1.13.2014

Disney Part I



My Thoughts on 2013 post made me realize that I failed to blog about a few very fun trips we took in 2013.  One of which was to the happiest place on earth, Disney World!  

I'm not really sure how to capture the magic of that week.   I have several friends traveling to Disney for the first time soon and others planning trips so I will give you my best take on Disney and how it worked for us.  I am going to have to do this in a few posts because it's just too much for one!  This first post will just be the basics.  


{Magic Bands}


The timing of our trip gave us the advantage of testing the new magic band system at Disney.  All of your tickets, room access, dining plan, and 
fast pass info is loaded into these magic little bands!  
It was awesome!
Of course, being new we did experience a few kinks.  Jackson's band never worked, so I just kept the information pulled up on my phone so they could see that he did in fact have fast passes.  It was never a problem because as I quickly learned, the Disney cast members are so pleasant to deal with.    We also opted for park hopper passes and would do so again.  It was nice to have the option to visit two parks in one day!

One of the things I was anxious about before we went was Hampton doing a lot of sitting while the big boys rode stuff that he could not ride so I tried to stagger our fast pass times so that the things he could not do were spaced out.  He did have to wait a lot, but it was nothing a snack could not fix!    
Another thing I worried about unnecessarily was not getting to ride things with both boys.  They were not tall enough to ride many things without an adult so we used our fast passes in conjunction with Disney's rider switch service.  For example, we all wanted to ride Space Mountain and had a fast pass.  Obviously, Hamp could not ride so one of us would enter the fast pass line with one boy and ask for a rider switch card.  We would ride the ride, then find each others at the exit.  The riding parent would then grab the other boy and we would go back to the fast pass line to ride again, now with our rider switch card so we could experience it with both boys!  You can read more about it here.    


{Where we stayed}
ART of ANIMATION
Cars Family Suite

In that we were going to Disney for a full week, we chose to stay in one of the new suites at Art of Animation and of course, having all boys, the Cars option was a no brainer.  With the ages of our boys {7 and 2} we loved that this suite gave us two rooms.  We could put Hampton down for bed while the big boys stayed up.  Perks of this room are two bathrooms, a small kitchenette, and will sleep 6 with a couch that pulls out and a murphy bed. I am a visual person so this helped me to visualize when we were planning.  These rooms are spacious {550 square feet} and it was very quiet.  In fact, we rarely saw anyone on our hall or in the elevators! 

{via}










{What we ate}
On the recommendation of several friends, we opted for the Disney Dining Plan.  The plan we had gave us 1 Quick Service Meal, 1 Table Service meal and one snack each day.  We took our own breakfast stuff and ate the rest of the meals in the parks.  I did pack additional snacks and water bottles for our diaper bag.  {note about water: Disney's water in the parks tasted funny to me.  I tried refilling water bottles at several water fountains and the stuff just tasted funny!  I suggested you bring your own bottled water!}  Disney food is expensive and I preferred this because it made it feel more "all inclusive" and not like we were pulling our wallets out every five minutes.    

Disney has made it really convenient to make reservations for food, fast passes, etc. on their website.  Through this site I was able to make all of our dining reservations ahead of time {180 days out}, but it is important to know that Disney has a cancellation fee for some sit down restaurants now of $10 a person!   Even being able to book 6 months out we did not get all of the reservations we wanted!  I poured over reviews and decided on the following reservations for table service.   

Yak & Yeti and Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom: loved both of these meals!

Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Hotel: fun for kids, but food was buffet so not great

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre at Hollywood Studios: Awesome food and experience

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge: Another buffet, but good food.  This was the only breakfast meal that we ate and mainly because we needed to use another table service! 

T-Rex at Downtown Disney:  Big boys loved this, but not Hampton.  It was loud and kind of scary.  Food was great! 

We also had a reservation at O'Hana one night and it was the one meal I was really looking forward to.  However, we pushed it that day and Hampton was NOT going to make it through a sit down dinner.  We cancelled {to avoid fee} and had pizza delivered to our room instead.  This took two of our table service meals.  

For quick service our favorites were 
Columbia Harbour House & Pecos Bill in Magic Kingdom;
La Cantina de San Angel in Epcot.  








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