Happy Friday, friends! I hope you all had an amazing week and have some fun things planned for your weekend! We had quite the week with lots of exciting things happen that I can't wait to share with you so soon. We're also really looking forward to this weekend because we're going to our first Cubs game on Sunday! We're heading up to Milwaukee to see the Cubs play the Brewers with a big group of our friends. We try to make it up to Milwaukee to see the Cubs play at Miller Park at least once a year since we live so close. You can also tailgate at Miller Park, which makes going to games up there extra fun!
Today I wanted to share these magical photos with all of you! We received them back last week and I was so blown away by them. Like I said back in our Disney Travel Story post, on one of the days we did an hour long shoot with a private photographer at Magic Kingdom to have a special set of photos to remember our first trip to Walt Disney World with Kai. This was truly the most magical experience and I'm so glad we did it! Caleb and I agreed were probably going to do something like this every time we go now because each trip is so special to us.
Follow along with us on Instagram for lots more Disney photos too!
*All photos shot and edited by Hey Team Kelly
Hiya pals! We've been back from our vacation for about a month now and finally feel all caught up on life. We had the most incredible time at Walt Disney World and we want to share all of our adventures with you today! So grab a lemonade and snuggle up because it's going to be a long one ;)
Day 1 - Magic Kingdom
We had a super early flight out of Chicago at 7am so we could make the most of our first day at Disney World. We got in to Orlando around 10:30am and took the Disney Magical Express over to our resort. Our room wasn't ready yet so we did a quick outfit change in the restrooms in the main lobby, grabbed some Mickey shaped beignets (oh my gosh you guys, new favorite Disney snack ever!?), and hopped on the bus to Magic Kingdom.
Walking in to Magic Kingdom for the first time was everything and more, you guys. We walked down Main Street together toward Cinderella's Castle and it was honestly more than I've dreamed of. The sparkle in Kai's eyes was unreal. Every time we watch a Disney movie, he watches the opening credits when they show the castle and I always tell him "We're going there, Kai!" So when he saw it in real life, I just know he knew where we were.
After we took all the magic in, we grabbed some lunch at Casey's Corner and ate on the hub grass with the most perfect view of the castle. Eating corn dog nuggets and fries from Casey's on the hub grass is one of mine and Caleb's favorite things to do while at Disney World. It's like having the ultimate picnic! Kai crawled around the hub grass and we just enjoyed a slow lunch at our favorite place in the world.
Next, we popped Kai in the stroller so he could nap and did a little bit of shopping. We got our ear hats and had them embroidered and watched a little bit of the Festival of Fantasy parade. After the parade ended it was time to go meet Mickey and Minnie! We headed over to the Town Square Theater for Kai's big moment. He saw Mickey in real life and the look on his face was incredible. He smiled, laughed, hugged, and kissed him on the nose. He wasn't scared at all and it's a memory I will hold in my heart forever.
We had some time to kill before dinner so we just walked around Magic Kingdom, grabbed the new Hei Hei Cone from Aloha Isle, went through the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, and took a bunch of pictures with the castle in the rain. We then had dinner at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. The buffet spread was delicious and Kai once again loved all the characters. I think his favorites though were Piglet and Pooh ;).
We ended our night after that and headed back to our hotel. We stayed at the Port Orleans - French Quarter resort, and oh my goodness, it was the best! We have a Disney bucket list item for staying at every resort at WDW, but I'm not sure we're going to be able to pass up staying at the French Quarter every time we go! We loved it so much! Our room was spacious and had a huge bathroom area. It was big enough that we could put Kai's pack and play in it so we didn't have to sit in total darkness as soon as we put him down if we weren't ready to go to bed yet. The grounds of the resort were so beautiful and peaceful, too.
Mickey Onesie - SparkleDesignCo | Red Shorts - Little Me (similar) | Mickey Oxfords - Freshly Picked | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World | Mickey Ears - Amazon
Mama Shirt - SparkleDesignCo | Shorts - Zara (no longer available) | Sneakers - Nike (similar) | Minnie Ears - Walt Disney World | Ring Sling (Cardinal) - WildBird (no longer available)
Dad Shirt - SparkleDesignCo | Navy Shorts - Target (old, similar) | Sneakers - Cole Haan Outlet (similar) | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
Day 2 - Hollywood Studios
I started out my morning like I usually do at home actually but it was extra special waking up at our hotel at Disney. I got up early, grabbed some coffee from our cafe at the French Quarter, and found a quiet bench by a little fountain outside and read my book. I enjoyed the sunrise, my coffee, and my book while the boys got a little extra shut eye. I did this every morning we were there and it is honestly one of my favorite parts about our trip!
