Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magic Experience

This Thanksgiving was a little different.... 
We have been counting down for months....
and it was finally HERE! 

Friday afternoon, I picked the kids up early and we were off to the most magical place on earth- Disney World!!!

surprising Connor with a 15.00 gift card inside any Disney Park.

I have been to Disney World numerous times, so I can tell you first and foremost that the most magical place on earth can turn into H-E- Double Hockey Sticks on Earth pretty fast.

 Happily, this year had to be the best trip to Disney ever!  

A few tips I could share for parents making Disney a good vacation as budget friendly as possible:
1. Make the whole experience fun.  We had a countdown at home.  We researched rides on youtube and watched Disney movies. We carpooled with the grandparents.  I wrapped up dollar store Disney gifts and let the kids open them as we passed so many miles on the map to Florida.  It made the 12 hour drive go by pretty quickly.

2.  Stay outside the park.  This one is debatable, because we stayed outside of the park with family.   I understand that even with a package deal, staying outside of the park is the cheapest but not most convenient plan.  
It took us about 20 min. to drive, check in, park, and shuttle to the parks.  Not bad at all.

1.00 minnie chapstick
1.00 mickey sucker

 3. Pack lunches and snacks.  Aunt H. had these great coolers that were easy to tote around in a backpack. (The food prices in those parks always give Darren a minor heart attack.)  
example- We bought one snack, Mickey ice cream for 4.00 each.  One man in front of us bought 1 small sprite and an average hot dog = $15.00. Robbers

4. Take your own pictures. Don't pay 200.00+ for pictures that you can take and edit yourself.  

5.  Utilize fast passes and multi-day tickets.  I wanted to do three Disney Parks to save money, but Connor and Darren love Seaworld (a nonDisney Park).  We still saved a little money keeping with two parks instead of just one.  

6. Don't focus on the entire park.  Sometimes on vacation you think you can show up and just stroll through everything.  Don't DO IT.  Map out what will appeal to you and your children before, otherwise you will go insane fighting the crowd and trying to do it all.  I brought my plan and stuck to it.  We got a lot more accomplished this way. 

7.  Stay away from gift shops. You can get cheaper Disney stuff on outside shops in town or pre-buy it online before you go.    

I was shocked but my kids didn't even want to go into gift shops because we kept them moving on rides and shows.  Connor used his gift card at the very last park at the last minute.

6.  Splurge on one character breakfast (but prepare yourself for the crazy cost- save $$ for it ahead of time).  

9.  Bring your own stroller.  We rented a 14.00 stroller that was a piece of crap.  It didn't even hold our bags.  Darren met us midweek and brought down the stroller and it worked much better for free.

cousins  :)

10.  In the words of Queen Elsa "Let it Go".  Disney is overpriced and overcrowded, and you can't help but think of the starving children in the world when you pay for a ticket.  
At one point in line Connor got a nosebleed and Carlee began to climb a fence, while strangers were elbowing us. Darren said 'we are paying for this!?!'  
At some point you have to 'let it go' and let go of the pressure to have the perfect vacation.  Just enjoy your children, their reactions, and the experience (no matter what that may be).


We visited three theme parks- Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, SeaWorld.  (My family loves animals.)  I broke our vacation into four separate blog posts:  Magic Experience, Famous People, Animal Encounters, and After Hours.

Enjoy our pictures!

Obviously I was a little TOO into the Buzz Lightyear year ride.  It is looking like I took over both laser guns.

 Spinning Teacups

Totally unprepared for the Barnstormer.  I think Connor thought we were coming off the tracks.

Clowning with Cousins

It's a Small World


Dumbo the Flying Elephant!  I loved instead of waiting in line, you go into the play area until they buzz you for your turn.


Carlee enjoyed The Adventures of The Little Mermaid.

Good Bye for Now...

Monsters INC. Laugh Show 
(warning to adults- you could die from the corny jokes)

Precious Memories


This statue was a real man.  I was so fascinated with him that my family left me while I stood there watching.  It takes so little to impress me.

Painting the Town Red

Connor recreating Billie Jean

Elsa icing the castle.


Carlee just giggled and giggled on this ride.


This day was cold and rainy, but we were able to get in a few clear moments.


Bubble machine and catching them all!

SeaWorld played Christmas music all throughout the park.  They had a lot of great Christmas shows and lights.

The Polar Express was the highlight!
Carlee and I split up from Connor and Darren because they did the interactive show.

I was so surprised when at the other end was the North Pole.  I had no idea.

Carlee refused to meet the weird guy with the beard, but I ran into another child that wanted to talk to him!

Elmo Show = Greatest Rock Band EVER

Darren enjoying the Elmo Show while napping.

Good brother riding the train with his baby sister.

Papa, Connor, and Cousin A.


Enjoying the fireworks from the window of the van, about 3 miles away from the actual fireworks with the windows rolled up to be safe.  #fireworkfear



  1. Very nice!! Great memories made

  2. thanks Joan! I appreciate your text, it shows what a good friend you will always be to me and understanding what might be hard for me. Love you always!