Q: What is more magical than celebrating your birthday at Disney?
A: Watching a small child celebrate their birthday at Disney!
This is exactly what happened this past weekend.
On Saturday we made plans for family to watch Kids #1 and #2 for the day (THANK YOU!!) so that my husband and I could take Kid #3 to the Magic Kingdom for the first time to celebrate his birthday. This is the BEST tradition ever!
Apparently no one in our house could handle the excitement and we all woke up about 45 minutes – 1 hour earlier than we needed…for those playing along that means I was up before 5am. Insert coffee here. So we all load into the car with backpacks of essentials (snacks and sunblock for us and devices and swim gear for the big kids) and away we go.
After ditching the big kids we arrived at the Ticket Center so early that we were parked close enough that we don’t get a tram…score! Now on to the boat and over to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
There is nothing better than that view! I love watching Cinderella’s Castle get bigger and bigger.
As you may have guessed by our crazy wake up time and insanely good parking spot we got to the park in time for rope drop. This was our first time doing this, and from now on will be standard.
The show is cute and all, but we were most excited about getting right in. The opening show wasn’t too busy and we went straight to Tomorrowland. Hubs was able to walk onto Space Mountain and Kid #3 and I rode Buzz Lightyear three times back to back. It was awesome and it let me change out the FP+ I had for this ride. As awesome as this was, I wish we would have gone straight to the Seven Dwarves Mine Train because the wait was ALWAYS 80min+. Now I know for next time!
On our way out of Tommorrowland we road the Tommorrowland Speedway. This was a first for us because on our other trips the kids were not quite tall enough to ride and/or weren’t interested, but we couldn’t walk by a 10 minute wait. Not terribly impressed, but I’m sure that the big kids will want to do it soon.
Next we hit Dumbo and The Barnstormer (another ride that we had a FP+ for for in the afternoon). We probably waited less than 15 minutes for both rides. These are the type of wait times we had all day. I’ve never really understood the big hoopla over Dumbo, but we always ride it. I think this is because it is a classic. This was our first time on The Barnstormer and we loved it! This was also Kid #3’s first rollercoaster. It was perfect for easing him into them (even though he was ALL ABOUT the Tower of Terror 2 days earlier).
By this time our banana and granola bar breakfast in the car was wearing off, so we decided to hit one of our favorite spots, Gaston’s. How can you turn down a cinnamon roll the size of your head and some milk?
Once we were rejuvenated we made our way to Frontierland by way of It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion (FP+). Once there, we wandered around Tom Sawyer Island and waited in a LONG line to meet Woody and Jessie. Seriously, I think that this was the longest line that we waited in all day. Kid #3 was speechless while meeting them. It was ADORABLE! They kept asking how old he was (thanks to his birthday button) and he just couldn’t spit it out. Just tons and tons of smiles…and an obsession with getting his autograph book signed.
Finally it was time for our super awesome lunch. We are big fans of hitting the Crystal Palace for lunch because A) buffet and B) character experience. Sure, it is expensive ($35 for adults and $20 for kids) but there is plenty of variety for food and you get to meet four characters. Bonus: we learned when we took Kid #2 for her birthday trip that if you ask they do a little something for birthdays (cupcake and a card) you just have to ask.
After lunch it was steamy hot so we decided to give Splash Mountain a try. This was another ride that we had never done because of height restraints (and the fact that our other trips had been in winter). Such an awesome ride!! I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the big drop awesome, but the story and animatronics throughout were absolutely on point.
Later the skies started to get a little scary so we decided to duck into Casey’s Corner for a quick dinner. This is another one of our favorite Quick Service restaurants because hot dogs and fries…duh! Oh course, just as we finished up a huge mob of people started coming in…the sky had finally decided to open up. We had arranged a 4th FP+* for Buzz Lightyear so we needed to trek through the rain. We weren’t 100% prepared for that (aka I only brought Kid #3’s raincoat) so we bought ourself some $10 Disney ponchos and headed out. Now you may recall Kid #3 and I had already ridden the Buzz ride THREE TIMES in the morning, but he wanted to ride with Daddy. By the time we got in line the rain had stopped.
* FP+: Okay, so we all know that you can schedule 3 FP+’s before your trip, BUT I had just learned through WDW Prepschool that after you complete your third pass you can go to the FP+ kiosks (castmembers with iPads) and schedule a fourth and after you use that one you can go back again and schedule a FIFTH! How awesome is that!??! I also read somewhere that pretty soon this functionality will be coming to the My Disney Experience app, but for now you have to go to the kiosks.
By this point the little man was getting tired and wanted to skip the parade and fireworks, but we couldn’t resist walking by to see if the wait for the Mine Train had gone down (obsessed much?) and we were thrilled to see that it was only 30 minutes! I may have shrieked at the Castmember…oops. We didn’t even think twice before hopping in line.
The wait experience for this ride is awesome! Disney is getting better and better at making the rides with crazy waits less painful with games and toys built in. I think you miss all of this with the FP+ and I almost feel bad for you because they are pretty cool. Kid #3 wanted to ride with Daddy which left me as a solo rider (common theme for the day). There was a mom and 2 younger boys paired with us. When the Castmember had to split the boys so that the younger could ride with mom I got to ride with her son. He seemed a little nervous, so I told him that he was totally allowed to scream and I wouldn’t tell anyone. At the end we high-fived and talked about how awesome the ride was. His mom thanked me, but really I just did what I would want someone to do for my kids.
Kindness, people, kindness.
Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order
- Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
- Breakfast at Gaston’s
- Lunch at the Crystal Palace
- Dinner at Casey’s Corner
- Buzz’s Star Command
- Monsters Inc
- Space Mountain
- People Mover
- Tomorrowland Raceway
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Splash Mountain
- Meet and Greet with Woody and Jessie
- Tom Sawyer Island
- Haunted Mansion
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
- Carousel of Progress
- It’s a Small World
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Incredibles Dance Party
- Enchanted Tales with Belle