We headed out to Hollywood Studios for an early breakfast at Hollywood & Vine that morning where Kai got to try Mickey waffles for the first time and meet some of the Disney Jr. characters! He really loved Princess Sofia. After breakfast, I went on Rock N Roller Coaster while Kai was supposed to be sleeping but that didn't work out so well, ha! He was too excited to sleep and I couldn't blame him. We headed over to Toy Story Land next where we grabbed a quick lunch at Woody's Lunchbox. I got the chocolate hazelnut pop tart and Caleb got the BBQ Brisket Melt. Both 10 out of 10, highly recommend! We tried out the mobile ordering for the first time here, too, and it was so easy! We didn't have to wait in the long line and our food was ready so quick. After lunch, we went on Toy Story Mania where Kai fell asleep about 15 seconds after I put him in the ring sling, ha! He slept through the entire thing and yes, Caleb totally kicked my butt on it!
We decided to take a short break from the park after Toy Story Land and headed back to our hotel. Kai woke up when we got back and we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather so we headed to the pool! They have a fun little kids water play area, which we tried out first and Kai wasn't too keen on it. I think there was just too much going on for him but it will be so fun to take him to when he's a little older. We moved over to the regular pool area and got in the water and Kai LOVED it! He was splashing around and kicking his legs like crazy. He was laughing so much and didn't want to get out! We grabbed a pretzel and a couple of drinks from the pool bar and then Vacation Kai was born. (If you followed our trip on Instagram you'll know what I'm talking about but if not, we named Kai Vacation Kai and took lots snapshots of all the posh things he was doing while on our trip...basically just him living his absolute best life, ha!) He ate like half the Mickey pretzel and was ready to take on the rest of the day.
After the pool we headed back over to Hollywood Studios where we explored Star Wars Launch Bay then went back to Hollywood & Vine for dinner. This time we ate with Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey! Kai loved meeting Donald but Minnie and Mickey were the clear favorites again. He gave Minnie so many kisses on the nose when she came over to our table to spend time with him. Mickey was actually greeting everyone at the door when they first came in to the restaurant but had a very long line when we first got there. Our hostess gave us a little raincheck slip to come back and meet him when the line had died down. So after we were finished eating, we went over to Mickey and there was no line. Mickey got down on the floor with Kai and played with him for about 5 minutes. It was probably the best 5 minutes of Kai's entire life. The joy we saw on his face and excitement in his eyes was incredible. It's something I will never forget. That moment is why I love Disney so much.
We ended our night at Hollywood Studios by watching Fantasmic! Kai loved the show and it's probably one of our favorites, too. We got to see a bit of the fireworks from the Star Wars show too as we were walking out of the park! Again Kai wasn't scared at all and watched them in awe. It was another spectacular day!
Padawan Onesie - CouplesTeez (Custom order) | Khaki Shorts - Carters | Grey Moccasins - Freshly Picked
Jedi T-shirt - CouplesTeez | Khaki Shorts - JCrew Factory | Sneakers - Nike (old, similar) | BB=8 Ears - ToNeverNeverland | Ring Sling (Double Swan) - WildBird (no longer available)
Jedi Master T-shirt - CoupleTeez | Khaki Shorts - Banana Republic (old, similar) | Sneakers - Cole Haan Outlet (old, similar)
Day 3 - Disney Springs & Magic Kingdom
We had a nice, slow morning on our 3rd day with breakfast at our hotel and walking around our resort. We caught the boat from the docks at our hotel and went over to Disney Springs. We did some shopping at the LEGO Store, Basin, World of Disney, and Zara to name a few! We also grabbed some super tasty tacos from a food truck called 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa. We ate right next to the water and it was so relaxing. After that we headed back to our hotel for a nap. The whole morning and afternoon was a nice refresh from a busy first two days.
