Mrs. Charlotte took Tess potty and Zach, the big kids, and I headed into World of Disney. If you are wanting Disney merchandise (and as an AP I get 20% off! Whhhhat?!?!) World of Disney is the best place to go b/c it's the largest store on Disney property so they do have the best selection. Although, to be honest, I've always been let down in one way or another with the lack of merchandise at Disney. Literally no Jasmine stuff. Nothing Cinderella (other than a crazy expensive two-princess plush thing). We struggled finding Moana stuff as well and the movie just came out! It's REALLY best if you want certain items to NOT wait to purchase them at Disney. Disney Store online usually has a good selection of things!
As we were walking into the store this fabulously dressed lady and her entourage of Disney cast members came up to us and stopped us. It was so bizarre. They kept talking about how great we all looked and asked for photos of us with the fabulous woman. She was hilarious and you know Zach and I love chatting it up with people. At first when they asked for photos I assumed they just wanted the kids but then they said they really wanted some of all of us with this woman so Zach and I jumped in too! The funniest thing was that the woman asked where we were from and we told her Valdosta. When the photographer snapped the pic she said "Say Wild Adventures!" bahahaha
The cast member who took photos on their cameras mentioned something about using them in a brochure or something? If yall ever see us or the kids on something Disney PLEASE tell me! How cool would that be?
When we got inside the store other cast members had been watching and we asked them who the lady was. They said she's a regular at Hollywood Studios :)
Both Britt and Kye's shirts are from Target!
I love how G-Mama enjoys soaking in memories with our babies!
Since the crowds were minimal I got a little bit daring and asked Zach if we could meet Santa. We don't have the best Santa options in Valdosta but Disney? Hello amazing. Y'all. Usually they have these pagers they give you to come back when it's your turn to meet Santa (Santa also appears in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. I've heard Mrs Claus is also at Epcot and that most of the hardcore people prefer meeting Santa there...I personally prefer the quickest, easiest option haha). Usually the wait for him (b/c I def checked the day prior!) is LONG. We legit WALKED RIGHT IN. Zero wait. When we turned the corner it was our turn! How awesome is that?
Tess had zero desire to meet him. I was tempted to push her a little because I do love a good crying while meeting Santa pic...but with her not feeling good I was not gonna push her into anything! Instead the big kids ate him up! Kye has been going through his Santa wishlist for AWHILE so he knew exactly what he wanted to say. And Britt? Well she told Santa all she wanted were surprises ;)
After meeting Santa we headed over to Lego store.
Both Kye and Britt do chores (we use Dave Ramsey's kids program which is AWESOME) and rather than ever spending any money, they choose to save it all to spend at Disney. Disney Springs is the time we set aside for them to use their money and Kye, of course, wanted to go straight for some Legos!
Tess was clearly a fan ;)
A favorite at Lego Store for Kye and Zach is building a car to race against other kids. Of course Daddy has it all figured out and they always build a SUPER heavy car so they win haha
Checking out all the princesses :)
Tess loved looking at EVERYTHING but even with all the awesome Legos, large sized characters, and all the cool things to see everywhere you look...
She was mostly excited about seeing birds haha
Ready to race!
(this is a completely free activity and is a great thing for kids of all ages...apparently also 32 year old men ha!)
Kye is very smart with his spending. He found a Star Wars Lego set on HUGE sale (like normally $80 and was $29 for black friday). Thankfully I keep a list in my phone of all the Legos he owns (or ones waiting for him in my gift closet) so I knew he was good to go on getting it ;)
Britt walked into World of Disney and instantly wanted the items on the Black Friday sales tables. She is getting a new princess-themed bedroom and picked out a big Aurora bank that was on sale for $5! She also got a snow globe that was around $10 for her new room. She didn't have as much money as Kye did (she's not as motivated to earn it either haha) but she still walked away happy with her purchases!
