Looking over my posts from last year I realised that I had written about our Florida holiday when we had visited attractions other than Disney, and also our experience of running in Florida but had not yet written our Disney experience.
We learnt very quickly that the Disney app was a must have item and that planning was essential to make the most of our visit. Before heading to Florida we had planned which parks to visit on which days, and used our Fastpass to dictate the times we would start our Disney day.
The Fastpass experience was certainly a must have. We would book in advance the rides, or shows, and turn up at those times. Having a baby also meant that one of us would have a baby pass out card, so the adult sat waiting would get to rejoin the fastpass queue and the girls could ride the rides twice if they wanted to, once with each adult. This was a great feature and made using the park much easier especially with young children. It was unfortunate that we could not use this on every ride, as some do book out very quickly, but the girls loved their experience and loved the rides they did get to use it on. We even used it on shows and got some amazing seats for some of the night time shows.
A daily fitbit step count averaged 15,000 steps and with 3 young children in tow this can be very tiring. Disney days are long but magical days. The food is all Mickey mouse shaped, and the kids are just hyper from excitement. My 1 year old really didn't understand what was happening but he loved all the characters and spending time with us and of course all the ice cream.
It is worth booking some restaurants in advance and I can highly recommend the meet and greet breakfast at Chef Mickey. A buffet style breakfast with plenty of choice, and of course you get to meet the characters. We also had a character dinner at the Garden Grill which was just as good but we preferred the breakfast. The Garden Grill restaurant rotates which was an amazing experience. The Coral reef restaurant at Epcot had to be our favourite place to eat, it was just amazing watching the fish swim past in the giant windows. Such an unforgettable experience and probably one of the few times my children have been quiet whilst eating. This was closely followed by our dinner at the Sci-Fi dine in. Here you sit in cars and watch a movie as if in a drive thru. Another unforgettable experience.
No matter where you looked at Disney there are Mickey ears. From sometimes quite subtle finds on furniture and the gardens to the more obvious balloons and food, the ears are everywhere.
Whilst I have visited Florida and Disney quite a few times in the past, this was the first visit for the girls and Little Man. They each had First visit badges, which they loved. They joined in the games on main street, loved riding the rides and for me watching their faces light up when they saw the Princess castle was a real highlight. Although one of my personal highlights was marching with the stormtroopers in Disney Hollywood Studios.
Disney seem to go out of their way to make you have a magical time. From the games in the main street, to bubbles randomly in the street. Trying their hardest to keep queue times to a minimum. Constantly updating the app so you can see queue times, where the characters are and wait times for restaurants, everything seemed to be taken care of.
I was pleasantly surprised with how much Epcot has changed since I last visited. Additions of new rides and the queue time to meet characters here seemed to be the shortest. The girls loved walking round and looking at the giant ball. We also found it really easy to navigate between parks. There are free shuttle bus, monorail, and even boats to take you between parks should you wish to park hop. The Disney app also had maps of each park meaning you could also navigate where you were to where you wanted to be.
Visiting Disney World in Florida had been planned and saved for for a number of years. It was a once in a lifetime holiday for us and one we wanted to make the most of. It was about making wishes come true for the girls and for them to meet their favourite Disney characters. It is moments like these that we will remember forever.
To our surprise Princess Aurora is not well known, she is better known as Sleeping beauty, so the queue to see her is non existent. This made for an over excited youngest daughter as her favourite princess is Aurora. Just look at her face, she is completely star struck.
Belle, however, is one of the most popular princess to see so it was a long wait to see her but ever so worth it.
There are some characters you meet and you will never forget the experience. King Louie and Baloo for example were just fantastic. Playing with the waiting crowd, joking and making everyone laugh. The Toy Story characters kept getting told off by the photographer as they wouldn't behave but it was such an amazing experience for the girls to see the characters come to life and stay true to their onscreen identities.
I could write several posts on our experience to Disney World Florida but I wanted to just capture the highlights. It was such a wonderful 10 days and an experience that the girls still talk about. They are longing to go back again and see some of the other characters and rides. I would love to take them back one day, but I think it is going to take a lot of saving up again. Disney World is like no where else on earth. There is just something about it, a magic in the air. A truly special place for both big and small kids!