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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Magic Kingdom Morning 1

When I first made my line itineraries for each day I assumed we wouldn't be finished with Cinderella's Royal Table until 10. Chef Mickey typically takes us around 90 minutes so I assumed the same for CRT. But I was wrong! We got in early and also finished early! We were out of there (without feeling the least bit rushed at all!) right at 9. Which was PERFECT. Originally I planned to wait to do Belle's Storytime until our second MK day because if you don't get there right when the park opens, the wait will be insane. However, since we were done eating right when the park opened, we were already closer to Belle's cottage than the guests entering the park at 9. We were in the first group to get inside!!! Score!

We know the routine well at this point and Kye had already decided before we entered the cottage that he wanted to get to be the horse so he said he wasn't going to roar when they told everyone to roar and instead was going to wait just for the horse part haha Smart kid! And, as luck would have it, he sure did get that horse role! I LOVED when he got to be The Beast but it embarrassed him I think so he prefers the smaller roles :) 


Britt wanted a part as well but being so young she didn't get chosen. I love how they let anyone be in it who wants to be! If you want to meet Belle you need to make sure to have a part in the show! Britt was some silverware :) No speaking part but she got to run which she enjoyed and she got to meet Belle at the end :) Here is a video of her!

I love how patiently Britt is waiting for her turn to talk!
I snuck to the back to get the pictures of the kids meeting Belle and it made my heart happy listening to all the comments around us about how cute my kids are ;)





Britt stole the show, duh!
And, without fail, Zach was the guard! Every time!!! When they assigned Zach the role Kye even said "Daddy is always the guard!" haha
Belle's Storytime is an experience that some people don't like. However, our family LOVES it. I love how it's a different experience each time and how interactive and relaxed it is. Kye did get in a little trouble though because the girl who announced them up front announced them as Kye and Brooklyn and Kye kept correcting her about what Britt's name actually is and he was a little louder and ruder than needed about it. We were the last to leave the room so we could make sure Kye apologized to the cast member about his rudeness. One thing about Disney? The cast members do NOT like to see kids upset. When Mrs. Charlotte and I were at Downtown Disney shopping we were there pretty late and saw a TON of kids having meltdowns. One kid was straight up laying in the middle of the floor of a store just sobbing. What did the closest cast member do to handle it? She got down on the floor with the child and gave them stickers haha. The Belle cast member handled Kye in a similar fashion. He was a little upset about having to apologize and was embarrassed b/c I honestly don't think he realized it was rude to correct her the way he did. So when he apologized she went above and beyond in her forgiveness and gave the kids a bunch of extra photo passes from the experience. Which Kye didn't much care about but oh my gosh you would have though Britt won the lottery. That child carried her "ticket" around with her the entire rest of our trip! She would say "I need my ticket!"

We hit up Ariel next and it was Britt's first real Disney ride. Mrs. Charlotte hasn't been to the park with the New Fantasyland so it really worked out great. Kye wanted to "show G-Mama everything" and really truly wanted to ride with her on many rides so Zach and I were both able to ride with Britt and experience her first rides with her. 
Remember how Britt was randomly super afraid of the Cars in Radiator Springs? Same random fear of King Triton! 


I do want to mention the medical pass situation before I forget! Many of you know Mrs. Charlotte has auto-immune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis as well as myasthenia gravis). Her hands and feet both show the signs of rheumatoid and she also gets a letter from her doctor to take to theme parks. She gets easily fatigued and shouldn't be standing for too long of periods of time. In the past we were able to get a medical pass from Disney while visiting the parks and it helped Mrs. Charlotte and anyone in her party to get to the fronts of the lines faster.  We joke that at least there is one advantage to her being sick ;) I'm sure most people heard about the big changes with the medical passes due to people taking advantage of the system. It is AWFUL how people would abuse a system that is in place to help others. Awful. And it's awful that now changes had to be put in place to make it harder on the people who do need that help. When Mrs. Charlotte and I went to Downtown Disney we went to Guest Services and talked to them about her situation and what we should do. They said the policy changes would not really give her any advantage at all with the lines systems at the parks. They have modified most of the lines now to accommodate wheelchairs and the cast member told us that they only give the red card passes to children in serious need.  I am NOT sure if that's all 100% true or not. I do NOT know the specifics of the policies. But that's what we were told and that's what we went with. Rather than waste park time trying to get a pass for Mrs. Charlotte, we just trusted the itinerary for rides that I put together from Touring Plans and went with it. It was cooler weather, we had a slow pace, and really she did GREAT! So I don't think we were at any disadvantage to not have the card! If we go back in the summer again with the family and have both her and Courtney (Courtney also has auto immune diseases...lupus as well as rheumatoid) then we will HAVE to investigate it further! 
Dumbo was Kye's first ride ever! It wasn't Britt's first because now that they have opened two of them and have reworked the lines process...it's never a long wait like it used to be so we don't ride it first anymore :) 



