Planning Resources for Disney World · Trip Reports

Trip Report to WDW with Two Toddlers (including Cost) – May 2014

I know some people love reading about other families’ magical experiences at Walt Disney World (WDW) so I thought I would share mine and what it was like to travel with a 2 year old and 3 year old on a last minute trip. I also wanted to share what it cost us to travel with 3 adults and 2 toddlers from London, Ontario for a 3 night/4 day stay from May 17-20th. I think the moral of the story is that although there are definitely some advantages to planning a trip in advance with dining and FastPass + reservations and touring plans, a last minute trip can come together without any of these and you can still have a great time with your family because, let’s face it, you’re at Disney World! Please enjoy our trip report! 

Planning

This was a last minute trip that we planned about three weeks prior to departure. Some of you are probably thinking I was kind of crazy for trying to plan such a last minute trip with young kids, especially when many families will plan their trips six months to a year in advanced.  I didn’t even have the opportunity to make any restaurant reservations or FastPass + reservations. I usually am an advanced planner but I guess I was grumpy from the brutal weather we had gotten in Ontario this winter and was desperate to take the kids (and myself) some place warmer and fun for the Victoria Day long weekend.  It actually all turned out really well in the end and I’m so glad we did it because it was such a blast! Our party included myself, my two sons (ages 2 and 3), my mother in law, and my brother in law (yes, I know it seems strange, but my husband had to work and my brother in law wanted to go to WDW because he had never been, and I didn’t mind the extra adult to help out with the kids).

I went online and found an amazing deal for flight from Detroit, MI (which is about a 2.5 hour drive from our hometown of London, Ontario). We enjoy traveling out of the Metropolitan airport in Detroit and often find it easier than traveling out of the Toronto airport, which is only slightly closer to us. It is also often significantly cheaper to get domestic flights within the US out of Detroit than a Canadian airport.  For this particular trip, we were able to book through Spirit Airlines (a charter airline) a roundtrip airfare for $250 USD per person (although I’ve seen this fare offered even cheaper). We had 5 people so flight cost was $1250 in total. We also had to purchase one checked in bag, which was $42 in total for the round trip, and since it was only for 3 nights, we were able to pack the rest of our things in 4 carry on bags at no additional cost.

On expedia.ca I was able to book a standard room with queen sized beds at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista for 3 nights for $130 USD per night + a $22 resort fee per night so our total hotel cost for 3 nights was $456 USD. We picked this hotel because of its excellent reviews for being family friendly, frequent and reliable shuttle service to the parks, access to Extended Magic Hours at the parks (which are usually only reserved for guests staying at the Disney World Resorts) and proximity to Downtown Disney (it’s literally right across the street from it).

Day 1 – Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our flight was due to depart at 8:40 am so we got our tired behinds in the Dodge Caravan at 3:30 am in the morning. I hated waking the kids and getting them dressed but once they were in their car seats, they fell right back asleep for the entire drive to Detroit. I had gone to bed earlier the night before while my husband put the kids to bed so I was fine for the drive after I got my Timmie’s coffee. There was no traffic on the roads or at the border and we breezed right on into Detroit.  The bridge toll was $4 USD.   We parked at AirlinesParking, which is an off site airport parking lot that has a good reputation and decent pricing; I had found a coupon online for $9 per day. This parking lot was great; they tell you exactly where to park when you arrive and then immediately send a shuttle right to your car to pick you up and help you with your luggage. This was amazing and much appreciated given that it was early and we had young children travelling with us.

I had already checked in online the day before so I just had to drop off my check in bag and then it was off to the security gates, where we were able to use the family line and get through much quicker.  We brought along some munchies for breakfast but did have to buy a bottle of milk and juice at the airport for the plane ride given the liquid restrictions. We were able to conveniently take our stroller right up to the gate prior to departure and they stored it beneath the plane for us once we boarded. The kids were great on the plane; my 3 year old fell asleep shortly after take off and slept for most of the 3 hour plane ride and my 2 year old was able to occupy himself with the iPad and new books and toys I had purchased from the Dollar store prior to the trip.

