There and back again, the B Family’s Tale.
You guys, it’s so crazy to be typing a TRIP REPORT. Like, we have spent the past 15 months talking about saving and planing, and now that’s all over and done with. I came, I saw, I ate bread pudding. How is it even possible that a few weeks ago I was sitting near the Mad Tea Party, blissfully enjoying a Mickey Bar?
I’m sure this will surprise no one, but we had an amazing time. It was hot, I was pregnant, but neither of those things can stop the magic. I’ve been cataloguing my thoughts since we got back, trying to figure out the best way to share everything with you all. We ate some amazing food, made a few mistakes, stumbled into a few discoveries, ate some more terrific food, rode 2 million buses, and did I mention the food?
And I want to tell you about EVERYTHING. Because we’re best friends, and you cheered me on through weeks of no money for my Disney Fund deposits and celebrated with me when we found out a new mouse was coming to our house. You deserve to know my thoughts about The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
So we’re going to do it all. Be checking back here on the regular because I’ll be bringing you restaurant reviews, ride overviews, opinions about the weather, pregnancy, and whatever else floats into my head. Oh, and we’ll probably get around to telling you whether we’re having a Prince or Princess. ;)
But because I can’t help myself and want to talk all Disney all the time, let’s roll the highlight reel of the B Family’s 2018 Walt Disney World Vacation!
B Family MVP: Baby B
This was a tough one, as all B Family members had their time to shine, but undoubtedly, the newest Bee was the star of the show. Whether it was cast members celebrating alongside us, Belle telling my girls to “take care of their new Tea Cup” or the countless people who gave up their seat for me on the buses, this little mouseketeer had it made in the shade. And Mama didn’t do so badly either, proving that even while pregnant, Disney is the best.
Most Rideable Ride: Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid
Ya’ll, we rode this six times. It was my Frying Pan’s favorite ride. While her big sis was off mining with the Seven Dwarfs, she was devoting full time to floating. But then my mother was like, “Well, I’ve never been on that.” And then the Glass Slipper was like, “Wait, I want to do Mermaid, too!” And at one point, we were at the end of the ride and Preggo McGee over here was having a hard time getting up (don’t judge me, those clamshells are deep) and the Cast Member goes, “You guys want to just ride again?” And my little Ariel lover was like, “YAAAAAAAAAS.” On the last day, everyone got to pick their one favorite to do again. Guess who picked this one?
Under the Sea doesn’t have the same dark ride glamour of Peter Pan’s Flight or the real life interaction of new Fantasyland neighbor Enchanted Tales with Belle. But the beloved songs and fantastic animatronics, as well as the interactive and SHADED queue make this an attraction not to miss. For one little girl, it was the highlight of her trip. And for one pregnant mama, the part where the clamshell tips back and a breeze blows in as bubbles appear over your head was a much needed moment of calm.
Most Unexpected Star: The Stingrays at the interactive queue for Turtle Talk with Crush.
Ok, this is a doozy. Our second FastPass at Epcot, the Seas with Nemo and Friends, was experiencing some technical difficulties at our return time. So they shuffled everyone counter clockwise into Turtle Talk with Crush. Welp, my Glass Slipper is a marine animal lover, so she was delighted to find that the pre-show holding area had some aquatic friends to visit. Namely, these stingrays.
When it was time to say goodbye to the stingrays and hello to Crush, Glass Slipper was pretty upset. So upset, that all she did during Turtle Talk with Crush was ask if we could go see the string rays. After the attraction, we took her upstairs in the Seas pavilion to where the giant string rays were, but no. She wanted the little ones downstairs. She had been telling them a story. She had to finish it.
We troop back downstairs. I explain the situation to the Cast Member at the FastPass entrance. She not only graciously allows us back in, but introduces us to a Cast Member who is an expert on the stingrays, who proceeds to give us a 20 minute private session about stingrays that my daughter is still talking about weeks later. Shout out to Jennifer, from West Virginia, who answered no less than 563,936 questions about stingrays from my chatterboxes.
Just goes to show: we never know what is going to grab hold of our kids’ imaginations at Disney. If I learned one thing on this trip, it was how valuable the power of saying yes is. Have a plan, but if your daughter wants to spend 45 minutes with a stingray, do it. Spaceship Earth isn’t going anywhere.