That evening we headed over to Magic Kingdom again. We finally took Kai on some rides! And he was awake! We went on it's a small world, Peter Pan's Flight, and the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We grabbed a churro to hold us over until dinner as well as a Lefou's Brew from Gastons, which is SO good, by the way. After that we headed over to Be Our Guest for dinner! So I've promised to always be totally honest with you all on this little blog, so here it is...we weren't impressed. Even though there were kids all over the restaurant, we felt really uncomfortable with Kai there. The food was decent but not mind blowing for the price. The experience of being there was also just so so. We saw the Beast walk by a couple of times but that's about it. We all might have just been off that night though, to be fair. Kai was hyper from the churro and actually blew out his diaper at dinner! It frazzled Caleb and we somehow ran out of diapers! I made a quick dart over to the Baby Center though that is located right next to the Crystal Palace and bought a new pack of diapers and was able to change Kai there. So not the most glamorous ending to the night, but I did learn where the Baby Center was inside Magic Kingdom, and I can 100% say those centers are lifesavers!
Blue Striped Romper - babyGap | Beige Moccasins - Freshly Picked | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
White Dress - JCrew Facrtory (old, new option) | Gold Sneakers - Keds x kate spade new york (old, similar) | Gold Minnie Ears - Disneyland Paris (now available at Walt Disney World) | it's a small world ears - Walt Disney World | Ring Sling (Mew) - Wildbird
Mickey Polo - Walt Disney World (available at the parks, similar) | Khaki Pants - Banana Republic | Oxford Sneakers - Amazon | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
Day 4 - Animal Kingdom
Our next day was spent at Animal Kingdom! We made a last minute breakfast reservation at Tusker House and man am I glad we did! It might be my favorite breakfast spot at WDW! They have this drink called Jungle Juice and oh my goodness, is it delicious. I'm not a huge juice person, but wow, that stuff is amazing. The food spread at the buffet was excellent, too. Everything was so flavorful and not just the same ole traditional breakfast buffet. After we ate, we had some time to kill before we went on the Safari ride, so we went over to Rafiki's Planet Watch and got Kai his first Wilderness Explorer book and a few badges! This was so much fun to do all day long and I'm really looking forward to doing it again with him when he's older and has the will to discover them all and finish to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer! So after we did all that exploring, Kai was pretty tired and took a nap in the sling while we rode through the Kilimanjaro Safari. This is by far my favorite ride at AK, and I was so glad Kai could go on it with us...even if he was asleep!
After our Safari ride, we headed over to the Festival of the Lion King, which is my favorite show at Animal Kingdom. It never disappoints and Kai loved it! Once the show was over, we headed down the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and got Kai some more Wilderness Explorer badges and did some bird spotting! The bird spotting was extra fun for me because you know those ring slings I wear all the time? Well the company's name is WildBird and they name all their slings after birds. So I recognized most of the birds on the chart and got to spot them in real life! Total mom nerd moment, I know, but it was super cool!
So this is where we actually made our first mistake of the trip though. We decided not to take our daily break back at our hotel to go to the pool or nap because it had taken us a long time to get from our resort to the park that morning. Let me tell you though, it doesn't matter...breaks are necessary regardless if you have children or not, especially when you're at AK. That park is so big, it tires you out fast! Anyways, we didn't take our daily break and it kind of just made both Caleb and I cranky...which really affected us later. We did grab some lunch though at our favorite spot in Dinoland called Trilo-Bites. They have buffalo chicken nachos that are to die for! After Kai woke up from his afternoon nap (thank goodness he napped, right!?), we went to the Finding Nemo musical, which is Caleb's favorite show. It was so precious watching Caleb sit with Kai and watch the show. It really is a wonderful little show and we love going every time. After Nemo though, this is where not taking that break kind of screwed us. It was time for our FastPass+ for Flight of Passage. On our way over to Pandora we tried to stop real quick to meet Dug and Russell. The line wasn't that long but then the characters took a break! We waited a few minutes but decided to leave without meeting them because we were afraid of missing our FastPass+. Like I said, AK is big...and it took a bit of time to get over to Pandora. We got there, tried to do rider swap...which guys, rider swap is a joke, don't do it if you have FastPasses. It took forever to speak with the rider swap guy and by the time I was able to get in to the ride, we were needing to leave the park to make it to our dinner reservation. So in the end, neither of us got to ride Flight of Passage...AGAIN. So from there, we went back to the front of the park and thankfully we got to meet Dug and Russell that time, so that perked our spirits up a bit. Plus we were heading to our favorite restaurant in all of WDW for dinner.
