Carrolls do Disney World: Day 4

So, once again, I planned to combined days 4 and 5, but I have way too many pictures for that. I’m hoping y’all aren’t tired of these posts yet!

Day 4- Back to Magic Kingdom

We woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Day 4 to the sound of the fire alarm in the Wilderness Lodge. Todd and I literally jumped out of bed, grabbed our shoes, grabbed the boys’ coats and their shoes, grabbed the boys out of their beds and ran out the door. We were on the first floor of the hotel so it was easy to get out. We saw a little bit of smoke coming from the laundry room. We waited until we got the all clear to go back inside and we were thankful that there was no real danger. But it was an adventurous way to start the day and to get to see the sun rise!


Because we had six days of park hopper passes, we were able to go to Magic Kingdom three times and really take our time seeing everything. A lot of the rides were ones the boys wanted to ride again and again and this allowed us to do that.

And we hadn’t spent much time on the first time in Adventureland, Frontierland or Pioneer Square, so we did that on this gorgeous day.

Hayes and I had a lot of fun on Aladdin’s Magic Carpets!


This was a very sunny, warm day. It was in the low 80s and the rest of our trip was in the 70s and 50s with rain. So we were very surprised to see so much sun, and we loved it!


We had a ton of fun that day and used our Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

After we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, we noticed that our big double BOB had a very flat tire. It was almost impossible to push. So we took the stroller to the Disney stroller rental area and thought they might air it up for us. And they replaced the whole tire! For free! There is nothing like Disney World service!

While we waited for the stroller, the boys picked out a couple of hats they liked. We had promised each of them one toy at the end of the week, but decided to also let them get some mouse ears.


We stumbled upon the Dream Along with Mickey show and the boys had a ton of fun watching that in the middle of the day!





Hudson and I rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad together and then we used the rider switch passes so Todd could ride it with Hudson. While they rode, Hayes and I waited to meet Woody and Jessie, and Hudson joined us in time to meet the fun friends!


Hayes and Hudson were so excited, and they both wanted to give Jessie a big kiss. They just kept smooching her! We all got a big laugh out of it, and then the Disney cast member helping Jessie that day said, “I’m gonna tell Buzz!” (Because Buzz and Jessie are an item. Duh.) So we all laughed about that and Hudson begged them not to tell Buzz.




We rode the Winnie the Pooh ride for the first time that day and it was one of the longer waits we had all week. We probably waited 25 minutes. But the line was a lot of fun! It was all covered and there was lots of fun things for the kids to do and play with in line. The boys loved the drums!


Around 3:30, we were tuckered out and decided to head back to the Wilderness Lodge on the boat and let the boys rest before our dinner reservation at O’Hana that night.

Hayes usually fell asleep on the boat ride and Hudson just loved to feel the wind in his hair. That 10 minute boat ride was such a sanity saver every day!


And Hayes did a great job with naps just about every day. We skipped them a couple of days, but we were always glad to take a little break.


After naps, we headed over to the Polynesian for dinner at O’Hana. The boys enjoyed walking around the water outside before dinner. Our dinner reservation was at 8:00 and we could see a little bit of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom from the restaurant windows.

We had another great day at the Magic Kingdom!

Carrolls do Disney World: Day 3

Day 3: Epcot

Oh, Epcot. I really cannot say enough great things about Epcot. We all loved Epcot.

Because we drove to Disney World from South Carolina, we decided to drive to Epcot instead of taking the bus from Wilderness Lodge. (Wilderness Lodge isn’t on the Monorail but has a very convenient, quick boat ride to Magic Kingdom. But the only way to get to the other parks is via bus. And we were not big bus fans on our first night.)

It was super easy for us to drive. We arrived at the park at 9:00 a.m. and parking was easy and we were right inside the park at 9:05. Dealing with our big stroller was so easy because we had our own car. I would definitely choose to do it this way every time.

When we entered Epcot, we had our photo taken in front of Spaceship Earth (the big iconic Epcot ball). Then we saw Pluto! I love Pluto and his happy face. The line to meet Pluto had about four families in it, so we jumped right in.

We took advantage of the Memory Maker package that allows you to pay a one time fee and any time you see a Disney photographer, you have them take your picture, scan your Magic Band and all the photos automatically show up in your My Disney Experience app. It was totally worth it. Any time we rode a ride that had photos, we had our bands scanned so we could have the photo. My account has over 100 photos in from our trip. We definitely got our money’s worth out of the Memory Maker.

Anyway… the boys loved Pluto!


And then a few minutes later as we walked farther into Epcot, we saw Chip and Dale! And they went nuts for Chip and Dale!



We jumped on The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride and rode it three times because there were no waits and the boys just loved it. And then we did Turtle Talk with Crush. Hudson had a little bit of a meltdown during the wait time for Turtle Talk, but he ended up loving it.

We did the Michael Jackson “Captain EO” experience. It was a whole lot more cheesy than it was “classic,” but Todd and I got a good laugh out of it. And we did the Imagination ride with Figment and the boys really liked it.

