We are back from our week-long vacation in Florida. We are still recovering from some long and hot days but we had an awesome time! First things we did was to visit Walt Disney World, specifically we spent our first day at the Animal Kingdom and followed it up with two days at the Magic Kingdom.
Tree Of Life
I figured that Animal Kingdom would be a somewhat relaxing start to the trip after traveling the evening before. We kicked it off with trips on TriceraTop Spin for Kim and our preschool aged kids, while I took my brother-in-law Nick (age 15) on Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR. The kids also spent some time in The Boneyard right at its opening at 10.
From there we had an early lunch before going to Finding Nemo – The Musical, which was probably my favorite show of the trip. The puppeteers were really good at both singing their parts and working the large puppets. After enjoying the show and the air conditioning, it was time to brave the heat. Fortunately I took the older two (Trey and Nick) on the Kali River Rapids ride while Paige and Kim met Mickey and Minnie. I had made FastPass+ reservations for both so we didn’t have to wait in either of the long lines.
After our separate events we rejoined to see some of the animal displays at the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Discovery Island Trails before watching the Flights of Wonder bird show. After the show it was time for our FastPass+ reservation on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride through various animal enclosures. I thought the hippo display was the coolest as I have never seen that many hippos together at one time.
We were all very hot by this point of the day, fortunately we had just a few more indoor shows to catch. First was Festival of the Lion King, which the kids really seemed to enjoy. The acrobats dressed as monkeys were huge crowd pleasers and the sing along songs were great to hear. On our way out of the park we stopped by It’s Tough to be a Bug inside the Tree of Life for the short 4D movie featuring the characters from A Bug’s Life. It was a solid day and we managed to see nearly everything the park has to offer before leaving just past 5.
If we thought that our first day was packed full of fun, that was nothing compared to the second day in the parks which brought our first day at the Magic Kingdom. Just as we did the day before, we split into two groups to kick off the day. I took Nick on Space Mountain while Kim took the kids on Astro Orbiter. Making a quick entry to some of the most popular rides rewards you with nearly zero wait time at the beginning of the day.
From there we saw no line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, so we went ahead and did that even though I had a FastPass+ reservation for this for the following day. No problem though as I was easily able to reschedule that for another attraction using the iPhone app. We then did a quick trip on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover while we were in the area before stopping at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, which proved to be a hilarious live comedy show.
Mad Tea Party
We then took not one but two spins on the Mad Tea Party, which was probably the most enjoyable ride we shared as one group of wide varying ages. As we did each day, we stopped for lunch just before 11 to avoid the crowds that packed the restaurants leading up to noon. We had a little extra time after lunch so we made a quick stop at Prince Charming Regal Carousel to find Cinderella’s Horse.
Next we again split into two groups for arguably what was each of our kid’s favorite things we did. I took Trey and Nick on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while Kim took Paige to meet Anna & Elsa. Both of these attractions are super popular and are some of the most sought after FastPass+ reservations. I stayed up until midnight 30 days before our trip to get these reservations and I am glad I did. At the time of our visits each one had a wait well over an hour!
From there we watched another 4D movie at Mickey’s PhilharMagic before cooling off at Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. The fun didn’t stop there as I had another FastPass+ reservation for our group on Peter Pan’s Flight, which I honestly thought was overrated. At this time Paige went down for a nap, so I took the boys into the Country Bear Jamboree show before we watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
After the parade we made a quick run over to our last FastPass+ for Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid. Amazingly I was then able to secure another FastPass+ for it’s a small world just minutes later using my phone. The kids all left the park singing this song as they couldn’t have been any happier. But before we left we took one final ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean to end a jam-packed day.
Accomplishing so much on our first day in the Magic Kingdom allowed us to relax a bit on this second day. But before we did that we once again arrived before the rope drop and split into two groups. I took the boys on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Initially I wasn’t sure if Trey would like the roller coasters as much as he did, but once we did the Seven Dwarfs and he loved it I was pumped to take him on more big rides. The boys liked Big Thunder maybe even more, so we quickly rode it again without any wait! We then walked right onto Splash Mountain before meeting back up with Kim and Paige who had already ridden Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and were busy playing in some of the splashing water nearby.
We then went straight for the Jungle Cruise, and in hindsight maybe we should have skipped the second ride on Big Thunder Mountain, as we ended up waiting roughly 20 minutes for this one, by far the longest we waited for anything in either park we visited. The kids were a little spoiled by that point and nearly melted down in line but we pushed through and enjoyed the comical cruise before grabbing lunch.
After lunch we had a date with Belle at the Enchanted Tales With Belle on a FastPass+. I almost removed the boys from this one and did something else but I am glad we all went to this, though none of us truly loved it as much as Paige. The audience members get to act out part of the story with Belle and I tried to convince Nick to play the role of the Beast. Maybe next time!
From there we again split up for another round of FastPass+ selections. I couldn’t get any other ride for the boys and I to do, so we went ahead and did Splash Mountain again on the FastPass+ I had originally booked long ago. The girls got to Meet Ariel at her Grotto. Paige added another autograph to her signature book along with a photo. These meet and greets were her favorite thing she did.
I guess going under the sea really tired out Paige as when we all met up again she had already fallen asleep for a nap. I had yet another FastPass+ for the Barnstormer for all us, but instead I just took the boys on this smaller scale roller-coaster before we all decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel a bit earlier than the day before. We had debated going over to Tom Sawyer Island or taking a ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat, but we didn’t wait to wait in line or wake Paige so we will have to save those attractions for another time.
For the most part we saw just about everything that we had wanted to see in a few long days. If the kids were a little older I probably would have tried to take them back to the park for the Main Street Electrical Parade along with the fireworks show, but they don’t often stay up past 8 or 9. Instead we spent the evening relaxing in the resorts outdoor pool and lazy river. The next day we woke up, swam some more, and then headed off to Cocoa Beach for a few more days of fun in the hot sun.