We hopped on the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and made it in time for our dinner reservation at Boma. We discovered Boma on our last trip to WDW and have sworn we will go back every single time, we love it so much. It's an African inspired buffet with the most delicious and flavorful dishes. This time my favorite was the steak with the sauces they had available that day as well as the curry. Caleb's favorite was the curry, too. Kai loved the sweet potato and potato dish they had, too. Kai is an interesting kind of picky...he doesn't like bland foods, so Boma was definitely his jam. Oh and the zebra domes...those things are the best dessert at Disney on the planet.
After dinner, we went back over to Animal Kingdom and watched the Rivers of Light show which was so beautiful. Then after the show was over we finally went back over to Pandora to see it at night. We did it guys...we saw Pandora at night...check! and done, ha!
Wilderness Explorer Onesie - LilyBethBoutiques (custom order) | Brown Shorts - Target (no longer available, similar) | Beige Moccasins - Freshly Picked | Wilderness Explorer Hat - Box Lunch | Orange Scarf - Amazon
Pink Tank - Target (old, similar) | White Shorts - JCrew Factory | Glitter Sneakers - Bibbidi Bobbidi Bling | Mickey Dad Hat - AmazEmbroidery | Dooney & Bourke Sketch Backpack - Walt Disney World (only available at the parks, similar) | Ring Sling (Summer) - Wildbird (no longer available)
Hakuna Matata Shirt - Amazon | Khaki Shorts - Banana Republic | Oxford Sneakers - Amazon
Day 5 - Magic Kingdom
The 5th day of our trip was actually my birthday! It was so special to spend this birthday at Disney with my little family and it's one I will cherish forever. We started our morning out early with heading over to Magic Kingdom to have breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table! There was still a decent amount of people in the park around the castle even though the park wasn't technically open yet! I didn't realize how many people actually are there for rope drop. So if that's something you want to experience, make sure you get to the park by at least 8am! We got to go past the rope though to get to the restaurant though, which was really cool because then it was empty! The castle was absolutely breathtaking in the morning light. We went over to the restaurant and were greeted by Cinderella herself when we went inside the castle! We made our way upstairs to our table but just as we sat down, the fire alarm went off! Everyone in the restaurant had to evacuate out the fire escape, so we all had to go down the stairs on the side of the castle. We waited outside for about 30 minutes while everything got sorted out. I guess there was a small kitchen fire because the hoods are old. A little scary...but Disney of course made up for it. We received free any time use FastPasses and a few Disney gift cards. We got to start our breakfast over again and it was worth the wait. Caleb had steak and eggs which were so good and I got the caramel apple stuffed French toast, which was also delicious. Kai found his new favorite breakfast food there too...mini blueberry muffins! We got to meet some of the princesses while we had breakfast including Aurora, Ariel, Snow White, and Jasmine. Kai loved Aurora so much, he is such a little flirt, ha!
After breakfast, we walked around the park a bit and went on the Haunted Mansion, which is my favorite ride at WDW! Kai was asleep for it this time around but it was actually a good thing because after the ride we had our family photoshoot with a photographer at the park. We spent an hour going around Magic Kingdom, taking some gorgeous shots and making incredible memories. I can't wait to receive the photos back and share them with all of you! What a special way to remember my birthday, right!? Once we were done with our photographer, we went on the Jungle Cruise and then grabbed some lunch at Pecos Bill, which is another favorite quick service spot of ours. We highly suggest the pork carnitas nachos. After we devoured those we went on Pirates of the Caribbean then headed back to our hotel so Kai could nap. He fell asleep on the ride back but woke up once we got back to our room, so we decided to spend our break at the pool!
After our nice little pool break, we headed back over to Magic Kingdom because we had a dinner reservation at California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. Oh my goodness friends, this restaurant surpasses the hype! The food, the drinks, the views...all of it was incredible. I had a glass of Cabernet Franc with my dinner of filet mignon. Cabernet Franc! It's so rare to find and it's probably my favorite kind of wine. The sushi was also delicious and we had strawberry creme brûlée for dessert.
Our post dinner plan was to head back over to Magic Kingdom on the monorail to catch Happily Ever After since we hadn't had a chance to see it yet. We got to the park a little late but still got to see about half the show. We watched it from the railroad station and Kai was mesmerized by it. We decided to close down the park since Kai had a bunch of energy so we went on Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, and Haunted Mansion again!
