Whew! We got back from Disney World last week and instantly got hit by the flu-like bug at our house. Our middle son caught something that seemed like the flu, but he’s definitely all better now. We obviously wish he hadn’t gotten sick at all, but we were especially glad it didn’t happen until we got home. Our Disney World trip was absolutely amazing, and I am really excited to share all the things we did/ate/saw! I have to mention our amazing vacation planner Ashley, because without her help this trip would not have gone as smoothly as it did!
If you have never used a Disney Vacation Planner, I highly recommend Ashley. She did so much for us, from scheduling our dining reservations to putting in our fast pass selections to answering any and every question I had (which were numerous!). Even though I have a grasp on the whole Disney experience, I will be going to Ashley for our future trips because she’s so incredibly knowledgeable about the parks and all the little details a first-timer wouldn’t know.
For information purposes, in case you are planning a trip with kids, our kids are ages 12, 11, and 9. So, all of our activities were kind of aimed towards older kids. We decided to wait until out kids were older to travel to Disney World, only because traveling with little kids is just not fun to us. All of our kids are over 48 inches high, so we didn’t have any height restrictions when we chose what to ride.
On our first day, we flew in very early and went straight to the park. Well… as straight to the park as we could! We scheduled our Magical Express. If you’ve never ridden Magical Express, you can get picked up from the airport by Disney. The Magical Express service can also take care of your bags for you, so you don’t need to get them from baggage claim as long as they’ve been tagged with a Magical Express sticker tag.
The bus will be picking up a lot of other passengers, so be prepared to chill and wait a while. The Magical Express bus will take you to your resort, but it will not take you to a park. Once you get to the resort, you can hop on another bus that’s going to the parks. We decided on Animal Kingdom for our first day, because I’ve heard it’s a ‘half day’ park. That is far from true, because there are so many things to see. Honestly, it is more laid back than the other parks. So, maybe that’s why it’s been dubbed a ‘half day’ park? I’m not really sure, but I could definitely see doing rope drop to fireworks at Animal Kingdom.
We went to Animal Kingdom first in hopes of riding the Flight of Passage, but the line was already too long. And let me tell you, the line just grows and grows as the day goes on. We had Fast Passes for Kilimanjaro Safari, Everest Expedition, and Na’vi River Journey. We ate some snacks, had a Night Blossom drink (yum!), and walked around. At one point (err… two points, actually), I had to go to the ESPN Sport Center to pick up my bib for the half marathon. That’s right, I ran the Princess Half Marathon! More on that later, but the trips back and forth to the ESPN center ate up some of our time in the parks.
The rides were so much fun. Na’vi River Journey was so relaxing and absolutely gorgeous. I really enjoyed that one. Of course, I wish we could’ve done Flight of Passage. Originally, I wasn’t going to do it. In fact, I was pretty adamant about not doing it! I get motion sick kind of easily, or at least I thought I did before this trip. After riding all the rides we did over the entire trip, in retrospect I wish we could’ve ridden Flight of Passage.
I will tell you what was pretty scary — Expedition Everest! I was not expecting the intensity of that roller coaster. Of course, when you’re walking by the ride you can hear the screams from inside the ‘mountain,’ and we all thought that was pretty funny. But, pretty soon we were the ones screaming! It was really cool, though. Our other Fast Pass was the Kilimanjaro Safari. In all my Disney research, I had heard that we shouldn’t waste a Fast Pass on the safari ride because the line is never long. Well! Let me tell you, that line was SO LONG when we were there. I am so glad we had a Fast Pass!
We ended the day at Tusker House, and I would absolutely recommend it. Tusker House is a character meal. They have four of the classics, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Daisy. They are all dressed in safari outfits, in theme with Animal Kingdom. The food at Tusker House was so good! I really think it was some of the best food from the entire trip. It’s a buffet with African flavors. I could’ve eaten there a second time during the trip, it was that good.
After dinner, it was back to the resort. We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort, and we were in the Aruba section. That was kind of ironic, because we are taking a trip to Aruba later this year! The resort as a whole was very nice, but our room was definitely outdated. The entire staff was super helpful and nice. The grounds of the resort are gorgeous. There are a couple beaches and 6 pools. The main lobby building has a food court, which was really nice. Overall, we probably wouldn’t stay there again simply because it’s so spread out. I think we’d like a resort with a main lobby that’s closer. It was quite a walk over the lake to get the lobby, and it would’ve saved a lot of time if we could’ve gotten to breakfast faster.
Next up, I will recap our Hollywood Studios day!