We had our trip the weekend of August 27th. I surprised him by having this note in his lunch box that Friday!
Once he got home he raced to find the next clues and had a BLAST at school all day sharing the 1st clue with everyone and they even used it in his Discovery class as a lesson and tried to solve the mystery ;) Here's a video of him getting off the bus and finding the 2nd clue!
Video of him finding the 3rd clue
And a video of him finding the last clue!
I had some flags from Kye's pirate party that I used as markers for where I hid the clues. I kept 'em quick and easy to find because I wasn't sure if the girls would be sleeping or not when he got home and I didn't want to drag it out too long :) After the final clue he was super pumped (video here!)
We headed out first thing Saturday morning and our first stop was to load up on some snacks!
And we hit up CFA for some breakfast on the road :)
Daddy and the girls went to Britt's favorite spot: Waffle House!
I planned basically a complete copy-cat trip of the weekend I had with Britt. It was SUCH a great experience and I wanted to do something as close to that as possible with Kye. With Britt we stayed in a princess themed room (at Port Orleans Riverside) so for Kye I booked us a pirate themed room (at Caribbean Beach Resort).
I've talked PLENTY of times about my feelings regarding staying on Disney property while visiting the parks. I'm not a fan. However, the resorts are (overall) AWESOME and make for a great stay to just hang out and ENJOY the amenities they have to offer! On Britt's trip the water in the pools was a tad chilly so it's why I wanted to take Kye in August so the pool would for sure be warm enough to swim!
I love how the resorts show old school movies in the lobby!
Benefit of taking a big kid on a trip...he can handle his own luggage ;)
He was SO excited about his magic band and how he could be the one to open the hotel door. No joke he kept wanted to go out of the room just so he could open the door again :) It's the simple things!
It's natural to compare experiences, especially when we were on a "copy cat" trip to one I'd already taken! Y'all. I will go ahead and say this now. Caribbean Beach Resort and Port Orleans Riverside are both considered "moderate" resorts. Which means they aren't the top of the line fancy ones but also aren't the cheap cheap ones (not that any Disney resorts are cheap) either. They are considered on the same scale. Basically "equal" resorts in the eyes of Disney and very close in price points. Both the princess rooms and the pirate rooms are upgrades. I mentioned in my post about my trip with Britt that I was BLOWN AWAY by the resort and the room. Legit favorite resort I've stayed at yet. And I legit want to go back again and would stay in the princess room just with me and Z even. I LOVED IT.
I cannot say the same thing for Caribbean Beach. The resort was a HUGE let down for me as a whole. And the room was just not as cool as it could have (should have) been for it being an upgrade. They put a TON of details in the princess themed room and I just thought they could have done a much better job on the pirate ones.
Kye didn't go on the trip with Britt and I so he wasn't making these same comparisons. He was thrilled at the room and thrilled with the resort and it all was really neat, I'm just saying if I were to recommend one or the other I'd FOR SURE recommend Port Orleans Riverside over Caribbean Beach!
All the pirate details:
How cool are these beds?!?!
The map carpeting was probably my favorite!
I've heard a lot of people on the Disney Groups talk about how spread out the resorts can be. This is a big negative for staying on property, they are VERY spread out. We were SUPER far from the pool area in our room! Look at the map!
Ready for some FUN together!
We got our swimsuits on and decided to walk to the pool. I think it's important when you are paying that much to stay at a resort that you take the time to explore and see everything it has to offer. I knew it'd be a haul of a walk but I wanted to check it out and so did Kye!
After the alligator incident several months ago Disney has put up fencing along all their beaches and has installed extra signage as reminders.
I booked this resort for two reasons: 1) the pirate themed room and 2) the POOL. I knew Kye would LOVE the slide! And I was right :)
They have a really neat kid area in a pirate ship theme...
but my big boy was too big to play!!!
Views of the pool area, with two slides!
LOVE all the pirate theming!
