The happiest place on Earth… that sentiment couldn’t be more true as we are still in euphoria over our Disney World trip earlier this month! I apologize as I had plans to get this one live last week, but since sickness invaded our house I am just now getting the chance to sit down and properly go over every detail that is Disney.
Just like last time, I am including all the FastPasses we used, all the eateries we ate at, fun tips and ticks worth noting and of course trying to share all the details to help you make the most of your next Mickey Mouse experience, too.
Travel time… since we headed to Disney the day after New Years, we grabbed an early morning direct flight which got us in town without too much headache. We arrived in Orlando and took the Magical Express Bus to the Polynesian Resort — for us, we knew we wanted to stay at a resort on the monorail this time and I am SO glad we did. The Polynesian was absolutely perfect… so convenient to Magic Kingdom, great atmosphere for the kids, lots to do on-site and of course some of our favorite restaurants, too! We did check out a few other resorts like the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary, but I love that the Polynesian truly feels like Disney… lots going on throughout the property and a set “theme” that makes it super special and unique.
Upon arrival to the Polynesian, we were greeted with flower leis and went to the check-in area, but we were super early so we had the bell service hold our luggage as we had planned to do a 1/2 day at Hollywood Studios to make the most of our trip. Luckily for us, they were able to take care of all the storage details for us so we grabbed our stroller rental from Kingdom Strollers [I cannot say enough great things about their service–SO easy to use and made this trip a breeze so we didn’t have to travel with a stroller–we rented the City Mini Double and it was GREAT]… from there, we walked down to Captain Hooks for a quick bite for lunch before hopping on the bus to make our first FastPass ticket for Toy Story Mania… this is an absolute must for us and this is the second time we’ve done this ride–so much fun for people of all ages [including adults who are super competitive] plus it’s indoors so it’s a great one for cooling off on hot days.
This was our first experience to visit the new Toy Story Land and it sure didn’t disappoint… a kid wonderland, but filled with so many of our favorites from growing up!!! Lots to discover, so much going on throughout this part of the park– the one ride we weren’t able to grab was the Slinky Dog Dash since it’s the hardest to get, but that just means we will have to go back and visit again to experience this one. After Toy Story Land, we hit up Star Tours, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid and then made our way to our dinner reservations at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano which was REALLY really good–crowd pleaser, great for families and groups and the food was fantastic.
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel since we had traveled and everyone was getting tired… perfect park to visit when you have a shorter amount of time!! Even better, if you’re looking for the perfect hotel to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks every night, the Polynesian doesn’t disappoint… our room had the perfect view of Cinderella’s Castle so it made it all the more special for the girls to get to watch that night in their pajamas, too!!
Day 2 started out bright and early as we had plans to tackle the first half Magic Kingdom that day [**another pro-tip… if you’re going to Disney for an extended amount of time AKA more than four days, definitely try to do two days at MK because there is SO much to do and that way you’re not going crazy to get it all knocked out in one visit]... we loaded up on a few breakfast essentials at the hotel via Kona Island and then grabbed the monorail to make it to the park in time for our brunch reservations at Crystal Palace. We didn’t do this character dining experience the last time we were at Disney, so I was REALLY glad we did it this go-around… the girls absolutely LOVED meeting Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet and the food was some of the best in terms of their buffet options–plus, being right off of Main Street in the park was a win for us so we were centrally located to our next rides! And yes, they have alcohol so mimosas made for a great morning start for Jeff and I, too. #firstworldproblems
From there, we started the FastPass rotation and hit up Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Barnstormer, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Keep in mind we were only able to secure three FastPasses per day, but once you scan your MagicBand for your third, you can get on the MyDisneyExperience app and add another… that’s the only way we were able to ride so many things since the crowds were really big this time!
Later that afternoon, we headed over to Princess Fairytown Hall so the girls could get autographs from Elena and Cinderella and then took a walk up to the top of the Swiss Family Treehouse. Once all was said and done, we headed to Tomorrowland for some snacks [pretzels and churros for the win] and then took a break with a long, leisurely ride on the Peoplemover [yes, this is one of my favorites so we can rest–haha] and then took the monorail back to the hotel for our dinner reservations at Kona Cafe [P.S. grab the surf and turf sushi–SO incredibly good!!]
So, here are a few takeaway tips and tricks for our first days at Disney:
- Choose Your Character Meals Wisely: we’ve done a ton of them now and all have been enjoyable, but I love the ones that are actually in a park rather than a resort… that way you aren’t spending time riding buses/monorails/etc to get back and forth. Like I said we loved Crystal Palace for brunch this time!
- Autograph Books/Pillowcases: we did autograph books last time, so I wanted to switch it up and do personalized pillowcases this year… the girls LOVE them. Just be sure to bring the clickable Sharpies [grab them here] which make it easier for the characters to sign AND bring a small book to place under each book so they have a hard surface to write on.
- Don’t forget to bring a backpack with you: I absolutely LOVED my backpack I brought this time… small enough to carry-on to rides and such, but still large enough to fit the daily necessities! I also grabbed this cute gold pineapple phone charger that was a lifesaver throughout the days where I needed to charge my phone so I had sufficient battery for taking pics and using the Disney app.
- You can never have too much hand sanitizer… just trust me, bring more than you ever think you’ll use and you’ll probably still have to buy more.
- Disney gift shops have bandaids, tylenol/iburprofen and other first-aid necessities behind their counters. That was a new found tip someone told me and we had to take advantage!
- High Quality H2O. Bring your own water bottle and get free water fillups at all Disney kiosks, restaurants, snack stands, etc.
- Use a Disney Planner. YES YES YES, I’ve said this 100 times and it’ worth saying again… they are free, help you get everything accomplished (FastPasses, meal reservations, check-ins, etc) and they make your vacation so much more enjoyable to plan!! Sarah/My Fairy Godmother is amazing to work with and we’ve used her both times we’ve gone to Disney World.
Don’t worry, the fun is just getting started… round two/days three and four will be coming next week so stay tuned for the second half recap!