazing! The food is really good and the atmosphere is incredible! There is a meteor shower every 20 minutes where the lights flicker and the ‘blue’ room turns red and if you look up at the ceiling you can see balls of fire hurdling down at you! It’s just great! And the Chocolate Extinction dessert!!! This is big enough for all five of us to share and it is divine! Oh and a trip is not complete without a visit to the Lego store for Cameron & Colby.
Day Three – Monday – Labor Day – Blizzard Beach. We always get in at least one Disney water park during a trip as it give a nice break from walking the huge sprawling parks and allows you to relax in cool water all day. And there are some pretty great slides too, our favorite is Teamboat Springs! This is a huge, very long, family tube ride – it is actually one of my favorite rides at all of WDW!!!
After playing and relaxing in the sun, and a short heavy rain shower, we headed back to Downtown Disney to play the games at Disney Quest and have dinner at Raglan Road. Let me say here that if you have never been to Disney Quest, GO! It is so much fun for the entire family! Especially since my boys are all gamers, they really enjoy it! It is five stories full of traditional arcade games, interactive games and even 3-D. We always buy the Water Parks and More ticket, so admission is included, but even if you have to pay extra to get in it is well worth it!
Raglan Road Irish Pub is one of our favorite places to eat at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs (the name had not yet changed at the time of this trip). They have a wonderful variety of traditional English/Irish fare and a nice selection of Irish beers – hello Guinness! But the best part of the experience is the entertainment. There is a main stage where there is either an Irish Folk Band playing or there are Irish dancers. The dancers are also situated on smaller round tabletops in the main room and they also come into the smaller side dining rooms and even out on the patio. So there is not a bad seat in the house!
I will continue this adventure next week with our days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot!
Note: The videos in the links to our YouTube channel were all filmed with a GoPro, so the sound quality is not great. But at least we were able to capture the great memories from this trip! By the way, we now have a better camera…