White Onesie - Target | Grey Overalls - Zara (old, similar) | Mickey Oxfords - Freshly Picked | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
White Top (same dress as day 3, ha!) - JCrew Factory (old, similar) | Blue Princess Skirt - Amazon | Gold Sneakers - Keds x kate spade new york (old, similar) | Silver Minnie Ears - Walt Disney World (no longer available)
Mickey Polo - Walt Disney World (available at the parks, similar) | Light Blue Pants - Banana Republic (old, similar) | Oxford Sneakers - Amazon | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
Day 6 - Magic Kingdom/Epcot
This was our last full day at Disney! Once we got to this day I could to believe how fast the trip had gone by. But that's what happens when you're having the best time of your life, right? We started this day out super early with breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at the BoardWalk. We got to meet Ariel again, plus Prince Eric, Flynn Rider, and Rapunzel! Punzie is my favorite princess, so as you can imagine I was so excited! Again, the food and experience did not disappoint, and if you can get reservations in time for this breakfast, we highly suggest it!
We made our way over to Magic Kingdom after we were done eating and made a little visit to the famous purple wall over in Tomorrowland. They redid it a little bit and it looks so cool now! Last time we were there I took the exact same photo but instead of holding Kai, I was pregnant with him! You can see the photo comparison over on my Instagram. From there, I actually left Caleb and Kai at the park and headed over to the Grand Floridian where I would be spending the next few hours at the spa! Caleb got me a package for a massage, facial, and pedicure for my birthday. It was such a relaxing few hours and I am forever grateful for the small break to have some time for me and some self care. Caleb had a fun time walking around MK with Kai though and grabbed some lunch at Tony's while I was gone! They met me over at the Grand Floridian when I was all done and Caleb and I ate the leftovers from Tony's for lunch on a bench right next to Bay Lake. It was so peaceful, and honestly romantic because Kai was napping. The whole afternoon this day was so relaxing and special, just what my heart needed.
After we were done eating, we hopped on the monorail to go to Epcot. We headed straight for Frozen Ever After, which was definitely Kai's favorite ride of the whole trip! He sure does love Olaf. We then just walked around the World Showcase and grabbed a bunch of different kinds of food as our dinner for that night. We headed back to our hotel early that night because Kai was showing signs of having caught a cold and we were both pretty tired from a long and exciting trip.
Mickey Shirt - Target (no longer available, similar) | Khaki Shorts - Carters | Mickey Moccasins - Freshly Picked
Striped Mickey Shirt - Uniqlo | Khaki Shorts - JCrew Factory | Glitter Sneakers - Bibbidi Bobbidi Bling | Purple Glitter Ears - Walt Disney World | Ring Sling (Summer) - Wildbird (no longer available) | Blue Spirit Jersey - Pretty Little Monograms (no longer available)
Mickey Shirt - Amazon | Khaki Shorts - Banana Republic
Day 7 - Magic Kingdom
We spent our last and final day at Magic Kingdom. We had planned on going back to Epcot but the day before we decided there was still more we wanted to do at Magic Kingdom over Epcot. We had a nice slow morning at our resort of eating at our cafeteria there and dropped our bags off for the Disney Magical Express to take them to the airport for us. We then headed over to MK where we just spent the day roaming around, grabbed some chicken and waffles from Sleepy Hollow (oh my gosh, so delicious by the way!), went on the Teacups and Dumbo again, and got another special ice cream cone called the Adventure is Out There Cone. You can get it from Auntie's Galactic over in Tomorrowland. We ended our time at Magic Kingdom by watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade with a churro.
Mickey Sweatshirt (gifted, unsure of source - sorry!) | Mickey Jeans - Zara (old, similar) | Mickey Oxfords - Freshly Picked | Mickey Hat - Walt Disney World
Wonderland Shirt - The Lost Bros | Castle Leggings - Happily Ever Tees (no longer available) | Glitter Sneakers - Bibbidi Bobbidi Bling | Hot Pink Glitter Ears - Disneyland Tokyo
Peter Pan Shirt - TommyRoseLane | Blue Mickey Pullover - Walt Disney World | Navy Shorts - Target (old, similar)
This was by far the best vacation and trip to Disney we've ever had. If you are wondering if it's worth it to take your babies to Disney, our answer is 100%. Kai is what made this trip beyond special and it's a trip I will cherish forever. Thanks again Disney, for all the magic and memories!
