Normally, I would start a story at the beginning, but I’m going to start just before the beginning of our trip. As Grumpy would say I’m overly OCD. I like things in a certain order and I really like to be prepared and on time. Most people if they saw our luggage, my packing cubes, or our suitcases set up weeks before we left may have rolled their eyes. In all honesty, we were basically ready to go. I had organized our daily wardrobe into packing cubes with index cards showing through the mesh covering reflecting what day was inside. I laid out Saturday’s travel/arrival day clothes on my ironing board in the bathroom so they were easily accessible for everyone. The carry-on was packed for Sunday and Monday just in case there was some crazy disappearing luggage mishap. It’s never happened ::knocking on wood:: but I never take a chance. The next few days were packed in a large suitcase with one side reflecting the days we would be at Yacht Club and the other for Beach Club. I did not want to pack and unpack with the switching of hotels.
Still, Friday after work I was rushing around like crazy double checking my list. Grumpy still needed to get his workout clothes packed and let me know what shoes he was bringing. We realized we didn’t have the pennies and quarters for the pressed penny machines. Misting fans were packed without batteries. Whoops. We were searching for my camera battery charger. It was all kinds of little odds and ends that were frustrating me.
Finally, everything was ready except the electronics cords, my makeup, and the hair straightener. All the bags were weighed and under the 50lb limit. The car was loaded and I checked the alarm one last time before drifting off to sleep.
Time to go!
Out of excitement I woke up before the alarm and jumped in the shower. I let the kids sleep until almost the last minute. I wish I had recorded waking up Diva. I turned on the hallway light and walked into her room. I quietly told her it was time to wake up. She immediately rolled over pulling the blankets over her head. It reminded me of the Coronation Day scene in Frozen when Anna does the same thing, so I said, “It’s Coronation Day! Oh, silly me, I mean it’s Disney Day! You have to get up so we can go.” Little did I know how much she enjoyed my joke. She repeated it all morning and many times throughout the trip she yelled “It’s Coronation Day!” and proceeded to sing “For The First Time In Forever.”
I’m a very time-oriented person. I get that from my Dad. When he said we were leaving at a certain time that’s what he meant. That’s what I try to mean but my family doesn’t always comply. We were four minutes off my schedule leaving the house at 7:04AM. My mom laughed at me as we drove to the airport. She knew we weren’t going to be late. I did too, but it’s still my thing.
We said our goodbyes to my mom, dropped our luggage off and were in line for security by 7:22 and less than 30 minutes later arrived at the gate. Grumpy and the kids went to get some breakfast. Diva thought Auntie Anne’s for breakfast was a good idea. Peanut opted for a donut and kindly brought me one as well. That would not have been my choice of meals for everyone but that’s what it looks like when dad’s in charge of an airport meal.
The weather was perfect for departing on time. I think we had the shortest taxi I have ever experienced. We left the gate at 8:58 and wheels were up at 9:01. The flight was not full and there was an empty seat next to Grumpy. Diva did some shuffling back and forth during the flight. I tried to catch a nap. Peanut worked on his schoolwork and as we intermittently checked the flight route on my phone he learned some geography too.
We arrived in Orlando almost twenty minutes earlier than scheduled. We made the obligatory quick stop to see Mickey at the airport before heading towards the Magical Express lines.
This was the first time we arrived at Magical Express and couldn’t even see the front of the lines. Our prior two trips (8AM and 8PM arrival times) we walked right up to the check-in point and were among the first few families waiting for a ride. Arriving at 11:30 on Saturday may not have been the best plan. (Sorry, Grumpy, next time we take the crack of dawn flight!) It wasn’t as awful as it looked though. It only took a couple minutes to check in. In under 30 minutes, our bus had arrived and we were boarding. To the kids it felt like an eternity. They were getting hungry in part because lunch time was nearing and it part because of the not so filling breakfast. I had packed mini-cereal boxes in a carry-on so they snacked on that while we were waiting and driving.
