Carrolls do Disney World: Day 1

Okay, so here’s the plan. For the sake of my memory-keeping purposes, I am going to recap all of the days in a few posts and then I will do one post full of information and tips. Restaurants, hotel, transportation, Magic Bands, Fast Pass +, etc. If you have any questions before Friday, ask them in the comments and I will be sure and answer them in Friday’s post! 

Because this was our first time to take our kids to Disney World, we are clearly not experts, but I am happy to share our experience and what worked for us. 

Back around Christmas in 2012, I started talking to Todd about taking the kids to Disney World for their gift for Christmas 2013. I wanted to go in January after MLK Day because most kids are in school and mine are still at an age where I can take them out of school to do these kinds of things.

So last May, I booked our trip. I contacted a local Disney travel agent (who is paid on commission by Walt Disney World and not paid by the traveler! Score!) and talked to her about our budget, how long we wanted to stay, the meals we wanted, etc. She was such a huge help! I am happy to share her information with anyone who wants it.

We had originally planned to go for four or five days, but after thinking about my kids’ ages and their ability to stay out all day long, we decided to stay for six nights/seven days to make the most of our trip.

So let’s get going with the recap!

Day 1 – Travel Day and Downtown Disney

We decided to drive to Disney World. Our trip from Columbia, SC was right around 7 hours. We brought our own double BOB instead of renting one. We didn’t have a dinner reservation that day, so we weren’t in a huge hurry, but wanted to get there before sunset.

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We finally entered the big gates and everyone was so excited!


I love that Disney World is its own city. Seriously. It has its own infrastructure and roads and signs. And it’s enormous! We found our way to Wilderness Lodge and it felt like being tucked away in a beautiful, secluded mountain retreat in the middle of Florida.


We made our way inside… I definitely should have taken pictures of the beautiful lodgey lobby. Wow. It felt so homey and it was just so quiet and beautiful. We grabbed our Magic Bands and the nice gal at the front desk activated them. We used our Magic Bands to enter our hotel room, use Fast Passes, pay for our food, pay for anything else we needed. It was so easy and seamless.

After parking our car and getting into our room, we went to catch the bus to go to Downtown Disney. The bus ride made quite a few stops on the way to Downtown Disney and it took us about an hour to get there, which I heard was expected. But Downtown Disney was the perfect way to ease into the Disney experience.


We rushed to get our name on the list to eat at the T-Rex Cafe. The wait was incredibly long, but we just didn’t make a reservation for our first night because we weren’t really sure what our plans would be. We waited about 45 minutes for a table… and this was during the slow season. There was a fun place for the boys to “dig for fossils” and they had a lot of fun with that.


The restaurant had huge dinosaurs that “come to life” every 15 minutes all over the restaurant. Hudson was a little creeped out at first and then he got over it. It was a fun, mostly kid-friendly experience. Super interactive and loud, which is great for my boys!


The boys would have been fine with just going into the Disney stores everywhere and thought that this was all there was to Disney World! They were in heaven! IMG_8077

We shopped around a little, but told the boys that on the very last day they could pick out one favorite thing that they wanted, but until then we wouldn’t be buying anything. That seemed to appease them in the midst of all the fun things to look at!


We hopped back on the bus and headed back to the Wilderness Lodge. I was thankful that we didn’t bring our stroller to Downtown Disney. Back at the hotel, the boys were super excited about their fun bunk beds. Hayes still sleeps in a crib and this was his first experience in a real big boy bed. It all went surprisingly well!


Tomorrow, I’ll recap our first day at Magic Kingdom and our day at Epcot.

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  1. Lauren says


    First of all I love reading your blog! You share such great perspective on life, children, marriage and being a woman!

    Secondly, I love seeing how excited you all look on your trip! My boys are 20 months apart…my Oliver is 22 months and my Max is 2 months.

    My husband and I cannot wait to take our family to Disney! We have a little longer to wait but just seeing your post and pictures about the trip make me sooo excited!

    Thanks for sharing such special moments!


  2. Courtney S. says

    YAY! I am excited to read all your recap posts about your trip. I love Disney World! Also, awesome that Hayes took to sleeping in a big boy bed so easily – I bet this trip will help make the transition at home a lot easier 🙂

  3. says

    ok, so we are going in May- we booked our trip during the holidays when we heard about the big 30% off sale that they had going on. Really looking forward to it. We have a travel agent who is taking care of everything for us, too, which is a HUGE relief!

    We got all of our reservations done, so our days are sort of planned around that. I can’t wait to read more!

    I don’t have any questions as of yet- I’ll wait to read everything y’all did before I bombard you.

    Oh, and Andrew has the exact same buzz lightyear as Hayes! so cute! 🙂

  4. says

    I can’ t wait to read all about it! We took our daughters to Disney after Christmas last year and it was the best trip we’ve ever taken as a family. They are still talking about it and we can’t wait to go back! We did Downtown Disney our first night and ate at T-Rex, too. The food was so good and that is a great way to ease them in ;).

  5. says

    I am SO looking forward to these recaps and suggestions! I loved traveling to Disney World growing up…I’m still itching to get my husband and I back down there again! So fun!

  6. says

    I love reading your recap since we will be going in September and staying at the same resort. My boys will be about the same age as yours. How did you handle naps while there? My oldest still naps but probably won’t be by the time we go. I am more worried about my youngest one. Was it easy for him to nap in the same room as everyone else or did you keep your oldest busy doing something else during it? Also, how did you do the whole souvenir thing? Were they allowed only one thing at the end of the trip? I am scared how they will be going into each store and seeing all the toys and trinkets. I will want and try to avoid a meltdown at all costs.

  7. says

    I have a FastPass + question. We are headed to see the mouse in March. I notice that you can only book one fast passes per park per day and that you have “tiers” to choose from. If I want fast passes for Rock n roller coaster AND toy story mania, I can’t book them both online. Can it be done at the park or do you have to stand in line to ride whichever ride you don’t have the fast pass + for? When we went in October 2012, the fast passes worked great. Now, I don’t see that happening. Disney will really lose points with me if I can’t get fast passes for our favorite rides.

  8. says

    I’ve never been to Disney and my husband and I have talked about going before we have kids. Which travel agent did you use? Do you think two adults (kids at heart) would have fun? Was there anything you wished you and Todd could have done just the two of you?

  9. says

    I loved keeping up with y’all as you were at Disney. And I’ve really been looking forward to these recap/information posts! We’re just starting to plan a trip there in 2014 and I am VERY intimidated by everything. It’s so overwhelming!! I’d love the name of your travel agent.

  10. says

    We are using a travel planner for our trip this summer. Even though I know Disney, it was so nice for someone else to take care of the reservations for the hotel and food, and also to call for us when they put out the discounts for spring which discounted our package.

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