Slide was a big win!
I'm not a big adventure type person. I don't do rollercoasters. I don't do fast stuff. I typically don't do slides etc. It's just not my style. But this was a KYE trip and I was all about having fun WITH him not just observing him! So Mama did the slide, three times!
They had several pool games but I was pretty disappointed in them. The first set of games were all in the center of the pool where the water was too deep for the younger kids to touch! The second round of games were all Disney Junior themed which we don't watch so Kye didn't know the trivia. He went back and forth from playing games to sliding. When we left for the trip I had this idea that I'd be reading and lounging while he swam and played. Yeah right. I don't know at what age I will stop wanting to keep my eyes on him at all times in the water? But 7 ain't it!
Can you spot Kye? He's the poor kid struggling to stay above water!
They had life vests which I told Kye would probably help and allow him to better participate but he was MORTIFIED by wearing it!
Haha he kept joking about not wanting a picture of him wearing it!
Hot tub break! (I love that Disney keeps their hot tubs cool enough so they are kid-safe)
Disney Junior Pool Party Games
Ready to hunt for treasures
I loved watching him DANCE! It cracks me up how much he loves to dance!
The "hot potato" type game was probably his favorite though because he ended up with the "potato" twice at the end and got a water balloon popped on top of his head!
Video of toss game
I was REALLY nervous about the weather and had both a plan a and plan b for our evening just in case it rained on us! We had some light sprinkling and these dark clouds but that was it!
We both agreed to ride the shuttle back to the room which also gave us a chance to see a bit more of the resort since the shuttle stop was in a different location than the way we'd walked from our room. They had a nice set up with hammocks but my big kid did not want to share a hammock with his mom!
soooo farrrrr awaaaaaay
Even from a distance he sure is handsome :) And I loved just lounging and talking together! We're so similar in many ways and one of them is how if we're near sand we can't resist playing with it!
Views from our spot
You can't really read it but he wrote "I Love U" in the sand for me :)
While I was getting changed and freshened up he did some more reading :) Kid is a BOOK WORM!
It rained during our downtime in the room so Kye asked to go out and just watch the rain for a bit (and let himself back in via the magic band haha)
The rain cleared and we decided to drive back to the food court area for dinner!
I mentioned earlier in the post that given the choice between Caribbean Beach or Port Orleans Riverside that everyone should always choose POR ;) The pool at Caribbean was cool, but the one at POR just had SUCH a better VIBE. It felt higher end, it felt more peaceful. The Caribbean Beach experience was louder and busier and just felt like more of a crowded hotel than a resort experience.
Same goes for the food court. At POR the vibe was chill and relaxed. Welcoming and inviting. The food was fabulous. At Caribbean Beach is was loud and crowded and designed just more cramped and you just wanted to eat your food fast and get OUT. Also the food was awful. Boo!
Luckily it's hard to mess up pizza for a kid ha!
You know it's a special trip when I let him get chocolate milk! Only the second time having it his entire life!
Pulled pork. Otherwise known as "barf on a bun"
Of course we sat near a tv so Kye was pretty distracted the whole meal #typicalman
Daddy and the girls hit up Longhorn!
I knew Kye would LOVE the chance to hit up the arcade! They have these cards you load with money and then can swipe at the games to play :)
When asked later about the favorite thing on the trip, this was it.
And he talked about ad nauseam. Still will if you have a LONG time to sit and listen ;)
Yay for a game Mommy could play too!
A super nice Cast Member came in and gave Kye a sword and sticker :)
Basically this part of the trip was SO BORING for me haha I just stood around while he played!