Once we landed in Orlando, FL at the MCO airport, I was so happy to see the sun and I don’t think I was ever so excited to feel humidity (which I usually can’t stand).  We grabbed our checked in luggage bag, which was already on the carousel when we got to it (and this was the moment I knew it was a good omen that it was going to be a good trip) and proceeded to the taxi line. We were able to get a van to take us to our hotel and the fare was not cheap; $70 for the ride including a $5 tip, which is typical cab fare for travelling from the airport to the Downtown Disney/Lake Buena Vista area and was about a 45 minute trip with average lunch hour traffic.

When we arrived at the Hilton around 1 pm, our room was not ready yet and would not be ready until 4 pm so we decided to walk across the street and have lunch at Downtown Disney (DTD).  We ended up strolling through the Marketplace section of DTD  for a bit and then ended up waiting in line for about 10 minutes to get into the T-Rex Cafe restaurant. The portions were large, so we were able to share 2 entrees and 1 child’s entree between us plus drinks. The cost of the bill was about $71 + tax and tip for lunch, which included the fire roasted rotisserie chicken, half a rack of mega-meso-bones (ribs), tribal (fish) tacos, jurassic chicken tidbits. The kids LOVED the dinosaur animatronics and show that occurred about every 30 minutes and it kept them entertained while they ate. It can get a bit loud and may be scary for some kids but if your child is a huge dinosaur fan like mine are, this restaurant is a must see attraction.

After this enjoyable lunch experience, we wandered over to the Lego Imagination Center (Lego Store) next door to the restaurant and let the kids play with the Lego while we took pictures. My younger son then wanted to get wet at The Magical Fountain, which is kind of like a mini splash pad in the middle of the Marketplace area of DTD where there is water jumping into the air and you never know where it’s going to come out next so the kids enjoy “chasing” it around; best part is, it’s free!

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My youngest son and I posing with Woody and Buzz Lightyear at The Lego Store in DTD.

By this time, it was 4 pm and we were ready to get our room key.  The room was a decent size but kind of a tight fit for 5 people but we made it work; we ordered a free crib from the front desk for my youngest son and put it between the two beds.  We rested for about an hour and decided to head to Magic Kingdom (MK) for the evening (YAY!) via the hotel shuttle, which took about 20 minutes to wait for and then it was about another 15 minutes to actually get to the park. My younger son fell asleep on the shuttle but my older son was too excited to take a cat nap (completely understandable, of course!).

Someone got a little sleepy on the park shuttle bus.
Someone got a little sleepy on the park shuttle bus.

When we got to MK, we purchased our 4 day Magic-Your-Way base tickets, which gets you into one of the four theme parks each day – no park hopping). The cost of a 4-day adult’s pass was $294 and the cost of a 4-day child’s pass was $274; adding on the taxes brought our total price to $1,597.50 for three adults and 1 child (my 2-year-old was free).

My kids enjoyed the monorail ride to MK from the transportation center (they love everything to do with trains). The first thing we did when we got there was take a family photo with a view of Cinderella’s castle in the background on Main Street. As you can see from the smile on our faces, the exhaustion of the day’s travel as dissipated and we were so happy to be at MK.

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After this, we walked over to the Fastpass + kiosk in Tomorrowland (tip: there are two kiosks in Tomorrowland; so if one is busy, you can try the other).  I was able to secure immediate FastPasses for The Many Adventures of Winnie the PoohBuzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (my older child’s favourite Disney ride) and Iit’s a small world, all in a row (our wait times were 5-10 minutes with our FP). I had been feeling a little anxious about how well my youngest would be able to handle these rides; although they are tame and very slow moving, I’ve heard that some parts can be scary for young children and my son startles a little easily.  To my delight, not only was he able to sit through the rides, he LOVED them!  There was just so much to see and take him and he couldn’t tear his eyes away.  I was so relieved!

After we went on all three rides, it was time to find a spot for Disney’s Electrical Parade. We were running a little late and, even with 15 minutes before the start of the parade, it was getting crowded along the parade route. We ended up settling behind another family in Frontierland. For a review on the best spots to view the parade, check out this DisneyTouristBlog post.  I had purchased glow sticks from a dollar store prior to the trip and my kids loved playing with these while they were watching the parade. We also grabbed a quick dinner from Pecos Bill Tail Tall Inn and Cafe. We were able to share a taco salad, short style ribs (with apple slices and coleslaw), BBQ pork sandwich, corn on the cob, water bottle and strawberry slush lemonade for a total of about $33.

