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Published: January 9th 2017
Since the date entry on these blogs doesn't work any more, hope it is clear that we went to Disney World in June of last year.
My parents and I took our two oldest nephews to Disney World in 2014, so now it was time for their younger siblings to go. Originally I had just planned to take my mom and her cousin, but the cousin backed out and we were like, let's still go. Then as we thought on it, we thought we should take my niece. E was super excited and she is such a little princess - my only niece for four years, I couldn't wait to play with her at Disney. O was not even three yet when we went, but children under 3 get in for free, so, all it really cost us (his parents) was a plane ticket. Seemed worth it even if he probably won't remember much of it. Their parents told them only a little ahead of time and they were both so excited. So cute!
Since we had planned this differently, we were actually flying from NY which meant my sister had to come up from DC to bring my
niece; since we were flying Southwest, we probably could have managed differently, but it was summer time and her other grandparents live here too, so we figured she would give her parents a nice long break. I took E for her first pedicure the day before, sitting her between my legs while the woman pained our twenty toes. The day we flew out, Dad drove us to Rochester airport and we met with O and his family. He was so cute with his little bumble bee backpack and unforgettable big smile! Yes, this all seemed like it was going to be so much fun. Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter
Rochester to Orlando was a direct flight and we arrived no problem, got our bags and made our way to Disney's Magical Express, the bus that takes you from the airport to your Disney Resort. There are about three or four resorts for each bus, so they are not too crowded. We were all exhausted by then, and the kids took a mini nap along the way. I booked us at the Port Orleans - French Quarter Resort as originally it was just me and mom and I
figured the smaller resort would be better for her to get around. This decision worked great with the kids too! We checked in pretty easy and it was not a far walk to our second floor room overlooking the canal. Since it was mid-afternoon, we decided to go swimming. The kids loved that! I have video basically NOT saying hi to their parents. The pool has a giant slide with a sea serpent façade. E was the first to go down and O decided he wanted to try. It is a big slide, so at first, when we went up, he freaked out and we walked all the way back down. Then he changed his mind again and with a little encouragement, he sat down and slid down to Granny's waiting arms. I think they both went at least 7 times. Then it was time to get out and get some supper. O decided to throw his first temper tantrum of the trip then. I just tossed him over my shoulder and walked back to the room. Magic Kingdom and Princess Makeover
The next day we went to the Magic Kingdom. We got up early, got some breakfast,
Our last day at Disney
taken by the super nice non-photographer cast member
and made our way to the bus. Since it is a smaller resort, there are less people, but it can still be crowded at peak times, plus you get less frequent buses. Otherwise, I was still happy with the resort. We got to the MK just in time to see their opening show, where they sing and dance at the entrance to the park. Then, as we usually do, we headed left upon entering and got to see/ride The Pirates of the Caribbean (both were a little scared), the Tiki Room, the Magic Carpet Ride, It's a Small World, and finally keeping our Fast Pass time at Dumbo. Then we split up - it was pretty hot, so Mom took E to see Ariel at the Grotto, which had a wait inside. I took O to the Barnstormer, a kid roller coaster that he just barely was tall enough for. We got through that ride pretty quick and so we went to the big top 'tent' which I had never gone to before and inside were two lines, one to see Minnie and Daisy (which was where O originally wanted to go before changing his mind), and Goofy and Donald,
which is where we wound up waiting. It was only about a ten minute wait and he got to meet two Disney characters. We walked around this area before meeting up with Mom and E and riding the train back to the entrance, which they both loved.
We went back to the resort, grabbed a snack, and put O down for a nap. E and I made our way to the ferry boat on the other side of the resort, which took us down to Disney Springs, where she had a princess makeover appointment. It was so cute and well done, but a very rushed business at the same time. E had decided on her Sleeping Beauty dress; falling asleep on the couch while we waited was the perfect set up for "Sleeping Beauty". The stylist was sweet; they start you in a room with your "fairy godmother", give you a little bag with all your touch up stuff, and take pictures. Plus, they send you to a nearby studio for more, professional, photos - I think that was my favorite part as I now have beautiful pics of E to treasure. Then we met Granny and O at
the Rain Forest Café; they had gone swimming again, but O was scared of the loud noises of the restaurant. I felt bad as I never knew how much loud noises bothered him, but this was not the last time that this would come up.
After dinner, Granny took a tired O back to the resort while E and I returned to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy some more rides and show off her awesome makeover. We rode a few more things like Buzz Lightyear, and the Teacups, and the People Mover, which is one of the most underrated rides at the park - never a line. Finally we ended at the Stitch show, which I was worried would scare E, but I think she kind of likes being scared.... Animal Kingdom and Resort
The next day we slept in a little and then went to the Animal Kingdom. We did this with the boys a couple of years ago and had a similar result: they're too young for this park. O freaked out just going into the It's a Bugs Life show (see loud noises above), so he and I waited while Granny and E saw
it. Then we went to the safari, which they both did like. It was a hot day, so Mom and I grabbed a beer at our favorite stop in this park and gave the kids ice cream - their messy faces were awesome. We waited to see Mickey and Minnie, which they both liked, but also made them shy. Same as before, we left fairly early, stopped at the campfire at the resort for roasted marshmallows, and ended the day by swimming again. We were supposed to go to our favorite restaurant, the Cape May Café, but the minimal buses that came to our resort and a weird pattern, particularly since the other resort was right next to us, meant that even after having left over an hour before our reservation, we were not even close. I called and they let me off the hook with no penalty, but still I was bummed and it was the first and only strike against the resort. After swimming, we ate at the food court (yum jumbalaya!) and watched the night movie which was playing inside due to thunderstorms. The kids went to bed fairly early and I walked down to the adjacent
resort, Port Orleans - Riverside, to see the grounds (and to see the thunderstorms 😊 ). Nice - this used to be Dixie Landings, but I guess that is not PC or something... Magic Kingdom - Part Deux
Our last day we decided to skip Epcot (since the Frozen ride was not open yet anyway) and return to the Magic Kingdom. I set up some fast passes for Disney Princess since that was what E really wanted to do and O didn't seem to really care much - he loved almost everything. We slept in again, O threw two tantrums, and then we were off to the MK. On our way into the park, we were a bit late for our first fast pass, but Mom stopped a Cast Member for a photo, who turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We apologized when we realized he wasn't one of the photographers, but he was super friendly and gave us additional passes to go see Tinkerbell, in the building right next to us. She turned out to be our favorite of the whole trip - she was in character the whole time and both kids loved her.
