Family Travel: Disney World in a Day!

March 19, 2019

So glad we captured their reaction to the surprise on film.

Gabe and I have been wanting to take our kids to Disney World for so long, but there hasn’t ever been the right time. I would say this spontaneous decision could have gone either way, but this time it turned out in our favor. Phew! My nausea and fatigue from first trimester pregnancy had just came to a halt, and with the new burst of energy I felt like it just might be the right time to conquer the world! …..well Disney World at least. In today’s post we wanted to share this video of surprising the kids and a few highlights from the day, as well as a re-cap of making the most of one day in Magic Kingdom with varying ages!

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

We debated whether we should just take the older ones this trip since Rocco and Zel are in toddler ages and still takes naps. We didn’t have family available to help though, so we decided to just bring everyone. I am actually really glad we did, because as I quickly remembered…Disney World really is for all ages. I think the adrenaline kicked in for all of us!

We stayed in a hotel close by to the parks, so we drove and parked our own car. It was nice not having to collapse our double stroller to get on and off shuttles. It is definitely a process to get in the park as you go through ticketing gates, security, and hop on a ferry to get to the entrance of the park. It is very well systemized though, and wasn’t bad at all. The beginning of March turned out to be crowded, but not jam packed. The weather was high 60’s, so we didn’t have to battle heat. It really was a great time of year to go!

My Disney Experience App – This app is really well done. It is fantastic for seeing wait times, booking FastPasses, ordering food, or making reservations, etc. Since we booked our trip only 3 days prior, there weren’t a ton of FastPass options left. However, we managed to get a few good ones. It’s really the way to go! No more than a 10 minute wait for the ones you have scheduled.

FastPasses – If you are able to schedule them way in advance, plan out your day and select a few in the morning (up to 3 per kid). The app will allow you to schedule more as you use the first round up. We did a fast pass for Dumbo (which is great for little ones!), meet and greet with Tinkerbell (Veronica’s request), The Barnstormer, and Buzz Lightyear (the boys’ favorite).

Rides for Toddlers – Prince Charming Carousel, Dumbo (they have a fun indoor play area while you wait for your turn for the ride), It’s a Small World, Adventures with Pooh, Jungle Cruise, and Buzz Lightyear are all great ones for toddlers! There are so many good ones, but my kids get motion sickness easy so we skipped the teacups and aladdin carpets. We didn’t make it to all of them, but they were happy with just a few! There are also several little park areas for kids to play in between rides, as well as greenery rest areas near the center square which we took advantage of to rest.

Rides for 5 and Up – The motor car Speedway and Splash mountain were two attractions we were looking forward to for our oldest, but they were under construction! Those would be worth FastPasses for sure. Space Mountain was another we were hoping for, but FastPasses were booked and the wait was 2hrs the whole day! No thanks. At the end of the day however, Splash Mountain opened up and Gabe booked it with Gabriel for one last ride. It was before the fireworks, so the wait was only half of the time. It was such a big hit with Gabriel. Other really great rides for 5 and up are Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Barnstormer (not too scary of a roller coaster ride), Enchanted Tales with Belle, and for boys – Frontierland. Of course, older than 9 all of the coasters!

Meals + Snacks – There are SO many restaurants and food carts throughout the park. The sit down restaurants require reservations in order to avoid long waits, but the other fast order food joints are pretty quick! We decided we didn’t want to spend time in restaurants with our toddlers, so we packed food for lunch to save time and a chunk of change, and ate at Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe for dinner which was a great spot for kids with plenty of seating options. You can even pre-order food from many restaurants on the My Disney Experience app to pick up on the go. You can check out all of the options here.We also brought several snacks because everything in the park is super pricey. Totally worth buying a cool treat at some point in the day though! I think it’s part of the fun to get some cotton candy and popcorn;)

