Sunday, December 13, 2015

Disney Vacation-A First!

As most of you know, this past week my family and I flew down to Florida for our first ever family vacation!!! And let me tell you, Disney World did not disappoint!!!
We had the best of time and it couldn't have been more perfect!! It's hard to wrap up everything in one blog post so in the next few weeks I'll share a few bits and pieces as well as my advice for if you are thinking about taking a family vacation to Disney World in the near future!

For our vacation, we flew in on Monday morning and arrived to our Disney resort around noon. The flight went so smoothly and I'm so glad we decided to fly (which took under 2 hours from St. Louis) rather than drive which would've taken 20 hours. Flying is definitely the way to go! But even flying, traveling is always exhausting with kids so we grabbed lunched and all took a nice afternoon nap and relaxed. That evening we grabbed a bus and went to Disney Springs. 
 For those of you not familiar with Disney Springs, it's a fun Disney shopping and dining area full of different types of Disney Shops and fun restaurants. We decided to go to the Trex Restaurant. We had been to a Rainforest Cafe before and loved the food so we knew the Dinasour theme would be fun for my son Ashton and the food was great too. 
It was nice the wait wasn't long and every 20 minutes the lights would dim and there would be a meteorite shower and the dinasours would "come to life" and start moving! It was awesome! 

The next day we had tickets to Mickey's Christmas Party in the evening. 
It was nice to sleep in and have a nice slow morning doing whatever we wanted. We stayed in the Pop Century Disney Resort which happened to be located near the Art of Animation Resort which I had on my list to tour! Touring the other Disney resorts was an event in themself! They are INCREDIBLE!
 Our resort, Pop Century, had sections of the hotel themed after various past decades. 
Like one part of the hotel was disney in the 50's, or another was 60's, 70's and so on.
It was really neat and one of the more affordable Disney Resorts!

Art of Animation was a little more expensive so we didn't stay there but we spent the morning looking at all of the decorations and parks they had. If we were to go again, I would pay a little more to spend a couple days there. It was AWESOME. I loved that the entire hotel was DISNEY!!
You could stay in a section of the hotel that was themed after The Little Mermaid..
 Or The Lion King....
 And our favorite... CARS!!!
 It felt like you were right in the movie!! We took pictures with ALL of the characters!

And the main pool of the hotel was themed after Nemo! Seriously, walking around Art of Animation was almost as fun as Disney World itself.

After seeing Art of Animation, we grabbed lunch at the resort and went back to our room to relax and have the kids take a nap before Mickey's Christmas Party. (MCP)
What's great about MCP is even though the party doesn't start until 7, you can get into the part as early at 4pm. So we took a good nap and go ready to head to the park!

Magic Kingdom is so beautiful at Christmas time! There are Christmas decorations everywhere and Christmas music all around! It just added to the magic of it all.
 For weeks, Ashton had been talking about the hot cocoa and cookies that were going to be at Mickey's Christmas Party! Finally his dreams came true.

The boys rode some rides, we grabbed our snack and headed to find a seat to watch the Castle show and Christmas Parade. And let me just say, I have never seen so many people in my life. The crowd was insane in front of the castle!! We luckily went early enough we got a decent spot! Alaya fell alseep literally 15 minutes before the show started. She missed the entire thing!! But thats ok, she one so I didn't expect her to stay awake and no way was I going to wake her up and make her miserable and grumpy. 
I enjoyed the show more than any of us I think. It was spectacular.
The castle was amazing. So beautiful.
 And Santa made an appearance of course.
I could show you a million pictures but they don't do it justice. 
After the show, the boys went on the Mine Train roller-coaster and I grabbed some ice cream and continued to watch the rest of the shows on the castle and the fireworks.
The Fireworks. Were. Amazing. 
I'm not normally a "fireworks type of person". I feel like you see one firework you've seen them all.
This was not the case at Disney World. I'm not sure how they do it, but they make the music, lighting on the castle, and the fireworks all match. They bring such magic and feeling you can't help but be giddy and smile while the show's going on. The fireworks are a MUST SEE!
We left the park around 10:30 because the kids were exhausted (Alaya was still sleeping).

We had another full day at Magic Kingdom the following day.
Need I say it was awesome?!
 Because it was.
 The great thing about Disney World is they have something for everyone!
My boys love the rides and amusement park aspect of Disney, where Alaya and I loved all the shows and parades. The afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade was, again, a MUST SEE! Their floats are amazing..if you can even call them floats?!

And I happened to catch some of the Disney Dance Party they put on and it was a blast!!!
It brought the kid out in me and I was out there dancing with the characters along with all the small kids.
Woody even danced with Alaya. It was fun to be up and close to the character!

I was also really surprised at how many rides Alaya could ride on!
It felt like nearly half of the rides at Magic Kingdom allowed Alaya to sit and ride on our laps.
 It was fun to be able to do rides together as a family and she loved getting out of our stroller and riding the fun rides as well. The Little Mermaid ride was one of our favorites!
And the Jungle Cruise was a nice ride we took in the afternoon. It was calm and relaxing. A great break from walking. The driver of the ride/boat told corny jokes that were cracking me up! It really added to the ride believe it or not!
And you can't go to Disney without meeting some characters!!

So that's just a short recap of our time at Magic Kingdom. There's so much more I could tell you about and hope to share a little more here in the near future. Especially because this is just a part of our trip, we also ventured over to Universal Studios and had a "magical" experience at Harry Potter World.

I know for a first family vacation, this was pretty extravagant. Some people ask how will we ever have a better vacation than this?! And I'm not sure! Maybe this will be the best vacation we ever take. But I don't think that's so. We love love LOVED Disney but we aren't the type of family to go every year. We want to see the world. See the beautiful country of America! We hope to go hiking in Colorado someday, see Yellowstone Park, or go scubadiving in the beautiful oceans...someday. We couldn't really do some of those things with our kids being so young. So for us, this seemed like the perfect time for us to make a trip to Disney. I don't think our kids were "too young" for such a trip. The kids loved it-I loved it-we all loved it!! We will definitely be back again someday.