Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Disney World 2013: How We Did Disney

How We Got There and Back
For a while we thought about making the 12-hour drive to Orlando, but then we came across a reasonable airfare (plus Will flew free) and the decision was made for us. Of course there were moments during the travel that made hubs and I look at each other and said, “I don’t know how we ever made it to Hawaii” but in hindsight, it really wasn't bad. Sure, there were rowdy moments, lines to stand in, and we were limited to what we could bring, but everything went smoothly in the big picture.

We ended up bringing a big checked-in luggage, 3 backpacks (Luke, Anna, and me), and our tandem stroller. There was a debate on whether or not we should bring two single strollers so the kids could both nap at the parks…..so glad we didn't go that route! Two parents, two kids, two strollers spelled all kinds of inconvenience and trouble.
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Being on an airplane entitled the kids to unlimited screen time.
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Waiting at the airport didn't seem bad with these two happy kids.

Where We Stayed
As always, we picked to stay at one of Disney’s budget resorts – Pop Century Resort. I think this was our sixth time staying there for hubs and me, second for Anna, first for Will, and many more for all of us in the future. We love it there! The kids enjoyed the pools, had fun roaming the grounds, and we ate at the food court at least once a day. I will say that the food court menu has changed since our last stay, and not for the better. But it’s not a deal breaker for us. We actually went across the bridge to visit the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and for many reasons, we definitely still vastly prefer the good old Pop.
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We stayed in a standard room with two double beds.
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The pool area was super close to our room. In fact, our room was super close to everything. Completely lucked out on that one. (We did online check-in prior we left and put in our preferences...maybe that helped?) 

How We Got Around
Every morning, we waited in line for the bus to take us to the parks.
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How We Dealt With Naps
With two kids who still nap regularly at home, we knew that we needed to go back to the resort in the middle of the day. On our first full day there, we went to Magic Kingdom, came back to nap, and went out again. That ate up a lot of time – catching the bus back and forth, plus the napping. Not that we were in any hurry, but I wasn't sure that going back out again (6 pm?) and then coming back to our room 3 hours later was worthwhile. On second day, we went to Animal Kingdom. AK didn't have many things catered to little kids like mine so we were actually done by 3 or so in the afternoon. We went back to the resort, took a long nap, and just chilled at the resort for the rest of the day.

Beginning on the third day, we decided to just let Will nap in the stroller and have Anna skip hers. I don’t think Will napped comfortably in the stroller, but those 45-minute naps he took were enough for us to not have to go back to the resort in the middle of the day. Instead we just found a shady spot in the park for him to sleep while we hung out with Anna. One time we all waited quietly together, but all the other times, I ended up taking Anna around the park while Luke stayed with Will.
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When we bought the tandem, we were well aware that it was not conducive to napping, but Will made it work. 

Both kids were so sleep deprived during the trip, but it wouldn't be a vacation if we got solid sleeps, right?

What Made It All Easier
New to us this year was MyMagic+, which is a collection of magical tools! Before we left for Disney, we were asked if we wanted to help test out the new program and after an enthusiastic “yes!” from us, we received a MagicBand for each member of the family in the mail.

With the MagicBand (that we wore around our wrists), we could enter our hotel room with just a touch, enter the parks, purchase food, and access FastPass+ attractions with ease. No more key cards! The FastPass+ option was the best part – we were able to select up to 3 attractions that we wanted to do online and have no wait time once we go there. It’s similar to the old FastPass, but with that, you had to physically go to each FastPass stations to get the tickets. Being able to do it online saved time and helped us plan our day. There was also a mobile app (My Disney Experience) that we downloaded to keep our reservations (dining, FastPass+) straight. I used it all the time.
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Anna got really good at holding up her MagicBand to the machine and waiting for the Mickey head to turn green.
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The mobile app was a little bit buggy and would something quit on its own, but when it worked, it really helped.
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Overall, we had a really, really great vacation and definitely itching to go back again. Not 2014, but 2015 is a strong possibility!

5 comments:

  1. looks like the family had an absolutely blast. I have never been to Disney World. I have been to Disneyland but have not yet taken my son. Hopefully I get the opportunity to take my son one day :)

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  2. I loved that you've been to Disney so many times because when we eventually go, I need a practical-local like you to give us the inside scoop on what to do and where to stay and how to save $$! Was Will's airfare free because you didn't buy him a seat or is it part of a deal? Unlimited screen time while traveling, of course! Junk food too, if it were us. Did Anna do well skipping her nap? Did you have to go to bed earlier? Will looks HUGE napping in that stroller!!! How old is he? Three? ;)The new pass with the App looks super convenient! What an informative post!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Will was under 2 at that time so we didn't buy a ticket for him. When traveling, my kids eat like birds....hungry birds...so there was a lot of ice cream in their diet that week. Anna did fine skipping her naps, but I know she was tired. Still, no meltdowns or crankiness. We actually didn't go to bed any earlier either! Seriously, don't know how we survived.

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  3. Not sure how we always end up burning ourselves out early on and then wish we could stay longer towards the end. Regardless, two kids and a stroller do not make a happy Baba. Hopefully, the next time we head down there we'll be doing so by way of minivan instead of flying. Time to start saving...again...

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  4. Goodness, Will can sleep anywhere can't he?!

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