These pictures are from my DSLR. Yes, I was *that* person and took my big girl camera to one of the busiest places on earth. It didn't come on many rides with me because Jocelyn had to ride on my lap, but I tried to take it out in between activities. I felt pretty comfortable leaving it in the stroller. There seems to be an unspoken rule at Disney that you just don't steal someone's stroller or their contents. The only thing that went missing from our stroller was an almost empty juice box. My theory is that it fell out when one of the stroller attendants moved our stroller in the parking area. (The first time they did this I panicked because I couldn't find my stroller! Another seasoned mom reassured me that this was common and normal!)
So, how was Walt Disney World with two big kids and a todder?
Fun, tiring, overwhelming, exhausting, exciting, just to name a few. There were lots of ups and downs. Over all, we had fun and made memories. (Even if I did threaten to never bring them to Disney again and go by myself next time!)
We drove all day to Florida the Sunday after Thanksgiving, aka the busiest travel day of the year. A 9 hour drive quickly became a 10+ hour drive after getting stuck for hours outside of Savannah.
But Monday morning, bright and early, we were ready to see some magic.
Disney was fully decorated for Christmas and wow... it was beautiful.
What was not beautiful was the crowds. Oh yes, it was crowded. Thanks, Pinterest, for steering me wrong with this information. The week of Thanksgiving might be worse, but the week after certainly isn't NOT crowded.
I am still kicking myself for not immediately grabbing a picture of all 5 of us in front of the castle. I had no idea that I was missing the only chance we'd have in daylight. Every other time we were in front of the castle, it was dark.
The first ride we went on was The Haunted Mansion. Thanks to our My Disney Experience App, we knew it only had a 5 minute wait. Plus, all the crowds were headed to Fantasyland, so we knew to steer clear of that!
Don't let Jayce's smile fool you. He was only happy for the first hour we were at Disney. He wanted to go to Epcot immediately and ride Test Track. He hated Fantasyland (really? Who hates Fantasyland??) and only wanted to stay in Tomorrowland and Frontierland. Basically, he just wanted his way and to only ride rides he wanted to ride. I think he had a hard time transitioning from our normal routine to this vacation one. Also, he says he hates walking and crowds. Hmmm... sounds like his dad's view, too :)
To appease Jayce, Brian took him over to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain while Jaina came with me to use our Fast Passes to meet Mickey Mouse on Main Street.
Jocelyn was SO funny! She could not wait to see Mickey Mouse! Even waiting in the short line was hard for her. We were probably the third family in line when she caught a glimpse of him.
"Mickey!!! Mickey!!! Hi Mickey!!"
Then she tried to cut in line to run up to him. I tried to explain we had to wait our turn.
The photographer told the family in front of us to say "Cheese" and Jocelyn said, "CHEESE!". She was ready!
Finally it was our turn....
And as soon as she got up close to him, she wanted nothing to do with the big Mickey Mouse.
She would not hug him, would not give him a High Five, would not go near him. She wanted me to pick her up and she said, "bye bye!"
Luckily, Mickey's feelings were not hurt :)
Next stop was Fantasyland, despite Jayce's protests. I love Fantasyland :)
Castles and Princesses are my kind of thing :) We rode the Carousel, Peter Pan's Flight, saw Mickey's Philharmagic performance, rode Winnie the Pooh, Little Mermaid, and tried to eat lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant. But there was a 2 hour wait.
And this one was fast asleep.
So we just sat on the ground and tried to figure out what to do.
Jayce was complaining heavily by this point and also hiding from my camera, so I managed to get a smile out of him :)
I thought about buying a balloon for Jocelyn, but they were $12. Really??
We walked around aimlessly trying to find wait times under 20 minutes. We rode Aladdin's magic carpets, watched the Tikki Room performance, climbed into the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House, rode Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain (where we sat in the last row and didn't get wet at all, which is an important fact to remember for later), Pirates of the Caribbean, and waited 45 minutes in line with a crying Jocelyn to ride the Jungle Cruise.
By the way, if you go to Disney with a toddler, please know that you have to park your stroller for all the rides and wait in line carrying them. Thankfully I had borrowed a SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) toddler Tula from my friend Sara, so my arms didn't get too tired. Definitely bring a carrier, though. We would have never made it through the Jungle Cruise line without it.
We concluded our day by eating at the Pinocchio house. The food was pretty good!
Then we immediately figured out that Jocelyn is scared of fireworks. Hmmm... that was going to be fun the rest of the week!
But just look at that Castle....
Pictures just don't do it justice.
We closed the park down and got back to our hotel around 11:00 PM. Just to get a few hours of sleep and do it all again the next day.