Pretty much the only "hidden Mickey" we found on the trip...it was the carpet of the arcade
The arcade experience, while neat, was also disappointing. My purpose of the trip was quality time together. My #1 pet peeve as a parent is entitlement and I was disappointed with Kye's attitude during the arcade. We limit video games BIG TIME in our house. Once a week for about an hour Zach and Kye will play Wii together during nap time (on the weekend obviously). They always play together (never Kye solo) and always play family friendly games (football, golf, other sports, Mario Kart). This was the first time Kye had ever seen or played any games with any sort of violence. Sure it was Star Wars violence but still violence all the same.
And I can tell you 100% for sure that if we were the type of parents who allowed Kye all the freedom he'd like with video games that he'd be one of those kids who are totally addicted to them. It's something we will always have to be mindful of as he gets older and make sure we set the proper limits and boundaries for him. It bothered me to see him SO INTO IT in a way that I could see it being problematic. His attitude was ugly during the video game time experience and we had a BIG talk afterwards about selfishness and being thankful.
Something I always struggled with was letting things REALLY bother me. Kye was very upset by our talk and felt bad and felt like he'd "ruined everything." I can empathize with those feelings and emotions because it's very much the way I've felt when I've messed up or let someone down. We talked through it and worked through it but the night never did quite recover from it. Something I've personally had to learn is to let it go because by wallowing in it then you DO ruin things!
It was a long day, a fun day, and an exhausting day! I mean he swam and played in the pool for about 4 solid hours. So on top of his emotions he was tired which only heightens such feelings!
When I booked the stay I was excited to do the s'mores with Kye. Caribbean Beach does have a fire pit area but they didn't have s'mores that night. Which is so weird to me?!?! It was a Saturday! It didn't really matter that much because we'd have had to drive our car to it anyway with how spread out the resort is. So we just hopped in the car and went over to the nearest resort that did host the s'mores event which just happened to be Port Orleans Riverside :)
It was an even cuter set up and experience than when Britt and I did it! They same camp songs and everything and the cast members were awesome!
Video with the super fun music too!
If you visit a Disney Resort to take part in this experience (you do NOT have to be staying at a resort to do it either!) most of them provide the marshmallows (some don't so check in advance) but the s'mores kits are extra cost. I bring my own s'mores stuff and we're good to go :)
Kye was super pumped to see this haha we played several rounds together and then hit up the playground!
Within MINUTES of playing on the playground Kye got hurt.
It was one of those moments where you try to be serious but really want to DIE laughing. He was up on a rock ledge thing that was part of the playground. It was decently high up, not crazy high or anything but high enough to take some caution. Kid decided to jump off of it. I saw the whole thing and had time to think "what the heck is he doing?" as I watched him jump and fall and bust it. I think the embarrassment was probably why the tears, more so than the hurt.
I've always heard amazing things about Disney and Cast Members stepping up when kids are upset. I've witnessed it a few times myself, although never had it happen personally because my kids aren't usually upset at Disney ;) This moment though was one where I was hoping for some sort of help to get my kid happy again! We asked a Cast Member for a bandaid and he provided one but wasn't overly sweet or anything. Which is FINE. I appreciate the bandaid! But it didn't really help to cheer up my not-so-awesome-mood child!
A nice random stranger offered to snap some pics of us together :)
Original plan was to wait up until the movie of the night started and watch it with his sleeping bag. No way was that going to happen. Kye even admitted he just was ready to call it a day. We headed inside the POR food court because I didn't want to deal with the Caribbean Beach one again that night haha. We got our "midnight snack" treat to enjoy before heading back to the room!
While I got ready for bed Kye snuggled up and watching Disney Channel. Did you know they have some new Lion King tv show?!?!
Once I was ready I snuggled up with him and we watched an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He may be a big kid now but he still answers all of Mickey's questions haha!
We shared our favorite candy together: cotton candy!
The snuggling in the bed and eating our snack and watching the show together was my favorite moment from the trip. It was just great Kye time. He was happy and sweet and himself and it was exactly what I'd been hoping for on this trip! It was funny because Britt did NOT want to sleep with me on our trip but Kye did! He insisted on sharing his bed and in the middle of the night I attempted to skip over to the other bed but he woke up so I went back with him again. ha!