While at World of Disney it was a bit crazy because we all wanted to look at different things and all spread out and were all just so entranced with everything around us. We had THREE adults. And even then we still misplaced Kye. He was looking at something and didn't realize we'd all headed to the register to check out for Britt's stuff. We got up to pay and I said "where is Kye?" Zach and Mrs Charlotte ran to track him down and I stayed with Britt to pay. I didn't feel that anxiety "OMG MY CHILD IS LOST" feeing. It was all in such a short time span that I felt confident Kye was just around the corner looking at something and probably didn't even realize we weren't there. He was fine, a little scared, but overall okay and he was found quickly! I'm thankful he's SO responsible! We did remind him if he ever gets separated from us to find a person who works at Disney OR a mom. Moms are always safe bets ;)
We don't spend a lot of money on souvenirs at Disney. I always buy the kids things on clearance throughout the year and save them to put in their prize bags while at Disney. And they get a lot of Disney related items as Christmas and Birthday gifts. We let them use their own earnings on Disney things but we DO buy them each a pin. One pin per person per trip! They can pick anything they want and they each have a pin board in our playroom where they have them on display.
If you are into pins the best place to purchase them is at Disney Springs. They have the largest collection! If you are a Disney Chase Cardholder always ask for the special pin they have! Only cardholders can purchase it and it's always for a limited time!
Britt picked Moana which we totally supported even though she had zero clue who she was at that moment ;)
Kye went with the Disney Cardholder pin which was Star Wars
Daddy helped Tess pick between a baby Minnie or Cinderella and she went with Minnie!
We also always hit up the Christmas shop at Disney Springs. Again, if you're like us and you collect a Christmas ornament for every visit, then Days of Christmas is the store for you! They have THE best selection of Christmas items. We were, however, bummed at the lack of Disney Christmas Village items this year!
Our must-stop place at Disney Springs is always Goofy's Candy Company. We all love it and it's the perfect place for a treat! Since we had such a HUGE breakfast we just got treats for lunch (and I brought along some fruit, raisins and such to help be filler too). Usually we have the kids use their earnings to buy their treat but we were in a generous mood and paid for them ;)
Britt shocked us and didn't pick chocolate!
Daddy loves their slushes!
We paid for Kye's cotton candy but did tell him we'd only pay for one treat...so he bought his own slushie!
G-Mama loves her popcorn!
And, duh, I also love me some cotton candy!
These two are ALL about sitting together at big kid tables :) I love their friendship!
The silly mirror is a favorite too!
We did SUPER short naps and just let Kye skip because we had plans that were at a set time and didn't have long enough for him to bother falling asleep. Britt also didn't fall asleep so we let her get up early and play a little Mario Kart with Kye :)
When Britt talked about wanting to do her birthday at Disney the ONE thing she mentioned was that she really wanted to see a movie at Disney Springs. Kye went bowling at Splitsville for his birthday surprise and she kept talking about wanting to visit the movie theater. Of course this was a year ago and by the time we actually WENT on the Disney trip she'd long forgotten about her wish. ;)
One of my personal goals is to try and do new things at Disney every time we go. BBB, and Park Fare were both new experiences for our crew and going to see a movie at the AMC at Disney Springs would be a great addition to our list!
The AMC there is NOT affiliated with Disney (which means no gift cards, no discounts. Boo.). I legit had planned to take her to a movie there prior to even knowing Moana was coming out! It was just PERFECT that our trip fell on the opening weekend of the movie! I checked their site like a mad woman and was the very first person to purchase advanced tickets for our showing of Moana.
It was not cheap. BUT it was a really neat experience. Zach, more than anyone, LOVED IT and it's on my list to keep in mind for future birthdays for him ;) You buy tickets in advance and even choose your exact seats. I didn't know when booking that we were going to see Moana in 3d! It added to the surprise factor for sure!
We knew we wanted to experience the dining package which is actually a completely separate entrance than the regular theater. We had our tickets in advance but were given menus and paid for the meal separately.
I will go ahead and say that I think both the AMC and the Splitsville are just crazy expensive. Why don't they give some sort of discount on something? Like you pay for both the bowling as well as the movie AND have to pay for the food. Why not cut a deal like order such and such number of entrees and get a discount on your bowling/movie tickets? Just something?!?! The AMC was less expensive than the bowling and the food was much cheaper as well!