Then we started off around the lake into the World Showcase. We tried to take it all in but the boys were hungry, and they were begging for mac and cheese. With all the amazing food in the World Showcase, they chose mac and cheese in the United States.



Todd and I waited until we could sample things from France, Italy and Mexico. Well worth the wait! We also passed the line to meet the Frozen characters in Norway. And even on the slowest day ever, the line was 4 hours long! No, thank you. My boys didn’t even know the difference.

That day, we rode everything we could. We had a Fast Pass to ride Soarin and it may have been my favorite ride in all of Disney World. Hudson was tall enough, but Hayes wasn’t. We also did Mission: Space and it was incredible! There are some really great rides at Epcot and I just loved the pace of the whole day. We had a lot of fun.

We went into one of the character meet and greets to meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. Again, no wait at all. It was amazing and we got a good bit of time with each of the characters.

These pictures can speak for themselves!

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Goofy was so tall! And my boys couldn’t get enough of him!

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This right here was the highlight of my whole trip. Minnie Mouse has some big fans in the Carroll boys. She ate them up and they loved every bit of it. They laughed. She was hugging them and ticking them and they just didn’t want to say goodbye to her. They loved her so much and it was the sweetest thing to see!

(All of these pictures were taken by the Disney photographer and were in my Memory Maker account. The best!)


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We seriously rode everything at Epcot and it was one of my favorite days of the whole trip. We skipped naps that day and no one even dozed off in their strollers. We ended the day by eating at Coral Reef for our “table service meal” for the day. Coral Reef was good and had a great view of beautiful aquariums form inside the restaurant. We did choose to purchase the Disney dining plan and it was such a great decision. It made everything so easy and even though Hayes was free for the trip (until he turns 3 in May), he got plenty to eat, too!

Please don’t skip Epcot on your trip because you think it’s just for adults. It was such a fun day for us!



Carrolls do Disney World: Day 2

While I fully intended to condense our trip into two or three posts, right now it’s looking like I may have a post for every day we were there. I don’t want to forget a single thing about it!

Day 2- Magic Kingdom


We were so excited for our first real day at Disney World and we had a breakfast reservation at the Magic Kingdom at The Crystal Palace.

Our hotel, The Wilderness Lodge, is not on the Monorail, but it does have direct boat service from the hotel to the Magic Kingdom. And the boat ride is only about ten minutes, at most. We never had to wait for a boat and it was so convenient!

The Crystal Palace is a beautiful spot located just off of Main Street USA. It is a character  that features Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. We were there for breakfast and the buffet was good! Typical breakfast buffet items, but the cast members were all so nice and accommodating and the kids absolutely loved it.


They were incredibly excited to meet the characters, and their reactions were just priceless!



I loved Hayes’s mouthful of Mickey waffle when he met Tigger.

When we left breakfast, we were just out to explore the park! We took advantage of the new Fast Pass Plus system, which is just incredible. So this is the thing that will make Disney World seem like a more manageable trip to people. We have our Magic Bands that electronically hold all the information for your trip– hotel, dinner reservations, dining plan information, park passes, and most importantly, they hold your Fast Pass information.

A few weeks before we left for Disney World, I reserved all of our 3 Fast Passes per day on the My Disney Experience website. And then it showed up on our Magic Bands! Magic!

We had three guaranteed times that we wouldn’t have to wait in line that day. And, thankfully, the parks are not crowded at all during the week that we went. It was so wonderful to not have to wait.

We headed straight for Peter Pan’s Flight and the boys loved it. Peter Pan was definitely their favorite ride of the entire trip.

Then we rode Prince Charming’s Carousel, It’s a Small World, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Goofy’s Barnstormer, and Dumbo.

The Dumbo ride now has a play area in the waiting line,which is wonderful. You receive a pager when you enter the play area, and your kids can play while they wait. And then when it’s your turn to get on the ride, they page you. So wonderful! We were able to ride Dumbo three times that first day and Hayes never wanted it to end. Poor guy! Meltdowns happen, even at Disney World!


We made our way to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and the boys had an absolute ball! We rode it twice, too. I’m telling you, there were no lines.



We were right next to Cosmic Ray’s to use one of our quick service meals, so we ran in there to grab some lunch. The food was good. Maybe a small step up from fast food, but I can’t say enough great things about the Magic Bands.

After lunch, we went to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and they just loved it. We rode the Astro Orbiter and then went into the Monsters Laugh Floor. Such fun! And then it was time to head back to the hotel for naps. Because, even at Disney World, these boys needed a nap. It saved us from meltdowns. So we headed in around 2:00 and put the boys to bed.


They woke up, we grabbed a bite to eat, and then we headed back to Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Celebrate the Magic and Wishes shows.  The parade is incredible! I highly recommend seeing it at least once. But the Celebrate the Magic show is a showstopper. It’s a projection show on Cinderella Castle and it is quite impressive. The boys also loved the fireworks. Seeing their faces and hearing their laughs were just the best!


We rode Peter Pan one more time after the parade and then went to see Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D show. The kids loved it!


And then it was back to the hotel for a long night sleep! The kids crashed every night and Todd and I would watch a little TV before passing out. Disney World will wear you out!


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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