Where do I even start??? Wow! One word to sum up our trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida is just “Wow!!!?” It was our fist time traveling to Disney World, let alone Florida. So you can only imagine our excitement, we honestly had no idea what to expect. We’ve been to Disneyland in California many times, but nothing could prepare us for this incredible fully packed, never ending experience at Disney World! We were invited as a family by Disney to discover the magic of Walt Disney World at it’s four parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
We arrived in Orlando Florida, with a cast member waiting for us at the airpot in a Minnie Van!!! What?? Yes, an actual polkadot Minnie Van; The cutest mode of transportation ever. Basically Lift, but operated by Disney. With Disney movies playing while you ride and car seats ready for the kids! (I highly recommend the Minnie Van service, if you are currently planning your Disney World trip and itinerary.) We arrived at the amazing Art of Animation resort, part of the acres and acres of Disney World. Cutest hotel ever. It’s made up of three different themed sections, pools and decorated rooms: Cars, Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo… with an incredible massive Nemo themed pool in the middle of it all. The kids couldn’t believe their eyes. It was as if we stepped into the movies.
This trip was so packed with adventure and fun, it was hard to capture it all. I tried my best to focus on the kids and our family time as well as photograph as much as I could. Giving you a peek into our trip and hopefully help plan your own. I was brainstorming how I was going to share SO many things into one post, so brace yourself as this is a long one. I decided to map out our favourite spots, activities, rides and experiences at each park. Somewhat of a checklist to help you understand this massively exciting trip you’re about to embark. It’s honestly so hard to experience it all. Our trip was five days long and we could have stayed for another week or so just exploring and seeing more, it’s magically never ending. But, five days was perfect for our little family. It of course can be overwhelming and tiring for the kids, but we tried the best as we could to simply enjoy; Experience it, capture it and take in all the magic.
Also I was asked by many of you to suggest “Free and affordable things to do at Disney World”, which is a great way to split up your trip; Catch all my suggestions at the bottom of this post.
Another question I received from a lot of you is where I found Disney themed outfits for the kids. This is a great question because I like to preplan our outfits and have them ready to go. I found that H&M online has such an amazing selection, sadly instore wasn’t the greatest. I also like to check out Gap and Old Navy before we go too. If you click those links, I’ve made sure to link directly to the Disney Collections. I promise you’ll be the cutest family in the park! And of course you can find the adorable things at the stores in the park too, so make sure to stop in and check those items out too!
Here are a few tips to make your stay as enjoyable as possible with little kids.
1. Fast Passes! I highly encourage you to get a fast pass for your family, so you don’t have to stand in any lines. You fast track pretty much to the start of the line. Such a time saver and amazing way to ride all the rides.
2. You can also get your fast pass activated onto a MagicBand, wrist band which also acts as a key to your hotel room, has your credit card active for quick and easy purchases AND acts as a photo storage whenever a Disney photographer takes your photos with the Memory Maker App. It’s all so incredible the way they’ve thought it all out. It really does stream line your trip.
3. If you didn’t bring your stroller, rent one!!! We brought a stroller for Blake since he’s 11 months old and that would only make sense for our little guy. But we also noticed that Lillya and Liam needed a little rest, even a nap mid day! Meltdowns are common on full packed days, so if they are able to rest it’s not a bad idea. We rented a disney double stroller ($31/day… worth every penny) for Liam and Lillya to rest in and it was a game changer. Troy and I felt that having the three all strapped in a stroller was a nice mental break for us too.
4. This might seem like a no brainer, but have these items on hand in a backpack or in your stroller.
Water, sunscreen, healthy low sugar snacks (in-between all the yummy Disney treats), bandaids (incase of blisters with all that walking), extra phone charger, sweaters when it gets cooler in the evening, and diaper bag necessities for the babies. These were my goto things that I was constantly was reaching for.
Favourite things to see, do, eat, ride at Magic Kingdom: (*-our kids loved these).
Peter Pan Ride*, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Dumbo Flying Elephants*, Peter Pan’s Flight*, Happy Ever After Fire works show, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin*, Mad Tea Party*, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh*, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin*, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid*, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse*. Cinderella’s Royal Table (food), Guston’s Tavern (food). Magic Kingdom isn’t complete without the Pineapple Dole Whip from Aloha Isle.
One of our favourite days was visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Boutique at Disney Springs where Lillya was transformed into Queen Elsa and Liam became a knight! They were so excited and then so proud. It’s such an experience that I’m sure they’ll remember. Starting with a message from the Fairy Godmother herself in the dressing room, getting dressed up and dolled up into character! Look at the cute before & after! It’s a good idea to book this before you leave for your trip, as it books up!
Lilly might have been most excited! She loves Frozen and adores Elsa and Anna! The twinkle in her eye says it all! She chose to dress up as Queen Elsa, out of the princess wardrobe. She’s always so interested when I get ready and would wear makeup if I let her! She was mesmerized by the experience, it was quite cute to watch.
