Destination: Orlando, Florida & Golf Coast
When: November 19-26, 2005
The Nornes Family Magical Disney World Vacation! We did it! We took the kids to Florida for eight days of fun, sun and magic. We had a great time!
Day 1: We flew out on Champion Air from the HHH terminal. We just love flying from this terminal! Everything is so easy and accessible! You should have heard the plane when we took off, kids shrieking, parents ooo'ing, grandparents chuckling, it was definitely a family oriented flight! We arrived in Orlando, got our rental car, I mean van, ok, I mean BUS! Whatever it was, it fit all 8 of us and our luggage with no problems (we traveled with my cousin and her family). We checked into the Nickelodeon Family Suites Hotel by Holiday Inn. We were greeted by Squidward (from the Spongebob show) when we arrived. Too fun!
Day 2: We had reservations for breakfast with Cinderella at the Castle in Magic Kingdom. What an incredible experience! We met Cinderella right away. Everything was decorated for Christmas and looked beautiful. After photos, we headed up into the castle to the dining room. The Fairy Godmother made her way immediately to us and chatted with the girls. She was so sweet! Soon Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Belle came around, all chatting with us, signing autograph books and posing for pictures. The food was delicious and the whole experience was amazing. After the breakfast, we made our way to Animal Kingdom. Our favorites here were the Lion King show, the Dinosaur ride, and the Safari.
Day 3: We spent the day at MGM Studios. Our favorite attractions here Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Honey I Shrunk The Audience, Al's Toy Barn, Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show, and Star Wars. The shows at Disney World are truly amazing. Don't miss any of them!
Day 4: This was our big day at Magic Kingdom. The Buzz Lightyear ride was definitely a huge hit with the kids. We rode it several times before it got too busy. We also rode Snow White's Scary Adventure, Ariel's Grotto, and Stitch's Great Escape. Unfortunately, the kids and I were not feeling well and ended the day with a trip to Urgent Care, then to Walgreens for prescriptions for strep throat and ear infections. Yuck!
Day 5: We had reservations for the Character Breakfast at our hotel and met Dora, Cosmo and Wanda, Spongebob and Patrick. The kids enjoyed it. We then made our way to Epcot. We originally planned to skip the World Showcase, but ended up touring the whole park. The kids wanted to make the Epcot masks and get their Epcot passports filled in, so we made the round. It was neat and relaxing to walk around the lake and see the different countries portrayed. Sydney was thrilled to find Aladdin in Morocco! Our favorite attraction in Epcot was by far the Test Track. We all loved it!
Day 6: Finally, a day to relax! We drove to St. Pete on the Gulf Coast and played in the ocean for awhile. We decided to move and found Clearwater and Pier 60. Wow, what a difference in beaches! Clearwater had soft, powder, white sand. The kids called it "fluffy snow sand". It was much better than down by St. Pete. We spent the day at the beach then made our way back to Orlando. On the way we found a Cracker Barrel that was open for Thanksgiving Dinner. We stopped and ate turkey and mashed potatoes and enjoyed some pie, so we don't feel like we completely missed out on Thanksgiving.
Day 7: We asked the kids what they would like to go back to do again. "BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!!!" So, we packed up and headed back to Magic Kingdom and rode Buzz a few more times. I took Sydney to watch Cinderellabration, which is the crowning of Cinderella ceremony. Very nice. Sydney loved it, of course. I had her sitting on my shoulders so I couldn't see her, but I could feel her waving at all the princesses as they paraded on stage in front of her. When we finished with Magic Kingdom, we headed back to the hotel to spend the day at the pools.
Day 8: We spent the day packing up, traveling home, picking up the dogs from the kennel, unpacking and doing laundry.
So, my advice on Disney World... if you are planning to spend most of your time at the Disney parks, stay at a Disney property! When you go to the parks, utilize the Fast Pass tickets. You will save hours standing in line! Don't feel like you have to do and see everything. Do what you can and enjoy yourself. Expect crowds, no matter when you go. We rented a double stroller for the duration of our trip and it was perfect! Both our kids fit in it (ages 4 and 6) and it gave us a place to store our stuff. Bring rain ponchos. We used them several times. Don't worry about looking dorky with a fanny pack or backpack strapped to you, they are too convenient not to use! Don't forget to make your Character Dining reservations as soon as you can! Disney does an incredible job with everything. You will not be disappointed with anything there. There is a reason they call it "magical". The look on my kids' faces brought tears to my eyes on many occasions during our trip. I am definitely a Disney fan now!