She LOVED it :)
When we went to Britt's two year check-up and they told me that she is 36 inches tall I was in shock! I mean she's only two!!! The first thought I had when they told us her height was that she is tall enough to ride the Barnstormer. On her first visit!!! Kye wasn't able to ride it until pretty recently! I wasn't sure if she would like it or not but since it's one of Kye's favorites and because we had both Zach and Mrs. Charlotte there to ride with them (wuss Emily don't ride no coasters!) I figured Britt would enjoy it. Anything Kye loves, she loves. 



Kye's face is awesome :)

I was pretty nervous waiting for them to come off the ride. When I saw them turn the corner I yelled "thumbs up?????" because I just needed to know if she was happy or not! Did I need to have my mama loving ready? Did I have another thrill ride child on my hands? Sure enough, I saw the "thumbs up" from Zach (which is obviously more reliable than Britt's haha). 


Up until that point we had no wait times. We got over to the rest of Fantasyland and went straight for Peter Pan's Flight. You wouldn't think it but Peter Pan is one of the worst wait times at the park. I originally planned to ride it first as soon as we got done with breakfast but Belle trumped it as far as a first ride of the day goes. When we walked up to Peter Pan though we were in for a shocker...45 min wait time. Whhhhhat??!?! On a crowd level of 3 for the day?!?! Since we do not stay on property I am not very knowledgeable in this whole fast pass plus experience situation. I am religious about planning my rides based on the Touring Plans recommendations and have only EVER used a fast pass ONCE a the parks. I am just not a fan of fast pass. I don't like having to back track. Even with the new system where you can pre-book ahead of time...I don't like having a set time schedule for my day at the park. YES. I have a certain order of which rides to ride, but they aren't on a certain time schedule and are more of a flow from ride to ride. 

At this point I was only aware that on property guests could book their fast passes in advance. I have now heard that they opened it up to any ticket holders and that you are able to book your fast passes, even not staying on property, 30 days in advance. So obviously that's something we will take advantage of next time, and I will be much more knowledgeable about it at that point. You get three fast passes each day. I will go ahead and tell you here which ones I plan to get for each park...these are what MY family would benefit from the most! Once I actually am able to take advantage of the new system I will let y'all know what my recommendations would be :)

Magic Kingdom: Belle, Buzz, and Peter Pan (or do buzz, peter pan and splash if it's open...just go to belle first thing when the park opens!)
Animal Kingdom: I would only need it for the safari and I'd still ride it the first ride of the morning so maybe I'd have us ride it twice and book a later time for the fast pass for it?
Disney Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania is the big ride there that we like...I'd probably treat it the same as the safari. Ride it first, have my fast pass time set for a later time in the day to ride it again :)
Epcot: Test Track is the only ride we have experienced any kind of wait for. Soarin' would be another one I would get it for...just for the guys though ;)
Magic Kingdom Day 2: Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Buzz again

If a ride has a 25 min wait or less you never need to use a fast pass. With Peter Pan having a 45 min wait and it being early in the day...we figured we better go ahead and get a fast pass. We assumed we'd get it for an hour or so later and we'd finish up the rest of Fantasyland then be ready to ride it with our fast pass. We found the station to get the passes and it was an awful experience. I know they are a new thing. I understand there is a learning curve for everyone. But I cannot STAND wasting precious park time and it took up a good chunk of it. Especially when the cast member had to start over. Then we finally get through the process and found out we were forced to go ahead and chose three rides. And that the earliest Peter Pan ride time was for 5:50 pm. We were not happy. 

Actually. It's the first time I've been straight up MAD at Disney. I know people talk about Disney being a big money maker and how it's a rip off but I've never felt that way. All the costs are worth it. But this fast pass system made me downright angry. Walt was about the common man. And this system gives people who stay on property a huge advantage. And puts the people who don't stay on property a huge disadvantage. Not only could we not get desirable fast pass times for the rides we wanted...but the rides that DO have a fast pass option had way longer wait times than usual. We are frugal people. We don't stay on property because it's not the smartest way to spend our money. We don't do a dining plan because it's not the most financially wise choice. Yet Disney is catering to those people and not allowing the common man who just buys a park ticket any kind of advantage. NOW that I know things are different and we WILL be able to book our fast passes in advance too, I feel a lot less bitter about it. But at the time, I was pretty ticked (as you can tell!). 

