Many of you have told me about your plans to visit Disney and wanted to know about the trip. We had a great time, packing a whole lot into three days. After you get your tickets be sure to make your account online at “my disney experience” and download the app. This is gonna be your go-to place for all your reservations and activities. Your “memory maker” will be linked here too. Memory maker holds all the pics photographers in the parks take during your visit. I highly suggest it but also think you should take your own pics too because quality/shots may not always turn out like you expect.
If you have small kids, in my experience staying at one of the resorts with access to the monorail is a good bet. If you plan on taking Disney train, busses, boats expect it to take at least 45 minutes to get there. You always have the option to cab it to a park too- which is obviously faster.
The big thing to know off the bat is 180 days out from your visit you can begin booking events, restaurants etc. Disney Dining Buddy was recently shut down and honestly it’s what I used to secure some hard to get reservations for this last trip. If you wanna really eat at Cinderella’s Castle or Be Our Guest I’m not kidding when I say you need try to book when that clock strikes 12 at your 180 day out mark.
This year we visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney. There is so much to do and it can be overwhelming. I’ll share our itinerary to give you an idea of what we got done in a day with a 4 and 2 year old.
Upon Arrival: Aloha Dinner Show at the Polynesian
This was a fun way to start our trip after arriving in Orlando in the afternoon. The dinner show started around 8pm and was interactive. Adora loved being able to take part in dancing on the stage. The fire dancer and performer was the best. I do think it could have been 15 to 20 minutes shorter. The kids got tired early and traditional dance wasn’t enough to keep them entertained until the very end. The island food was plentiful and satisfying and I’m a big fan of the family style meal presentation.
Day 1: Animal Kingdom & Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
We started the day back at the Polynesian for a character breakfast at Ohana. This was a chance to see Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey himself. The food and service was tasty! We headed to Animal Kingdom from there. The tree of life is something else. Definitely get your pic in front of it. It was cool seeing a walking tree on the way in. Our first stop was in DinoLand and the Boneyard. We took the DINOSAUR ride and I’m not sure who was more scared Adora or Robert! It was frightening but very cool. Definitely for a kid older than 5 since it appears you could be eaten by a T Rex at any moment. We toned it down with a milder Triceratop spin and then headed for the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. This is a must-do and definitely use your fast pass for this. We ate lunch on the go at the BBQ pit by DinoLand and then enjoyed the Festival of the Lion King indoors. Next time I hope to do Everest!
From there it was off to nap before heading to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! They shut down the park for this. Adora was Pinocchio and Bob was Jiminy Cricket. During the Halloween Parade Pinocchio spotted Adora and came over to give her a hug. I found it was a good time to go to the Town Square Theater and meet Tinkerbell and Mickey. There were no lines. This Mickey is cool because he speaks and interacts with the kiddos.
Day 2: Magic Kingdom and Parents Night Out
We began the day at a character breakfast inside our resort. The kids met Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie and Tigger too. I find eating where you stay is a great time saver. We’re fans of buffets.. they speed things up.
Then it was back to Magic Kingdom for a morning filled with kid friendly rides. Aladdin’s magic carpet, Toy Story ride, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, It’s a Small world and Pirates of the Caribbean were age appropriate. Adora is 4 and really liked Thunder Mountain and so it’s a good roller coaster for starters. My fave was the Jungle Cruise! The tour guides tell bad jokes the whole time and they really make you laugh. Next year.. we try Space Mountain! We had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle and met the princess herself. Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White and Aurora all made appearances at the lunch. Afterwards, we saw Elsa and Anna at Fairytale Hall . Adora was thrilled can’t you tell? We wrapped things up around 3pm with the Parade. It was perfect.
The resorts have an in-house babysitting service so we scheduled coverage so that we grown ups could go out to a nice dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. This is another place you have to schedule way ahead of time. There’s a 7 course or 10 course option. We did the 7 and it was more than enough. The food was wonderful quality and a nice twist on American cuisine. A+ for presentation and service. Guys wear a jacket.
On Day 3 we had breakfast scheduled at Akershu’s Royal Banquet Hall for the Princess character buffet but I canceled since we had already met a lot of royalty. The restaurant is a cool castle located at Epcot. It’s a bit of a walk but a good way to meet Belle and a lot of the princesses. We still headed to Epcot to do Spaceship Earth in the main dome. It’s a nice way to travel back in time and even though it’s in the dark it’s not scary for kids. Some other attractions to use your fast pass for would be Soarin’ (feel like you’re flying) and Mission Space.
From Epcot it was off to Downtown Disney where crews continue to do lots of construction. It’s actually has a new name too: Disney Springs. There we filled up at an animated lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and then Adora had her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover. Getting reservations at the boutique in Cinderella’s castle is tough so this is a good alternative location. Adora decided she wanted to be Rapunzel. Check out her ombre hair lol.
Next up, Hollywood Studios to see Frozen: Sing Along Celebration. The kids loved it when it started snowing in the theater- great effect! They also had a blast checking out the fake movie sets and playing in the Muppet fountain. We had Italian dinner at Mama’s Melrose Ristorante. The meatballs were huge. Next year we’ll try to make the Little Mermaid Show.
Last Night: Fireworks cruise
So I was too late booking the Pirate cruise with Peter Pan and Hook but there were still pontoon cruises available that leave the Grand Floridian resort. The kids in their Wendy and Pirate pjs strapped on their life jackets and took a boat with us out onto Buena Vista lake. Our guide Paul was fantastic, giving us a lot of history on the resorts and different parks. At one point they park you so you can see the nightly light show (video below). Then they eventually get you a good view of the castle to watch the fireworks. The show is narrated by Jiminy Cricket and really is magical. Adora couldn’t stop talking about all the shooting stars she saw!
Here’s the light show in action:
After a fun filled few days it was back to reality. We fueled up, headed out and in the words of the Mickey Mouse Club we’ll “See ya real soon!”.