To keep the magic alive, I'll be posting more photos from our trip on my Instagram probably until our next trip, ha! AND to share the magic, I will be announcing a little GIVEAWAY over on my Instagram later today! Make sure you're following along so you can win something extra special that I picked up from Walt Disney World!
Only 90 more days until we're hanging out at the happiest place on Earth again! I am so excited for our next trip to Walt Disney World because obviously it will be Kai's first time but also because we've never been in the spring. We tend to always go for our anniversary which is in September. While I absolutely love going in the fall for all the Halloween decorations, I'm really excited to go in the spring for Epcot's Flower and Garden festival! I get asked all the time when's the best time of the year to go to Disney and my answer is always the complicated, "well it depends..." answer. But here's why; Disney has so much to offer than just the rides at the parks. There are a lot of extra things that you can do and some of them are seasonal! So when I answer "it depends" it really does depend on what you're in to. Do you want to go when all the pretty flowers are in bloom? Do you want to go to celebrate Halloween? or Christmas? Well today I am going to tell you about a bunch of Disney extras that you can take advantage of and when!
This special festival is always at the beginning of the year. It is actually pretty new with it being only the 3rd year for it. In 2019 it is taking place from Jan 18-Feb 25th. This festival is all about...you guessed it...the arts! There are special visual art exhibits and culinary exhibits all set up around the World Showcase to celebrate each country. You can even join special workshops to create your own Disney inspired art! No special ticket is required except a park ticket to get in to Epcot.
This is Epcot's spring festival! This year is it taking place Mar 6th-Jun 3rd. Epcot is decorated with an incredible amount of flowers and topiaries in the shape Disney characters! They also have a special food menu for all the pavilions around the World Showcase. No special ticket is required except a park ticket to get in to Epcot.
So Dapper Day technically isn't a Walt Disney World sponsored event, but it's still a very special one that is put together by Disney lovers! You know the lovely greeters when you first walk in to Magic Kingdom that are all dressed up and sing to you? They are called the Dapper Dans! There are two whole weekends, one in the spring and one in the fall, where everyone gets dressed all dapper like them to celebrate old school Disney! The spring one is being held on April 27th + 28th and the fall one has not been announced yet. This past year though it was held on November 17th + 18th, so you can expect it to be around then again next fall. There are no special tickets required to celebrate Dapper Day, you just get dressed up and enjoy the special events all around WDW resort!
This is Epcot's fall festival and the one we love oh so dearly! The 2019 dates have not been announced yet but you can expect it to go from late August till mid-November. It is Epcot's longest and biggest festival. It features over 30 different countries around the World Showcase all having their own special tasting carts for you to try food and drinks from all over the world. There are concerts in the American pavilion almost every night, too! No special ticket is required except a park ticket to get in to Epcot. You can use your snack credits on your dining plan for some of the taste portions, as well. If you do not have a dining plan you can expect to pay around $150 a person if each person were to get a food and drink item from every country.
Mickey's Halloween party is held in Magic Kingdom every fall. The first one usually takes place in late August and the last one held is on Halloween. You can go trick or treating down Main Street, enjoy a special parade and fireworks show, and lots of extra treats all over the park. There are so many more meet and greet characters available during the party and the best part is that you can dress up in your Halloween costume! Disney does not allow visitors to dress up while in the parks except during the Halloween party. This is a special ticketed event costing $75 per adult and $70 per child.
This is Epcot's holiday season festival. The park is of course decorated for the holiday season and the World Showcase features decorations to celebrate the holidays from all over the world. A seasonal holiday menu is available at the different countries for visitors to try cultural holiday favorites. No special ticket is required for the festival except a park ticket to get in to Epcot.
This is another special Mickey party that is held in Magic Kingdom! Christmas decorations go up all the week after Halloween and then the Christmas party promptly starts! This year this special event is going from November 8th to December 21st. This party features a special parade with Mickey and Santa, Elsa does some magic on Cinderella's Castle, and there are lots of extra special holiday treats! This is a special ticketed event costing $99 per adult and $94 per child.