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Immediately after the parade, we stayed in our spot to watch the fireworks. From where we were in Frontierland, our view was somewhat obstructed by buildings and trees, but we still enjoyed the experience.  We headed towards Cinderella’s Castle after and took in the Wishes show, and my sons loved it when they started playing “Let it go” from Frozen. Afterwards, it was about 10:30 p.m. we headed towards the Town Square Theater to meet Micky Mouse. We waited about 20 minutes and were the first in our group of guests to meet Mickey.  My children loved the experience and were happy to oblige when he asked for a handshake, hug and touch of his nose.

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Even though there were extended magic hours (the park was open until midnight) at MK that night, we had young children with us, and had travelled for most of the day, so we headed back to our hotel room to zonk out for the night after our long (but very wonderful) day. My eldest son fell asleep within minutes on the bed but my younger son was probably either overtired or had difficulty adjusting to his new sleeping situation in the hotel crib….he cried for a bit but eventually his body took over and he was sound asleep for the rest of the night.

Day 2: Sunday, May 18, 2014

Given our late night, the kids woke up a little later than usually at 8 a.m. We took out some breakfast at the Hilton’s Mainstreet Market (24 hour quick service) including a couple of bagels (with cream cheese) and donuts, mini cereal boxes, juice and milk. The bill came to about $20, which I thought was about average hotel pricing. We munched on breakfast while waiting for the hotel shuttle to take us to Animal Kingdom.

We got to Animal Kingdom around 10 a.m. and headed for the nearest Fastpass Kiosk. A friendly cast member (CM) helped us to secure FastPasses for Finding Nemo – The Musical, Kilimanjaro Safari, and Kali River Rapids which I was pretty happy with. We then headed over to Dinoland and rode Triceratops Spin.  Grandma then took the kids to explore the Boneyard while my brother-in-law and I went on Dinosaur (with no FastPass, the standby wait was about 15 minutes).  I have to confess, I hate dark spaces and loud noises, so I closed my eyes for most of the ride (don’t tell the kids!), which is strange considering I’ve ridden this ride a few times before.  We then headed over to Finding Nemo – The Musical about 15 minutes before the start of the show and utilized our FastPasses to secure center seats near the front. We had a wonderful time at the show and I think the adults enjoyed it just as much as the kids did.

For lunch, we headed to the Yak and Yeti Restaurant and were put on a waiting list. After about 20 minutes, we were called and were seated on the main floor at the back of the restaurant.  We ordered the wok-fired green beans, crispy honey chicken, stir fried beef and broccoli, bourbon chicken, and free water to drink (we had brought along apple juice boxes for the kids). Our bill came to about $64 plus tax and tip.  The food was okay but a little too salty (especially the beef and broccoli dish) but I would go there again as the atmosphere and service was good, and it’s a cool place to escape the Florida heat.  Funny story: note that the washrooms here have the automatic flushing sensors, but for some reason, they wouldn’t sense my son was still on the toilet (he’s small and about 30 lbs)!  So while he was sitting on the toilet (trying to do a number 2) the toilet would keep flushing and would terrify my son, so I had to keep my hand over the sensor to keep it from flushing while he finished his business.

We then headed to the outside of the restaurant where we found a good spot to sit and wait for the parade to start (we got there about 20 minutes before the start time).  Although we had just gotten lunch, we grabbed a Mickey pretzel and Mickey ice cream bar to share while we waited….yum, yum and yum! My younger son fell asleep in the stroller while we waited but woke up just in time to see the parade start, and he (and the rest of the family) thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sharing a Mickey pretzel while waiting for the parade at AK. One of our favourite snacks at WDW.
Sharing a Mickey pretzel while waiting for the parade at AK. One of our favourite snacks at WDW.

After the parade, we headed to Kilimanjaro Safari in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom and only needed to wait about 10 minutes with our FastPasses to get on the ride.  The kids loved the bumps and jumps and trying to point out all of the animals they knew of but had never seen before.  It was truly an amazing experience and I think Disney had done a great job trying to capture the beauty and realism of the African savannah. For a moment, you can forget you’re in Florida and truly feel like you’re on an authentic African safari.

