MLK Disney 2019: AK Morning and Epcot

We had our evening at Animal Kingdom but decided to also do the next morning at AK too so the big kids could ride Flight of Passage again! The best method for being able to ride Flight of Passage is to get to Animal Kingdom at LEAST an hour prior to park opening!

When we got there (again an HOUR PRIOR to opening) the line to get in was already so long that I got stuck at bag check and security wouldn’t allow the bag checkers to check any more bags so people couldn’t be added to the massive group of people waiting to get in. Thankfully Zach, Kye, and Britt had gone through the no-bag line so they were in with the masses and I was fine with not being right at the front since Tess, Spear and I weren’t needing a mad dash to get to safari.

Often Animal Kingdom opens up plenty early prior to park opening. We were allowed in WAY early so Tess, Spear and I just took our time heading over to the Safari area. It was so nice to just casually stroll and enjoy the empty park. Zach, Kye and Britt ended up being allowed into Pandora and rode Flight of Passage by 8:40 which was a full 20 min before park opening!

So nice to have a super empty park 🙂

Since we were so early we didn’t rush to wait for Safari to open and instead spent that time walking around the tree of life just checking it out and looking at all the animals. Tessie just really loves Animal Kingdom. She was all about being the leader and I loved that we had the freedom and space to allow her to do her thing!

Such a cool birds nest!

Spear enjoyed his breakfast while we waited and I started talking to some people beside us. I never know when to mention Spear’s story but I try to let God just lead me on it and when I feel the urge to say something, I say it. And so far it’s always been a blessing!

The couple we were talking to had such an incredible story. The woman was herself adopted and her parents had 74 children come through their doors in the foster system. She and her husband adopted two children. One of which had a 14 year old birth mother who’d gotten pregnant from rape and didn’t even tell her mom she was pregnant until she was delivering. I loved chatting with them and hearing about their adult adopted children. In their experience their adoptive son has never questioned anything or had any sort of difficulties with his story. I hope Spear is the same way!

Ready for Safari!

Give Spear a water bottle and he’s good to go!

A great thing with the kids having their own bookbags means that they are in charge of their snacks! I let them snack whenever they want, but once the snacks are gone – they are gone. I allowed them each to pack one snack bag and they had to make it last the entire trip. Out of the three big kids, Britt ended up doing the best with saving hers!

Newborn giraffee that was born a few days prior!

Zach, Kye and Britt rode Flight of Passage then headed to ride Everest. We had a fastpass but they were done so quick with Flight of Passage that they were able to ride it twice! We finished up with safari and had some time while they were riding Everst to check out some of the animals. Tessie just LOVES animals and she would spend all day walking from animal exhibit to animal exhibit. I again let her lead the way and I enjoyed seeing what animals gave her pause and which she was more quick to move on from.

The reptile and amphbian room was her favorite!

Team Flight of Passage and Everest!

So proud of Zach for snapping these pics!

Britt hasn’t ridden Everest since we came with Zach’s family and she rode it with Courtney. She was all about riding with HER DADDY. She didn’t want to sit with Kye, she wanted to sit with Zach. She later told me she enjoyed Everest again and that she thinks it only scared her because she rode with Aunt Courtney last time! Girl just needs her protective Daddy by her side 🙂

We really had a big chunk of time with no plans. We talked about going to watch Nemo (as it’s Tess’s fav) but felt like Spear couldn’t be expected to sit through that as well as the UP Bird Show and since we’d never seen the UP show yet we wanted to hold out for that. The kids LOVE the Boneyard playground so we headed there and met Zach and his crew and just let the kids RUN and PLAY. There is only one entrance/exit so we let them do their thing and just had some great downtime.

I know I keep saying it but it’s SO NICE having annual passes and not feeling pressured or rushed to do things. The parks were CROWDED and rather than fighting crowds, we played!

Spear’s first experience with a slide! He had more fun being allowed to climb the stairs!

Kye truly adores spending time with Spear and loved sliding with him!

Wearing their matching mountain shirts!

