It has barely been a week since the boys started school again and I am already thinking about taking a vacation. Last year, in August, we were blessed to have the opportunity to visit Disney World in Orlando with my mom. Ever since we were in Indonesia I dreamed of the day we would be able to take the boys to Disney. Visiting Disney Paris and Hong Kong Disney was awesome but I really wanted to go to the place where my love for all thing Disney started.
Although we visited in what was supposed to be the hottest time of the year, visiting in late August was perfect for us. Schools in Virginia don’t start until September and by then the crowds have dwindled down significantly and the season pass holders were still a few weeks away from making their yearly migration to Orlando.
We bought a 5 day pass and decided the first park we wanted to visit was Magic Kingdom. As soon as we approached the park the boys started getting super excited to the point were we were singing and trying to spot Disney characters along the way.
Evan and Josh were so impressed to see the Mickey Mouse silhouette everywhere and they particularly enjoyed eating stuff shaped like Mickey. I think they are Disneyvores.
We tried to hit the crowded rides first and the Fast Passes and awesome app made everything seamless. I rode the faster rides with Evan while my mom stayed with Josh and rode the carrousel with him like 10 times.
We brought snacks with us and were able to avoid eating too much junk before it was time to have lunch. The kids meals were not too expensive and quite balanced. Of course the fact that lots of the things were shaped like Disney characters helped.
We took a mandatory ride on the “It’s a Small World” attraction and enjoyed singing a long in whatever languages we could figure out. I pointed out to the boys Thailand and Mexico and reminded them that they had been there before.
The last time I visited Disney World was when Evan was still in my belly. In fact, we had just found out I was pregnant with him and we were so excited to celebrate in Disney. Although this was just 6 years ago, lots of things have changed! I was extremely impressed to see a pager system at the Dumbo ride and air-condiitoned playground area where you could wait until it was your turn to ride. Lots of the rides had new interactive activities within the lines and this made it soooo smooth for us to wait to hop on the rides.
The Disney World App and Fast Pass system is also amazing. I was able to book our fast passes in advance and could control all of our family’s tickets from there. As soon as we used one of the passes we were able to book one more and also look at approximate wait times for the rides near us. The app really enhanced our experience and helped me find bathrooms and changing areas in times of need.
For Evan, Tomorrowland was the best area to visit. We rode on his favorite ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin a few times and got to meet Buzz. We also rode on the Carrousel of Progress. The boys weren’t really fans but I definitely was since it reminded me of the first time I visited Disney when I was 7 years old.
Speaking of Tomorrowland, let me tell you about the Magic Bands we got, they are a thing of the future. Magic Bands are bracelets you put around your wrists that you can synchronize with your Disney tickets. You can enter the parks and your Disney hotel rooms with them and you can even use them to buy food and other items if you set it up. This was perfect for us when we had to use the fast passes so we didn’t have to worry about our tickets getting lost. Evan even got a few Star Wars charms to go with his and loved presenting it at every opportunity.
A new experience for us were the parades. When we visited Disney at other locations we didn’t really make the effort to stop and watch the parade but this time we did. Boy, am I glad we did. The boys were so excited to hear the music and see all the dancers and characters. Evan was particularly impressed with Captain Hook and was so happy to see Peter Pan fight him. Josh was delighted to see Mickey Mouse in person.
We didn’t do all of the character meetups since many of them had long lines (Hello, Elsa and Anna…). The kids were happy to meet them but I feel like the enjoyed the rides even more than meeting the characters. I asked them if they wanted to get an autograph book but they weren’t really into in. Perhaps next year.
Just as we were leaving we decided to try to meet Mickey Mouse and were lucky to be abel to book a fast pass to go in to see him. Josh didn’t want to go but Evan was up and ready to go as soon as I proposed it.
Despite the fact that we were all tired and kind of ready to go, we decided to stay for the night parade. It was awesome!!!! Disney at night is just magical and the light parade was so beautiful.
Our visit to Disney was unforgettable. We can’t wait to go back and see how the kids’ experience evolves through the years. If you are planning to visit, don’t hesitate. It’s worth visiting. The expressions on your kid’s faces will make it all worth it.
- We brought our full size stroller with skateboard with us. This was the best decision ever. Although the kids are old enough to walk around for a few hours, you have to realize you walk an average of 8-10 miles during your visit so it can get very tiresome for little legs. Josh took a nap in the stroller and we were able to take breaks easily.
- You are allowed to bring snacks with you, take advantage of that. You are not allowed to bring in coolers or anything like that but I packed a backpack full of fresh fruit, snacks and water and saved a lot of money by avoiding buying snacks and buying only full meals. The meals are quite reasonable and the kids’ versions are the perfect size and price.
- Download the My Disney Experience App. It is a lifesaver and makes everything so easy. Perfect for scheduling your fast passes and truly taking advantage of all the activities. You can set up a schedule and try to hit all the shows and parades without having to deal with paper maps and schedules.
- Get the Magic Bands. If you are like me and might be prone to loosing your tickets, buy them. It makes everything easier, it’s almost like having an Apple Watch. Perfect for little ones too since they can’t loose them or try to play with them.
- Have a plan, or not. We knew there were some rides we really wanted to get on and tried to book fast passes for them. For the rest, we just went with the flow and followed the kids’ cues. The app was super helpful as we could see which rides had short lines and we could visit them if we were nearby.
- Enjoy! Let yourself be a kid, be silly, be imaginative and above all, cherish the opportunity to spend precious time with your family.