After this, we took the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  I think this is one of the more overlooked attractions at Animal Kingdom, but my kids really enjoyed it.  First, they LOVE trains, and at their young age, they are great little visual learners, so there is so much to see and touch here.  It was nice to get inside and out of the heat and the kids had a blast exploring all of the reptiles and birds.  There was even a CM with a snake and my kids got to touch it (while I stayed a good distance away and just videotaped the whole experience).  We then headed outside to pet the goats but only got to spend about 5 minutes there before the CM said that it was dinnertime for the goats and they were closing.  I was a little disappointed but the kids enjoyed watching all of the hungry goats run into their pens all at the same time.

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Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Dancing with Chip and Dale

Afterwards, we headed back over to Asia where brother in law, older son and I went on the Kali River Rapids while grandma took my younger son (who was too short for the ride) to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see the tigers.  We had to wait about 10 minutes with our FastPasses. Because my son was small, they had him sit with a special attachment to make him more secure during the ride. TIP: BE PREPARED TO GET WET!  The funnest part of this ride is that you get to sit with other people  and wait in anticipation as you go down to river to see who will get the wettest.  Well, it was us!  I was not prepared for this so I left the ride soaking wet with no other clothes to wear. Luckily I had brought along an extra change of clothes for my son.  Next time, I will be a little more prepared and will bring along a rain poncho to wear on the ride or a spare change of clothes. TIP: GET A FASTPASS FOR THE EARLY AFTERNOON WHEN IT IS HOTTEST.  Our FastPasses were later in the day, close to early evening, so it wasn’t very hot out so when we got off the ride, soaking wet, it felt very cold and a little “too refreshing”.

We walked through the rest of Asia and back over to Discover Island and admired the Tree of Life from afar and took some pictures.  We then waited only 5 minutes to get into It’s a Bug’s Life.  My older son had been on this ride before the first time I took him to Disney and cried through it. I thought for sure that I would not be able to get him in it this time around but he agreed to go with everyone as long as he didn’t have to wear the 3D eyeglasses and could close his eyes and sit in my lap; I thought this was a fine compromise.  Sure enough, he kept to his end of the bargain and remained quietly seated on my lap. My younger son, though, had the same reaction as his older brother did during his first time on It’s a Bug’s Life and cried a little but was able to eventually watch the rest of the show.  Note that this ride can be really scary and intense with all of the special effects (even for adults like me!).

By this time, the park was closing (7 p.m.) and we headed back to the hotel.  We were pretty tired from the day and ended up ordering take out dinner from the Benihana Restaurant downstairs  and Mainstreet Market at the hotel.  We ordered some rolls and sushi and a couple of sandwiches from the Market. Dinner probably came to about $55 plus tax. We ate in our room and got ready for bed and all fell asleep before 11 p.m.

Day 3: Monday May 19, 2014

We started our morning very similar to the previous day. We spent about $20 on breakfast foods at the same hotel counter service and munched on it while we waited for our hotel shuttle bus to take us Magic Kingdom.  It was pretty smooth sailing getting there, and we decided to take the ferry over to MK from the transportation center, which our family thoroughly enjoyed.

We got to MK around 10 a.m. and went to the FastPass Kiosk in Tomorrowland, where a very helpful CM assisted me in obtaining FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear (my kids wanted to ride it again), Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean.  We were able to use our Buzz Lightyear FastPasses right away and it was just as enjoyable as the first time. We then headed over to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor attraction. While watching the show, my 3 year old had an “accident” while sitting on my lap, which resulted in a mess on both of us. This is one of those times where you are grateful for the extra help around; my mother-in-law kindly took care of changing my son while I headed to one of the Disney stores on Main Street to buy a $30 pink tank top with Mickey embroidered on it (granted, it was a nice one and I wear it all of the time) and cleaned up in the washroom and got changed.

I met up with the rest of my family 15 minutes later at the Jungle Cruise attraction, where our FastPasses got us on the ride after about a 5 minute wait.  I have to admit that the Jungle Cruise has never appealed to me much, but it is much more enjoyable watching my young children experience the attraction.

