Do ya’ll remember that last minute trip the B family took to the most magical place on Earth in 2017? Quick refresher: the B Family sold their house way more quickly than expected, and for more than asking price. It just so happened that Fall Room Discounts were released the same day we signed the closing papers, so it seemed like Tinkerbell was calling us home. This opportunity fell into our laps right as we had started our Saving to Disney journey for our 2018, we looked at is as kind of a dry run for our big 2018 trip.
Well, flash forward a few months, and the B Family has put down a deposit for that long discussed 2018 trip! In planning this trip, I realized I never finished blogging about the 2017 trip! Whoops. What better way to prepare for our next trip than to reflect about our last one? Plus, I’ll never pass an opportunity to chat about my beloved Disney World.
Let’s jump right in to the B Family’s 2017 WDW Trip, Day 4: Magic Kingdom Part II
Straight tip: if you can do more than one day at the Magic Kingdom, do it. If you can do only one day at Walt Disney World, do the Magic Kingdom. If you have only two days of park visits, those two days are not at all wasted if you do them both at the Magic Kingdom.
On this trip, our girls had just turned four and two. The Little Mermaid was tall enough for Seven Dwarves and Barnstormer, but the Sweet Apple is teeny tiny and basically still had to sit on one of our laps for most things. Hollywood Studios had major refurbishment going on, and it seemed like all the really fun rides at Epcot and Animal Kingdom were way out of our littles’ leagues. And that’s okay. There is a reason that the Magic Kingdom is the number one family destination in the WORLD. There are dozens of things for every member of the family. Don’t believe me? Check out our comprehensive list of every ride, attraction, and entertainment at the Magic Kingdom. If your vacation ends up being all Magic Kingdom all the time, like ours was, get ready for a magical time.
B Girls, ready to roll.
The first park day of our trip, the girls insisted on their fancy princess dressed. The second park day, I was able to talk them down to lighter, cooler, dresses with a Princess motif. Florida is hot, and if you’re vacationing in the summer (or early Fall…or late Spring…), have a few options for your girls besides fancy princess dresses. There are a lot of sweet, simple dresses that will fit in perfectly as you tour the parks.
Our first day in the Magic Kingdom was on a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party day, and he just happened to luck into BOG reservations at 6:30, so our day was a little shorter. But this second day, we were staying until the park closed. We missed the parade due to rain, and I was not missing it again. My girls really like Festival of Fantasy, but I’ll be real, I am OBSESSED. Ya’ll, I’ve been going to Walt Disney World since I was seven years old and this parade is unlike any other I’ve seen. It makes me feel things. I cry every single time. So we weren’t missing that parade.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to naps and Disney World. On the one hand, many people will tell you to take a break in the middle of the day when the parks are anther most crowded and the day is at its hottest. On the other hand, many people will tell you that your little can slumber in their stroller and time you waste getting to and from the hotel isn’t worth it. We’ve done both and here is my two cents.
Make your decision the day of. We went into this day knowing that I might have to miss the parade (sob) if our little little was melting down and needed a nap back at the hotel. I didn’t love it, but I was ready for it. Low and behold, she conked out right after lunch, at 1pm. We took the Little Mermaid on a few rides, switching out who sat with the slumbering Sweet Apple. One of my favorite moments of the trip was sitting near the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, enjoying a Mickey Bar as my daughter slept.
Once she slept, we knew were were in it until the fireworks. That’s a long day, so we had to pace ourselves.
And part of pacing ourselves meant going off script a little, letting our girls make some choices. The nice thing about doing the Magic Kingdom twice is that you also learn what your kids don’t like. My daughters were perfectly happy to skip most of Adventureland. When I kept not so subtly hinting that maybe we should go on Pirates of the Caribbean again, my Little Mermaid replied, “We did that already, thank you.”
Our FastPasses in place, our taste firmly defined, we were able to explore and go down rabbit holes we might have ignored on that first, tightly scheduled day.
Speaking of rabbit holes…
We saw Alice greeting friends around 9:30am. Everyone else was occupied with getting on standby for 7 Dwarves Mine Train, so we strolled up and were second in line. And boy, am I glad we did. This character interaction was our favorite of the whole trip. Because there was no one behind us when we started, Alice spent quite a lot of time with my girls. They all sat on the floor and pretended to be flowers. They talked about the Cheshire Cat and her favorite kind of tea. Alice taught them to curtsey. My girls are HUGE Alice fans, so this was it for them. At one point, the Sweet Apple was so overcome with joy, she kept yelling, “Alice! Alice!”
Alice said, “What’s your name?” “Sweet Apple,” she said. “Wonderful. Now when you say ‘Alice’, I can say, ‘Yes, Sweet Apple?’ Here, let’s try it!” Which then led to a minute long call and response between the Sweet Apple and Alice.
Talking about Wonderland.