I just went ahead and took the earliest Peter Pan time since we planned to leave and come back that evening anyways. I also looked at our itinerary and did my best to guesstimate what time we would be over to Buzz. I had planned to ride it on the way out so I took a fast pass for that too. The system makes you have three, even if you don't want them. So it gave me Ariel too which we didn't use! 

Thankfully Philharmagic gave me back my Disney joy (which let's be real...it doesn't take much for me to be happy at Disney haha). We happened to get into the theater right when another show was starting so we had a little time for me to get my aggression out of my system and be back to magic mode :) I have GREAT memories of Kye's first time in Philharmagic. He truly was so captivated by it. Britt was the just like he was. She did not wear her 3D glasses (they were too big for her and she didn't want me to hold them on her face) but she LOVED it just the same! She sang to the songs and called out when she saw her favorite characters! More than anything though she fell in LOVE with Donald Duck. I mean seriously in love. When you think of your little girl having a favorite Disney character you naturally think of the princesses. Or Minnie. Not Donald. But after that first experience in Philharmagic she became Donald-obsessed. She was SO worried about him after he crashed into the wall at the end and kept asking "Donald Duck okay?????" Like a million times! Donald was THE topic of conversation the entire trip and everywhere we saw him she'd get SUPER pumped and yell "Donald Duck OKAY! Donald Duck OKAY!" 
While we were in line at It's a Small World we noticed the music wasn't playing. Does it usually play in the line waiting area? Kye kept talking about it being broken...but Zach said he doesn't think the song is typically running in the lines? I can't remember?
Mid-Sneeze Awesomeness :)
Ready to ride the Happiest Cruise to Ever Sail!
Zach's favorite :)

Britt enjoyed it and especially liked finding any animals. She's an animal lover just like I was as a little girl too!
After It's a Small World we went ahead and left Fantasyland. We didn't get to ride the carrousel but since we had to go back that evening for Peter Pan we just decided to wait and do the carrousel then. We also do not ride Winnie The Pooh or the Tea Cups. We just aren't fans of either one! My original plan for the day was only to do half of Fantasyland anyway but since we got in the park earlier thanks to the quicker breakfast, we were able to tackle more of it than I had thought we'd get through which allowed me to change some things up for our second morning at MK later that week!

Going into this trip I did do somethings differently than I had with Kye's first visit. With his trip we never went back to the room for naps then went back to the park in the evenings. We also didn't see any of the fireworks. Since that trip we have had the experience of leaving the parks and have found we really do enjoy going back to the room and coming back in the evening nice and refreshed! I knew with my pregnancy and foot (as well as Mrs. Charlotte and her need for rest) that we would do better having that mid-day break. Plus Britt LOVES sleep. I knew she would benefit from a nap and I also wanted her to experience the fireworks. With it being the off season and darker earlier, they had the fireworks earlier in the evenings than usual. Zach and I decided to plan on leaving the parks for naps then coming back for dinner and fireworks in the evening times! When you plan to leave the park mid-day you want to plan for 5 hours total time. 1 hour travel time for leaving the park and getting to your room, 3 hours rest, then 1 hour to return. Yes, even if you are staying on property! My plan for day 1 was to leave around noon and come back by 5. Since Tomorrowland is on the way to exit the park I planned for us to stop by Buzz on the way out and ride that and it worked out where we had the fast pass to use for it!
We always get stopped by this parade at least once every visit! I think it's called Move It Shake It Celebrate It? I don't know if I've ever seen the entire thing but it's neat that we get to pass it and see parts of it each visit :) The kids didn't complain at all about us continuing to move though and just waved to the characters as we passed! I don't think I've ever seen Genie before?
Kye did SO amazing all day (well all week even!). I was a little nervous about the older sibling thing. Would he be annoyed at the level of attention Britt would be getting? Would he be upset to share his Disney time with her since he's always used to it just being about him? Would he make it less magical for her since he's a "big kid" now? 