After that, we headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean to  use our FastPasses but the ride was closed down for mechanical reasons. So we took this time to head across the attraction to Tortuga Tavern, a quick service restaurant serving Mexican food. The line up was a little slow; it took me about 15 minutes to order and get my food, even though there was just one other family ahead of me. We ordered the taco salad, beef burrito, chicken burrito, quesadilas, and a pop (we brought juice boxes from home for the kids and the rest of us had water). Our bill came to about $35 plus taxes.  The quality of the food was just okay,  your average Taco Bell fare, but it filled our bellies and was close to the attraction we wanted to head to next.

By the time we finished our meal, Pirates of the Caribbean was re-opened. I can’t remember if our Fastpasses was still open or if they just honoured our FastPasses because of the shut down, but we waited about 10 minutes in line before getting on the ride. If you have small children, I’ll warn you that there is a small drop in the dark at the very beginning of the ride, so hang on to your children (but it is very fun!).  My kids were never into pirates before, but believe me, they are now!  After going on this ride, they wanted to dress up as pirates for halloween (we’re actually returning to Disney World this September and will be attending the Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party so they will get to dress up as pirates for this event as well).

After this, we took a washroom break by the entrance to the Walt Disney World Railroad in Frontierland. Here, we discovered a secret little hide-a-way playground in the shade (score!).  We took a little break from the sun here and then went on the WDWR. My plan of action was to get the kids to take a little nap while the adults could rest while enjoying the scenery of traveling around the MK park.  I was very pleased with myself and my brilliance idea when both kids were asleep within 10 minutes.  We ended up traveling around the park twice (about 20 minutes altogether) before the kids woke up and we got off where we got on, in Frontierland.  It wasn’t a very long nap, but it was just long enough for their little brains to rest and they woke up refreshed and ready to go again.

Hidden playground in Frontierland by the washrooms near the Walt Disney World Railroad entrance.
Hidden playground in Frontierland by the washrooms near the Walt Disney World Railroad entrance.

We walked past the Haunted Mansion but my older son did not want to go on it (even though he thoroughly enjoyed watching this attraction on Youtube numerous times) so we skipped it and headed over to Fantasyland.  We went on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and this is one of those moments where you realize that Disney World is truly unique; they do everything (including simply carrousel rides) bigger and better, and it all just feels so much more magical than a “regular” carrousel that you would experience at a fair or even another large park attraction.  There was no wait time mid afternoon for this ride and we had a great view of Fantasyland on it.

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Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Since we had used up our 3 FastPasses, we were now allowed to go back to a Kiosk and get more Fastpasses, but only one attraction at a time. We took this opportunity to visit the Kiosk in Fantasyland and obtained FastPasses for Journey of the Little Mermaid but we had to wait. So I took my older son on Barnstormer (5 minute wait time) since my younger son was too short for it, and my mother-in-law waited outside with him and let him play at the splash pad that is right in front of the ride.  We then took the kids on Dumbo the Flying Elephant (5 minute wait time). Then we went on Mickeys PhilarMagic (5 minute wait time) and very much enjoyed the show (it was my first time experiencing it too).   We then headed to Journey of the Little Mermaid. I loved this movie growing up but my sons had never watched it; however, they still enjoyed the ride and the music (after we came home, they watched the movie and are now looking forward to riding this attraction again come September).

My eldest son enjoying his popcorn (not sure what was going on here and why he wasn't using his hands but it made for a funny photo)
My eldest son enjoying his popcorn (not sure what was going on here and why he wasn’t using his hands but it made for a funny photo)

By this time, it was almost dinner time, and I had wanted to spend the evening at Downtown Disney, so we hoped on the WDW Railroad from Fantasyland and rode it to the entrance at Main Street USA. We then approached a CM and asked her how to get to Downtown Disney. She advised us to walk to the Contemporary Resort and get on a bus, which we did.  This took some time, so by the time we got to DTD, we were very hungry. The bus drops you off by Rainforest Cafe, and, of course, when the kids saw it, they wanted to eat there. However, we were told that it would be a 1 1/2 hour long wait. My older son got a little bit upset. This is one of those times where a last minute trip with little planning comes to bite you in the butt a bit and you regret not being able to make that dining reservation prior to your trip.

Nevertheless, we made do, and ended up finding a table outside fairly easily at Wolfgang Puck Express by the Marketplace area. I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. The quality of the food was great at a very good value. We ordered the bacon wrapped meatloaf, pepperoni and mushroom pizza, rosemary rotisserie chicken, salmon (no longer offered?), and a glass of white wine for myself (I decided to spoil myself). The bill came to about $67 plus tax and tip (although technically a quick service restaurant, there was a waiter who waited on our tables, so we tipped him).  It was a very good dinner near the end of our trip.