Parades and Fireworks – Personally my favorite part of Magic Kingdom is the parades and fireworks show. They have a few parades throughout the day, but the best one is the Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3pm where all of the characters make an appearance. They kids didn’t stop waving to them all, and pretty sure Veronica was star struck. The Happily Ever After fireworks show at 9pm is tough to wait out for at the end of a long day for little ones. Azelie crashed before it even began, and Rocco who is naturally afraid of everything hid in his stroller;) BUT!, for the rest of us, it was nothing short of magical. It is so well done, and so entertaining. It is what I most remember as a kid, and I am so glad we toughed it out. Since the babes were sleeping by the end, we grabbed some popcorn and waited for the crowds to exit the park. There is even a second show you can catch at 10pm. If you do stay either for the parade or fireworks, you are going to want to get there plenty early to get a good spot. This is when the bubble wands and snacks really came in handy.

Now we can tell this baby he or she has already been to Disney ­čśë

What to Bring – A stroller with an under bin. I am so relieved we ended up bringing the double BabyJogger versus the double umbrella. It was our home base for the day! We were able to store two bags of snacks and food underneath. It also has a skateboard like attachment on back that Max would ride when he got tired of walking. By the end of the day they were all begging to ride in the stroller- including me.

Also, it’s good to bring a backpack for when you split directions! Gabe carried the camera, sunscreen, re-fillable water bottles, and snacks in one back pack which was helpful when we would divide for rides. Tennis shoes are the only thing I can imagine walking around the park in all day long, and even then you are aching by the end of the day! I would also highly recommend safety temp tattoos for the little ones with parent’s info in case they are separated. Disney employees are trained to look at the child’s wrist for contact info if they find a lost child. We didn’t have time to order them so we just used a sharpie to write our numbers!

I think heading into this trip with the understanding we would have to play many things by ear really helped. Having a general plan also was key so we could map out our top priorities like the parade, fireworks, and Splash Mountain for Gabriel. It wouldn’t be Disney World without a few meltdowns – evidence of fun overload. I am so glad we went for it. There were so many moments I will hold onto for a long time, and I know they will too. Hope this post is helpful – feel free to ask any additional q’s!

Leave a Comment

  • Great write up! I like the idea of having their info on their wrists in case they get lost. One important question… Does Tink still fly out of the castle?

  • Rachel G

    We are hoping to plan a trip to Disney World soon!
    The thing I’m honestly most curious about is the “getting down there and back” part. We’re in Huntsville, AL so we’re thinking about flying, but would love to save $ and other costs by just taking our own vehicle. How’d that work for you guys? Our girls are 4 and 2 and sleep really well in the car right now.

    • Hi Rachel! It was a 7 hour drive, and my kids are at ages that they did really well! That wasn’t the case last year with a 1 and 2 year old. ha! We left early in the morning and packed some car activities, did some books on tape, and a few movies and it seemed to go pretty fast. ­čÖé

  • Love Disney and have planned 4 longer trips with my sister and our combined 8 kids. I would say for the coasters it depends on the child’s own bravery as to whether they want to ride or not. Height requirements are typically 38-40 inches minimum and I have had kids as young as 4-5 really enjoy Thundermountain and Seven Dwarfs Minetrain.

  • This is all so beautiful! What wonderful memories for you all!! You serve your family so much Anna and I know this day will always be one they hold dear. I grew up next door to my grandmother (who was new into her 40s when I was born as the first grandchild which meant we were and are very close!) Just a few weeks ago Gabe and I came up with a plan to let her enjoy the magic there-she’s been dreaming of going for decades but lives in PA far away. I’m never been able to do anything like this with her, but in a few weeks the babe and I are meeting her and my mom in Orlando for the weekend and we are going to magic kingdom for the day!!! I already have been so excited but this just made me even more happy ? p.s No doubt you were the most glowing pregnant woman in Disney World! How fun it will be to show your little one the picture of when they went to Disney while in your womb!

  • Rose Upshur

    You truly have a big happy family! I think for every child and adult Disneyland is a place where you always want to escape)

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