Okay so this is actually going to be a combination of our first two days at Disney, since we arrived late in the afternoon on Tuesday, so I am combining it with Wednesday.
First, off what was I thinking when I suggested we drive to Florida with a three year old boy and a twelve year old girl? I don’t who was worse – my son or my sister! Anyways, so we left Chicagoland Monday night at 6 PM after dropping my 18 month old off at my parents and picking up my sister. (We figured it would be too much to bring him with me having conference sessions to go to and my husband having never been to Disney.) I drove almost 7 hours straight and it was okay until Kentucky which we hit a major snow storm. I don’t think Kentucky residents know how to deal with snow because they were all in the ditches and nothing was plowed, but being from Chicago I did fine in the snow. We only stopped a total of three times, and got gas/food/ and went to the bathroom each time.
My husband did great and drove when I was too tired, Thank God for 5-Hour Energy Drinks! So finally we arrived at our first hotel at about 4 PM, Disney All-Star Movies. I booked this hotel through Travelocity for only $65 that night! We walked around the hotel, it was obviously Disney movie themed and pretty cool! Then we caught the Disney bus to Downtown Disney to walk around and catch dinner.
We played with Legos, checked out the stores, dodged the rain and made our way over to Cap’n Jacks for dinner, which our hotel concierge recommend since we wanted a seafood restaurant that was kid-friendly. Honestly, I would not go back there. The menu was pretty skimpy and the food was so-so. I also thought it was expensive, but then again we were paying a premium for being in Disney World.
Then we went back to get a good nights sleep so we could start fresh on Wednesday.
Although, yes the room was very small (when you opened the hotel door, you almost hit the bed), it had the basics – 2 beds, bathroom, small table, tv, and dresser. I would definitely stay at one of the value resorts again because you get to take advantage of all the Disney buses and the pool there was pretty big and looked fun!
Wednesday we woke up and were out the door of Disney All-Star Movies by 8 AM. We checked out of there and headed over to the Polynesian Resort (hotel #2). I popped into the Hospitality Suite and got my bag of goodies and our theme park tickets. I got a Mickey Mouse laptop tote, men and women watches, t-shirt, board game set, and a few other goodies! The best part was the Media Fast Pass. Now if you are not familiar with how Fast Pass works, I’ll explain. Free with your Disney admission comes access to Fast Pass, the popular rides accept it and you put in your theme park ticket and it will shoot out a Fast Pass usually for two hours later. You have an hour window to use the Fast Pass, which pretty much puts you to the front of the line. You can only get one Fast Pass at a time and can’t get another until you use the first one or the timeline for it has passed. Well just for us Disney Moms we got a Media Fast Pass which means we go to go to the front of the line basically every time and anytime we wanted! It was definitely the best way for us to experience everything in our short timeline since we had dinner arrangements with the Disney Moms and I had conference sessions to go to.
Anyways, so we head to Magic Kingdom and crammed in as much as could before we had to check into our room at the Polynesian and go with the group to the Wide World of Sports for a media announcement and Tailgate Party.
I listened to the announcement and was amazed at how I basically knew nothing about the Wide World of Sports. It is basically the home of more than 60 sports and hosts over 2 million visitors a year. Many sports team practice there and compeite, which gives players exposure to be given better opportunities. For example, my younger brother plays baseball and last year his team was going to go to Disney to play in a tournament, but they ending up not having the money to go. You can play, watch, and basically breathe sports there!
Some Updates We Heard About:
• Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” is coming back, bigger and better than ever!
• The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios) is going to be featuring some new pulse-racing surprises!
• Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom is going to have a three-year construction project going on, which is the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history! Guests will be able to step into their favorite Disney fairy tales by visiting each Princesses themed village! For example, you will be able to visit A Birthday Surprise for Sleeping Beauty, see Cinderella in Dreams Come True, and experience a storytelling performance during Enchanted Tales with Belle. Oh and Ariel will be there too!
• Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island paradise) will receive a makeover including an expanded family beach, a floating water platform with two twisting water slides, two fresh-water play areas, a new teen retreat and 20 new private rental cabanas.
• The Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships will add new stops, more nights, and for the first time ever sail to Alaska!
• There will also be a two new cruise ships added (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) which will offer magical innovations, engaging children’s spaces, family entertainment and other great features! One we got too see was a water slide that is clear and swirls and goes over the ocean and then back on the ship! Oh and rooms that don’t have an ocean view will have an interactive window showing a real-time picture of the ocean! I think that is the coolest feature because I was on a cruise ship once and I can see not having a window giving off a claustrophobic feeling!
• ESPN Wide World of Sports will feature a new welcome center, a digital center where video is captured by 56 HD robotic and handheld cameras across the 220-acre sports campus and then edited to be displayed on 40 video screens and two “jumbotrons.”
The Tailgate dinner was great and it was Make-Your-Own everything buffet, my favorite! All the characters also came around to each table so we could get pictures, which made it nice not to have to wait in lines to meet the characters. There was also a High School Musical (not the actual HSM actors) dance party going on, but my son and sister didn’t want to go up and dance. We then went back to our awesome room (with a balcony facing one of their pools) at the Polynesian and crashed.
Mama’s Money Savers Disclaimer: Thanks to Mom Select, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Disney, I received a sweetheart deal (discounted package price) for this conference and in turn received Disney goodies and attended great conference sessions.