Just returned to reality today and thought I would get all my thoughts down now before I forget everything!
A little background: We are a family of four, me, my husband, DD3, and DS7, from Brooklyn, NY. My DH had been to WDW in the 1980s but I have only been to Disneyland Paris in 2002. My dream since I was a liitle girl has always been a trip to WDW but it was never financially feasible. In Febuary my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and came to live with us in our small 2 bedroom apartment so that I could take care of her. After a short but very brave and difficult battle my mom passed away in July, right before both my kids had their birthdays. She'd been saving her money for a while and I knew in my heart that she would have loved to give her grandkids (and me) the most magical birthday present she could. So my DH and I decided we would take our kids to WDW and let them know that this would be grandma's last birthday present to them.
With only a few weeks to plan I jumped in with both feet and got to work. I am a planner by nature so getting down and dirty with figuring everything out for our trip was actually quite fun for me and a good distraction from the sadness I'd been surrounded by lately, We decided to stay offsite to save money and booked the Holiday Inn- Disney Springs. We had no ADRs and didn't plan on doing any as we wanted as much touring time as possible. We got the magic ticket which allows one park per day for four consecutive days, again for financial reasons. So this is a pretty paired down, budget friendly trip, which I hope will be of some interest to folks.
Day 1 (8/24): We arrived in Orlando at around 6:30 PM and took an airport shuttle to the hotel. The hotel is really quite nice for the price. The room was immaculately clean and the lobby and pool were both really nice. The pool is a walk in and only gets to about 5' deep so it was great for my kids who don't quite get the whole swimming thing yet. When we checked in they gave DD a tiara and DS a pirate hat. They were thrilled! And made up a game using them called pirates and fairies that they played throughout the rest of the trip. I'd ordered from Amazon Prime Now on our way to the hotel and they were happy to receive and hang on to our stuff until we returned for the night.
After settling in a bit we walked over to Disney Springs to pick up our tickets and grab some dinner. Walking into Disney Springs was a total sensory overload. There's loud music and lights and things to see and lots of people and bubbles, and kids everywhere. I loved it, especially the little twinkling lights in the trees and the river in the middle of it all. It was all so pretty and done so well.
We had a bit of a journey but we made it over to customer relations and got to see a CM within a few minutes. She got our tickets for us and made sure to ask each of my kids who their favorite character was so they'd get that picture on their ticket. They were psyched!
Now, I have to tell you about my DD. She's 3. She decides she needs things and cannot be dissuaded from needing those things.She's also loud. Really loud. So when DD decided she wanted french fries with ketchup for dinner she was going to get french fries with ketchup by whatever means necessary. So with a screaming DD in hand, we all set off to find french fries. It wasn't as easy as you'd imagine. Disney Springs is loud and big and even with the MDE app it was hard to navigate.
Finally, we settled on D-Luxe burgers, or so I thought. My husband was not happy with any of the choices (we're vegetarian) and my son basically started gagging at the smell in the restaurant. So yeah. Not going as smoothly as I'd hoped. I ordered my daughter french fries and found us a table outside to spare my son's delicate senses having to smell hamburgers anymore. Also, two big cold beers for my DH and me. By now my husband was getting hangry but refused to order a veggie burger and said he wanted to find something else to eat. I showed him the menus for a few places but none of them were suitable to him. By now I was seriously starving and annoyed that my DH was suddenly some kind of foodie and turning up his nose at everything so I just went ahead and ordered myself a veggie burger while DH sulked.
Fries came and DD and DS dug in. After a few fries my DD then decided she needed candy RIGHT. THIS. SECOND. Screaming ensued. My DH took her to find candy while DS and I waited for my burger. And waited. And waited. In the meantime, a CM offered my son a milkshake that I guess he had an extra of. My son happily took it off his hands and I started to get the feeling we were being sprinkled with just a teensy bit of pixie dust. After watching all the tables around us get food I saw the server and asked if she knew when mine would come out. She was so very sweet and went to check on it. A minute later she came out and very apologetically let me know that the order didn't go through originally and they were making it right now. No worries I told her, it's not a big deal. Next she came out and gave us a big plate of french fries and another milk shake and apologized again! And then she came out again with the manager and let us know the burger was going to be refunded! Pixie dust indeed.
My burger was excellent and the fries were super yummy. The little sip of the milkshake my kids let me have was very good too. Too bad my DH didn't care for the food as I would have happily gone back.
We poked around Disney Springs a bit more before returning to the hotel to rest up for our marathon four day- four parks worth of touring!
Next stop: Hollywood Studios...