Then we kept our fast pass appointments with Cinderella (who was sweet) and Rapunzel (who was a bit of a dud). We got lunch at Pinocchio's place, and I took the kids on the carousel which they both really enjoyed (O was so mad to get off, we had another tantrum). We went back to the Buzz Lightyear ride, which they both loved, and also onto the People mover. And then, that was basically that. We considered watching the fireworks, planning to go to our usual spot at Fort Wilderness, but a boy had been killed by an alligator just the day before, so we kept those babies close to us and away from the water... Fortunately, they were exhausted and fell asleep right away leaving mom and I able to rest.
We were able to take our time in the morning to pack and have breakfast before our shuttle at 10am. Sadly, O was apparently at his limit and threw two tantrums before we even left - he was much cheered up by a Cast Member in costume at the reception area and we have only good things to say about all Disney employees. (Tip when you can!)
We got back to the airport and got out easy enough, with a stopover in Baltimore. Another tantrum in the middle of the BWI airport from O. Otherwise, both kids were really good on the plane! O really didn't care about seeing out the window, just watched Bubble Guppies and complained about the loud noise of the engine. Final Thoughts
All in all, it was a great trip. Despite the tantrums, O was obviously so happy and he and E actually got along really well. I could not stop telling my sister how well behaved E was - she was an angel. She loved wearing a different princess dress everyday, sometimes two each day. I loved seeing them see something new the whole time and get excited over the little things. My other sister was shocked that O went down the slide at all (as a swimmer, she was very pleased). He was not easy, but he was young and he was free and obviously enjoyed himself, which is the most important thing. Definitely going to wait until at least 4 for my new niece and nephew though.
I have been to Disney World about twenty times
and while I have bones to pick with management (see previous entry regarding my rants such as taking away "free coffee for life"
with a certain mug that they took back - for real. Seriously, how much does that save vs p*ssing off return guests???), the cast members always seem to be fantastic. Obviously you get a few not so happy people, but most are amazing and make it a great experience.
• I absolutely loved the French Quarter Resort - small, quiet and pretty, as well as being affordable. I've stayed at Fort Wilderness mostly, which I love as well (LOTS to do there) and Animal Kingdom Lodge (nice, but very expensive for basic hotel rooms) and I think this one of my favorite places.
• Disney is always expensive and you just have to know and accept that going in. But there are ways around it - share food plates, for instance. Bring snacks with you.
• I found on the second day that the resort has a refillable cup that you can purchase (I think it was only $6) and you can fill it for your entire stay with any fountain drink for free. I drank a lot
It's a Small World
Note: the ceiling includes characters especially for kids
of iced tea!
• You also don't need to go to a park every day - there is free transportation, swimming, other hotels, parks, playgrounds, campfires, movie showings, monorail, etc. So much to do besides spending $100 on a park ticket.
• Your ticket is on your wristband and little kids like to take these off; I put their's on my wrist.
• The wristbands also are your room key and can be your credit card, meaning you don't need to take a purse, bag, or money with you into the park. This means you don't need to wait in the security line. Just hold a camera or even don't bring one (get the Memories package which include photos)
• We used one stroller the whole time, one we brought ourselves. E wanted to ride the whole time and O wanted to walk so it worked out great. If you need a stroller or an additional one, they offer them at the parks and I believe the price is not very much.
• Know that it can get very hot, and I've found that it gets particularly hot in Animal Kingdom for some reason - maybe humidity and little airflow? Yes, we went in June,
Dress #1 - Sleeping Beauty
but we also went at the end of September last time and it was the same.
• Oh, and I walked between 7-9 miles each day.
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So the French Quarter is a hotel at Disney World? At first I thought, wow they went to New Orleans too! So much family fun. What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing :) Love and miss you
Alexis M Spencer
Lots of hotels!
Yep, they have Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside resorts, Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Caribbean Beach Resort, the All Stars Resorts, Saratoga Springs, Coronado Springs, Grand Floridian, the Contemporary, Polynesian, Key West, Arts and Animation, Yacht and Beach Club resorts, Boardwalk, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. I've visited all of them at one point or another - free transportation within Disney World so it makes for a fun day trip when you don't go to the parks. Some have good restaurants (i.e. Cape May Café at the Beach Club) and all are themed. It's actually one of my favorite things to do when I'm there, explore.
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley