I’m still waiting on everyone to send me their photos, but I wanted to go ahead and post the first day’s report. I just can’t wait any longer to start sharing our story! I’ve included a few photos, but will hopefully add more soon. I’m also going to wait until I have more photos to post Day 2. While waiting, I’m going to polish my race report and post it to my charity running blog. Stay tuned…
DAY 1 (SAT OCT 26): THE MAGIC BEGINS!
Sleep night before: 6h35m (1h25m sleep deficit)
Weather: 76-89°F (record warm low), 70-90% humidity (heat index ~100°F in afternoon)
Crowd Level: 8 (predicted) 6 (actual)
5:00AM Woke up, finished packing, woke up kids, loaded up car and left at 5:40 for Love Field (flying Southwest). Got the closest parking spot in the garage at the airport (not quite a “magical moment”, but pretty awesome way to start off), and walked inside around 6:15.
6:20AM Went through TSA-pre-check security, which was quite an ordeal with DS3’s medical bag and DD1’s baby bag with bottles and formula, but going through the pre-check line was really quick. Only took a few minutes, and we made it to our gate at 6:40. GG and PP arrived from their connecting flight, we got water and snacks at the sundries shop, potty break, gate-checked umbrella stroller.
7:30AM Boarded after group A with family boarding, but GG and PP were early in group A and had seats saved for us with them. We installed DD1’s car seat with great difficulty (yes we brought it for the airplane because we’re crazy). Comment: I really don’t like how Southwest does their boarding. We were assigned group B, which is crazy because I checked into our flight literally the second I was able to – I was on the website hitting refresh a few minutes before check-in opened up. I think the inlaws must have gotten group A because of their early connecting flight.
Wheels up. Boys did really great on this flight, they mostly colored and put stickers on some Disney coloring books we got from the DVC marketing people. DD1 drank a bottle on the way up then napped for an hour and a half. I got a bottle of whiskey with my snack (figured I should start the vacation off the right way). We hit a little bit of turbulence, but not too bad. Nothing else remarkable on the flight.
11:32AM Wheels down. Shuttle to the main terminal; boys thought that was fun. Potty break, then walked across the airport to Disney’s Magical Express (DME), waited about 20 minutes to board. No issues whatsoever. Departed around 12:20.
12:49PM Entered “the Bubble” and arrived at Wilderness Lodge around 1:00. I talked with the front desk about getting a room early since our son needs a full, private bathroom for medical reasons. There was one room available, and we decided to take it even though it was furthest from the elevators (we wanted to be close). We got into the room around 1:15 and got settled. I picked up the double stroller we rented from Kingdom Strollers (we also brought a single umbrella stroller). Here is when I had my first mini-heart attack of the trip. Bell Services couldn’t find the stroller, and Kingdom Strollers assured me over the phone that it had been delivered at 8:18 the night before. After searching everywhere, we finally found it in an overflow storage area outside behind a locked gate. The bellman didn’t even know that area was used for strollers and had to go find the key.
2:00PM Lunch at Geyser Point. This place was fantastic. Only negative was that we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated even though there were several tables ready. Not too big a deal though. Great atmosphere and great food/drinks. I had the bison burger and a beer. Highly recommended. Allergen menu: none, but talked with chef.
5:00PM Not sure of exact timing here, wish I had more photos (and their timestamps) so this would be more useful to people. Bus to Magic Kingdom (MK), through security pretty quickly, maybe 2 or 3 minutes which turned out to be the norm for our trip. I went to activate my Annual Pass (AP) and get Tables in Wonderland (TiW) at the guest relations window outside the tapstiles while everyone else went inside. They watched Flag Retreat and got cotton candy at the Main Street Confectionery. After I met up with them inside (probably 20-30 minutes later, there was quite a line at guest relations), we went to the City Hall guest relations to set up the DAS. We also got our 1st visit buttons. Finally, we went over to Town Square Theater and used a FP+ to meet Mickey at 5:55 – only 7 minutes late on my touring plan (TP), not bad! Meeting Mickey was pretty awesome. The boys hugged him and gave him high fives. We got a family picture. I was happy that there was an actual photographer there, instead of just the camera hidden in the bookcase like I had feared.
6:00PM Walked down Main Street, slow, soaking in the sight of Cinderella Castle ahead, and savoring the feeling of being here after fantasizing about it for so long.
By the time we made it through Cinderella Castle into Fantasyland, the boys were hungry. We found a spot to sit outside at Pinocchio Village Haus. I had planned on eating at Casey’s Corner ( TP adjustment #1
), but no one was hungry 5 minutes ago when we were there… I also forgot to get a popcorn bucket on our way down Main Street ( TP adjustment #2
– got it the next day). Fail! Anyways, we mobile ordered drinks for everyone and a pepperoni flatbread for the boys to share. Mobile order is awesome, it’s amazing that everyone isn’t using it. Even if the lines were short (which they sometimes were), why not sit down and use your phone to order? Surprise: DS4 said it was the best pizza ever, LOL! The adults didn’t eat since we had a late lunch and we were planning to go to the Fireworks Dessert Party. Allergen menu: available in the mobile order app.
7:00PM Used FP+ for “it’s a small world” (IASW). I planned this as our first ride because it seems quintessentially Disney to me. I’m sure that could be debated to the ends of time, but it just seemed right to be our first ride. After a potty break we started getting behind in the plan. Had to drop the Carousel and Mad Tea Party ( TP adjustments #3&4 – rode them the next day), but decided to still squeeze in Mickey’s PhilharMagic at 7:45. This was amazing to me. I’ve seen quite a few 3D films, but this was somehow better. Different technology? Maybe just the Disney kool-aid. At one point, DS3 actually reached out and tried to touch Tinkerbell, saying “Why can’t I touch her?” Haha. Another one - when Donald gets sent to the first scene with (can’t remember who, Lumiere I think?), DS3 shouted out “Hey, he’s not supposed to be in this movie!” I thought it was hilarious.
8:18PM At this point we were about 20-30 minutes behind, so we rushed over to Tomorrowland Terrace to check in for the Fireworks Dessert Party and scarfed down some goodies. This is where the first “magical moment” happened on our trip. Our son has severe food allergies to eggs, bananas, and a few other minor things. When we got to our table, the chef brought out this amazing plate full of desserts just for him. Only a picture will do it justice:
8:36PM We were escorted over to the plaza garden, which to my horror was packed. Mini heart attack #2. The garden was much better than the public areas which were about “shoulder-to-shoulder” packed, but I remember reading reports of kids running around and playing in the garden before the fireworks. This was certainly not the case. There was barely room for us to get the stroller in (which we had to justify to them because DD1 was sleeping in it). Perhaps it was because we got there so late. BUT, to my amazement, another “magical moment” occurred: there was a spot just big enough for us along the back railing. Exactly where I wanted to be. When we got there, this very sweet woman said she was saving it just for us.
9:00PM Happily Ever After. No description necessary. Everyone knows how amazing this show is. The climax for us was when they were playing “I Can Go the Distance” from Hercules. This song has become sort of a rally cry for our family, with lines like “And I won’t look back, I can go the distance” and “But I won’t lose hope, 'till I go the distance, And my journey is complete”. I looked over at DW and we both had rivers flowing down our cheeks. Thank you God for giving us people like Alan Menken whose art moves us so profoundly.
10:00 Boarded bus to WL, then prepped for tomorrow (cleaned bottles, restocked diaper and medical bags for DD1 and DS3, tidied up the room, etc.), crashed!