We spent the rest of the evening walking around DTD and taking in the shops, sights and attractions. At one point, one of my sons decided to spontaneously get up and dance (he is usually a little shy and reserved in public places) and this was something I had never seen him do. I guess WDW brought out his Disney side!  We didn’t buy anything and by the time we ended back at the WDW store, the kids were too tired to go in, so we just headed back to the Hilton (this is the moment I was extremely glad for booking at a hotel that was so close to DTD), which was a 5 minute walk from DTD’s Marketplace.

Day 4: Tuesday May 20, 2014

On our last morning, we checked out of the hotel around 9 am. I made arrangements with bell hop to have a taxi ready for us for when we returned at 3:30 p.m. to take us to the airport and then we took the hotel shuttle to Hollywood Studios.  We were unable to score Toy Story Mania FastPasses at the Kiosk by Tower of Terror (TOT) but were able to get FastPasses for the day for Beauty and the Beast, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Tours (however, my sons were not able to go on TOT or SW due to their height).  My brother in law and I went on Tower or Terror (5 minute wait with FastPasses) and Rock ‘n’ Roll Rollercoaster (the standby line up was surprisingly short, about 15 minutes) while my mother-in-law walked the kids around for a bit and checked out the shops. We then met up outside of Beauty and the Beast when our FastPass window came up and headed inside the theatre together.  We ended up in the middle-ish row to the left of the stage and had a pretty good view of the stage.  My kids thoroughly enjoyed the show, and so did I (it was one of my favourite movies growing up). For some reason, they became somewhat obsessed with the scene when Gaston leads the mob to the Beast and they all chant “Kill the Beast!” and they kept chanting this for the rest of the trip and at home.

Somehow, we started this tradition of taking family photos in front of iconic Disney attractions with our limbs flailing all about...this is one of those photos.
Somehow, we started this tradition of taking family photos in front of iconic Disney attractions with our limbs flailing all about…this is one of those photos.

After the show, we headed across the theater to Rosie’s All American quick service restaurant. We were able to score a table before the crowds from the show got there as we had the foresight to have one of us go grab a table right before the show ended.  We ordered the angus cheeseburger, chicken breast nuggets, and two kid’s chicken nugget meals for about $30 plus tax. I wasn’t feeling very hungry (maybe it was due to the heat) so I headed next door to Anaheim Produce, a quick service stand, and ordered some carrots and celery sticks (with ranch dressing), grapes, and a vitamin water bottle for about $10.69 plus tax, which I shared with the kids to make sure they got some veggies in them that day.  Overall, it was an average fast food service meal, and although it was hot outside, we were grateful for the umbrella over our table, which helped to keep us cool during our meal.

After lunch, we headed towards Toy Story Mania. My youngest son fell asleep in the stroller, and he was still asleep while we waited in line (about a 40 minute wait), sleeping on my mother-in-law’s shoulder.  It was my first time on this ride and I think I enjoyed it more than the kids!  It was well worth the wait and definitely my favourite ride of the trip!

My younger son was asleep when we entered the queue for Toy Story Mania....
My younger son was asleep when we entered the queue for Toy Story Mania….
...And he was ready to go when he woke up later just in time to get on the ride!
…And he was ready to go when he woke up later just in time to get on the ride!
Managed to snap this photo from my ride of my son and brother-in-law at the start of Toy Story Mania.
Managed to snap this photo from my ride of my son and brother-in-law at the start of Toy Story Mania.

After Toy Story Mania, my brother in law and I had FastPasses for Star Tours, so we dropped the kids and Grandma off at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.  I hadn’t been on Star Tours in many years, not since the refurbishment, so it was a nice experience to see everything updated and “modernized”.  I think we waited only about five minutes before getting on the ride.  I can’t wait until my sons are a little older; I think they’d really enjoy that ride.

After we picked up the kids (they didn’t want to leave the “big ant”), we had to boot it to the gates to catch our 3 p.m. bus back to the hotel….I was running with the stroller with my youngest son in it and the rest of my family were right behind me. We were all hot and sweaty by the time we got out and managed to catch our bus.

