March 29, 2019

Our Disney Trip

Right now as I am writing this, there is Disney music playing in the background and Emma is watching a Disney movie. I am already missing this magical place so much. We know Disney trips are expensive and not a lot of people get to experience this, so we are so grateful! We feel so blessed we were able to go and make these memories as a family!
FYI: I am not a great blogger by any means, but I did want this to be somewhat helpful!
I have divided this post into the pre-trip sections and then each day of our trip. We were there for 4 days (so after each little written section I will share lots of photos from that particular day!) 
At the end I share my major take aways from our trip with littles. 
Let’s be honest….
Before you start reading about how much fun we had and see all of the photos… I must be totally transparent with you! You guys who know me well, know I like to be real!!!! SO here’s the truth. 
 This trip was completely exhausting hahahahaha. We came home and felt like we had been hit by a semi!  😅😂  
Traveling with a toddler and a 7 month old to do 4 straight days of theme parks is NO JOKE. We honestly don’t know what got into our heads. If you plan to do this, the best advice I can give is to just expect not to get much rest. Sharing a hotel room with two small children isn’t relaxing or restful. 😐 Each day at the park, we felt like we were either taking one kid to the potty or changing another one’s diaper, or breastfeeding Lila, or giving snacks to Emma. Waiting in long lines with kids is also tricky. As prepared as we tried to be, you always have those moments of chaos. One time, we waited in a 50 minute line, and halfway through, Emma was crying that she had to go pee. Basically, we just said to suck it up. hahahah. Not our best parenting moment. 😂
I also got sick the whole first day and basically couldn’t do much. Seth was a MVP that day and really got us through. I am so grateful I was better for the rest of the trip and that no one else felt sick. 
The best advice I was given before our trip by dear friends who have also done many Disney vacays, was to go into the trip with realistic expectations. Know that with kids, things are gonna be a bit crazy. You can’t just go go go. Just remember that you can’t do it all, and that is ok!!!
SO, before we go from here, just know that even though we had sooo much fun!!!…the reality is that we were wiped out and felt crazy half the time. We lost our patience a few times and may have regretted the whole thing a couple times. …despite how prepared we were, it was still a lot of work…and I didn’t get to wash my hair all week because there was literally no time. bahaha 😳    
Okay….now before you think this trip was a total bust, lets get onto all the FUN stuff!!!!
 How did we end up here???

It was early January, I had a cold and I was feeling the winter blues. I told Seth one day, WE NEED A VACATION! It has been such a crazy year with welcoming our second little girl to the family. And we were desperately needing to get away and just have some fun. We hadn’t been on a vacation in a long time, and life was just starting to weigh on us. 
I was looking online at Disney’s website and we decided to just go for it and book a trip. We had some airline points to use and we got a few discounts since it was Disney’s off season. Check online in the off seasons usually between January and March, they have packages called Play, Stay and Dine. I recommend going during the off seasons if you can! Not only can you find slightly better rates, the crowds are also better, and the weather was perfect! 
In this post I wanted to share about our trip and also use this as a “sort of scrapbook” for us to look back on. I will share the things we LOVED, things we learned, and our absolute MUST DOS when traveling to Disney World. 
Okay,… Let’s begin with the PACKING! 

Omg, if you are a parent, you know how stressful packing for a trip can be. Especially if you are flying and you can only bring a minimal amount of items. Which is basically impossible with small children. 
One packing trick that I would absolutely recommend is planning out your baby or child’s outfits and separating them into bags. I bought gallon storage bags and I put an outfit for each day, including their underwear or diaper and bow or socks. Whatever accessories or parts of the outfit you need basically. That way, it was easy for my hubby or I to just grab the bag and get them ready for the day without having to dig around in the suitcase each time….which can get so messy!
I also packed A TON of snacks like energy bars, crackers, baby food, apple sauce, etc. Disney is already expensive enough, its so helpful to bring some of your own snacks. We stocked up at Aldi ahead of time. 
Other things to bring for Disney…. 
  • A nice big backpack to bring with to the park. (We stuffed ours daily with everything we could possibly need. We also brought snacks and water bottles to help us throughout the day.)
  • A stroller, if you don’t mind checking it on the plane.
  • Plenty of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes to use on the airplane and at the parks. (GERMS! need I say more??)
  • Water bottles with a purifying filter. (We didn’t actually think of this one ahead of time. My sweet friend Jess brought one to us the first day. She bought the Brita water bottles, so that you can use tap water and filter it. This is a huge helpful tip, because not only is water super expensive at the parks, but the Florida tap water is icky!)
  • Lots of little zipper pouches to stay organized. I used little makeup pouches to keep my credit cards and lip gloss and other items all organized so they were easy to access. 

