the second day of our disney world vacation was gray, rainy, and cold.
we're not the type to sit in our rooms during a rainy day...we make the most of it.
after a quick breakfast in our room we headed out to the magic kingdom.
because of the weather the park was not very crowded. always a plus when wanting to get on favorite rides! and since it was less crowded we were able to get a family picture.
of course, on our way down main street, we had to stop at the most magical starbucks in all the land. i love that two of my favorite things are together - disney & starbucks.
silly kids // magic kingdom // january 29, 2014
our fast passes weren't scheduled unit the afternoon so we had the morning to stroll and take our time on rides. we also received an e-mail a day earlier to receive an additional fast pass towards a quick service lunch at be our guest. we've never had lunch at the beast's castle so we were happy to use the pass.
after a good lunch at be our guest we headed over to enchanted tales with belle. this was an attraction i was looking forward to visiting with the kids, especially ben. the play ben is currently participating in is beauty and the beast this was perfect for him to visit. it's an interactive attraction and we all were able to be apart of the story - ben was the beast, emilia (with my help) was mrs. potts and dan was a knight. it was fun. at the end ben had a chance to dance with belle in front of the audience and then all the participants were able to take a picture with belle. unfortunately, i do not have a picture of ben with belle though i do believe there is one the disney photographer took...must look into ordering.
ben playing the role of the beast // enchanted tales with belle // magic kingdom // january 29, 2014
emilia after her role of mrs. potts // enchanted tales with belle // magic kingdom // january 29, 2014
we spent the rest of our afternoon walking around the magic kingdom, visiting our favorite characters and princesses, and enjoying our favorite attractions.
ben in front of gaston's tavern // magic kingdom // january 29, 2014
snow white // magic kingdom // january 29, 2014
eventually the cold and rain had gotten to us all and at some point emilia stepped in a puddle and she checked out. by the time we left in the late afternoon it was pouring and due to maintenance the monorail was down. we had dinner reservations just next door at the contemporary for chef mickey's; however, neither kid wanted to walk so we waited for a bus. we waited forever. not like 20 minutes but somewhere close to an hour. i wish i was joking. at one point i was holding emilia and i think she may have fallen asleep. lucky girl. ben did great despite waiting in the cold.
we eventually got on a bus and enjoyed a delicious, warm dinner with our favorite characters at chef mickey's. all of our moods changed immediately after we got some food in us. we lingered at dinner a little longer than normal but i think there were many reasons - we were hungry, emiila's shoes needed to dry out (hand dryers would have bee nice but were unavailable), and it's one of our favorite places in all of disney. chef mickey's is always a 'must-do' for us. i'm fairly certain ben and emilia went up to the buffet line 3 or more times.
our night ended quietly. emilia, my mom and i browsed the shops at the contemporary resort while ben and dan took a ride over to grand floridian to walk around.
the day may have been cold & rainy but the fun we had as family trumped any grayness to our day although we did go to bed that night hoping for warmer weather.
if emilia could have one wish and only one wish it would be to visit the bibbidi bobbidi boutique. she has been asking and we still haven't scheduled a visit. it is my understanding (and from what we've seen) that at the end of the pampering the girls are sprinkled with pixie dust.
there is a little shop on the fantasyland side of cinderella castle called castle couture and while we were there a cast member pixie dusted emilia. just a small sprinkling of sparkles and glitter.
sparkles and glitter are emilia's love language.
i'm pretty sure the photo speaks volumes about her excitement.
the beginning of our disney world vacation started a little shaky. we received a call from southwest airlines 12 hours prior to our flight with notice that our flight was cancelled. we were sitting at dinner. after texting my mom, she was flying with us, i got on the phone trying to change our flight (even though the automated system said don't call). while waiting for an operator, dan got on the internet to get new flight times.
we were in the middle of a polar vortex and knowing this we contemplated getting out of town a few days earlier; however, when we saw the price (over $1,000) for the 5 of us to change our flight we laughed and kept our same flight.
as soon as i got an operator she was able to give us the last 5 seats available on the next flight out of town! yahoo! i didn't care if we got separated - some on one flight the rest on another. i just wanted to get us out of town. we got lucky.
i've written before about how i am not a huge fan of flying; however, i am getting better and what keeps my sanity is taking pictures 38,000 ft in the sky and above the clouds. it's soothing and i love seeing mother nature's beauty & glory. she's amazing.
we left tuesday morning and landed in orlando around noon. we arrived to beautiful, sunny, 70* weather. a much needed and wonderful change from the -35* we left earlier in the morning. giddy doesn't even being to describe how we were feeling.
we headed to our resort, the polynesian (as always), checked in, our room was ready (yahoo!), changed into warm weather clothes, grabbed lunch at capt. cooks and headed to epcot for the remainder of the day.
no trip to epcot is complete, for me, without taking multiple pictures of spaceship earth. i have so many pictures, from so many different angles. my most favorite are the shots of spaceship earth at night. just gorgeous - she's lit up in all her beautiful glory.
