Here is an overview of our trip.
Who:Our family (Matt, me, Eli, Cara, Brady, & Allie), my mom, and Matt's Parents for a grand total of 9
Where: POP Century (a Disney value resort). A far cry from last year's Grand Floridian accommodations, but a very fun place to stay if you are traveling with kids!
Why: What better place to vacation with 4 kids under 4? Disney is the perfect place to vacation with toddlers. We were able to take advantage of almost-free airfare using credit card points and also had a great discount on our rooms through a friend (we need two rooms due to the size of our family, so this discount was key to us affording our trip!). We packed all of our snacks, ate breakfast in our room, and only bought the kids one souvenir each. Disney can be affordable!
Day One: Travel Day
Our flight was out of Buffalo at 8:45am flying JetBlue. We left our house at around 6:30am. In total, our family had 6 suitcases, 2 carry on suitcases, 5 backpacks, and my tote bag. I worked for weeks trying to meticulously pack things in order to stay more organized than last year. I put each child's clothes for each day in a gallon size Ziploc bag (including shorts/pants, shirt, undies, undershirt, socks). I thought this system would be flawless and would allow us to just easily pull out 4 Ziplocs for each day of our trip. After day 1 though, I realized that I had forgotten to account for all of the extra clothes the kids go through in a week. I was constantly pulling extra undies or shirts from the bags after swim time, bath time, or when they kids got dirty. I think I would use this system again, but would keep undies and socks in a separate bag!
We gave Allie some anti nausea medicine before leaving the house. We knew our biggest challenge with her motion sickness would be the 40 minute car ride to the airport. We were right on that one. Just as we pulled into the airport, she threw up all over. I thought I would just about lose it as we had to pull up to departing flights and unload all the kids and all 13 of our bags quickly so that Matt could bring the van to long term parking. Now I had to change Allie's clothes standing next to the car, clean up as much throw up as I could from the car that would be sitting there for the next 8 days, and get us all inside. It worked out okay, and Allie was a trooper despite being undressed when it was only 25-30 degrees outside.
The kids were super excited and we were too!!! We got checked in without incident and through security easily. The man checking tickets at security asked each of the kids how old they were. The triplets each answered, "3" and when he asked Allie, she smiled and said, "I'm 5!" Oi.
We were seated 3 to a row in 3 consecutive rows on the plane. Grandma and Grandpa sat with Brady, Matt and I sat with Allie, and my mom sat with Cara and Eli. I had packed the kids' backpacks with inexpensive but "new" things for them to do. They each had stickers, a small tub of playdoh, a Disney themed fun pack, a small puzzle, snacks, and a few other things. The flight was smooth and the kids did great. Allie is always a little challenging, but even she was a good girl for the 2 1/2 hour flight.
Allie sitting between Matt and I. It takes two to tango with this little terror!
One of the biggest perks of staying at a Disney resort is being picked up at the airport by their free bus service called Magical Express. We checked our bags back in Buffalo and didn't have to worry about them until they were delivered to us at our resort! All we had to do was find the Magical Express line at the airport. After about a 10 minute wait, our bus pulled up and we were on our way with just our carry on bags!
We arrived at Pop Century and it was a wonderful 75 degrees with gorgeous sun! Our rooms weren't quite ready, so we grabbed lunch from the food court. After that we were able to check into our rooms. We paid a few extra dollars a night to be in a preferred location, meaning that we were close to the main building and the bus stop (a must for us because of the kids). Matt and I had an adjoining room with the kids, then my mom had a room, and then his parents. For 6 nights of our trip, Matt and I had no one on the other side of us, so it was a pretty quiet spot.
We pretty much dropped our bags and got the kids into their swimsuits. We weren't going to waste a minute of this beautiful weather considering we left freezing temps and snow behind that morning! We were off to the Hippy Dippy Pool, Pop Century's main swimming area. We never actually went in the main pool, but instead used the splash pool that is much better suited for toddlers. The kids LOVED it. Allie is still talking about the "Hippy Dippy!"
The kids totally just let loose! The girls have always been much more of water babies than the boys. They get right in and lay, run, and splash in the water. The boys liked to go in and out, and Brady especially needed to get out and dry off every few minutes. It was an awesome way to kick off our vacation:)
After swimming and dinner, we decided to walk around and explore our resort a bit more before getting to bed. Pop Century is themed based on each decade from 1950 to 1990. Each building is a 4 story motel-style unit with big iconic statues representing toys from that decade. It's not the most beautiful place on Disney property, but the kids loved it and it grew on me throughout the week.
After traveling all day, swimming, then walking around for an hour, we were all feeling like this...
It was time to get everyone tucked into bed. The boys shared a double bed (first time ever for them!), Cara had her own double bed, and Allie was in a pack and play. Of course we had packed a whole suitcase full of stuffed "friends", blankets, pillows, white-noise machines, and even Allie's beloved bumper that she uses as a pillow. It took a bit to get them to settle down, but this was the only night that was a problem. For the next 7 days we would completely exhaust them (and ourselves) having a wonderful time.
Tomorrow...Magic Kingdom and two little boys become pirates for the day!