I love having special Disney themed pjs for Disney trips :)
First thing: breakfast!
Y'all. I cannot FATHOM trying to navigate this food court prior to visiting a theme park all day. It was insane. The lines were crazy long. It took fooorrrrever.
I actually did something that I normally wouldn't ever think of doing and had Kye stand in his own line while I stood in mine. I could see him fine from where I was at and he felt like such a big kid ordering for himself!
This is what happens when you let your 7 year old order...they get the adult portion of pancakes haha!
This time we sat FAR away from any screens and were in a much quieter area of the restaurant. We had a MUCH better time and truly got to talk and enjoy each other!
Adult size eyes, kid size belly ;)
We had some time to kill before the next thing on the agenda so we checked out the resort!
They had a nice playground area set back and very shaded. I really enjoyed this area of the resort as it was much more peaceful and relaxing!
Of course I spent the whole time with my son 5 billion feet in front of me leading the way ;)
Little details that I just LOVE about Disney!
The original inspiration for this trip with Kye was something I saw while on my trip with Britt. I noticed they had a pirate themed adventure and knew Kye would really enjoy it but also knew he'd soon be TOO old for it. Next year (hopefully) Kye will have a little brother. It's exciting but it also means it's the last year of him being the only son. I know he sacrifices the most of all the kids since he's the oldest and I wanted to give him some special time all about him! This weekend was def all about some Kye and this special treat was JUST for him to enjoy! No parents allowed, Cast Members and kids only!
He was SHOCKED and SO PUMPED. The kids got to go in a pirate ship and follow clues to find treasure. How awesome is that?
We were early and Kye and a couple other kids were having fun finding little gems along the dock!
I enjoyed talking to the other parents who were from England. It was SO interesting to hear their take on Disney vacations!
I LOVE seeing that smile and seeing him SO PUMPED!
Off they go!
Off they go!
We should have brought some pins for him to trade!
I headed over to a more quiet spot near the pool to relax and read while Kye was on his adventure!
(and yes, I brought my Mickey Mouse sunglasses!)
If you haven't read The Light Between Oceans I def recommend it! Very RAW but good!
I went to use the bathroom and had a mini panic attack when I ran into some of the little girls who I had seen that morning get on the boat with Kye! I freaked and was so confused what they were doing there. Turns out part of their clues took them to spots at the resort and they took a bathroom break. I got to see Kye but tried not to be all about him because I wanted him to have his time to be fully immersed in the experience!
They are back!
Seeing his excitement and little red cheeks made me totally do a flashback to his toddler days, he was having a BLAST!
Turns out the treasure was at the dock all along!
Video of them opening the treasure box!
After we finished up we went back to the arcade. We both wanted to have a happier experience there and it was a MUCH better time this time around! We got some pics together in a photo booth and he was able to play a few games as well!
It was HILARIOUS because this random lady was HOGGING the Star Wars game. I get that the longer you play the more advanced levels you get, but she was on her first round and SAW US WAITING. So stop after round one, let the kid play, then start over right? It's not like she was super mega far into it or anything. She got SO CRUNK when I finally broke down and asked if he could have a turn. She just kept swiping her card and playing longer and longer even with us standing directly behind her and her able to hear me remind Kye that it'd be his turn soon.
I'm not a person who thinks kids should rule the world or always get their way but to be that hardcore about a game at a Disney resort?!?! So strange right?!?! When I asked her she said "ugh fine it'll ruin my game." I just said "thank you!" and let her leave haha
Of course Kye now wants a Star Wars game from Santa...oh man...
One last time using that Magic Band!
We also hit up the gift shop. I was bummed that they didn't have an ornament for the resort but they did have a pin!
While I was getting ready and loading up Kye was being so silly with the mirrors. I love moments like these where his little boy side still comes out :) He's super mature for his age which is great for many things but I LOVE that he can still be silly too!