Alright, now to the traveling part… 
We started our trip at the Kansas City airport. We may have been a little too excited because we got there wayyyyyyy too early. I mean, who wants to chance missing their flight with kiddos involved. Right?? But of course, our flight got delayed and we ended up sitting in the airport for way too long with wiggly kids. Thankfully we brought along our double stroller and just walked around the airport for the waiting time. 
I packed us plenty of snacks and Seth and I got some Starbucks to keep our energy up!
Once on the plane, the girls did fantastic. They are great little travelers. Unfortunately our flight was late, so they were super tired because it was past their bedtime. But they were troopers and did amazing. Mommy and Daddy were pretty pooped out after that flight to say the least. 
I had packed play dough and crayons and coloring books. That helped keep Emma so occupied and happy. Lila was happy that we were holding her the whole time, versus being strapped in a carseat in the car. It was her first flight and she was so good as long as I was either nursing her or we were bouncing her around. 
Our flight home was too early. Don’t do that to yourself! We had to wake up at 3 am with two exhausted little girls…..but we survived!!!! 
Check out lots of photos of our travel! 

We arrived in Orlando at about 8:30 pm (The girls were exhausted!) and then we headed over to our hotel. 
When traveling with small children, ALWAYS, bring noise machines for the hotel rooms. It will help so much when sharing a room with little ones. We also just requested pack n plays or cribs at the hotel, so we didn’t have to travel with one. 
The Orlando Airport!
Day 1! Hollywood Studios
We stayed in a hotel near the airport that first night. And then next morning we were off to Disney!!!
We stayed in the Grand Floridian for a few nights of the trip and chose more affordable options the other two nights. It was magical staying on Disney property, but honestly, we didn’t spend much time in our room, so next time we may consider staying off Disney property to save $$. We loved being in the Disney atmosphere, but there are so many amazing places to stay in Orlando! You really can’t go wrong with anything. 
The first day of Disney we decided to go to Hollywood Studios since that was our shorter day at the parks. Also… I had gotten super sick to my stomach the first night of our trip. Not sure what it was, but it was horrible and I feared our whole trip being a waste!!! Thankfully, I leveled out enough to where we could enjoy the day. I basically sipped on water and could only consume fruit that day… I’ll share more on this in a sec. 
For the ages that our girls are at, there isn’t as much to do at Hollywood Studios, so that is why we chose this as our shorter day. There are some great rides for older kids and adults that we will look forward to riding someday! We had a blast and would totally recommend visiting this park. There is a lot of construction happening at this park, so if you are going anytime soon, I would recommend checking first. 
We had so much fun exploring the new Toy Story Land! Emma has always loved Toy Story, so she was in awe!!!!! It was so nastalgic and gave us all the feels. Seriously, Disney does such an amazing job with all of the theming. Every little detail made you feel like you were right in the movie. We checked out the rides and walked around for a bit. We didn’t get to ride most of the rides because of the girls’ ages and how long the lines were. But we plan to go back again someday and make sure to ride them! We loved Toy Story Mania. However, if you are someone who gets motion sickness, don’t go on this one. haha. 
My sweet friend Jessica and her boyfriend Kevin were able to meet us at the Hollywood Studios the first day, since they have Disney annual passes. I don’t know what I would have done without her that 
day. I was not feeling well but thankfully she brought me some stuff to help with the nausea. I had so much fun seeing my friend Jess!! They live in Florida and have Disney passes, so they got to join us for part of our day! They go all the time and were great guides. I have known Jess since I was 15! We met in CYT (Christian Youth Theater) and have stayed in touch all these years.  Being at Disney with her was so special! I only wish we could have spent more time together!
We loved seeing the Beauty and the Beast Show at Hollywood Studios. It was short and sweet and perfect timing for sitting with littles. Plus, Belle has always been one of my favorite Disney princess, and the costumes were beautiful! I would totally recommend seeing this show if you visit! 
We also went to the Frozen Sing A Long show. That was so fun for Emma and she really enjoyed it. 
We didn’t do many things at this park but we tried to make the best of our time there. Next time we visit, we want to make sure we hit up more of the attractions at this park. There just wasn’t enough time in the day. 
There are lots of photos below of the first day!

