We had a magical trip to Walt Disney World just like everyone promised us! It was so much fun and I would go back tomorrow. Everyone had a blast! I will post tonight about our trip and later about the nitty-gritty of what worked for us logistically.
Day 1 - Sunday: We stayed in a hotel just a few miles from Walt Disney World on Saturday night and left right after breakfast. Evie was so excited and I was too. There was a ton of traffic that morning because of the WDW Marathon. It took us almost an hour to get inside the park and get to our hotel. We stayed at Bay Lake Towers and it was perfect for us. It was about a 5-10 minute walk to the Magic Kingdom and next door to the Contemporary for easy monorail access. We dropped our stuff off with the bellman and hopped on over to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail. That was the first and last time that we took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom because it was much easier and faster for us to walk. Evie and Henry were both pretty fussy right when we entered the park since by this point it was about 10:30. They perked right up by the time that we walked down Main Street and reached the castle. There was a live show going on and everyone was gathered around watching everything unfold. Evie and Henry were mesmerized! It was crowded on Sunday and it made me a bit nervous for the rest of the week. Sunday was the busiest day by far though. Henry was not a fan of the double stroller. We started off with the carousel. Evie loved it and again Henry was not a fan. We walked around a bit taking in the magnitude of the park. I was absolutely shocked at the size, the beauty and even the masses of people there. It was my first trip to WDW too! We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Pinocchio Village Haus and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. Everyone had a flat bread for lunch. We checked out a few attractions after lunch including Swiss Family Treehouse, It's a Small World, teacups, and Aladdin's carpets. Rain started falling softly but it was a welcome respite from the heat. It did not last long at all! Evie was so excited to wear a poncho although it was not necessary. We walked back to our hotel and Evie fell asleep in the stroller. Carl and Evie went out to the pool and I put Henry down for a nap. Everyone was feeling refreshed enough to walk back over to the Magic Kingdom. We hit a few attractions in Tomorrowland including the Carousel of Progress and it was pretty entertaining although a bit dated then we had cheeseburgers for dinner at Pecos Bill. It was time for fireworks by this point and they were beautiful. Extra Magic Hours are an awesome perk to staying on the property. We took advantage of everyone leaving the park and we rode rides for hours without waiting in any lines. Carl and Evie rode Buzz Lightyear while Henry enjoyed some popcorn. He ate pounds of popcorn over the last week. Some of our favorite rides: Aerial's ride, Barnstormer, Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo. It was so much fun! Evie wanted to ride the Barnstormer over and over even though it was a miniature roller coaster. Even Henry liked it and rode it once although he was not tall enough. He snuck on there somehow and enjoyed it too. Evie fell asleep on the walk back again which happened pretty much every time she was in the stroller. Henry did not sleep one wink in the stroller the entire week. He enjoyed being carried through the parks but he was a terrific sport and had a grand time.
Day 2 - Monday: We slept late before heading back to the MK. The crowds were much lighter since it was a Monday. We rode Peter Pan's Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tea Cups and saw Mickey's PhilharMagic show. Everything was so fun! We met up with Carl's friend Lee and his family for a few minutes before heading on to a few more rides. Henry enjoyed the Liberty Square River Boat ride. Lunch at Cinderella's Castle was next on our agenda. Evie was smitten with all the beautiful princesses and loved being called Princess Evie. She proudly collected autographs on her princess pillowcase and smiled for pictures with every princess that came by our table. Character meals are expensive but it saves you from waiting in lines. Carl and I thought the food was very good but the experience is what you are paying for and it is a wonderful experience! Even Henry enjoyed himself. We were a little worried about how he would do eating a fancy lunch at 2:30 but that was the only reservation time available. Henry was just fine and kept busy with his sword and a few sugar packets. Our waiter was kind enough to bring Henry complimentary portions of everything that Evie ordered since he is under 3. After lunch, we watched a few minutes of a parade before heading back for some rest time. Henry slept forever and I took a nap too while Carl was with Evie in the pool. Once again, we headed back to the MK and took advantage of the short lines and the cooler weather. Carl and Evie rode the race cars together and Henry was MAD that he was too little. He was not happy about sitting that one out. We crammed a few more rides in before eating a snack in Gaston's Tavern. Henry was so happy to have chips and hummus - that's his favorite snack. Evie was frightened of the large painting of Gaston hanging over the fireplace and had to sit with her back to the painting. Of course, we went back to the Barnstormer and rode it over and over. Evie just loved it and could not get enough. She snuggled in next to me and whispered, "Mama, I love riding roller coasters with you." So sweet! Henry and Carl hung out eating cotton candy. Evie bought a new Belle doll with her birthday giftcard from her grandparents. She thought that she was big stuff using her own "money card." On the way out of the park, we watched the parade and it was so cool. Both of our kids love parades!
Day 3 - Tuesday: We kicked off our day with breakfast at Chef Mickey's. It was a fun way to start the day and very good food too. After breakfast, we caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom. Carl really liked the Animal Kingdom. We took a safari ride and Evie was captivated by all the animals. I was too and could not believe that we were so close to rhinos, zebras, hippos and elephants. All of the animals were beautiful and it was really educational. Evie told me this was her favorite ride at Animal Kingdom. We rode a few more rides including a scary dinosaur ride that I found fun but it was too much for Evie. She was brave though until it was over. Evie is not a dinosaur fan at all! It started raining a bit so we ducked in for some lunch at DinoLand. It was one of my favorite meals. Carl and I both had grilled chicken sandwiches with a delicious sauce. It started raining pretty heavily as we left the park. Evie and Henry were dry under the rain cover and Carl and I wore our ponchos. We were having so much fun even in the rain as we raced to catch the bus back to our hotel. Everyone took a little rest and then we took the monorail to Epcot. It was gorgeous and I would have loved to have spent more time exploring all the countries. Disney has created a masterpiece of a park and it seemed like I was really strolling though the streets of France or eating fish and chips in London or taking a boat down a beautiful river in Norway. We took Evie to Akershus for another princess dinner. Belle was at this one! Evie had a ball chatting with Belle although she realized right away that it was the same Belle from her birthday party. Akershus does a fantastic job with their princess dinner leading all the girls on a princess procession around the restaurant. We all enjoyed the appetizer buffet and were able to sample some Norwegian favorites. Carl ordered pork tenderloin for dinner and I had salmon. Both were very good. Dessert was a tray of popular Norwegian desserts. Henry really liked the chocolate mousse. We strolled around Epcot after dinner taking in the beauty. Evie fell asleep again so it was a nice time with Henry. We were feeling really crazy and decided to go back to the Magic Kingdom. That's three parks in one day folks! Pretty adventurous but so much fun. Evie woke up in time to ride the Barnstormer. We rode a few more rides before calling it a night!
Day 4 -Wednesday: We hung out by the pool all morning before leaving for Destin.
Walt Disney World truly is a magical place!