Just over two weeks ago, we returned from a long awaited nine day trip to Disney World. This trip was very special for my family because it was our first time to the World in two years which for us is a long time. The reason for this long break in between trips was due to me being in a motorcycle accident in May of 2013. I won’t bore you with details, but the injuries were extensive and I’m still recovering. This trip for us signified that life was slowly returning to normal, although we had to make adjustments to our trip and skip a few attractions that we may have normally gone on. I travelled with my wife, our four kids (ages 9, 7, 6 and 4) and my mother (whom without the trip would have been near impossible for many reasons). This trip was also the first trip that our boys (6 and 4) were over 40″ tall which means they were able to go on most rides. To say the least, the kids were excited when we told them we were going. We told them two weeks before we left so they could be excited to go, but not wish their summer away.
When we arrived, we checked into Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village (see Kidani Village review). We went to the Magic Kingdom first thing because it’s kind of a tradition for us. We checked in with guest relations to pick up our annual passes which we had vouchers for (so we could take advantage of fastpass plus) and we also got a Tables in Wonderland Card. The card is available to Florida residents, DVC Members and annual pass holders for $100 and gives a 20% discount on tables service meals. Upon leaving guest relations we watched the Welcome Show which is seen from inside the turnstiles at the Magic Kingdom. If you haven’t seen the show it’s a great way to start your day at the Magic Kingdom. Once inside we went straight to Fantasyland, to go on Dumbo. After going on Dumbo twice with no wait we went to the Barnstormer which we went on twice with no wait. Having our fill of Storybook Circus we went to another classic ride, the tea cups at the Mad Tea party. As luck would have it Alice and the White Rabbit had just arrived when we got off the attraction and we were second in line for a photo and autograph. In years past we have done the typical autograph book so we decided to change things up a little. We bought a white table cloth and had characters sign it. We got a lot of strange looks and some complements on the idea but it made sense for us, instead of four kids getting signatures it was one signature per character and took less time. We were able to experience most of the Fantasyland attractions that morning, Peter Pan which we used our Magic Bands for (this was our first experience with the bands and they worked great, I was skeptical at first but loved them). After Peter Pan, we went on Its a Small World, Under The Sea Voyage with the Little Mermaid and Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel. We had a great lunch and dessert at the Plaza restaurant and headed back to Kidani for some animal watching, pool time and an early night.
On day two we went to the Magic Kingdom again this time hitting all the attractions in Adventureland. After clearing out Adventureland we went to Thunder Mountain. Although most of my family had gone on it before it was a first for the boys and they loved it. We then met Mickey in Town Square. This is a must for any Disney trip but for my youngest son it is always a dream come true, Mickey is his favorite. After getting an autograph and pictures with the big cheese, we took a boat ride to the Wilderness Lodge. We ate lunch at the Whispering Canyon which is anything but whispering, if you are looking for a quiet lunch go somewhere else. This restaurant is a great experience, the kids have pony races throughout the restaurant, there is a ketchup delivery service (ask about it) and be prepared to have an all around good time. After our not so quiet lunch we took a bus from the Wilderness Lodge to Animal Kingdom. When we got there we explored Rafiki’s Planet Watch, although a lot of people skip this area we enjoy it. There are character meet and greets, exotic animals to touch that are being held by handlers and on a rare occasion you can observe vets treating animals. There are Castmembers on hand to answer questions about animals and explain many different animal facts. There is also a small petting zoo, although none of the animals are too exotic my kids still enjoy the interaction. After Rafiki’s Planet watch we took a stroll through the Pangani Exploration Trail in Africa. Here we got to see a three week old gorilla. I could not believe how small it was. The mother was very protective and tried to keep it out of public view (can you really blame her). We then did something we have never done before, Flights of Wonder. We had never really had an interest in the show before, however my younger daughter wanted to see it. We were not disappointed, it was a great show and all the kids want to see it again. After a quick ride on Tricertop Spin and dinner at Restaurantosarus (which takes Tables in Wonderland) we were on our way back to Kidani for the day.
Day three was a trip to Epcot. There were a few firsts for our family here. For my girls Mission Space was new (we rode the green side to ease my girls into it and I wasn’t ready for orange with my injuries). It was a great experience for them and we had fun fooling around with each other and blaming one another for the not so great landing. For the boys Test Track and Soarin were new. They each loved “creating” their car and testing it and couldn’t wait to go on the attraction again. Soarin was a concern of my wife and me for our oldest son, he is petrified of heights but we figured we would try it once anyway. When we got in our seats he became more and more nervous. I told him to close his eyes until we got to the top and I would tell him when to open them. This worked perfectly he absolutely loved it, we were so proud of him for being brave. Although we rode Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo, and Journey into Imagination that day, the boys were still talking about Soarin all day. When we were done with Future World that day we went into World Showcase to “eat around the world” grabbing a bite to eat and drink in each country in an attempt to broaden our kids palates. Some things they liked, others they did not, but it was a great experience. After World Showcase, we took the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. The sole purpose of this was due to the the fact that our kids love the Monorail. When we got off the Monorail, my oldest son who is into collecting the transportation cards asked one of the Monorail Pilots if he had trading cards. The Castmember was fantastic! He went to a kiosk to get a box, sat down with my kids and gave them all the Monorail cards in the set then he gave them a ton of stickers which made the kids’ day. We didn’t do much in the Magic Kingdom, we watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade for the first time and played Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. By this time we were ready for the pool and headed back to the resort.
The next day was Hollywood Studios which three out of the four kids were very excited for because that is where they can go on Star Tours, again this was a first for the boys and they could not have been more thrilled. We also went on Toy Story Midway Mania. This is an attraction we have not been on in a while because the lines for the ride and the lines to get a fast pass for it were always long and we never felt it was worth the wait. However, with fast pass plus, there is no need to worry about that. Another first for the kids was The Great Movie Ride, my wife and I have always been hesitant of the gangster shoot out, the Wizard of Oz and Alien scenes for our kids fearing they would be petrified, but they surprised us and enjoyed it. We also did Muppet Vision 3D (which is a must for us), Honey I Shrink the Kids Play Set and One Man’s Dream. We kept the day shorter to relax in the pool all afternoon. In the evening my wife and I got to have a nice dinner, just the two of us (my mother stayed at the hotel with the kids). We experienced the Be Our Guest Restaurant for the first time. The atmosphere was great, it was suitable for a nice family meal or a romantic dinner for two like us. We were happy with our meal choices, grilled strip steak and sautéed shrimp and scallops. My Chimay Blue beer was fantastic as well. It was a great night of just strolling around the Magic Kingdom, talking, and enjoying the sites. One of the highlights was a tip we got from our waitress at Be Our Guest, to watch Wishes from the entrance of the bridge to the restaurant, we now have a new favorite spot to watch Wishes from.
In an effort to keep this short I will stop here and add part two next week. Please leave a comment on here, like us on Facebook at Disneyhelp or follow us on Twitter @Disneyhelp.