Our 2015 trip to Disney began when I had the wonderful idea to give my daughter a meal with the Disney princesses for her birthday present. However, after not being able to get character dining on a weekend anywhere close to the date of her birthday, lunch with the princess and our trip to Disney turned into a Christmas present.
After I found character dining on a weekend I though wouldn’t be busy – after winter break, but before Martin Luther King Day, we made reservations at Akserus. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I realized Akserus was in Epcot, which means we needed tickets to Epcot to be at the character dining. So, we purchased the Florida three-day passes. The children hadn’t been to Magic Kingdom in a while, so we decided to spend Saturday there (I always love to see their firework show) and go to Epcot on Sunday.
With the reservations booked, I was determined to be better prepared for this trip. The two other times we have went to Disney were with from my husband’s company, so we didn’t make any plans, which resulted in not experiencing many attractions. This time was going to be different. So, my research began. Living in Florida means many fellow Floridians have purchased Disney’s annual pass and are Disney experts. After speaking with a few, I compiled my Disney packing list (click here) and started planning our trip.
One thing I was going to use was Disney’s Fast pass. Previously, I didn’t know that you could select three fast passes per day. Fast pass lets you pick an hour window to access a special entrance for a ride; therefore your wait is shorter. When I was in Epcot a cast member informed me that once your 3 Fast Passes are used, you could go to a Fast Pass station and get three more. I didn’t test this tip, but it will next time.
- Find character dining (if desired)
- Book hotel (some hotels we visited are here)
- Review ticket options and purchase tickets
- Select fast passes
- Plan of attack for most desired rides
- Pack – for my packing list click here
Our trip to Disney
We woke up early and straight drove to our hotel. I wanted to stay on property (because it is easier to get to the parks and you get a wristband that serves as your park ticket, fast pass ticket and photo card), however, my husband wanted to get Marriott points, so we stayed at the Gaylord Palms. To find out more about our hotel experience, click here.
After we checked in, we drove to Disney to find that the weekend we had selected was Disney’s marathon weekend. It was busy, but we still were able to see more attractions than ever before. We parked, then walked to the transportation and ticket center to convert the cards that were mailed to us into tickets. Make sure to let the ticket person know if you are celebrating a birthday or anything special and they will give you a pin to wear for the day. After we got our tickets, we rode the tram to the park. I was so excited to find the Christmas lights and trees were still up.
We bolted to the new ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before the park got crowded. The wait was 60 minutes, but that was good compared to how long it was later in the day (it was up to 120 minutes at one point). This is their new ride and I couldn’t get a fast pass. However, my little man heard how fun it was and definitely wanted to ride it.
After that the kids wanted to ride the carousal and Dumbo, which was recently redone and very beautiful. Then they took off (while holding hands) to Space Mountain. Unfortunately, it was having technical difficulties and my little princess was just shy of the height requirement. So, we went on the Stitch ride. This attraction has you seated while different sights and sounds happen around you. It gets dark and my 4 year old was scared. However, my 7 year old seemed to like the ending.
Then, we visited the Monster’s Laugh Floor, which is a comedian act featuring your favorite monsters. They actually pick people out of the crowd to be used in their act. That was funny and neat, but I don’t know that this attraction is a must see.
By then it was time for our first Fast Pass. Because my little man wanted the Seven Dwarfs, I decided to do something for my princess next. We got to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel. It essentially was just taking your picture with each of them. I don’t know that I would do that again, especially with a princess Character lunch, but her favorite princess is Rapunzel and she was not a the lunch, so my princess was happy she got to see her at this attraction.
Then, we rode the railroad essentially to kill time until our next Fast Pass. We were able to catch the 3:00 Parade, which began by Thunder mountain. My princess was so excited to see all of her favorite princesses, especially Elsa and Anna, in a parade.
Our next Fast Pass was for Thunder Mountain. It was a fast roller coaster. Both of my children loved it. Unfortunately, Splash Mountain was closed for repairs. My son was very disappointed.
Our last Fast Pass was for Peter Pan. In this ride, you sit in a boat and sail through scenes from Peter Pan. It was a neat ride.
We also went on Pirates of the Caribbean. The is a boat ride through almost life-like figures from the movie. They look so real that my daughter wasn’t too sure about this ride.
We split up so the boys could ride Space Mountain. My princess wanted to ride the carousel again (yuck) and the tea cups (my stomach is not fond of these rides). Then we went on the Little Mermaid ride where you slide along in a shell to see scenes from Little Mermaid.
We didn’t make it to Buzz Lightyear, which my son likes because you get to shoot stuff, but he didn’t mind. By now we were all pretty much done, but wanted to stay for the fireworks. As we were making our way to Main Street, we got trapped by the electrical parade and all of the cast members were shouting, “keep moving, this is a thoroughfare.” Not something frazzled parents want to hear. We managed to slide by and grabbed a spot right by the exit for the fireworks. Unfortunately, my princess fell asleep. Thankfully, my little man said we could leave after the first few fireworks because the wait for the train to the parking lot (or even the busses to the hotel) gets pretty long after the fireworks are done. We all had a really fun day and were ready for bed and all the fun of Epcot the next day.
Are you planning a trip to Disney? My post on planning a trip to Disney may help. You may also like my post on Epcot (coming soon) and the Gaylord Palms.
Have you been to Disney? What are your favorite rides and Disney pointers? I would love to hear it in this comments below or on my Facebook page!
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Wow! Sounds like you all had a great time! It seems that I am frequently seeing requests for feedback and advice on planning disney trips, so I am sure this will be very useful for many people.
Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Good planning sure helps!
We are planing a road trip in a few weeks and I was debating on visiting Disney. You gave me some great ideas to chew on, thanks for posting this, it’s really good timing for me!
Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. As always great tips !! Thanks for sharing !!
Sounds like a fun and busy day! I went to Disney for the first time last January with my whole family–we had an older crowd, mostly adults and teens–my baby sister is 7, so we were all able to stay from opening till closing every day, it was a lot of fun! Doing it with younger kids we would definitely go at a slower pace.
My daughter would like to go to Disney. This is a helpful post if we ever go there soon! Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.
Thank you! It is such a magical place especially for little ones!