We have played at the Boneyard playground TONS of times but haven’t ever experienced the sand area before. We haven’t ever let the kids have free reign in the play area so they’ve never crossed the bridge to even know the sand section exsisted. It’s AWESOME yall!!! The big three had a blast! Tess also cracked us up because she took after big sister and found a new best friend that she played with the entire time we were there.

Guess we made Fetch happen! 😉

Spear played a bit and then Zach took him out of the Boneyard to nap. I kept asking if the older three wanted to go and do something else but they were just so happy to PLAY!

Snack break! When Britt bought her Banshee I did suggest that both she and Kye purchase the carry case for them. I was thinking if they had the carry case that maybe they’d use the banshees more often. She brougths hers along with us to the park that day and did wear it a bit…for like a few minutes.

If you can’t tell – my personal opinion is that the banshees are a total and complete waste of money!

Tess’s absoulte favorite thing is getting to be the leader 😉

It was a gorgeous day but FREEZING. Like the temps kept dropping and the wind was insane! Thankful I had stored up all of Kye’s old clothes and Spear has some good winter thick jackets!

If you’ve seen the bird show at AK before, not much has changed. They’ve basically revamped it to add-in the characters from UP!

We had a fastpass to see the show and were still SUPER early. Britt was being very negative about the show and complaining a lot and Kye chimed in a good bit too on the negative town talk. Whew it got UNDER MY SKIN. I reminded them that we came to the park super early that morning for THEM. So THEY could ride what THEY wanted to ride. That Spear, Tess and I sacrificed for THEM and didn’t complain one bit and that THEY could suck it up and watch the bird show for their sister (duh, Tess was pumped for it).

We also decided to leave right after the show rather than wait for our Dinosaur fastpass. I was honestly pretty pushed to my limits with the poor attitudes. We are SO blessed to be able to go to Disney so often and should enjoy all the parks have to offer. What killed me the most is that they ended up both LOVING and ENJOYING the bird show! It was a great lesson to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things without having a predecided opinion on it.

Britt’s goal of eating less messy was a bit of a struggle this trip. Girl loves chocolate but snacks on the go that are chocolate are hard to come by that also aren’t MESSY!

The big three kids can eat in the car but Spear can’t yet handle that so he had his lunch during the show!

Into it!

Zach’s favorite bird!

Sometimes when I glance at Britt I can see into the future…I can just picture her as a young woman adult!

Beating Daddy to the car on the parking tram!

I really wanted a family photo in front of the Tree of Life because I don’t think we have any as a full family? Or if we do I think Spear is sleeping in them 😉 It was so cute to me that Zach requested a guy pic!


Like I mentioned before, this weekend was about finding BALANCE. So our plan was to split up the days with half day at the parks and half day at the Disney House. We all had nice naps and nice long baths before FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT whoop whoop! We made BBQ in the crock pot and had a fun meal and then watched a movie together.

Popcorn and Hot Chocolate

Kye and I both read Wonder last year and I had told him we’d watch the movie and then kinda just forgot about it. I saw the movie with my Book Club and felt it was kid-appropriate. There is a bit of language but the language is like “hate” and “stupid” and there is a scene with a bit of drinking and a little hint of sexual content but it’s between the mom and dad so that’s fine.

Overall it’s an AWESOME movie for kids. Kye, Britt and I all cried! Britt said during it “maybe I need to find a new BFF” which was very insightful of her. The things she tells me about her best friend at school concern me at times. The girl makes demands of Britt and is always the one calling the shots. I’m glad Britt did some self-reflection.

When I tucked Kye in we also had a great talk. We talked about popularity at school and fitting in, being the Jack Will in life and supporting the Auggies. Truly it’s a GREAT family movie with SO many lessons!

We knew Monday morning was supposed to be EVEN colder than the day prior. We woke up and it was literally freezing outside! Pretty crazy in Florida. We talked to the kids and decided to slow roll things a bit. We didn’t want to rush to the park to be standing out in the freezing cold waiting an hour for park opening. We had planned to visit Epcot and run straight for Frozen which does require a pretty early arrival.

