Friday, May 17, 2013

We Went to Disneyworld!!!

It all started with the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. That marketing strategy in the form of holiday family entertainment worked on me, fo' sho'.  After the presents and the coffee cake, I popped open my laptop and started pricing it out. Mike wholeheartedly disagreed with the pricing -- especially since I was pricing out staying at the most expensive, ritzy hotel on property. So, we put it on the backburner. Well, at least that's what I told Mike we would do. But my BFF, Keri, had gone just a month before and we'd talk about it on our Tuesday lunches. And then my BFF, Jamie, posted her amazing photos of her trip in early December. And then my other BFF, Rachel, posted her amazing photos of her trip in January. (I have a lot of BFFs, and they all go to Disneyworld and have blogs and I'm pretty sure you can read my comments at the bottom of their posts saying that I. AM. GOING.). Plus, I The kids really wanted to go. We had to go.

So... we went to Disneyworld!!!!!!! Squeal! Seriously. SQUEAL!!!!! I loved it! I mean, the kids!! The kids loved it. Really, it was all for them.

I struggled over the choice to bring Princess Consuela Banana Hammock (my big girl Nikon) to Disney with me. Photography is my job (shameless promotion - Peanut Butter & Jenny) AND my passion, so I wanted to make sure that Disney felt like vacation, not work. It seems silly but I really did wrestle with the choice to bring my camera. I tend to obsess over angles and lighting and I've been known to get just a tad annoyed with my kids when they stick out their tongues at me when I'm trying to capture a moment -- and I just didn't want the stress. I settled on a compromise: I'd only bring it to the park for ONE day and the rest of the days, instagram and my brain would suffice for memories.

I chose to bring her on Wednesday - the day we had before-the-park-opened-to-the-public breakfast dining reservations at The Crystal Palace.

We hopped on the monorail at 8am.
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We had Main Street basically to ourselves that morning. It was awesome. Side note for those interested: Disney Photopass Photographers shoot on Nikon D90s fitted with 18-105mm lenses. When Rachel (see above) handed her Canon to the Disney photogs, this resulted in missed focus and made her mad (understandably). But if you're a Nikon shooter, they can handle the settings and you might have a better chance with getting the shots you want on your own equipment. (For the record, I wasn't about to pass over Princess Consuela to anyone -- but I did chat up a photog or two about this).

If you're not staying on Disney property (which we weren't because my brother is awesome and allowed us his amazing timeshare for practically pennies), but you want those "extra magic hours" in the park that is saved for property vacationers, MAKE DINING RESERVATIONS at 8am at The Crystal Palace. Breakfast will cost you a chunk-and-a-half because Disney dining is pricey... but, it's WAY cheaper than a week in a Disney hotel and affords you the same level of magic and happiness! And Mickey Mouse waffles!! And if you bat your eyes at your Dad and use the line from Bridesmaids - "Help me. I'm poor.", he and your beautiful momila might just pick up that check. ;)

I'd like to point out the Pirates of the Caribbean swords that the boys got the day before... Good lord, the swords... get ready to see them in many more pics below!
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Breakfast was awesome. It was so worth my parents' money.

My kids hate characters. But I happen to love them. I also REALLY love pictures of my kids Henry hating stuff and crying. Because it's funny and adorable... and funny. And since he tortures me so... it's only fair to give a little back.

We ran into Winnie the Pooh right as we got to our table. Henry was not a fan. And Charlie, though less terrified, passed on any touching, hugging or being within a five foot radius of the characters.
Eeyore is just too cute to be scary. Henry allowed this character and ONLY this character to touch him. Actually, a kiss was granted. Perhaps Henry could relate with Eeyore's grumpiness and they had an unspoken bromance because of their mutual hate for things...? Either way, adorableness.
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Our first stop after breakfast was Fantasyland. I knew Henry would love to ride on Peter Pan's Flight -- and I really wanted to go on it too. The only time I remember having gone on it was when I was about 14 and I rode it with my Grandma. I loved it. Or at least I remembered loving it. And with Henry's love for Peter Pan, I wanted to get on there. I just didn't want the 45-50 minute wait that the ride ALWAYS has. So, right after breakfast, we hopped in the line when it was only 10 minutes of wait time.