our day consisted of wandering epcot - we hit up the character spot, walked around future world and eventually made our way back to world showcase. we saw the line over in norway to meet with anna and else from frozen. the line wrapped around the outskirts of the country. we were told by a cast member the line was running about 3 hours. no. thank. you. i am happy we waited a little over an hour in november when we visited. frozen had not been released in the theaters yet; however, emilia received tons of frozen merchandise for her birthday from various family members.
we stopped and paid a visit to pluto on our way into the park. pluto is a favorite of ben's.
instead of waiting in the line for anna & else, ben asked to do one of the agent p's world showcase adventure. he chose norway while dan and emilia rode the maelstrom ride in the same country. find a 5 year old who likes this ride because emilia sure didn't - she vows to never ride it again. i think she thought there might be some frozen aspects to it since anna & elsa are from there. can't blame her for thinking that.
at stop in mexico to visit donald & take a ride gran fiesta tour starring the three caballeros
we had dinner over in the land at sunshine season's and then made our way over to test track. while we scheduled 3 fast passes for the afternoon/evening, the one we were looking forward to most was test track. the line is always long. our's was scheduled for the the evening. i love seeing the kids design their cars. emilia's was pink, of course! and ben's was blue and quite sporty.
once we finished up test track, emilia checked out. after an early morning of traveling followed by a fun day wandering epcot she was tired & ready to head back to our room. ben was not. dan, ben, and my mom stayed awhile longer (they walked right onto soarin') while emilia & i left.
despite our flight changing, our first day turned out to be wonderful. the weather was perfect and we enjoyed our day wandering a favorite park.
we are one of those families who [sort of] meticulously plan their trips to walt disney world. once we book our accommodations we immediately start planning our dining. we plan our days around our dining reservations. food is very important to this family. everyone gets a say in where we eat & we try our best to accomodate. emilia is indifferent - if it were up to her we'd dine with a character or princess every single meal. we do take that into consideration but not for every meal.
while we do take time in planning our trips; we also have been know to make changes days before our arrival or while we are on the property. reasons always vary - change in menu, weather, wanting to try some place new, or even a hard to get reservation opened up (i.e. dinner at cinderella castle).
now that disney has the fastpass+ system we try to utilize and plan a few of our favorite rides before we arrive. like restaurants, we all have our favorite rides and while we try to fit those into the fastpass+ scheduling. we like the fastpass+ system because going to florida (or any other warm weather state) during the dead of chicago winter (especially this winter) we try to fit in as much pool time as possible. fastpass+ has allowed that for us; maybe not so much this trip (cold & rain) but in over november 2013 trip we utilized this service to the max.
we are definitely not a family who likes to be at a park when it opens (rope drop as it's been coined). if the weather is right, we will grab snacks for breakfast (i.e. toast, cereal, bagels, fruit & coffee) and make our way to one of the pools. ben & emilia love this because they are able to swim and we are able to relax, take in a warm florida morning, enjoy our morning coffee and ease into our day. we have no problems getting to the parks just before lunch. as a side note: we typically take our disney vacations during a low season, crowds are low so lines aren't long. for the november 2013 trip and our most recent january 2014 trip, we did our best to get fastpass+ times in the afternoon & evenings. for trhe rest of the attractions and character meetings we have no problem waiting in line. disney does a great job moving people. there are always a few attractions where we wait longer but we've never waited much more than an hour.
we prefer to stay into the evening at the parks. we will leave a park, go to our dining reservation and then head back to the park and enjoy the nightly firework show, see a few more attractions or characters and stroll through the shops. we definitely take advantage of the nighttime extra magic hours. other nights where we don't feel like staying at a park, we head back to our resort and the kids jump back into the pool. staying at the polynesian has a definite perk - we are able to watch the nightly wishes firework show at the magic kingdom from the volcano pool/beach area. it's a great way to end our night.
planning our disney vacations is just part of the fun [for me]. even when we make changes, our outcome is always the same - a great vacation. we always come back from each trip with new favorite attractions & restaurants and, of course, new, fabulous memories. and, of course, the magic of disney!
i shared a few pictures on instagram during our trip to walt disney world. while i took many, many, many more shots during the vacation these are the few i shared.
[wreck it] ralph & vanellope von schweetz // hollywood studios
space mountain // magic kingdom
expedition everest // animal kingdom
jambo house // animal kingdom lodge
we met up with friends who were also vacationing at disney. obligatory photo in front of cinderella castle at magic kingdom.
it was quite foggy one of the nights we viewed wishes at the magic kingdom that between the fog & the smoke from the fireworks the castle disappeared. so strange to see what magic kingdom would look like without cinderella castle.
i slacked on posting to instagram; however, the weather was cold and rainy. we spent much of our time bundled, wearing hats & gloves and enjoy hot coffee to keep warm. we were too busy trying to keep dry & warm instead of posting!
regardless of the cold & rain, it was still a fantastic trip.