We got a check out of 1:00 so we didn't have to hurry at all! We loaded up and headed over to Disney Springs because we wanted to do some bowling. Y'all do NOT follow the Maps App to get to Splitsville. It took me to some back parking lot of Disney Springs and took us FOREVER to find a parking deck and then we picked the wrong one and had to walk super far!!! So annoying!
Disney Springs is FULLY complete now and there are a ton of great additions!
Y'all know this was my favorite part. Walking around holding hands with my sweet boy :)
Splitsville to Bowl!
I didn't have any socks so I borrowed a pair of Kye's haha
Something you may not know about me: I had a paid of bowling shoes in high school that I'd wear to school ;)
Bowling at Splitsville is SUPER expensive. Like crazy expensive. We did not eat anything or order anything other than water!
Y'all I'm not competitive at ALL and I can't remember the last time I played any sort of competitive anything without Zach. Zach is annoyingly good at everything and he's super competitive. I get really really really nervous doing competitive stuff with him around so I perform even worse. But without him? I was BALLING at BOWLING (at least for myself) haha.
Here's some videos of us bowling:
I was having a blast with my mad bowling skills but it bothered Kye. He's EXTREMELY competitive (clearly from his dad and not from me haha) and gets upset when he's losing. I was stuck because do I a) lose on purpose so he'll be happy or b) play my best even if it means he's upset because he loses?
I went for playing my best. It's important to learn to be a good sport and he needed to be able to have FUN even if he wasn't winning. Enjoying the time together is more important than who wins. In the end he won one game and I won 2 making me the grand champ ;) We did have to talk about being a good sport and there was a time period where he had to sit it out a bit until he was ready to go back at it but overall he had a great time...we both did!
We got a map as Kye LOVES to navigate!
Checking out some of the new stores at Disney Springs
We went into Guest Services because I bought an Annual Pass and wanted to go over some things with them as I'm totally new at this whole thing! I noticed a TON of info about Zika and huge bottles of bug spray they were passing out.
We headed back to the car to head home! My lucky number is 33...how crazy cool is that? I never stop it on purpose, I just let the gas fill as much as it needs so this was neat!
We stopped at a Zaxby's on our way home for dinner. I have to say this was another favorite moment from the trip. I'm thankful we went on this trip. I think I needed it more than "we" needed it, if that makes sense. With Britt I felt like that time together was needed. She can be tough for me with parenting and that time away just us really helped us bond together on a deeper level. I needed this time with Kye to be able to accept this new phase of life. Having that time with him and seeing him wanting to run ahead of me, sit in a different hammock than mine, play solo games, wanting to be competitive with games, etc helped me really see that he's growing up. It helped me realize that this is a new era of parenting where I'm having to let go more and sit back and watch more than be in the moment with him during experiences. As he grows up (as they all do!) this distance will slowly become greater and greater. I have to accept that and embrace that and I really made peace with that during this trip. We have THE most fun together sitting at a table just the two of us talking. We have our bond. We have our special time. And I'm thankful that we do have something we enjoy so much together. It doesn't have to be a big trip away or a big experience, as long as he'll always agree to a dinner date with his Mama then I'm a happy camper :)
If you ARE wanting to do a mother-son trip I'd recommend taking it at age 6 rather than age 7. I REALLY noticed the big shift from "mama's boy" to "big kid" from age 6 - 7 so I do think I just kinda missed that window. We still had a wonderful time and I'm so thankful we got to have that time together. I'm thankful for the relationship we have and the way we think so much alike and can just talk and talk together. He's such a special kid and I'm so blessed that he's MINE!
Pulling in at home we saw a single spot of rain! I love when that happens!
Have you done solo trips with your kids? What are some of your recommendations? I love that Zach and I both value quality alone time with each of our children and I'm sure these types of experiences will be something we do more of in the future!