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.
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!
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.