Destination: Walt Disney World!
When: October 12-21, 2008
Itinerary: Ross and I took our kids, plus our niece and nephew, to Disney World again! We fly from Minneapolis to Orlando, then rented a van and rented Mickey's Condo at Windsor Hills Resort in Kissimmee.
Day 1, Sunday: We have been using the Days Inn in Eagan as our park-n-fly hotel lately. Not only is it cheaper than parking at the airport for extended stays, but it gets us an extra vacation day! Their shuttles are always on time and convenient. Since we had 6 people traveling this time, we stayed in two rooms with a connecting door between them. It was perfect with the kids. They enjoyed the pool and their own space.
Day 2, Monday: Rise and shine at 4:30am! We were scheduled for the 5am airport shuttle. It didn't take a lot of convincing to get the kids up and moving. Airport check in went smoothly. Each kid had their own piece of luggage to wheel around, thanks to grandma and grandpa's Christmas gifts last year! I had packed some breakfast items for the kids to eat while waiting to board the plane. Note to self - pudding is considered a liquid and the cup it comes in isn't labeled "3 ounces" so don't bring it next time. It was taken at security. Boarding time came, we all got settled in our seats. This was our niece and nephew's first flight ever so it was pretty exciting for everyone. Flights to Orlando are always very full with kids and this flight was no exception. It went by quickly, and before we knew it, we were landing. We got our rental van, made a few stops for groceries and necessities, then made our way to Windsor Hills Resort where Mickey's Condo was awaiting us!
Mickey's Condo at Windsor Hills Resort was absolutely amazing! I rented it directly from the owner for approximately $800 total for the 7 nights we were there. We had 3 bedrooms (1 master suite with a walk in closet and private bath with shower), 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen with all the full-sized appliances, dining room, living room and a balcony where we could watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks at night. The resort had a fantastic pool and water slide, game room, fitness center, movie theater and sundries shop. I don't know if I can go back to a regular hotel room anymore! Mickey's Condo was just so perfect for us.
Day 3, Tuesday: Our first park was Animal Kingdom. We all rode Dinosaur. It was even better that I had remembered. The picture that was taken of us on the ride was priceless, and I had to spend the $20 to buy it. We did a few new things while at Animal Kingdom, like taking the train to the petting zoo and riding Everest. We also checked out the Tree of Life in more detail. It very cool! It was a great first day!
Day 4, Wednesday: Off to EPCOT! Riley was super excited to take Corey on Test Track, so of course it was one of the very first things we did, right after getting a FP for Soarin. While the boys checked out some of the cool technology areas at EPCOT, the girls headed to World Showcase for our Princess Breakfast at Akershus. We were greeted by Belle, then made our way inside for breakfast. Princess Aurora, Mulan and Snow White all stopped by to chat, sign autograph books and visit. It was as great as I remembered. We met up with the boys later that morning and explored the rest of EPCOT, riding all of our favorites many times.
Day 5: Thursday: Ah, the day we had been waiting for! We took our time getting ready, had a big breakfast and made our way to Downtown Disney. We dropped the boys off at Disney Quest and then headed to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the girls' princess makeovers. I staggered the makeover times so the girls could watch each other and savor the moments. It worked perfectly. They LOVED it, of course. Later on we met up with the boys again and headed over to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. It was busy! I was surprised at how many people were there. The rides didn't have much of a line, but walking around was terrible. We managed to close the party down, though, and arrived back at our condo well after midnight. The kids were troopers and had a blast.
Day 6, Friday: Time to take it easy since last night was so late and busy. We had a leisurely day at Hollywood Studios, enjoyed the rides and shows, and had a great lunch at the Sci Fi Dine in Theater. What fun!
Day 7, Saturday: Our first beach day! All week we had been careful to take time to swim and unwind by the pool after long days at the park. The kids all loved this part of our day. But today we took the kids to Clearwater Beach, on Florida's Gold Coast. Our niece and nephew have never been to the ocean, so this is just something we HAD to do. The weather didn't cooperate much, but the kids managed to swim and have tons of fun.
Day 8, Sunday: We had planned on going back to our favorite parks today, but we were bushed, and the kids really wanted to go back to the ocean. So, we opted to drive over to Cocoa Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast. Good choice! It was sunny and nice. The kids played in the huge waves for hours. I'm glad we added a second beach day after all the park touring we had done all week.
Day 9, Monday: Time to go home. It is never fun to end a vacation, but this one was such a huge success, it felt like a great accomplishment. The kids were all great, everyone got along well, and most important, we made some amazing memories this will last a lifetime. I was anxious to get home and start working on my Disney books!