Carrolls do Disney World: Days 5 & 6

Day 5- Hollywood Studios

The morning that we left for Hollywood Studios was the first rainy morning of our trip. Thankfully, we packed the boys’ raincoats and Todd went to get us some Disney ponchos. We were surprised at how cold it was that day, but, again, the crowds were really manageable.

Hudson wanted to pose with this frog at Wilderness Lodge before we left.
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When I reserved our Hollywood Studios fast passes a few weeks prior, I made sure to get an early morning Fast Pass for Toy Story Midway Mania. So we headed straight there when we arrived for our 9:30-10:30 fast pass.

When we got to the ride, we saw Buzz and Woody at their character spot right outside the ride, so we hopped into that line. We probably waited about 15 minutes to meet our favorite friends.

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All of the lines at Disney World have fun things to entertain your kids. When else can you strap your child to a rocket?

My boys are obsessed with Toy Story and Buzz and Woody. Hayes, especially, but Hudson really loves them, too. They met Woody the day before at Magic Kingdom, but it was so fun to see them together. And they were so big!

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We told Buzz the story about Hudson giving Jessie a big kiss, and he had so much fun with it. He found Jessie’s autograph in their autograph books and drew big hearts around her name and put his name next to it. (Buzz Lightyear doesn’t use a pen to sign his name. His costume makes it too hard for him to write, so he uses a stamp.)

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These guys just did the best job hamming it up and giving each kid a good amount of time without feeling like we were holding up the line.

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After we met Buzz and Woody, we headed across to the Toy Story Mania ride. Todd and I loved it! I think Hudson and Hayes didn’t really get the hang of the game and couldn’t quite figure out how to rack up points by shooting at the targets. It was probably a little advanced for them, but they were highly entertained all the same!

When we left that ride, we saw the Lightning McQueen and Tow-Mater characters. When it was the boys’ turn to get up there, Hudson was very very disappointed (as you can see) that they didn’t talk and didn’t even move. Ha! I’m not really sure how else they would do a Cars character. But we laughed about it. We officially have photos of a pouting child at Disney World!

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Hollywood Studios has a ton of fun attractions, but not a ton of rides. We had reservations at Hollywood and Vine for lunch to meet the Disney Junior characters. It was a really fun, interactive character meal and the boys just went nuts for Jake.

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I loved that the restaurant had the theme songs from all the shows playing inside. It’s fun to sing-a-long with your kiddos. Doc McStuffins!

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Before Sofia walked up, Hudson declared that he didn’t want to meet her because “she’s for girls.” And he officially melted when she walked up. I’m telling you. My boys love the Disney ladies.

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We don’t ever really watch Handy Manny, but they still knew who he was and were excited to see him!

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After lunch, we headed over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, which I remember being one of my favorite things from my last trip in 7th grade. The boys loved it. They crawled and climbed and slid and we followed them everywhere… crawling around on our hands and knees, too, just to make sure we didn’t lose them.

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And then we lost Hayes. For about 90 seconds he was out of our sight. He had gone left in a tunnel too quickly and we didn’t catch which direction he went. Luckily, they were wearing bright-colored rain jackets and when his green jacket popped up out of a tunnel we scooped him up. Super fun playground, but also full of anxiety for every parent there!

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We headed over to the Disney Junior Live show and Hayes dozed off in my lap before it even started. But he woke up just in time for the show and it was a ton of fun!

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This rainy day was kind of tough on them because they just got so tired and we were really cold, so we were ready to go earlier this day. The boys took long naps in the room and we went back to Magic Kingdom that night to ride a few more things.

Day 6- Animal Kingdom

We were so excited for our day at Animal Kingdom. Columbia has an amazing zoo, but I had heard such great things about the safari at Animal Kingdom and about so many of the rides, that I really wanted to go.

We started our morning at the Tusker House character breakfast in Africa. And it was, by far, my favorite character meal of the trip. The food was yummy and the characters were just having a fun time. They finally got to meet Daisy and Donald and got to see Goofy and Mickey again.

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After breakfast, we headed straight for the Kilimanjaro Safari. It was another rainy day and Animal Kingdom was so empty that day, but it was barely raining and we were so happy to be able to see so much!

The safari was one of my favorite things of the whole trip. Getting up close to so many enormous animals was so much fun for the boys!

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Next, we did a fun walking trail to see a few more animals. And then we went over into Asia to ride Expedition: Everest. We had a Fast Pass, but, again, no lines. So we saved the Fast Pass and jumped right on the ride. Todd stayed back with Hayes while Hudson and I rode. And we both loved it! And then lucky Hudson got to ride it again with Todd. We came back to it a few times throughout the day because of the lack of lines and Hudson rode it a total of six times. Whoa boy.

Can’t you tell how much fun it was? (That’s us in the third row)

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We ran into Baloo and King Louis a little bit after that and Hayes kept saying, “Bye Balouie!”

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Okay, then we went over to the Nemo musical and we all absolutely loved it! Wow! It was just incredible. The performers were amazing and the costumes and props were just so creative. Definitely worth seeing.

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We rode just about everything they could ride at Animal Kingdom. They loved Dino-land, but the Dinosaur ride kind of scared Hudson… and me, too! Yikes!

We had the best day there! Definitely one of my favorite days at Disney World. And we ran into Tigger and Pooh again.

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We headed back for a late nap and an early dinner, and then we caught the Celebrate the Magic show and the Wishes fireworks show at Magic Kingdom again. It was late, but we were able to do it because of naps. And then we took Hudson on Space Mountain for the first time and Hayes got to do the Buzz Lightyear ride again. Todd and I each rode Space Mountain with Hudson and I just love this picture of Todd and Hudson on it! (I had to reach over Hudson’s shoulder and hold his hand the whole time. Nervous mama.)

It was such a great day!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. ┬áThe 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!

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

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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!

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