It’s recommended to allow anywhere from 90 minutes up to 2 hours from the time you leave the plan until you arrive at your resort when using Magical Express since the bus may make several stops along the way. Our stops were Boardwalk, Beach Club, then we were dropped off at Yacht Club. It was almost 1 hour 20 minutes after we stepped off the plane.
I mentioned we were hoping to be at our resort by 1:00PM and we made it before then. I had been texting with the neighbors since we landed. They were already at Magic Kingdom having fun on their last park day. Grumpy and I tried to convince the kids that they could make it a few hours without the stroller, but they protested and we quickly gave in to avoid any kind of whining.
Thanks to Magic Strollers our City Mini Double was waiting at Bell Services. I received a text message before we even left the house that it had been delivered.
Two hours and ten minutes after exiting the airplane we entered Magic Kingdom! I may have been a little ecstatic!
I hadn’t heard back from the neighbors yet and we had some time before we needed to get to our FastPass at The Haunted Mansion. Honestly, it was still nervous and not rushing. We took our pictures in front of the train station. A perfect shot just as the train arrived and no one else wandering in the background.
I definitely adored the Mickey pumpkins all around as we entered the park and may have squealed just a little bit as we veered around the Confectionary and I saw the Castle. Grumpy may have rolled his eyes. As we walked down Main Street there was a PhotoPass photographer just waiting for us so we had to get another picture. I feel this one looks like we were photoshopped into it, but I swear we were standing right there.
As we walked on Main Street it was lined with people. I had forgotten that the Festival of Fantasy had moved to a 2PM start time. The paths were tough to navigate and we ended up going towards Frontierland because we couldn’t get to Liberty Square. We were now trapped because of the parade. Nothing we could do but stop and enjoy it. Grumpy ducked inside Peco Bills to get some ice water to cool us from the already sweltering heat. I chatted with a local mom for a bit while Diva was yelling out every character as they waved.
Then came the fun of navigating with the crowd. It was a mess of people as it typically is after parades, shows, and fireworks. We slowly wobbled along with the masses. I could see Grumpy was irritated. I’m pretty sure he was thinking how much he is going to hate this trip. But every time someone commented on his shirt he grinned a bit. If he kept getting compliments maybe he’ll forget how crowded it was.
The moment of truth was here. We scanned our bands for our FastPass. Once inside the kids were trying to hold my hand, but I was trying to hold onto Grumpy. I don’t do well with being spooked and I was afraid that was what was ahead. I was nervous as we entered but I thought the ceiling rising was pretty cool. Until the lights went out. The ride itself actually didn’t end up bothering me at all, except when we got stuck near the end with the ghosts sharing the car with us. The ghosts weren’t the problem. They were actually pretty cute. I didn’t like being stuck in the dark. I can now say I did it, but I’m not running back to do it again.
As we were getting out of the Haunted Mansion and ready to go to Splash Mountain our neighbors were on their way for their FastPass to the Mansion. We laughed and agreed to meet afterwards. Splash was the ride Diva was looking forward to since our last trip. She loves to sing Zip-a-dee-do-dah. Now she was big enough to ride.
She loved it!
I’m not sure why Peanut looks so terrified.
Our next stop was supposed to be a FastPass to Peter Pan. We walked that way and met up with the neighbors. We were all going to eat dinner at Whispering Canyon at 5:20. We were going to push it and ride Peter Pan since it’s short but the FastPass line backed up beyond the Philharmagic. It was easily a 20-minute wait just to scan in for the FastPass. We decided not to risk it. Instead, we opted for a ride on the Walt Disney Railroad to the Train Station. Crowds were heavy and the train was pretty full. There were 11 of us so we spread out wherever we could fit.
Before we left we couldn’t miss a fun group picture with the Castle and holiday decor.
I posted the picture on my personal pages with the comment “Magic Kingdom is more fun with friends.” There’s so much truth in that statement. We had an evening full of fun, laughter, and tons of food! After dinner we did the transportation shuffle – a boat ride back to Magic Kingdom and a bus ride back to the Yacht Club.
We were back to the room by 8:00PM. Our vacation was off a magical start! And there was still so much more planned…