On our first time taking our kids to Disney World, we were there for five days and did a park each day. We took an 8:30 AM flight, arrived at 12:00, were out of the airport in one hour, made it to the hotel in 30 minutes, and were on the monorail 30 minutes after that.
Many people skip Epcot thinking there is not much to do there and that would be a huge mistake! My two favorite rides were at Epcot and we probably had the most fun there. I had really wanted to eat at Akershus but was too worried we wouldn’t make our reservation and would be charged for it (in the end, we never would have made our 1:40 reservation). We opted to eat at Sunshine Seasons which is a quick service place I had heard a lot of good things about. The food was SO good and just what we needed because we were starving.
Since we were right there, we went on Living with the Land which is one of those slow educational boat rides. The kids actually really liked it and wanted to do it again. Then we went over to The Seas with Nemo (slow Little Mermaid ride) and Turtle Talk with Crush (interactive show). These were adorable and the kids loved them. Next we did Soarin’ because the line wasn’t bad and it was so amazing. It was my favorite ride at Disney. It was beautiful and quite literally blew me away. My 4 year old was slightly terrified and hid his face in my arms the whole time. He is exactly 40 inches tall, so just made the ride. Next was Test Track and that was my second favorite ride in all of Disney. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. We created a car and then went to test it out in different road conditions. Again, my four year old was pretty terrified of this one too. We had to get to a dinner reservation, so we did Spaceship Earth on the way out. That one is a slow ride that goes through the Epcot ball and it’s an old classic you just have to do. We never even made it to the World Showcase. I would have loved to bring them on the Frozen ride but the line was never under 90 minutes and that was just too much. Since we were right near the Contemporary, we went to dinner at Chef Mickeys and that was really fun. My 4 year old was passed the F out by this point, but since we had a reservation with the meal plan, we still had to pay for him even though he didn’t take a bite. All of the classic characters came around and we got great pics.
Holy Moly, we were so excited for this day. It was my son’s 6th birthday so we had breakfast at the Crystal Palace. He got pulled up by Tigger to march in the parade around the restaurant and it was just too cute. We ran through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree which I remember loving as a child.
Next was the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We stopped there because Splash Mountain was closed for renovations (most water rides are down in winter) and my kids had no interest in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Next we headed to Space Mountain which was a bit of a mistake. My husband took our 6 year old on it and he was so scared it put him off rides for a while. It’s a fine line we walk between challenging our kids and totally freaking them out. They did love driving cars around the speedway. By some miracle, I scored us lunch at Be our Guest. It’s really popular because it is a big new fancy restaurant yet it counts as quick service on your meal plan. The food was really good and we tried the much talked about “grey stuff” which sounds nasty but was amazing.
We had a fast pass for Peter Pan which we were happy about because this ride always had a minimum of a 90 minute wait. It was both boys favorite ride. They loved riding the hot air balloons over Neverland. Next it was It’s a Small World and it is just as annoying as it has always been but you just have to do it. We did Under the Sea next only because it had the shortest wait line. The kids had reached their limit at this point and we went back to the hotel for some pool time. That night, we went back for the Happily Ever After fireworks show and it really was so amazing, it gave me the chills. They loved seeing Tinkerbell shoot across the sky.
We had breakfast reservations at Tuskers so that we would be at the back of the park when it opened. When we were done, we went to the Festival of the Lion King show which is still just as amazing as it was 20 years ago. My son loves Lion Guard, so he loved this show. There was no line at Tough to be a Bug so we did that next and I ended up running out with a screaming 4 year old because he was so freaked out. Personally, I love that show, but it was a bit too dark and creepy for him.
Be sure to get a free booklet at the Explorers Club at the front of the Tough to be a Bug entrance. Kids have to look for stations throughout the park and complete a short mission to earn a badge. My kids loved doing this and were searching for clues and don’t tell them, but they may have actually learned something on vacation.
Next we had fastpasses for the Safari ride which was very impressive. They have changed it a lot since the last time I was here. It is actually educational and interesting now instead of you just chasing a poacher for 60 seconds. When we came off the ride, we did the Gorilla Trek and searched for badges. We had a snack as we headed over to Dino Land and here is where I made a huge mistake. I had gotten a fast pass for the Dinosaur ride and even though I told my 6 year old how scary it was, he insisted that we go on it. He was so terrified, he hid his head the entire time. I was so worried about him, I didn’t notice that my backpack which was right between my legs had flown off the ride. A man came out to tell us that they couldn’t stop the ride to retrieve it until the park closed and even then it would take an hour for it to reach gust services. Crap. It had everything for the entire family in that bag- my wallet, sunglasses, our food, waters, sunscreen, like literally everything we needed for the day. It was such a bummer. They were very nice and offered us a quick service meal, gave us water bottles and even some fast passes. Thankfully we had the Magic Bands otherwise we would not have been able to eat all day! At the end of the day, guest services was filled with people waiting for things they lost on the Dinosaur ride. I was so scared my bag would be ripped apart after being driven over for hours, but it didn’t even have a scratch (thanks again to Ju-Ju-Be quality!) By 8:45, my bag was back in my hands and we were D-U-N.
