It’s been a busy summer so I’m just now getting around to my much awaited Disney post (if your name is Teresa, she’s the only one who has been waiting). In the next few days I will do a shorter post with my best tips and ideas for a Disney trip and hopefully my first give away. I’ve got to find out from the giveaway Queen Teresa how to do it and come up with a super prize. So look for the next post with tips and a giveaway.
First let me say, the trip was a success largely because of our very knowledgeable Disney travel planner, Tammy Ewert. I love what Teresa had to say about her – all very true – so check it out. Tammy sent us a 30 page itinerary of what we were doing each day, which park to visit, all of our meal reservations and numbers. She gave us hints on things to avoid, things to do, and suggestions for things you cannot find in a travel book. A big thank you to Tammy!
I couldn’t imagine trying to keep up with all the info Tammy sent to us so I decided to make a handy little travel flip book. I bought an Oxford flip binder at Target. I had to get two so I would have enough cards and I also found bigger ring holders to hold more cards. It was the perfect size (4 X 6) to carry in my fanny pack every day for reference. All I did was cut out and paste the info from Tammy’s itinerary into my little flip book. Magic!
There was a tabbed section for each day with ALL our important details. So handy I will probably do this for other trips. Since it was a Disney trip I found some cute stickers to dress it up just for fun.
On the back I wrote down our Schedule at a Glance – so glad I did this because it was handy to reference for the many, many, and did I say many times the boys asked me where we were going tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. The flip book had this little plastic pocket pouch which was an added bonus.
I also bought The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 book – great reference and it was easy to take every day.
Day 1 – Saturday
We had VERY EARLY flights – like 6:00 am that morning. The plan was to have at least a partial day at WDW. No problems getting there on time because who can sleep when you’re leaving to go see the Mouse? My youngest grandson Alex had never flown before so he couldn’t wait – so anxious, so very curious. I loved seeing the anticipation in his eyes. He didn’t want to miss getting on board so he stood by the stairs ready to beat the crowd. Then we must talk to the backup pilot to make sure he knows the way to Disney. And he did.
Shhhhh, the early morning flight finally took it’s toll. Woody needs his rest to play with Mickey later.
After we arrived at the airport, my husband decided to pull out his Disney surprise – yes, walking down the terminal with his vintage Donald Duck hat. That’s hubby and our son Jared.We kept this hat from a trip to Disney when my youngest son was 4 yrs. old. (That’s Colin almost 20 yrs. ago hiding under his duck hat at the airport.) Same airport, same hat, same childlike pose. Still had it and guess who packed it in his carry own luggage to share with the world. My hubby makes me laugh and this is just one example of how he does it.
- Jungle Cruise (Alex was an excellent driver)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (I even did this one.)
- It’s a Small World, Dumbo, Mad Tea Party
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (LOVE LOVE LOVE)
- Older kids loved Splash Mountain and Space Mountain
- SpectroMagic Parade a must see
- Wishes Fireworks
AVOID – DON’T DO IT – Stitch’s Great Escape (trust me)
We had a magical first day and ended with the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party – yummy desserts and special reserved seating for the fireworks show. No one had trouble falling asleep the first night – even if we weren’t in our own beds.
Day 2 – Sunday
Favorites at Hollywood Studios
- Toy Story Mania (make this first on your list)
- Star Tours
- Indiana Jones
- Older kids loved Tower of Terror (not for me and hubby), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (again not me and hubby)
- Fantasmic – wonderful musical light show
AVOID – Journey into Narnia which is just a glorified movie trailer.
Day 3 – Monday
Today was Epcot. The older boys were not so thrilled about the Epcot day until they discovered it had some pretty cool things to do. Walking through the countries would have to wait until another day. We started off with Test Track, enjoyed Soarin’ and had a wonderful lunch at the Coral Reef. Here’s Alex cooling off at the Test Track entrance. It was so unbearably hot while we were there, and rainy most days at some point. So getting wet was not a problem – whether from Disney or Mother Nature.
Favorites at Epcot
- Soarin’ (you have to do this one maybe more than once)
- Test Track
- Spaceship Earth
- Turtle Talk with Crush – this was so much fun!
- Older kids loved Mission Space and wanted to do it over and over (not me).
- Illuminations Fireworks show – a must see!
AVOID – Not much to avoid here but I do recommend two days at Epcot. It takes an entire day to walk through the countries.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Today was Animal Kingdom. Okay, I’m admitting something – we DID NOT DO ANIMAL KINGDOM VERY WELL! We weren’t the family you see early at the parks for rope drop. We were all still “dropping” from the day before so we got there when we got there. There was some time to wait for the thrill rides like Expedition Everest. So we missed a lot of the attractions, shows, exhibits, but it was a fun day.
The three boys, Chance, Will and Alex drumming it up at Animal Kingdom.