After Alice, we noticed that there was practically no line to meet Merida in her receiving area. We still had a tone of time to get to our FastPass, so we decided to change our fate and meet the Scottish princess. Ya’ll, Merida’s area is soooo cool. Set kind of behind the castle, diagonal from the Mad Tea Party, its a stone enclosed garden. The line is on the right side of the garden, Merida meets in the middle (near her family tapestry) and then you exit the left. Unlike a lot of character experiences, the handler doesn’t usher you into the receiving area. Merida herself comes and gets you.
When your tour guide is Princess.
This was another lengthy interaction. If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with a three year old, you know it’s not the easiest thing. But this Merida was asking questions, listening to my girls, playing with them and just being a delight. In fact, when we got home, I wrote an email to Disney to let them know how amazing both Merida and Alice were. We included the date and times we had these interactions, so the cast members could be recognized. They did such an amazing job with my girls and I was so thankful for them.
It was on to Seven Dwarves Mine Train for our first FastPass of the day. The Little Mermaid was big enough for this, but alas, the Sweet Apple was not. Good thing there is Rider Switch. Rider Switch, sometimes also called rider Swap, is a program that allows the entire group to ride attractions with height restrictions, even if there is a member of your party too small to board.
Here’s how it works: the B Family all approach the fine people at Mine Train. This part is key. The cast members need to see that you have a small one and a reason to use Rider Switch. So the WHOLE party needs to check in. We tell them we have a FastPass, but we need Rider Switch. Mr. B and the Little Mermaid swipe their magic bands, and join the queue. They are given a paper FastPass for re-entry. They go enjoy the Dwarves, while the Sweet Apple and I make a visit to Winnie the Pooh. Afterwards, we all meet up. With the paper FastPass in hand, the Little Mermaid and I go back to the Mine train, while Mr.B and the Sweet Apple decide to Dumbo it up.
Now all of us who wanted to ride the coolest roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom have: me and Mr. B once a piece and the Little Mermaid got to do it twice! Just a note when using Rider Switch. Make sure you have something fun planned for the littlest member of your group. Don’t get sit there and wait for the big kids to be done with something. You’re at Disney World. You can find something awesome, and height inclusive, to do for a few minutes.
Told you we couldn’t stop meeting this Mermaid. My Little Mermaid even got to hold the dinglehopper!
Lunch at our favorite, Columbia Harbor House. Remember what I said about staying hydrated at WDW? All four of those cups are filled with water.
Disney naps are the best naps.
Mean mugging at Philharmagic.
We love the carousel.
The view from the People Mover, one of my favorites.
Okay, so here is where I admit to you a big mistake and you all say, “What? Kristen B, how could you?” We were planning on hitting Pinnochio’s Village Haus for dinner, around 8. Only problem? Pinnochio’s Village Haus closes at 8, as we learned alongside some other late diners. A quick re-group revealed that the only QS doing dinner was Casey’s Corner on Main Street. We like hot dogs, so off we went.
Us and every other family who didn’t know what time their desired eatery closed. Ya’ll, that line was long. Mr. B likes to say it is the longest line he has ever stood in at Walt Disney World. He waited over an hour, easy. Meanwhile, the girls and I stood around waiting for a table to open up in the quaint outdoor eating area. After about 20 minutes we struck gold, with a very nice woman ushering us over and making sure we got the table.
Not looking up the closing time of where we were going to eat dinner was a big mistake, but it lead to one of the nicest happy accidents. Mr. B had just sat down with our hot dogs and chili fries when we heard “Tell me a story!” Then we saw lights on the castle. By sheer dumb luck, we had arrived at the perfect seats to watch the “Once Upon a Time” show at the castle. Narrated by Mrs. Potts, “Once Upon a Time” is a 15 minute nighttime entertainment that features characters from Alice in Wonderland, Tangled, Cinderella, Peter Pan,Frozen, and other classic stories that begin ‘Once upon a time.’ Not to be confused with the big closing fireworks show, “Happily Ever After.”
After dinner, it was getting late, and we wanted to beat the Fireworks crowd out of the parks. So I am going to share a secret with you, but you have to promise me you won’t tell everyone. If I see a ton of people doing this on my next trip, I will know who to blame.
We hit up the Main Street Confectionary to grab some sweet treats and said our goodbyes to the castle. We exited the park, wishing the cast members a good night, and then we parked our behinds on a bench near the bus stops. From there, we ate our confectionery treats and watched some Fireworks. No crowds, no people in our way, just the little B Family, munching on treats and enjoying our private show.
When we were all done, we tossed our trash and headed to wait for our bus. Mere minutes later, we were on the bus and on our way back to our home away from home, Coronado Springs.
From the things we planned, to the things we didn’t, we all agreed it was the perfect way to end our trip.
Have you ever made a mistake that ended up being awesome? When is your next trip? Hit me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!