We mapped it out with the kids and agreed if we got there and it was crazy swampped that we’d just check Frozen’s wait time and skip it if needed.

When we arrived we were plesently surprised! It was a LOT nicer than the day before since the wind wasn’t bad AT ALL and the sun was so bright and pretty! It was a chilly morning, but gorgeous one! We were still plenty early before opening and there was not a bad crowd AT ALL. We assumed most people on the holiday weekend probably headed home that morning and that the weather kept the locals away. Freezing temps in Florida are NOT a norm 😉

We were still decently close for the Jammitors and Kye had that camera ready 🙂 #likehismama

Breakfast and water bottle!

Even with only being there about 30 min before opening we still got to Frozen with only a 10 minute wait!!! Whoop whoop!

My little Elsas 🙂

Tess’s face and Spear’s face are both EPIC!


When in Norway…you must greet the troll!

My sweet friend Meghan was at Epcot a couple days prior and had pics of their crew meeting Ralph and Vanellope and I didn’t even know they were at Epcot! Since we got onto Frozen so easily we figured we’d head over and see how bad the wait was for Ralph. Yall we walked right in and only had a couple people in front of us!!! So awesome!

I love Disney for SO many reasons but the way the cast members interact with those with special needs just GETS ME. Whew. I was straight crying and trying not to cry while watching a precious boy in front of us. He’d made his own outfit to wear to meet Ralph and he was so excited and just watching his mama with all the love in her eyes. Literally crying right now even just remembering the moment. The characters were precious with him. The cast members didn’t rush the experience. They took lots of photos. Asked him questions and showered him with compliments about his outfit.

And it’s like that every single time I’ve ever seen anyone with any sort of special need at the parks. Disney goes ABOVE and BEYOND with these guests. Disney is magical for EVERYONE. I had to get my composure for our turn because I could have just ugly cried right then and there and I simply do not know how the cast members keep it together like they do! I’d be a hot mess!!!

Ralph and Vanellope were awesome and Spear was ALL about some Ralph. It cracks me up how BRAVE Spear is! No fear whatsoever! Ralph is MASSIVE but Spear went right for him!

Tess was so excited too!

Such an accurate photo of our family! Kye posing, Britt embracing in a hug, Spear in awe, and Tess excited. Then Zach and I just soaking in our babies and their joy!

Spear wasn’t falling…he was trying to grab onto Ralph!

A friend of mine had asked me to do a favor for her at Epcot and have a shirt sent for her son from the Figment store. There was no wait for the ride so we hopped on! I’ve heard they are revamping it and it needs it but it will also be really cool having the Inside Out Gang as part of it – I think it’ll only enhance what is already there!

Now that Britt is totally and truly SEVEN she and Kye get to really bond at the parks and love riding stuff together!

Spear and I, Zach and Tess and Kye and Britt all rode Nemo!

Much like the day before we weren’t in any sort of rush and just were able to CHILL. The kids wanted to play in the playground area of Nemo so we let them have at it. It was a fun moment for a couple of reasons! First, because it was the first time we’ve really been to a play place where Spear could just PLAY and have things to actually enjoy doing! Secondly, because Tessie didn’t care about playing. All she wanted to do was walk around and see the animals (She is dead set that she will be an animal doctor someday and I believe it! Girl is passionate!) so Zach took her around which made me happy as I think moments like that are great for bonding and so often I’m the one who gets to have those moments!

Attempt at a pic of all four kids…wasn’t so successful!

Heading to one of our favs – Spaceship Earth!

We again grouped off into twos…kinda loving this family of 6 thing 😉 Kye and Britt, Myself and Tess, Zach and Spear!

If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet…we love chill time at the parks 😉 On this trip I made a very loose touring plan the first day of the trip for the park time while we were there and just put it in a note on my phone. We had our fastpasses (I still book them 30 days in advance) and I chose a few other things we’d want to do at each park during our time there but then I also left a LOT of blank time to just fill in however we felt like in the moment. Thankfully our family gels pretty well at the parks and all pretty much agree easily on how to fill that blank time…the kids all love PLAY TIME.