The girls at our first day at Disney World Resort. 

This was on the bus to Hollywood Studios!

Toy Story Land!

We waited in a huge line to meet Jessie and Woody! It was so worth it!

Beauty and the Beast!

Frozen Sing a Long

Me and Jess!!!
Night 1: Grand Floridian 
After Hollywood Studios, we headed to the Grand Floridian for a Cinderella character dinner. We had a BLAST! The dinner was at 1900 Park Fare. We got to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the Step Mother snd Step Sisters! I would absolutely recommend this dining experience if your kiddos love Cinderella! And the food was great too. Although, I was still feeling sick that day and could only eat fruit…..💔  Seth really enjoyed the food 😂😋
If you ever visit Disney, take the monorail over to the Grand Floridian for dinner or just to see the beautiful lobby! They have a live band and the atmosphere is lovely.  
After this, we headed to our room to get some rest and get geared up for another fun filled day. 

Emma was smitten with the Prince 

Her dream come true meeting Cinderella

Step Mother! She was a great actress. 

The silly step sisters. They were hilarious!

Day 2: Magic Kingdom!!!
We visited Magic Kingdom on our second day and planned for a full day of fun. Magic Kingdom is my favorite!!!! You just can’t beat the atmosphere. I mean, the CASTLE IS 😍 and you feel like a little kid again when you are there. 
The first thing we did that day was eat a big breakfast! 
We enjoyed a lot of character dining experiences during our trip because of our girls’ ages. They loved seeing the characters so up close and personal! And we got to enjoy a nice meal! One of our favorite places was The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom. We got to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters and have an awesome breakfast.  We loved it so much that we actually came back on our last day of our trip to eat lunch here. 
A fun ride we loved at Magic Kinddom was The Little Mermaid ride. Fantasy land at Magic Kingdom is completely perfect. You feel like you are in the movies.  It’s truly a fairytale for a Disney Princess freak like me and Emma!
One of our favorite things at Magic Kingdom was the show at Cinderella’s castle. It was called Mickey’s Royal Fanfare. There were fun characters like Repunzel and Flynn Ryder, Elsa, Anna and Olaf, and a few other special characters. We loved it! Emma loved seeing her favorite characters and singing along to the music. 
Another MUST SEE is the parade! They have two different day-time parades at Magic Kingdom right now. One is a super fun dance party with Mickey and the gang. And the other is the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We loved them both! The Festival of Fantasy has many of the favorite characters. SO Emma LOVED that one. We found a good spot on Main Street to watch the parade and waited for about an hour for it to start. We wanted to save our spots, so we just took it as a little break 
Of course, one of the most iconic rides at Disney is the Teacups. So we made sure to hop on that at least once. We also hit up a lot of the other famous rides like Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride,  It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We went to Belle’s Enchanted Tales and Emma got to participate in the story time. She was Felipe the horse. This is a fantastic attraction if you have little girls because you get to meet Belle. 
We tried to make the most out of each day. So we used fast passes each day to cut down on time waiting in lines. Also, the thing I love about Disney is that you can take a baby on pretty much every ride. Except for a few of the rides with height requirements. But for the most part, bringing a baby to Disney is super easy! 
 My major tip is to bring a baby carrier if your baby can still sit in one. You aren’t able to bring strollers in line with you, so we would just carry Lila most of the time. 
We ate plenty of yummy treats all week! You have to eat at least one Mickey Bar while at Disney! We also made sure to hit up Starbucks at Magic Kingdom on Main Street. You know me, I can’t live without that coffee. 😋  Disney food and fun restaurants are a big part of the whole experience, so plan at least a few meals and snack breaks!
This 2nd night we ate at Be Our Guest Restaurant. It is in the Beast’s castle in Fantasy land and it was completely magical. You feel like you are actually at the Beast’s castle in Beauty and the Beast. The food was delish but the atmosphere was even more lovely. 
Check out all of the photos of Magic Kingdom below!
Mickey Waffles were the BEST!
Check out Crystal Palace if you are in Magic Kingdom!

Mickey’s Royale Fanfare

Waiting for the Parade on Main Street. 

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Festival of Fantasy Parade

Be Our Guest!
Day 3: Epcot!!!

