After trying different routines, schedules, places and passes we are starting to figure out what works for our family on our weekends at Disney. Even thought there were lots of firsts on this trip, it was actually the most successful and seamless trips we have had!
We left early Saturday morning right after breakfast and drove straight to Magic Kingdom (minus one pit stop for C-does everyone else drive like a race car driver when their toddler has to pee?!). The weather was beautiful, mild temps and not a cloud in the sky. We got super lucky and parked fairly close to the handicap section so we were able to just walk to the fairy/monorail entrance. We decided to take the ferry thinking the kids might think of it like a ride. They were definitely interested and curious. That was their second time on a boat and I think they liked it fine enough. We had our MagicBands mailed to us so we were able to just go straight to the entrance line. From the time we parked to the time we got through the entrance it was about an hour. I didn’t realize it would take so long so we missed our first FastPass time, but I was able to reschedule it for later in the day.
When we walked into the park we stopped to take a photo in front of the castle and by the time we turned around a cast member told us if we just stopped where we were we would see the parade coming by with a prime view! C just about lost his mind when he saw all the characters up close and R didn’t do so bad either. We headed over to our next FastPass for Winnie the Pooh that was coming up quickly. C couldn’t contain his excitement, dancing his way through the FastPass line. Sitting in a giant honey pot, twisting and gliding through the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh Bear and all his friends was a great way to introduce the type of rides we would be going on that day.
We stopped by It’s A Small World on our way to our lunch reservation to get a DASPass (Disability Access Pass). This is where I would change something for next time. I pre purchased a parade dining package that basically gives you premium seating for the big parade at 3pm with a dining reservation at Tony’s Restaurant (Lady and the Tramp themed). I made the dining reservation for when we usually eat lunch at home thinking that it would keep us on our normal schedule, but because I did that we ended up doing a lot of back and forth from the front of the park where the restaurant and parade are and the back of the park where the rides were. Next time I would make the dining reservation for just before the parade so we only had to make one trip up to the front of the park. There’s plenty of shopping and treats at the front of the park that even if we finished lunch early before the parade we would have things to do.
Lunch at Tony’s was great! They had an awesome gluten free menu as well as a full beer and wine list. The walls were adorned with Lady and the Tramp memorabilia, the food was great and the service was even better. We decided to do a sit down lunch this time and have room service for dinner when we got back at the hotel. The kids were great in the restaurant and I think it helped that they had food they really liked. Watching C slurp his spaghetti noodles was the highlight of my week! Cutie!
We went to Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s A Small World while we waited for the parade to start. On our way back to the parade we stopped by Little Mermaid to get another DASPass. Because there was only one time for the big parade that day it was pretty crowded. We got premium seating, but if you got there a full half an hour before the starting time (which is what our package requested), you could have pretty much had great seating wherever you wanted. I wouldn’t do the dining parade package again, but it was nice to try. We all loved the parade. I especially loved the part when a woman ran across the street between two of the floats and one of the fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty came over and without breaking character, voice or smile, told her “I saw what you did. That was very bad. Don’t ever do it again”. I died laughing. You tell her Merryweather! After the parade we went to Dumbo. Super cute and I’m so glad they have two sets now. We finished with Little Mermaid and decided to head back to the hotel. In the five and a half hours we were at the park, we got to ride five rides, sit down for lunch, watch two parades and we didn’t have to stand in any lines.
Once we pulled in to Animal Kingdom Lodge we went straight to the room. We had reserved one of the savannah view rooms so the kids could watch the animals. C loved watching them all graze and play. He must have sat out there for an hour just watching and finding new animals the longer he looked. R was jumping on the bed and watching his cartoons per usual. We ordered room service for dinner. This was perfect because we had entertainment with the tv and the animals while we waited for our food. The menu features some items you would expect to find like chicken and fries, but also has mostly African inspired fare. We got the Salmon and the Vegetable Curry and both were amazing. They have a few wines I really like as well. A lot of the food can be made gluten free so we ordered the kids a grilled cheese sandwich with fruit. I loved this little routine of sitting down for lunch at the park, snacking during the day on things we brought with us and then heading back to the hotel a little early and relaxing with a quiet dinner with some wine and the kids being entertained. After bath we went to bed. One of the things I immediately noticed was how quiet it was. A big difference from the last trip where our room was located next to the boat dock. While that was a beautiful view, you could hear the horn from the boat every ten minutes until well past midnight. Here there was nothing other than the random family walking down the hall to their room. I figure it has to do with whatever regulations they have in place for the animals that after sunset they keep the place pretty quiet. The PERFECT place for toddlers and babies in my opinion! (I definitely slept better too!)
The next morning we ordered the standard gluten free Mickey waffles, got dressed and headed to the playground. We let the kids climb and play for 20 minutes or so and headed out to Disney Springs. We were there that particular weekend celebrating C turning three. He is really into dinosaurs so we took him to the T-Rex place. (Tip-if you are driving there and only going to the side with the little kids stuff, park in the lime garage) The T-Rex place has a Build-A-Bear Workshop, but with dinosaurs instead of the traditional bears. They let them stuff them, add the heart and a voice box if they want. After we built his new dinosaur, that he appropriately named Roar, we went to the front of the shop where the dig site is located. You can pretend you are an archeologist digging in the dino bones or you can pan the “dirt” for gold. You can visit the dig site absolutely free. I highly recommend this if you have a dinosaur lover or sensory seeker in your life! We rode the little train and went to the candy shop on our way out. Both kids passed out for a bit on the ride home, but still managed to take a good nap when we got back home.
This trip was our biggest success yet. I would keep everything the same with the exception of pairing the parade time with lunch. We loved sitting down for lunch at the park and ordering room service for dinner. Animal Kingdom Lodge will probably be our go to hotel for a while, while the kids are still small. Setting up the FastPasses (up to 60 days in advance) really helped, because we didn’t have to wait in a single line. I hope you find some good tips in here that work for your family! If you have any tips for me, I would love to hear them!