Epcot has recently added a new play area and it’s a great little spot to sit and hang and let the kids run wild. Zach helped Spear get to sleep for a little power nap while the older three played.

We play for a bit then head to Kye’s favorite place…CLUB COOL. Yall know we are pretty hardcore with our eating and what we allow the kids to eat and drink and we just don’t do much soda. But at Club Cool? Go. For. It. Zach stayed out with Spear so he could sleep so the big three and I had our fill!

Daddy being outside was the perfect opportunity for a little trick…Kye took Daddy some “Sprite” which was actually BEVERLY 😉 I’m sure Daddy had NO CLUE what was going on. Kye was ALL ABOUT IT haha!

After Club Cool we split up and Zach took Kye, Britt and Tess over to Test Track for their fastpass while Spear and I headed to redeem our fastpass to meet Mickey and gang!

Sidenote but Britt is all into the whole typical girl pose right now…the peace sign with the open mouth and tongue sticking out. I’m fine with the peace sign. I mean that’s classic cute girl pic material…but the tongue out thing? Nope. Not here for it.

Pro Disney Dad!

Their cars!

Ready for the BIG MOUSE!

I’m sure I annoyed all the cast members and characters but I just wanted to let Spear down and allow him to experience the characters on his own, to have his own special moment with each of them. He was ALL ABOUT Mickey and Minnie but much less interested in Goofy!

Here’s his video going to Mickey

Takes after his big sister Britt Britt with the character kissing!

Here is his video of meeting Goofy

In the moment I was so confused as to what Goofy was doing. I thought maybe he was bored or annoyed…it literally took for me to sit down and write this post to realize he was copying Spear’s poses haha!

Minnie, of course, was the sweetest with him!

Spear and I met up with the rest of the crew at the entrance of the park and they were taking longer than us so why not get a little solo photopass pic, right?!?!

Btw my tunic is from Amazon here!

I also wore these shoes for the first time. Yall. They are SO COMFORTABLE that I didn’t even remember I was wearing them and ended up wearing them the entire rest of the day. SO COMFORTABLE! These are navy but I want to get more colors! 

When we got back to the house some friends of ours stopped by on their way back to Valdosta so we got to hang out with them for awhile and then just had a bunch of straight chill time. Zach and I got a TON done around the house. He installed a new light into the game room to help brighten it up and I completely reorganized the owner closet areas so we can have our things stored better and in a more organized way. We also gutted all of the kids stuffed animals (aka “friends”)  and brought ALL of the Disney friends down to the Disney House. We’re storing them there so the kids can enjoy them when we visit and so they don’t take up space at home 😉

We purchased a Playstation Classic for the rental house too so Kye had fun breaking it in!

Tessie LOVES getting to wake up Spear 🙂

Spear is just straight fearless yall. He kills me and I know as he gets older we will have to tame him a bit haha. He was hilrious in the bathtub. He kept going over to a little seat spot in the master tub and climbing up on it and then standing and holding onto the window ledge. I’d get onto him and tell him to sit on his hiney and he’d flop down and slide down the seat to then crash into the water. He thought it was HILARIOUS.

We headed home the next morning and checked the kids into school then got home to get back at it with our hardcore organizing and purging 😉 We had a really wonderful weekend. The rental house is really starting to feel like a true second home for our family. A place to relax and unwind and just enjoy each other and make memories together. We all agreed it was the PERFECT balance of a weekend! I know not all weekends will be able to be that way (since we had an extra day this trip that we don’t typically have) but I do think it sets a great tone for our Disney trips this year!

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World we’d love for you to check out what our Rental House has to offer. We are actually already starting to book for 2020! It’s never too early yall to start planning the magic and with the big discounts we offer for blog readers we hope we’re able to help families make fun memories as a family at Walt Disney World!

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