Monday, June 20, 2016

Our Magical Disney World Vacation!!

Most magical entrance in the world!
This recap has been WAY overdue! We went our family vacation to Walt Disney World in April 2016 with our girls - then ages 4 & 5 (Bella has since turned 6) - and had a fantastic time! I feel like I definitely learned some things from our previous trips, so I will share those in a future post - but really above all I can sum my advice up in one tidy package... DO LESS. Which sounds crazy when you're talking about going to Walt Disney World... do less? But down time really is more sometimes, especially when you're crazy exhausted!

Chef Mickey's - A Mommy Favorite!

On our November 2015 trip, I just tried to put TOO MUCH into a week time span. Too many reservations, it was incredibly hot (abnormally so for that time of year), too many videos to complete while I was there, and we were feeling the effects by the end of that week. I tried to take all of this into account when going into our April 2016 trip, and scaled back. The interested part was though, it didn't FEEL like a scaled back trip! We still did Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for BOTH girls at the same time, for the first time ever! We had a number of dining reservations, and new on that trip, Bella was tall enough to ride the "big" rides... so we had a blast riding tons of new (to her) things! It all came down to not being afraid to skip a Fast Pass, stopping to take plenty of breaks, and not over scheduling.

We started out the trip at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs, as per usual and then due to Florida Annual Passholder dates having a blackout on our first park day, I switched around our park days and we ended up at Animal Kingdom on our first park day instead of Magic Kingdom. It worked fabulous for our family and in fact, because we love animals and zoos so much - Animal Kingdom is probably our second favorite (if not top favorite, depending on the crowd level at MK...) theme park at Walt Disney World! We went through Animal Kingdom in the rain and had a great time splashing through the park! Bella rode Expedition Everest for the first time - and thus, a love of the "big rides" was born!


On our second park day, we went to Magic Kingdom and both girls had Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations inside the castle. We also had a dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table, which in my opinion is a MUST DO for any Disney enthusiast. There is just something so magical about being able to eat, inside the castle! And we had a great time playing in the park until dark!

Although after our November trip, I had said "Never again" about EPCOT with small kids.. we revised that and did give it another shot. We had a great lunch at Akershus, and it got hot walking around the World Showcase, but being there during Flower and Garden was fantastic, decidedly our favorite time of year for EPCOT. (I'm undecided on our upcoming trip while Food & Wine is still going on whether we will go to EPCOT or not.) It was a fun day, at Bella rode Test Track for the first time which was fun to watch!

Noticeably missing from this trip is... Hollywood Studios. I did make the executive decision to skip that park on this trip. Because of a large amount of construction, and that we had just done  (almost) everything we would want to do there on our November trip - I opted to save that one for later and hopefully there will be more completion on new projects by our end of the year trip. The only thing we missed out on that I'm slightly bummed about, is that Lights, Motor, Action closed after that trip, so the kids will have never seen that one. (I didn't get show time to work out for it on our November trip.)

Our last theme park day was at Magic Kingdom, and I think that's always a fun way to end a trip! The girls had a ton of fun riding rides, and I am already noticing a shift from the trip being "character focused" to being more "ride focused" as they get older. We had a number of great dining reservations, most notably Tusker House in Animal Kingdom has been stellar every single time we dine there and this trip was no exception - as well as some great food too.

Tusker House in Animal Kingdom

I thought this trip was a great balance and gave even more insight into how we might want to run future trips. On our end of the year trip, we did make the decision that we wanted to go "FULL OUT" and do a completely on property trip for the experience - to see if not having to rent a vehicle and if using Disney transpiration is indeed easier for our family. I'll report back on that. For now, I'm happy to look back on our pictures and video from our spring trip and looking forward to planning the next one!

Video recap HERE:

Check out the full playlist of Spring 2016 Walt Disney World Family Vacation Videos HERE:

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