Disney in March!
This is about that one time we randomly went to Disney World on the fly.
Mama bear and I had been dreaming of a warm spring getaway, but I have commitment problems. It’s nearly impossible for me to give a definite “yes! I’ll be there!” to anything in advance — even FL after a long, cold winter. But when mama bear suggested she was still into planning a trip just four short days before we’d actually leave for said trip, I thought, “yes! I’ll be there!” And so, the girls, my mom, and I drove the 24 hours to Orlando where the rest of my fam met up with us a few days later. (Poor Jason was left at home to work and take care of the dogs.)
Surprisingly, 24 hours in the car over two days with a two year old and 7 month old wasn’t terrible. We made great time on the way down, and hardly used the in-car TV/DVD system.
We spent our first day in FL relaxing by a pool. It was kind of windy and chilly, but that didn’t stop Lil from enjoying the pool. She swam all around and made a few new friends. Two preteen girls were kind enough to follow her around the pool for at least 45 min. I didn’t catch their names, but she referred to the older, red-headed girl as “my mermaid friend”. Eleanor and I did a bit of swimming together, but we got a little cold and weren’t as into it. We also made a midday trip out for food and princess dresses/shoes/crowns.
On our second day in Orlando, we picked up my brothers, sister, and dad from the airport, and headed to the Hard Rock Hotel. We messed around for a while getting hotel rooms (the place was booked but the room they first gave us reeked of smoke so we switched). We ended up in a nice room on the top floor, which gave us access to the little clubhouse that served free drinks, apps, and desserts (score!). After happy hour, we ate at Margaritaville, which was exciting because a plastic model of Lilly’s fave shark – the hammerhead – was hanging from the ceiling. But Lil started feeling sick partway through dinner, and ended up running a temp later in the night. We left dinner early, but fortunately my bro and sis stayed out a bit later and were kind enough to run to the store for Tylenol before coming back to the hotel.
We spent the following day at Universal Islands of Fun. My siblings, dad, and I went over early to check out the Harry Potter ride (awesome, but nearly made me motion sick) and go on a few rollercoasters before my mom showed up with the kiddos. Luckily, Lil seemed to be feeling better. We played on the Dr Seuss playground for a while, and Lil found a little “house” and made herself right at home (note her shoes off above!). We rode the carousel, and Lil was sufficiently freaked out the ENTIRE time. We had a brief brush with fame, riding the carousel with no other than AC Slater, who is as terribly tan in person as he is on whatever celebrity talk show he hosts (Extra?). Eleanor was her usual sweet, quiet little self, just taking everything in from her happy little Ergo perch!
Later in the day, we headed over to Disney, and checked in to the Port Orleans hotel. Lilly seemed better that evening, but was running a temperature the next day, and vomited (twice!) in the restaurant when we went for breakfast. So the girls and I hung out in the hotel room watching Disney Junior for the rest of the day while my fam had a relaxing day by the pool. That night we visited Downtown Disney, where grandpa spoiled Lilly with a very lovely Cinderella dress! She. was. THRILLED. Like dancing her way through Downtown Disney THRILLED. It was too cute!
The following day, we made reservations to see the princesses at the Magic Kingdom. These pictures pretty much sum up exactly how our princess-visiting went. Yep, I have some very -ahem- lovely pictures of myself with the princesses. Also, baby E did her share of posing adorably (while I hope hope hoped she didn’t spit up on their dresses). Tiny sister had to take one for the team — because we were there, and SOMEONE was going to get a photo with the princesses!
This last photo makes me laugh so much. Ariel was a very hilarious princess to visit, and she was really sweet about the fact that she was terrifying my toddler. Later Lilly told me that she would not sit with Ariel because she needed her mermaid dress and we did not pack her mermaid dress. Which makes perfect sense since she had just visited Cinderella while wearing her Cinderella dress.
The stroller situation at Disney is insane. They keep moving your stroller, too, so you’re never really sure where you’ll find it. A million points to my sister for climbing in there and finding the cheap umbrella stroller we bought just days before. If we went again, I’d be tempted to just baby/toddlerwear and pack as little gear as possible.
Unfortunately, we arrived at Disney midmorning with approximately 3.2 million of our friends, and it was HOT out there. So we ditched the crowds and heat around noon, heading back to the hotel instead. We rallied after dinner – Lil took a nap in the stroller and Elli slept in the Ergo on the way back to the Magic Kingdom. We walked the park, riding our fave rides — both kids slept through Pirates of the Caribbean, then Lil woke to enjoy It’s a Small World, the new Little Mermaid ride (three times!), Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan. Lil had a BLAST riding the rides, and we had the benefit of cooler temps and no lines! I think that we’ll have to attempt this strategy again next time — nap in the afternoon and stay late into the evening. We saw the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle (still talked about to this day) and fit in another princess visit – Belle.
She got over her princess fears for this picture, and then told me she wanted to go back to see Cinderella “to tell her I’m feeling better.” Very sweet and a little sad! (Also, seconds after this picture was taken, E vommed all over me in front of a room full of people. Classy!) We went on a few more rides, then watched the light up parade and left as the park was closing. It was a really fantastic time! I can’t wait to bring both girls back when E is a little bigger and knows what’s going on.
We stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort the last two nights of our trip, and it was amazing. We were somehow upgraded to an amazing two-story suite with three bedrooms, four baths, a two-story living room, and a kitchen/dining room. It was very lifestyles of the rich and famous. So that was awesome. And the view from our patio was even better: tons of different African animals moving through the large courtyard — zebras, giraffes, oh my! I think we were all pretty captivated with the animals, and it was so cool to hang out on the patio just watching. Lilly was fascinated. She was also drinking from a plastic cup that she placed on the patio ledge even though she was warned that it would fall down. So moments later, no one (except Lil) was surprised when it did fall into the animal enclosure and I had the distinct pleasure of calling the front desk to let them know so they’d send someone over to find it. I was pretty impressed when an upset Lilly suggested that she could fix it if she got a rope and climbed down… it was the first time I’d heard/seen such problem solving from her!
We spent much of our last two days at the hotel pools. Elli was my tiny buddy, swimming with me and napping on me. She is such a sweet, content, happy little thing! And while E was cuddling up a storm, big sister Lilly was swimming her little heart out and mastering the water slide. She had such a blast! And made a few friends while she was at it.
On our last afternoon in town, my mom, the girls, and I headed to Animal Kingdom. We had time to quickly go on the animal safari, but didn’t get to see many of the other animals. We quickly walked the park, saw a 3D bug movie in the tree of life, ate some popcorn, and hopped in the car to make the long, long drive home. Lilly cried – she didn’t want to go home. I didn’t really want to return to snowy, cold MI at that point either, but we were missing Jason and it was time to get back to reality!