The next day, we made our way to Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort. This breakfast was so fun seeing Mickey and the whole gang!!! Plus, we got to eat more Mickey waffles! We definitely recommend this restaurant experience if you have little ones!

Then, after breakfast, we hopped on the monorail at the Contemporary Resort and made our way to Epcot for the day. We had so much fun in Epcot.  There isn’t as much for young kiddos to do there, but we made the best of our time there. We made this another short day because the girls were pretty tired.

Some of the rides we rode included: Spaceship Earth, Finding Nemo, and Living with the Land.
Seth and I got to take turns riding Sourin. (This is a MUST DO! It is probably my fave ride at Disney!)

Then we made our way around the World Showcase and rode the amazing Frozen ride. It was AWWEEEESSSOME. Also, another fave of ours. Even Seth loved it!!!

Seeing the different country exhibits was so neat, but we didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have liked exploring. We decided that next time we will check out these more. Our girls had gotten so tired and were on the brink of a meltdown, so we had to make the decision to head back to our hotel early.

See all of the Epcot photos below!

Epcot Ball! Spaceship Earth ride is in here!

Of course I made sure to get lots of coffee each day! 

We loved the Finding Nemo ride! And had to snag a pic with Bruce!

A Mickey shaped pretzel?? Why not???

This sweet girl was so good with all of the craziness. She loved looking around at everything and riding like a big girl in the stroller. 

The World showcases are so awesome! Next time we want to explore these more!


Norway and France

UK Telephone booths!

Day 4: Final Day!!!
The last day of our trip we went back to Magic Kingdom for one last day of FUN! We wish we could have visited Animal Kingdom too, but not this time. Next time for sure! 
We wanted to make the most of our last day and ride any rides we had missed the other day we were here. We got to meet more princesses, ride Buzz Lightyear, see the Mickey show again. We loved Winnie the Pooh ride and Dumbo of course! Seth and I took turns riding Space Mountain (SO FUN! and scary!) and Seth rode Splash Mountain alone. We also all rode The Jungle Safari. This one is so classic and entertaining with dry humor from the tour guides. We know that someday we will ride the more thrilling rides, so this trip we enjoyed doing a lot of the little kid attractions. 
The last night we stayed for the amazing fireworks show, Happily Ever After! This is probably my favorite thing that Disney does. It makes me cry. For reals. And they do such an amazing show. It is completely worth the crazy crowds and waiting. When I went to Disney with my family as an 8th grader, this was also my favorite part. It’s just so magical every time! 

Space Mountain
Splash Mountain. He got soaked!

Dumbo ride with the fam!

The fireworks show is worth standing in the crowds for! This was my favorite part of our trip when I went with my family in 8th grade! And my favorite this trip also!

Right before this, Seth dropped his whole brownie sundae on the ground hahahaha

We learned a lot this trip! We had been to Disneyland one day with Emma when she was 2, but this trip was a whole other level! 
Our major take-aways!
  • Bring a stroller!…but be prepared to park it when waiting in line or fold it up if you have to ride a bus to the park entrances. 
  • Bring a backpack with all of the essentials! Snacks, diapers, extra clothes, wipes and more wipes, tons of hand sanitizer, and plenty of water. 
  • Plan your fast passes in advance and try to plan out your day. What do you for sure want to do!? 
  • If you get magic bands, use them to pay for food or anything so you don’t have to dig for wallet or credit cards. 
  • Bring a baby carrier for when you are waiting in line! 
  • Plan for naps and rest time if you can! We let Lila take naps in the stroller while we took breaks. 
  • Wear comfy shoes. And if you can, buy support inserts! 
  • You can’t do it all, so just enjoy what you can and don’t sweat the rest!
  • Stay for the fireworks at least one night!!
  • Enjoy a character dining experience if possible! SO much fun to meet characters and eat a nice meal. 
  • And last but not least, Have FUN!!! 

Thanks for the memories Disney!

This trip was completely last minute. but SO special. 💗 We will remember it forever! If you are on the fence about going to Disney with little kids, just do it! You won’t regret it. Of course you’ll completely exhausted and need a vacation after your vacation, but the memories will be so worth it! And make sure to save up! Cause lets be honest, Disney knows how to break the bank. 😫
To many more future Disney trips!!!!! We are so grateful for these family memories!

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Springfield, Missouri photographer