So we had conquered the Magic Kingdom and had a wonderful time! In all honesty, nothing compares to the excitement of the first day. Although there is something for everyone at each of Disney’s parks, the Magic Kingdom is truly the perfect place for toddlers. We knew that the next few days would involve trying to find the best attractions for our kids within parks that are geared towards older kids and adults.
I got a hold of Grandma Sandy’s pictures today, so here are a few from our first 2 days that I wanted to share before moving on to Day 3.
My four monkeys shortly after we landed in Orlando.
Here we are on the balcony of one of our rooms. Don’t worry, we were on the first floor.
Outside the front gates of Magic Kingdom that first day! Oh the excitement!
A beautiful shot of the outside of our building.
On to Day 2! We had plans to go to Hollywood Studios and also had dinner reservations at Chef Mickey’s inside the Contemporary Resort. We headed out around 8:30 am, this time we had to take a Disney bus to get to Hollywood Studios. By the way…at this point, Allie still had not experienced any carsickness!
Hollywood Studios is designed to be like a movie lot with attractions that focus on favorites in TV and film. I would say that we skipped about 80% of it just because it was not age appropriate. That being said, we still had hours of fun there!
In the Williams household the characters from Playhouse Disney are true celebrities! We just knew our kids would LOVE the Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage show which included puppets and music from their favorite morning cartoons. Here are the kids outside of the show!
And the grandparents were just as excited to see Handy Mandy and the Little Einsteins on stage! :)
A rare moment with Eli and I. He decided to be Grandma’s boy for, well, the entire trip!
It’s Leo and Rocket!
Next up was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid musical stage show. It was about 20 minutes long and in a nice theater complete with some pretty cool special effects. My kids think that Ursula is totally awesome, so they all really enjoyed that part! Allie took a little nap on Grandma Sandy’s lap while we all enjoyed the performance.
We headed over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. This attraction makes you feel only inches tall as you wander among a playground of enormous blades of grass, bugs, and other things you might find in your backyard.
Hello handsome boy holding onto that special button!
Look at how tiny Allie looks next to Grandpa and the blades of BIG grass!
For lunch at Hollywood Studios we took the advice of a Cast Member and went to Pizza Planet. I’ll give this place a strong two stars (**) out of 4. I just can’t let myself give over 2 stars for counter service restaurants. I admit it, I like to be waited on! We had a yummy lunch of pizza and salad.
Before I go any further I have to share one of the best things that I did on this vacation. I have a new love in life…drum roll please…
The Disposable Bib!!!
When you have four children under 3 who are all pretty messy eaters, you just can’t get away with not using bibs. At home we use these plastic-type ones that I have to wipe down and disinfect after every meal…that is 4 bibs X 3 meals & two snacks a day. I loathe this chore and the thought of doing this on vacation made me very sad. I decided to buy disposable bibs and give them a try.
Now before any of you environmentalists out there send me any emails I want you to know that these thin-paper-gems were a great move for our environment. You see I used to have to wipe down the plastic type bibs with countless wipes when we were out to eat, or take home the bibs and wash them. By throwing this thin paper bibs out after every meal, I saved time and resources. I LOVE these things! I found them at Babies I Us and also had some Bibster brand.
After lunch we left Hollywood Studios because it was going to be the last warm day of the week and we wanted to hit the pool. I hope we didn’t make this park seem boring, there is a lot to do there. If your kids are into Toy Story, Narnia, Indiana Jones, or thrill rides…this place will not disappoint!
It was time to enjoy some fun in the sun at the pool! Unfortunately our hero Brady suffered an afternoon-wrecking boo boo on our way out of Hollywood Studios. Brace yourself…remember the boy who has had two major surgeries, a spinal tumor, chest tubes, chemotherapy, and a Broviac catheter? Well, this boo boo made him grouchy for 2 straight hours!
Tragic, I know!
The rest of us carried on until Brady felt like joining in again!
Cara and Eli were the little fishies of the family! Here the are re-enacting a dance between Prince Charming and Cinderella. They are still role playing these characters now that we are home. Eli runs after Cara yelling, “Cinderella, come back! Let’s dance!” Adorable…
Allie wasn’t very excited about the water, but she couldn’t have looked cuter in her bathing suit! And yes, I’m the palest person I know!
After naps we all jumped on the monorail to have dinner at the Contemporary Resort. We had a reservation for Chef Mickey’s, a character dinner buffet with Mickey and friends. Now, I remind you, my reviews and just that, my own. Chef Mickey’s is consistently listed one of the best character meals in all of Disney World.
Our family agreed on this rating though…we give Chef Mickey’s one star (*). I’m going to be honest, I just don’t like the Contemporary. I don’t feel the Disney spirit when I’m there. I like pretty resorts, and the Contemporary seems cold and outdated to me. Chef Mickey’s had the same lack-luster decor. We were seated in a room with no view of the characters until they were right upon our table.
For food only, we would give Chef Mickey’s 3 stars (***), but the bad atmosphere, not-so-great service, and strange character interaction really didn’t impress. It was this night that we learned that sweet Cara was not really into meeting the characters. All of a sudden Pluto came bounding up the stairs behind her and just kind of jumped out at her. She totally flipped out and Pluto didn’t get the hint right away. Not 10 seconds later, Goofy did the same thing. She just clung to me and every bone in her body was shaking. She did warm up to Minnie Mouse and by the end of the week she was able to interact with certain characters.
Despite some of the negatives, Eli and Brady really enjoyed meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald.
Look carefully at this next picture. It wasn’t funny then, but now, I’m cracking up. Here is Pluto trying to interact with Cara. She already had made it perfectly clear (you know, by screaming and trying to hide under the table) that she wanted nothing to do with him. Well, he didn’t let up. Here he is trying to wave his ears at her. She is clearly not amused. The baby in the background ended up screaming and crying too.
Here Cara is seconds later.
These kinds of things don’t scare Brady at all. Now boo boos and Band-Aids on the other hand…
Eli loved meeting Chef Mickey!
I wanted to add a few quick tips about character dining. You can make your reservations for these special meals up to 6 months in advance. Children under 3 eat free (woo hoo!) so this is a great deal for families with many small children. After doing 3 of them during our Make a Wish Trip, I would chose to do breakfasts only the next time we go. The breakfasts are about $10 cheaper and the food was just as good, if not better. If you are planning a day at Magic Kingdom, you can look into character meals at any of the monorail resorts. That way you can start your day by visiting the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, or Polynesian and have a character meal, and use the monorail or boat system to get to Magic Kingdom. Or you can start your day at Magic Kingdom, and take a break for lunch or dinner.
Later Tuesday night Matt’s friend Evan and his wife Lindsey visited us at our resort. We watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks right from our balcony and spend some time with them before heading to bed.
Wednesday would be another busy day! We were headed to Give Kids the World Village…a truly magical place!