Thankfully he LOVED having her there. He especially loved having G-Mama with us though :) He reminds me a lot of Zach in that he loves to make sure other people are enjoying themselves and he also reminds me of myself because he loves to plan. So he took on the Disney Tour Guide role for the trip and took it very seriously! He told Britt (and G-Mama) all about each ride and what to expect and just helped to build that excitement and anticipation for everything! It was precious and it allowed any small concerns I had to completely fade away. I had talked to him prior to the trip about how he was so lucky to be the only kid at Disney for so many visits but that from now on we'd always have Britt with us when we go and that we have to make sure to have fun for her too, especially since she'd never gotten to go before. He really understood and really embraced his part as the older brother :) I hope that it's something that only continues in the future!
Buzz fun!
Zach was glad that G-Mama was there too b/c that meant he got to ride solo and really just focus on his game haha
Britt really, really loved Buzz. Which surprised me! She didn't even touch the gun or try to shoot at anything...she just liked talking about it and watching it all. She claimed that it was her favorite ride...but I think that may have had more to do with it being Kye's and Zach's obvious favorite for the day :) By her reaction I'd say Philharmagic was the def favorite for her! When we went to take our typical "we beat you Zurg" picture after the ride...I realized I'm FOR SURE pregnant b/c I couldn't fit through the bars like I usually can haha. Britt also had no interest in getting close to Zurg, which didn't surprise me! 

It had rained the day before and rain was on the radar every day of the trip. I think I updated the weather app a million times a day haha. I seriously couldn't believe how things just worked out so perfectly with the weather! We went to bed with a pretty high chance for that morning then woke up to like a 0-10% chance. It was awesome!!! I tried not to get my hopes up for a completely rain-free week but just appreciated each beautiful weather experience we had :) It was PERFECT weather on day 1! A great breeze, sunshine, and I don't even think any of us broke a sweat! I've heard people love Feb for park visits and I see why!!! MUCH nicer weather than our typical Sept visit (and I prefer the non-Halloween decorations too). 

I packed the kids lunch for that morning and fed it to them as we left Fantasyland on the way to Tomorrowland then gave it back to them after Buzz for them to eat as we exited the park. It worked out perfectly and the adults just waited to eat once we got back to the room :) 
We were shocked when we left the park and saw signs saying that the monorail was closed. Awesome. Our only option was to take the ferry which does take a good bit more time and we had to wait for it to come. It was WAY more crowded than usual since all the people coming and going from the park had to use it! We did ask someone why the monorail was closed and they said that Disney had not done a good job of keeping it in good shape so they had to close it and work on it to repair it. Luckily that beautiful weather made the wait pleasant and the kids didn't mind one bit! We just all relaxed and let them entertain us :) I think they entertained all the other people who were waiting as well!
Kye too the opportunity to play with his sword from breakfast that morning and Britt's wand she got quickly became a sword as well :)




First ride on the ferry!
We enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL views while trying to ignore the child who was straight up screaming beside us. I'm so thankful for our well-behaved children. We were all in shock at this child and the way her parents just straight up ignored her. She was screaming and bawling her head off in her stroller and they were laughing at her and didn't seem concerned one bit. I'm all for ignoring a fit but don't mock your kid, ya know? And don't make everyone else miserable around you! You are at DISNEY! And most likely whatever she was upset over was probably not her fault (tired, hungry, just worn OUT!) so cut the kid some slack!!! Ugh it bugged us, even Zach! Thankfully Kye and Britt did well on the ride! Seeing that little girl did prompt us to discuss Britt's behavior and how pleasantly surprised we all were so far at how amazing she'd been doing!!! Zach and I had kinda anticipated our own Disney Meltdowns from her but, seriously, she never had a single one the entire week


One thing we DID slack on with Britt was the potty. We are so used to Kye who doesn't have to go very often that we just didn't think to take enough potty breaks. She NEVER had an accident but she was pretty hilarious at her timing. Multiple times we were at the very front of the line and she'd say "me go potty first!"Thankfully cast members were great about it, as I'm sure they experience it often! And also thankfully Zach is quick and good with directions and always handled taking her really fast then coming back :) When we left the park and finally got everything loaded into the car Britt announced "me go tee tee!" I mean what do you do in that situation?!?! Yes. We pulled down her pants and had her go in the parking lot haha. We really didn't have a  choice! Then on the way back to the room she said she had to go again so we had to pull over and let her go on the side of the road haha. At least she's flexible about where she goes :) I keep the kids super hydrated and she had been downing water so I assume that's why she had to go so much...it was hilarious though! 

We got back to the room and both kids had a great nap! The adults ate some lunch and then I took a great nap myself :) It was wonderful to be SO relaxed and to not feel rushed to hurry back to the parks. It had been an amazing morning and we were all excited for what the afternoon would hold! 

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