This special event allows visitors to experience the parks after every one else for 3 additional hours! You can go on lots of attractions with little to no wait. You need to call to get tickets for this event as the dates are not advertised online. The number is 407-939-7795 and tickets cost $125 per person.
What is your favorite Disney special event? Or if you've never been, which one do you want to go to the most? Let me know in the comments!
Walt Disney World is probably our favorite place in the world. We've gone the last two years to celebrate our anniversary and have learned a few tricks along the way to make our vacations there so special. One of the ways that made our trip last year 100x better than the year before was thanks to staying at a WDW resort. Staying on property has so many perks to it, it's insane. We didn't know any of this when we planned our first trip, but man do I wish we did know! So I'm here today to share with you all the extras you get if you decide to stay at a WDW resort.
Disney Magical Express
If you book your trip through Disney and stay at a resort on property, you will have the option to take the free shuttle bus from the airport to Walt Disney World. Disney makes all of it so easy for you! They send you luggage tags in the mail, you put them on your bags prior to checking them in at your departing airport, and Disney gets your bags for you at Orlando International Airport. You just get off the plane and make your way to the Disney Magical Express area of the airport and get on the bus. You get to watch some Disney videos and sit back and relax after your flight. The bus brings you right to your hotel where they also drop your bags off for you in your room whenever it's ready! Then at the end of your trip, same thing. You check your bags at your resort and get on the bus at your designated time to go back to the airport. Disney checks your bags in for you at the airport and you pick them up when you arrive at your final destination.
You get your Magicbands for free if you stay at a Disney resort! The Magicbands act as your room key, ticket in to parks, your way to buy food from your dining plan, and your credit card to buy goodies all over WDW.
Book Your FastPasses 60 Days in Advance
When you stay on property, you can book your 3 daily Fastpasses 60 days in advanced compared to 30 days if you're not staying on property. This is a huge advantage if you are planning on going on rides like Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, Frozen Ever After at Epcot, and Peter Pan's Flight at Magic Kingdom. You probably won't get a Fastpass for these rides if you don't book them 60 days in advance and will end up waiting in a 2+ hour line to ride them!
The Disney dining plans are about the best thing ever. There are 3 different levels - quick service, dining, and deluxe dining. You have to stay at a resort to take advantage of having a dining plan and I promise it makes your trip 1000x better. All your food is paid for ahead of time (even snacks!) so all you have to do is scan your magicband wherever you're eating and depending on the kind of restaurant or food stand you're at, it gets deducted from your plan. But like I said, you have to stay at a resort to get this perk!
Free Mini Golf
Disney will send you a couple rounds of free mini golf for your whole group when you book a room at a resort! You can go to any of the golf ranges on property that has mini golf and play for free before 4pm! This is one of the great ways to take a small break from the parks.
Extra Magic Hours
Resort guests get to spend extra time in the parks! It's a different park every day and sometimes its prior to the park's official opening time or after its closing time. You can go on all the rides in the park and some food places will be open during the extra magic hours, too.
If you chose to drive to Disney or rent a car for your trip, you get to park for free at all the parks. You can come and go as you please and park hop and not have to pay a bunch of money to park at each park!
So as you can see, there are a lot of reasons why staying at a WDW resort is so worth it, but most of all each one is so unique and fun. There is a price point for every one and when you book a complete vacation package with Disney it truly is just that, a complete vacation. From the time you check your bags at the airport to the time you arrive home, Disney takes care of you.
What is your favorite Disney resort!? Mine is definitely the Polynesian...I love that I can get dole whips all day every day when we stay there!
Woo sorry I've been a little MIA this week friends, we had a quite the week. We had a minor health scare with Wrigley and I'm not going to lie, I've been kind of a mess. He started acting very strange yesterday morning, so we quickly made an appointment with our vet. Thankfully after a thorough exam, it's been narrowed down to some kind of sprained muscle in his abdomen or back. He's on pain meds and already seems to be better. It was a very scary experience though because he's always been a very healthy pup. Please keep him in your prayers and send him some good vibes to heal up quickly!
On to happier things though...like trips to Disney! I know from experience that all the things Walt Disney World has to offer can be overwhelming sometimes. They try to make your life easier by having all these perks but sometimes it is just too much if you've never been before or taken advantage of them. Well, I promise you, all the things that WDW offers to vacation goers really does make your life so much easier and ensures you will have the best time ever! There's a lot that goes in to an amazing Disney vacation but today I'm going to break down the travel logistics of getting to Walt Disney World by plane and how to get around WDW.