Whoop whoop so pumped! Britt was OVER the MOON excited when she realized what we were doing!!! Kye loved guessing at all the birthday surprises too :) I have found that I like it best when the kids KNOW about a Disney trip but I like to keep special plans a surprise which adds anticipation on top of the already crazy anticipation ;)
(Side note but why Moana? It's SO hard to remember! Britt legit kept calling her MULANA haha)
They only do four seats across so the guys sat in front of us :) G-mama and I got to sit with the birthday girl!
The eating while watching the movie thing was a big win for Zach...not so much for me. The counter area was just far away from the seating (short girl probs) but it also made it tough for the kids to reach and eat. Plus they were more into watching the movie than focusing on eating! I def think next time ZACH can eat and the rest of us can just share popcorn haha!!!
I did ask around about sneaking in food. I know at our home theater they basically have a "don't ask don't tell" policy about outside food and drink (I just walk in carrying my big yeti with water and they never have once stopped me). We all bought food so I didn't feel bad sneaking in stuff for Tess and water cups for the kids to make spills less of an issue. No one said anything. We also did bring in our own boxes of candy but purchased their popcorn. I think if we hadn't ordered a good bit of food then it may have been more of an issue, but we spent plenty of money haha.
I will say the food we purchased was fantastic. Mrs Charlotte and I both got appetizers (I got the stuffed pretzel bites and she got some yummy biscuits) and we loved them! The portions are plenty large enough to share. The service wasn't amazing because there was a mix up with who our server was supposed to be BUT they were awesome providing everything we asked for. From extra little containers to split up our popcorn to smaller 3 d glasses for the kids to wear! I was impressed how they really did have EVERYTHING!
If you attend an AMC dine-in movie then make sure to arrive early so you can order and get settled before the movie starts! It was nice to have that time to get adjusted!
Tess did fantastic the entire movie. She did say she had to go potty at one point so I had to take her out but we went right back in! Def much better than her first movie experience :)
It also didn't hurt that she figured out I was eating candy and helped herself to some haha
The movie was FANTASTIC. We love Disney and are typically always happy with all of their movies. But I KNEW I'd love this one! Hawaii is my JAM. I always say it's the one place I'd move to given the chance because I love the entire culture. This movie was all about that culture and was so, so great. I've heard some Christians being bothered by the demigod story line but yall it was VERY easy to explain to our children (we discussed different cultures having different ideas, how these people were probably before Christ's time, didn't have the Bible, etc) and very easy to incorporate Jesus into the themes of the film. A lot of it has the theme of following your heart/your calling which resonated with us and our desire to step out in faith in our lives. Mrs. Charlotte was straight up crying big tears at how much it really did fit with what Zach and I are going through, even touching on adoption in many ways!
Moana is an incredible character. Britt's FIRST thing she said about her was "she's SO smart!" which I loved! The soundtrack is also amazing. As in I've had the songs constantly stuck in my head for a solid few weeks now and am not tired of them yet (however, I'm also the mom who still cries when I listen to "Let It Go" so I'm probably not the best one to judge how annoying a song is haha).
There were a few scarier scenes but even those didn't bother the kids. It was VERY kid friendly and VERY action packed. Kye, who is Star Wars obsessed, equally loved it. It held Tess's attention very well and Britt is STILL talking about scenes from the movie 6 weeks later. It really stuck with her and I think it'll be a big hit in our home for a long time to come!
We headed back to the house to get the kids in the bed EARLY. We had a HUGE day the next day and wanted everyone as well-rested as possible! It was CRAZY to believe we'd already had such an amazing trip and that we hadn't even hit any of the parks yet :) It's just proof that you can have a DISNEY TRIP and not spend a fortune at the parks! There are so many fun, non-park things to experience that bring so much joy and still have that Disney magic feeling. If you plan to visit Disney, be sure to plan some non-park days to soak in other fun!
I did let Britt know that her birthday surprises were done haha I mean the BBB, two epic character meals AND the movie? It was birthday surprise overload for sure for her and I didn't want her to be expecting anything else haha!