It's a lovely ride.
And then, we rode some more lovely rides.
And then the boys popped bubbles with their swords.
Oh, Dumbo. Such a simple ride but the best ride. Loved it. And LOVED that they added a second set of Dumbos so the wait was eliminated.
Then there was a band and more sword fighting. Boys...
Pin trading. We need to talk about pin trading. It is an adorable added bit of EXPENSIVE Disney magic. I observed a bunch of children with their lanyards and pins on our first day in Disney parks and suggested the idea to Charlie who said "meh. that sounds like girl stuff." I should've just left it alone. But as we walked out of our first park on our first day - his birthday - I pulled him into a pin store and showed him -- and that was the beginning of something very special but VERY pricey. Especially since we got so excited over the pins that I told him we'd buy a pin every day to remember his favorite thing he did that day. Sometimes I'm so dumb.

They have pins for everything! Every character, every park, every ride! And they're all so cute and shiny and you just want all the pins! You collect them and then every cast member at Disney has a lanyard with pins as well and you can trade them any pin you have for one of theirs. Disney cast members are all so amazing and kind and get very excited to trade with your children. Here's the catch... Pins start at $8 each. And the good ones, the COOL ones, are $13. And THEN, you have to buy a bunch of the cheap ones (they do sell combo packs of not-so-cool pins that would average out to about $5/pin) because you realize that the Disney cast members don't actually carry the expensive ones for trading so there's no WAY you're letting your kid trade a $13 pin for an $8 pin... And then your 3 year old will notice that your 9 year old has this and spot them in one of the bazillion stores you go into at the park and pull his own lanyard off the rack and pick out a pin and you feel guilty so you buy THAT. And then you're buying double the pins... Oy. Just be prepared to spend a bit more than you normally would for PINS.   2013-05-15_0014
We were so proud of Charlie. He gets pretty nervous to ride the bigger rides. But we got him on the Barnstormer and he loved it. After that, we were able to get him on Big Thunder Mountain. And he LOVED it.

He ALMOST went on Splash Mountain. The signs hanging all over the ride's line saying "50 FOOT DROP!!!" did NOT help me since I kept telling him that the drop was the same size as the one in Pirates of the Carribean, which he just didn't know because it's in the dark... He decided it wasn't for him this trip. And that's just fine. We need to have a reason to go back!

I was SO proud of my little worrier. He did awesome.
And then we rode the River Boat because my Dad wanted to. It was pretty boring.
But when we stepped off the boat, it was time for the parade!
Charlie got special attention from this fox character - Pinocchio? - who took off his hat and started to walk away with it.
And there was the shootout game!
And then there was rain, so I put away my camera for a bit. And there were lots and lots more rides and family moments, and smiles, and happy thoughts. Our mommy and daddy hearts were full of gratitude and pride that we could give these moments to our boys.
And Henry was asleep by the time we stepped on the monorail to head home... Having fun is so exhausting.
So, my tips for Disney? Get yourself a Jamie. Once you have a Jamie, she will make you a spreadsheet telling you which park to go to on which day. She will add tips for parades and fireworks. Follow her advice and you will have a PERFECT trip!

Oh, Disney. Your magic is irresistible. I love you. And I miss you already. But, don't worry, I'm already scheming a plan to get back to you.


  1. Gorgeous pix, little one! Great backstory to go with the pix. Was it just two weeks ago? I want a do-over!!

  2. LOL. You are so funny. "Help me, I'm poor" hahahaha. Great pictures and glad you had so much fun!!

  3. I have like a million comments on every post you write. So first... you certainly made the most of your day with PCBH! Gorgeous, as expected. A lovely birthday present. So glad you were able to conquer the focusing problems! And I LOVE the pic of Henry in Dumbo, it's my FAVE. Along with every one he is screaming in. And I don't even know what to do about our future and the pins... All I know is I want to go back yesterday.