Got wet on the Kali River Rapids – but I was prepared with rain gear for those who needed it. Here’s (left to right) Alex, Will, Chance, Jared and Chasta – all wet from the ride and loving it!
Favorites at Animal Kingdom
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
- Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride
- Kali River Rapids (take rain gear)
- Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
- Older kids loved Expedition Everest (long wait)
AVOID – The only thing I say to avoid here is AVOID GETTING HERE LATE. We had a short day because of an early dinner reservation at the Polynesian Resort, but it was so worth it. The food at the Polynesian Resort was to die for – as in it could have been my last meal ever! Will’s not sure where the flowers go. All three boys, Alex, Chance, Will enjoying their dinner.
Day 5 – Wednesday
One of the few pictures I have of me on the trip since I was the one with the camera. Me and Alex on the Dumbo ride. It was worth the 30 minute wait for this picture.
Our evening meal was at Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge. This was a crazy meal – good food and some seriously nutty antics from the wait staff. Hint: Please do not ask for ketchup. The kids had fun with their wooden horse stick race.
Day 6 – Thursday
Today we went back to Hollywood Studios. More of the same for the older guys: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, thrill city, you get the picture. But we weren’t able to stay long – again, not a “rope drop” kinda family. Short day and dinner plans at Downtown Disney at Wolfgang Puck’s.
Atmosphere was good, food okay, but the wait staff there was not too happy about being in the Disney meal plan. Downtown Disney was fun, but we were all pretty tired so there was not much shopping.
Day 7 – Friday
Today we went back to Epcot to walk through the countries. Again, older boys not too happy. But in spite of postponing their thrill ride plans, we enjoyed our time there. Glass blowing, Chinese acrobats, lots to look at and take in.
A visit to Mexico, China and Italy all in one day.
Day 8 – Saturday
Today Jared, Chasta and the three boys traveled back home. David and I arranged to stay a couple of extra days to rest from the demanding park schedules. After we sent the kids on their way, we ventured out and took our time prowling around Magic Kingdom. No agenda, no plans, no one but me and my love. Our dinner was at the California Grill on top of the Contemporary Resort. This was another memorable meal – delicious food, high-end atmosphere, and we had a window table view for the Wishes Fireworks display.
The restaurant plays the music in the restaurant for the fireworks show so it feels like you’re right there – only you’re sitting at a beautiful table with Mickey glitter sprinkles, white table cloths, and a wait staff serving you divine food.
A topiary Mickey welcomed us to the Contemporary Resort. One of my all-time favorite days.
Day 9 – Sunday
We took the Behind the Seeds tour at The Land. It was an interesting look at the greenhouses and horticultural experiments done there on the property as part of the Epcot Science Project. I was able to release some lady bugs into the greenhouse and we tasted some of the veggies. Most of them grow very large in all shapes and in very strange ways.
One tomato plant was listed in the Guinness World Records for yielding the most tomatoes from a single plant weighing a total of 1,151.84 lbs. Pumpkins hang from wire and some are even shaped like Mickey Mouse himself. They put the young pumpkin in this mold and let it conform to the final mouse ear shape. Very cool.
Our evening meal was at the Disney Boardwalk at a new Greek restaurant Kouzinna @ Cat Corra. I think we must have ordered the wrong things because neither of us really liked the food. But that’s okay – I’m at Disney and there’s not a whole lot to complain about when you’re at the happiest place in the world.
Our Captain Sue took us around the properties via the water canals and then ended up at Epcot for the Illuminations fireworks. Up close and personal. So close we could feel the heat from the flames. Sue had small children and worked part-time on the cruise. She graduated from Texas A&M like my hubby so they had lots to talk about. Her husband worked for as a horticulturalist for a company that supplies Disney with all their plants and landscaping. Now that’s a big job! The grounds are all breathtaking and well-groomed.
The fireworks cruise was the most amazing way to end the day. I will never forget it. Thanks to my wonderful husband he’s created another memory for us.
Day 10 – Monday
Our last Disney Day. We didn’t do much of anything early, but just a little packing, laundry, getting ready to leave the next day. We had seen and done most everything we wanted to or felt like doing. Our evening meal was at Narcoose’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. So we saved a little time before our reservation to explore the resort. I would love to stay at this resort. It is nothing like I’ve ever seen.
Our dinner at Narcoose’s was perfect. Food was fantastic – atmosphere and view outstanding. And the dessert, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Day 11 – Tuesday
It’s over, the end, time to go home. We were ready to get back. I know this is the longest post I’ve ever done – probably will be one of the few I will do this long because it has taken me forever it seems. But it’s all here, as much as I can remember. Thanks Mickey for inviting us to play with you for a while and for showing our friend Tammy how to plan the perfect Disney experience. And thanks most of all to Jared, Chasta and the boys for the precious memories. And my bestest most sincere thanks and love to my husband for making this all possible. Just so you know, I’m available to travel anytime any place.