Best Character Meal: Supercalifragalistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare
Ok, you knew we were heading here on a pool day because my littles are obsessed with Alice. The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast tends to get overlooked, since there are no princesses or special park entry times. But can I tell you, it is my favorite character meal we’ve ever done.
Sometimes at these character meals, you consent to the fact that food is just okay because the thing you’re paying for is interaction with the characters. But anyone who thinks that has not had the bread pudding or the strawberry soup at 1900 Park Fare. I kept meaning to taking a picture of my food, but I kept forgetting because I would eat it so fast. Finally, I made my mother go back and get another helping so I could take a picture. Which I did. And then proceeded to eat the bread pudding off her plate. Pregnancy perks!
Not to be outshone by the food, the characters were a delight. We met Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger. Our table was right near the doors to Tigger’s photo op, and he had a blast playing hide and seek with our littles, sneaking up on me (with my mouth full of bread pudding), and even giving Mr. B a surprise kiss on his shaved head. All the characters spent a good chunk of time with each table, and I was especially impressed with how they were able to engage each person at the table. This was every family member’s favorite meal.
Most Surprising Quick Service Meal: Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom
Let us be real. We do not normally go home from our Disney vacations raving about the Quick Service meals. But this trip, we did! We hit up Pizzafari in the Animal Kingdom for the first time and were pleasantly surprised at the portions, quality, and taste of the food. The lively decor, air conditioning, and bathroom were just the pepperonis on top of a delicious pizza. Seriously, the way to my heart is having a rest room in your building.
Best Thing We Brought from Home: The Double Stroller
We see this question all the time in the SavEars: I have a five (or six or seven) year old who doesn’t really need a stroller, but a younger child who does. Should I bring my double stroller?
Friends, the answer is always yes.
But it is especially yes in the summer heat. We were at Disney in mid August, where the Sun’s main goal is try and melt your face off. Your regularly sturdy five (or six or seven) year old is going to get tired, and they’re going to get hot, and then the whining begins. Mr. B did not want to bring the double stroller, because, admittedly, it is a pain getting on and off the buses. But I insisted and was rewarded with him saying, ON DAY ONE, “You were right about the stroller.” Our plan is always to conquer the parks one section at a time, based on stroller parking. It hasn’t failed us yet.
Best Worst Place for a Photo Op: Cinderella Fountain, located at the back of the castle.
Pros: Gorgeous, uncrowded spot to capture some memories.
Cons: Fountain water many splash small children in the face. Small children may decide they would rather swim in said fountain than take nice pictures.
Best Park Philosophy: Whenever You Can, Say Yes
I touched on this a little with the stingrays, but it really became our trip mantra. “Whenever you can, say yes.” Plans are usually my middle name. I mean, look, I write for a Disney blog, of course I am all about the plans! But we went into this trip knowing it was going to look a little different, both in terms of what I was physically capable of doing and our attitude around it. We had a plan, but we were also pretty comfortable changing that plan.
You want to go back to Magic Kingdom even though we have FastPasses at a different park? Yes!
You want to rope drop Jungle Cruise? Yes!
You want have a snack before lunch? Yes!
You want to skip the evening in the park to stay and play at the pool longer? Yes!
I know we all worked really hard to get to our vacations. Vacations cost a lost of money, and there’s this impulse to “get our money’s worth” which usually translates to sticking to the plan, getting in as many rides as possible going as long as you can without a real to eat or use the restroom. We’ve done that vacation, and it can be a fun rush. But we’ve never done the vacation where we all gave each other just a little more breathing room and said “yes” instead of “that’s not on the plan” or “maybe if there’s time.” It was important for me to remember this was my kids’ and husband’s vacation, too. It wasn’t just about crossing things off my list, but experiencing things together as a family. Whatever your family’s vacation looks like, whatever pace you go, I highly recommend setting aside some time to just say yes and see where it takes you.
What topics are you most excited for me to cover over the next few weeks? Did I miss anything that you have questions about? Were any of you at Disney from 8/11-8/16? Did you see me?? Tell me all about 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!