Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney September 2013 - Day 1

So much to catch up on, but I'm going to try to get my feeble brain to remember all the way back to 3 weeks ago, so that I can blog about our September trip to WDW with my family.

So without further ado - Day 1

WooHoo! We were so excited! The day dawned sunny and cool. Probably the first cool morning we'd had in over a month or two (we had a weirdly cool summer as I mentioned above ) It was starting to feel like fall and we were headed to WDW and MNSSHP! Yay! 

We got dressed, packed up the car, and were ready to go in less than an hour. Woo! 

We had to say a sad goodbye to Big Daddy who had postponed his flight until Tuesday to finish some work at home.)  We were sad to leave him, and he was sad to see us go, but we knew the days would fly by!

We were flying out of Atlanta again. We arrived at the awesome Peachy Parking (love those Groupons!) a little over 2 hours before our flight (right on time in my book.) 

With two kids and tons of stuff, I sweated my way through security - why don't they turn up the AC in the security line??? Don't they know?? - and once we were through, the kids made a bee line for the closest candy. 

What did I do with my money Mom??? "Well, I'm not sure. Maybe if you had left your giant blanket at home, as I suggested it wouldn't be so hard to find your wallet?" (I told my kids they could bring what they wanted, but they had to carry it through the airport themselves. It was unbelievable to me how much stuff they crammed into their 'carry on and personal item' ha!)

We had time for a nice lunch. Unfortunately, we passed all the good places to eat and ended up at a not so good restaurant. But it did have a nice view of the planes, so the kids were happy!

The flight was delayed by about an hour. Some sort of mechanical problem. The pilot was very apologetic and told everyone on board that was over 21 that drinks were 'on him'. Once we were off the ground, the flight was smooth and uneventful and we even made up some time in the air.

The kids and I sat next to the nicest couple from Palm Beach, who had been cruising Europe for 7 weeks!  I have decided I will like retirement. :-)

Before we knew it, we were off the plane and onto this familiar sight:

Next Stop - Magical Express! It was interesting to see how My Magic + has already made it to Magical Express. They had the 'tap and go' Mickey all ready to go to meet arriving WDW visitors. My Magic + really is going to be an information bonanza for Disney. They'll know how many flights are on time, etc. Maybe even be able to tell how many minutes it takes each guest to walk from their gate to the ME counters! Amazing!

We just had our plain old paper tickets, so they scanned those and I alerted them to the fact that my husband would be delayed by a few days and we were off to our line! One thing that I was sad about - no more hotel names labeling the lines. Now it's just numbers. :-(

We were right up front. Which always means we'll be waiting a while for others to join us. 
We were on the bus soon enough - front row baby! And the Dino sticker was procured:

It was a perfect, beautiful evening:

We didn't check in online, but check in was still a breeze!

I spoke to my sister and my parents. They had arrived around lunch time and were already at the Magic Kingdom. They had 6:45 dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace. I'd hoped (before the flight delay) that we'd be able to join them for dinner, but we walked into our room to put our luggage away at 6:30, so I knew there was no way.

We were starving, and there was no Crystal Palace for us, so we stopped by the Pop Food Court on the way to the MK. 

For the life of me, I can't remember what we ate, but I do remember Pop has added a really cool ice cream area on the gift shop end of the food court and it is fantastic! Milkshakes, sundaes, etc. And of course, knowing the dining plan, I asked if we could have one of those as dessert and the answer was -absolutely! Yay!

We were in a hurry to get to the MK though, so we took our ice cream to go.

 When we arrived at the MK, it was a perfect night! It was just so exciting to be there.

My family had finished dinner and had already seen most of New Fantasyland, so we met them in the Castle hub to find a spot for Wishes!

After Wishes, we decided to set up a spot for the MSEP. We watched the 'castle show' (what's it called again?) while we were waiting.
(Now this is a cell phone pic)

After the parade, the MK was closed, so we made our way down Main Street and toward the busses! 
ML fell asleep on the ride home:
:-)  More to come!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Awhile - Packing for Disney

It's been a while!  (Awhile?)  So much has happened.

I thought I'd start back with a post idea I had when preparing for our latest trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Due to kid sports obligations we chose to fly to Orlando as opposed to our usual method of transportation - driving.
I was flying solo with the kids down to Orlando, so this meant I wanted everyone to be able to carry their own luggage and carry ons.

To simplify things, I sent a box of 'stuff' down to Orlando with my parents in their minivan.  These are things that I often pack on our WDW trips.  Just things I have have found to be useful in the room.

First up - a small air purifier aka 'the white noise machine.'  This trip we were staying at a Value resort - Pop Century.  When staying at Pop Century, we usually request a room with a 'lake view' in the 50's section and we have almost never had an issue with noise outside our room, but at every level of WDW hotel (Deluxe, Moderate, Value) we find it easier to have a white noise machine, especially in the mornings when Mousekeeping starts making their rounds and the 'early to rise' park goers start emerging from their rooms for the day.  This is not to say that WDW rooms are in any way badly constructed or noisy all the time.  This is just to prevent being woken up by that *one* family with that *one* kid who is yelling outside your room when you're children are fast asleep at 7 am.  (And we all know, there is no anger like the anger you feel when you miss out on sleep because someone else woke up your child.  :-)  Ha!

Next up, a few breakfast items.  Now, this may seem crazy.  WDW sometimes seems like it's nothing but tempting foods everywhere you look.  And this trip we were on the 'free' Disney Dining Plan.  But if your children are anything like mine, they wake up STARVING every morning.  And grumpy becomes 'hangry' pretty quickly if you don't feed them right away.  When you're by yourself with your children and you need to get ready before you head to the food court (read: it will be an hour before you're out the door and headed to eat) having some easy breakfast foods on hand can mean the difference between a stressful morning and an easy one.

I try to pick easy breakfast foods with *some* health benefits.  :-)

Next up- Laundry.  I usually need to run at least one load while I'm at WDW.  If for nothing other than stain control (you know, someone dumps something on their outfit at dinner and you need to get it out before it sets in.)  All the WDW resorts have great laundry rooms.  They sell everything you need at the resorts, but it saves time and money to bring your own.  I bring - a hanging laundry hamper (can hang in the closet area - keeps laundry off the floor and keeps it from being mixed in with the clean clothes in kids suitcases,) Shout to pretreat stains, Tide pods, a few dryer sheets and a delicates bag.

 Finally - Dish/ hand soap and a dish rag/ towel.  One thing about WDW resorts are the 'refillable' mugs that everyone seems to have.  You buy a $18 mug and you get unlimited tea/ coffee/ soda refills for your entire stay.  Most people will bring these to breakfast, fill them up, and then throw them in their stroller or back pack until the end of the day.  After dragging our mugs all over the park for the day, I REALLY feel the need to give them a good washing, so I bring an old hand soap bottle (that I saved and cleaned out) filled with our favorite dish soap - Method grapefruit.
This serves dual purpose though, as I find it hard to get my kids to wash their hands with a bar of soap provided by the hotel.  They do much better with liquid soap.  So it's a win, win.
The dish rag and towel are just because of my own OCD.  I don't want to dry my dishes with a towel some other person has wiped their mouth on.  :-)  Weird I know.

I put everything in a clear plastic bin (you can seen I brought a few other WDW essentials too - hello sunscreen!  I didn't think the sunscreen would make it through security in our carry ons.  I also brought a $9 coffee maker from Wal Mart and some coffee, because this momma needs her coffee right away!) and sent it with my parents.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there planning a WDW vacation!  Thanks for reading!