Back at the hotel, we picked up our luggage from bell hop and our taxi was ready.  It cost us $65 plus tip for this service and we made it in good time, surprisingly, given that it was technically the beginning of rush hour.  At the airport, we had no problems checking in at the airline counter but there was a HUGE line up at the TSA to get through the gates. We had arrived about 2 1/2 hours prior to departure so we decided to lounge on the chairs outside of the TSA to see if the line up would die down a bit. While waiting, I took the kids into the Disney Store and got them to pick out a souvenir each; they both picked a Buzz Lightyear figure (spent about $45 plus tax).  I had felt kind of bad that we didn’t get our souvenirs at Disney World but this was certainly the next best thing and I got the chance to explain to my 3-year-old what a souvenir was.

We got in the TSA line and had to wait about 20 minutes. When we got to our gate, we were told that our flight was delayed for about 2 hours due to “wrong customs paperwork”. We bought some  dinner (spent about $40 plus tax) at the food court and entertained ourselves with iPads, sketch books and toys. However, it was clearly taking a toll on us and we were exhausted by the time we were allowed to board the plane around 9 p.m.  This resulted in a mother’s worst nightmare situation on the plane. I was sitting by myself with my youngest son (2 years old) and he just had a complete meltdown and refused to sit in his seat.  He began crying and wanting to get off of the plane.  I felt so badly for the boy who was sitting beside me (he must have been around 10).  My son managed to get underneath the seat in front of him and just laid there and cried there (but not as much).  I was getting panicky because I knew we were going to have to take off soon.  So I decided to wait until the very last minute when the flight attendant would surely tell me I had to force my son to sit and put on his seat belt before take off.  Here is the thing….she never did! I don’t know if she just felt bad for me, seeing that I was having such a difficult time with him, but clearly he appeared calmer underneath the seat than he was on one at that particular time.  So we took off with him underneath the seat, and my son fell in and out of sleep, with cries here and there, all the way home on the three hour flight. Near the end of the flight, I did manage to get him into his seat, with protests, for landing.

After we got back to Detroit, there were further delays in getting our stroller at the gate and our luggage. By the time we got back to the van, it was about 1 a.m. and I had the bone weary drive back home to London Ontario, which took 2 1/2 hours. Luckily, there were no issues or waits getting through the Canadian border. My mother-in-law was so sweet and stayed up while I drove and had a very nice chat on the way home.  We dropped my mother-in-law and brother-in-law off and arrived home at close to 3 a.m. My husband came out and helped put the kids to bed while I went to sleep. I think the gas amount for the roundtrip to the airport and back cost about $80.

So if I could do it all again, same amount of days, what would I change?  I think the only thing I would have changed was to spend our last day at Magic Kingdom again rather than Hollywood Studios. With only half a day available to us, it would have made sense to stay in one part of MK, like Fantasyland, and do the rest of the attractions that we had missed previously. Hollywood Studios was too spread out, and I felt like we didn’t get as much done because we had to spend so much time walking.  Also, had brought along a tandem stroller (the Joovy brand), which is one of the lightest “double” strollers in its class and we love it most of the time. The only time this stroller worked against us was when both of my sons were exhausted and just wanted to rest in the seat reclined; this stroller only allows for one child to that. Next time, we are going to bring a side-by-side double stroller to deal with this situation.

This is the tandem stroller we took to WDW. It is lightweight and great if you have an older child who can sit or stand on the back. However, if you have two children who tire easily, I would recommend a side-by-side double stroller so both children can rest at the same time.
This is the tandem stroller we took to WDW. It is lightweight and great if you have an older child who can sit or stand on the back. However, if you have two children who tire easily, I would recommend a side-by-side double stroller so both children can rest at the same time.

Overall, this trip cost our family of 5 about $4300 in total for everything.  It was expensive but it was worth every penny. I came back rejuvenated and confident and ready to plan my next Disney vacation.  I think I started going through Disney withdrawal for the next month after I came back. We’re going to Disney World again from September 20-27, 2014 and doing a split stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village and Port Orleans Riverside. We’ll have much more time this time to take in all of the attractions that we missed on this trip and have more time for planning (I even got Anna and Elsa FastPasses!).

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