Disney Magical Express
If you're flying in to Orlando, take advantage of the Disney Magical Express. It is a bus shuttle service that takes you from MCO airport to your WDW resort. The best part about it though is, it's free! No other shuttle/transportation service in the Orlando area is free to other hotels, so for us this is a huge perk and a way to save some cash. This also eliminates needing to rent a car. Sometimes a car is worth it if you want to go explore other parts of Central Florida, but if you are strictly doing Disney, then the Magical Express is the way to go. An added perk for us now is not needing to bring a car seat for Kai, too, since we would just be on the bus with him! The bus picks you up right at the bus depot at the airport and drops you off at your hotel. They also grab all your checked luggage for you from baggage claim, too! So you can get off the plane and go straight to the bus, not having to worry about waiting for your bags. When you book your Disney vacation and if you select using the Magical Express, Disney will mail you luggage tags to put on your bags so that the service knows to grab those bags at baggage claim. Disney will then deliver your bags to your room at your hotel. It's a very similar process for going home, too. You check your bags in at your resort when you're checking out of your room and Disney will bring them to the airport and check them in for you with your airline. You catch the bus at your resort at your designated time that Disney will give you via a slip of paper with your check out information for your room. It's usually around 3 to 4 hours prior to your departure time. The bus drops you off at the airport and you're on your way home. For any additional carry on items you want for your plane ride home, you can just leave them at the concierge desk and get them before you leave for the airport on the bus.
The only downside to this is you will need to pack anything you need for your first day at the parks in your carry on bag. I don't like to wear shorts on airplanes because I get cold, so I pack my outfit for the day and anything else I need for the parks in my backpack that I plan on using at the parks. I use that as my carry on with any additional items I want for the plane. When we get to our resort, I either empty those plane extras out in to our room or leave them at the concierge desk to get later if our room isn't ready yet and get them after we get back from the parks. I personally feel like this is a very minor downside to all the convenience Disney is giving you otherwise.
Disney Ground Transportation
I'm just going to come right out and say this, please don't drive from park to park. You'll waste so much time getting to your car in the parking lots and driving around the resort to another park. The best way to hop from park to park and back to your hotel is by using Disney's bus system. You can catch a bus to all 4 parks, both water parks, and Disney Springs from every resort and every park. So if you start at your resort and you want to go to Magic Kingdom, just go to your bus depot and catch the MK bus. Then if you want to hop over to Animal Kingdom, you can catch a bus to AK at the MK bus depot. Then to get back to your resort you would just simply catch a bus back to your resort from the AK bus depot. Pretty simple right? The buses start picking up for the parks about an hour before they open and run for about an hour after the parks close. Buses to Disney Springs start at 4pm and run till about 3am. The only thing to keep in mind is you can't get buses that go from resort to resort. So if you have a dining reservation at a different resort than the one you are staying at, then you will need to take a bus to a park and then catch another bus to the resort you are dining at or want to visit. I'm not going to sugar coat it, the buses can sometimes take awhile. Plan on about 45 minutes to an hour one way for waiting for the buses to come and driving to wherever you're trying to get to. It is still better than driving around in a car though!
The easiest way to get around Disney though is by using the Monorail. The Monorail stops at 3 resorts, the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian and goes to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. It is fast and fun. It goes around the lake and has some amazing views while you ride it. This is the best way to get to those 3 resorts from MK and Epcot, which I highly recommend checking them out because they have some of the best restaurants, spas, and things to do outside of the parks. The Monorail will also take you to the MK and Epcot parking lots. There is also the option to take the ferry across the lake, but from experience, the Monorail is much faster.
If you must drive, here is all you need to know about parking. Disney has recently decided to start charging guests for overnight parking. For budget hotels it is $13 per night, moderate hotels it is $19 per night, and deluxe hotels it is $24 per night. It is still free to park at the parks during the day for resort guests. Standard parking for non-resort park goers is $22 per day and $45 for preferred parking. Parking at Disney Springs and ESPN Wide World of Sports is free all day.
That about covers all your transpo options for a vacation at Walt Disney World! When is your next trip to Disney? I'd love to hear about it, so leave me a comment below!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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