Anyhoo, after the dino ride debacle, the boys played in the dino dig/ playground area for a long time. We couldn’t get them out of there. We used a fast pass to meet Mickey and Minnie and got some great pics with them. I mean, what is cuter than your child running open armed to Minnie Mouse?
The Animal Kingdom is all about Pandora at the moment since it hasn’t been opened too long. The lines were insane. We got on the River Navi ride, which was a slow boat ride through bioluminescent lights. It was really cool, but I don’t think I would have waited over an hour for it. My 6 year old and I had a fast pass for Flight of Passage which is the hardest ride to get on. It was definitely an experience! You really feel like you are flying on a Banchee. You could even feel it breathing between your legs, almost like being on a horse. It was a 4D show to the max. Water splashes your face as you dive through waves and your body leans back as you land on a cliff. It was a little bit too real at times, especially when you are flying straight off a cliff. I didn’t realize that the whole pod we were in was spinning us. My son didn’t want to go again, so we did a rider swap and my husband went alone without having to wait in line. He gets very bad motion sickness and he was done for the day after that ride. If you suffer from any motion sickness, skip this one. The Pandora gift store was pretty cool and we ended up with an overpriced banshee of our own to bring home. My husband was ready to barf and my littlest hit his limit, so my husband took him home while my older son and I went to eat at the Canteen. I think this is the coolest place to have a quick service meal at the AK. Walking around Pandora at night was an experience in itself. Everything is lit up and flickering in a way that makes you feel like you have landed on another planet.
We decided to make the most of the bag fiasco and my older son and I had a “date night” and stayed late for the River of Light show, which is a nighttime spectacular celebrating the magic of nature. Ok, I know I am a sap, but the light show was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. There were people dancing on boats, and fountains and images of animals reflecting on the water and it was all too much for my unbalanced hormones! Equally as beautiful, we happened upon the “Tree Awakening.” After sunset, there was a light show on the Tree of Life that made it look like the animals were waking up, stretching and moving around. It was all set to beautiful music and we were so happy we just happened to walk past as it was happening. So in the end, losing my bag was a blessing in disguise because we never would have stayed that late and would have missed some of the greatest highlights of our trip. It was nice to have a little alone time with my boy too.
This was our favorite day. We had SO much fun. This park is not as big and overwhelming as the others so we never felt like we had to rush around. There are also more shows than rides, which we liked. We are huge Star Wars fans so we geeked out all day. My biggest wish for the trip was to get my son into Jedi Training and I was terrified we wouldn’t be able to. I booked us breakfast at Hollywood and Vine, where you can meet all of the Disney Junior crew. My 4 year old was in heaven! They loved meeting their favorite characters.
The best part about our breakfast reservation being at 8:15 was that it got us into the park early so we could beat the crowds. The gates don’t open until 9 and people run to get in line for Jedi Training. You can only get in if you have a dining reservation. They actually let us sign up for Jedi Training before breakfast so all the stress of running to get in line was out of the way. To read about our experience with Jedi Training, which was the highlight of our trip, click here.
Toy Story Mania was my little’s favorite ride in all of Disney. I was so glad to have a fast pass because the line was crazy all day. He also loved the Disney Junior Live show and shopping in the Disney Junior store. My husband and I loved the Indiana Jones show. It never gets old!
This park is going through a lot of changes including the addition of Toy Story Land opening in June of 2018 and an entire Star Wars themed land set to open in 2019.
Back to Magic Kingdom
On our last day, we only had a few hours before we had to leave for the airport, so we checked our bags with the Magical Express and headed to Magic Kingdom to say goodbye to the mouse. In hind sight, I really wish we just hung out by the pool. The kids were spent. Four days was their max. Everyone was complaining and having little tantrums that made it hard to enjoy. We did get to see the opening ceremony in front of the castle which has the only talking Mickey in all of Disney. It’s only 5 minutes long but all the princesses come out and it was fun to see. We did the speedway two more times, went to the Haunted Mansion and met Tinkerbell on our way out. The boys said she was much bigger than they expected. LOL!
We really had so much fun at Disney World. It is just something every kid should experience. I got to relive my childhood memories but seeing my kids experience the magic was best of all.