Aren’t these photos of them adorable? The two photos of them infront of the carriage were taken by a Disney photographer and were added straight onto our MagicBand! They added in the Fairy Godmother too, how cute!! Now back to into Magic Kingdom in character, there’s noting better for a six and three year old, they were in full character too! So fun to watch.
Look who Lillya ran into!! Mary Poppins, one of her new favourites! She loves watching the new movie and was so in awe when she spotted her across the park. Next up… spinning tea cups with Alice in Wonderland- my personal favourite!
Liam’s next ride of choice was Dumbo!! One of our favourite rides at Magic Kingdom, so kid friendly! Not only is it not scary, the kids loved soaring through the air, controlling their Dumbo up and down. There is also a play area for the kids to play and cool off while they waited for their turn. So well organized and thought of.
Ahh… can I just add how much I love all the details, decor and set design. Disney transforms each section of each park so differently and makes it jaw dropping – taking over your imagination and giving you all the feels.
Next over to Hollywood studios to discover the magic of film! From Storm Troopers walking around with a full Star Wars show, Toy Story Land, Sunset Boulevard to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy! The kids were amazed!
Favourite things to see, do, eat, ride at Hollywood Studios: (*-our kids loved these).
Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers*, Disney Junior Dance Party, Fantasmic, Jedi Training Academy, Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away*. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Show.* Woody’s Lunch Box* (food).
Our little Blake was all smiles the entire trip! Looking around at everything and watching his big brother and sister run around, showing him everything! He loved it and was so good! He is such a happy baby and brings our family such joy.
Animal Kingdom was just amazing. What a way to take you to a place you’ve never been. It literally felt like we were walking the streets of Africa. We were blown away with the live Safari, seeing elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, tigers… oh my! The design of the park was incredible, the live music was moving, an incredible experience to say the least.
Favourite things to see, do, eat, ride at Animal Kingdom: (*-our kids loved these).
Kilimanjaro Safari*, Maharaja Jungle Trek*, Festival of The Lion King* (musical production), Pandora’s Valley of Mo’ara, Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey. Yak & Yeti (food)… it was amazing!!!
Look at these streets, I kept asking myself, “Are we still in Florida”? The transformation of the streets and buildings at Animal Kingdom were just something else. So realistic and so cool. I really wished we had more time at the park. We didn’t get a change to see it all and the kids were a bit young for all the Avitar attractions. Everyone we talked to raved about how incredible Pandora’s Valley and Avatar Flight of Passage way. I hope we can come back one day to experience it when the kids are older.
The famous Tree of Life. It was massive, we could hardly believe how large and detailed it was. This photo really doesn’t do it’s justice!
The Tree of Life is a 145-foot (44 m) sculpture of a baobab tree at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort. It debuted when the attraction opened on April 22, 1998. Inspired by the tree of the same name, the Tree of Life features 325 carvings of existing and extinct animal species on its trunk and surrounding roots. (Via Wikipedia)
And finally Epcot. I have to say that this park was my personal favourite. (Wait okay, I loved Magic Kingdom too.) However, I just wasn’t expecting what Epcot had to offer… I really had no idea! This park took you around the world into different countries such as Italy, France, England, Norway, Canada, USA, China, Mexico… stepping into replicas of cities, with their food and culture all around you. It was truly incredible and we all loved it. With may rides and attractions too!
Favourite things to see, do, eat, ride at Epcot: (*-our kids loved these).
Frozen Ever After*, Meeting Elsa and Anna in Norway*, The Seas with Nemo and Friends*, Spaceship Earth. All the restaurants looked amazing including the food carts at each country.
Developed by Walt Disney, Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation and international culture and is often referred to as a “permanent world’s fair” (Via Wikipedia)
- 1. Visit Disney Springs. An outdoor shopping area with lots of attractions, live music amazing restaurants.
- 2. Disney’s Boardwalk. Walk down the gorgeous “turn of the century” boardwalk, grab an ice-cream, why not have a picnic along the water too!
- 3. Movie Under the Stars. Head over to Fort Wilderness as they play a Movie Under the Stars every night. Be sure to catch a Disney classic. Our hotel at The Art of Animation also had an outdoor movie playing once it started to get dark right at the Pool! Lost of hotels offer fun movies, so make sure to check if yours is playing one too!
4. Swimming! Take a day of to enjoy a day at your hotel pool. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort many have fun activities for the kids too! It’s a great way to break up the trip and all that walking. The kids will approve too!
- 5. Fireworks. You might not be visiting the park that has it’s firework show on that night. And perhaps you missed it when you were at Magical Kingdom or Epcot the day before because the kids just wanted to get to bed. There are great spots around the property that you can watch the fireworks and enjoy them just as well. I did some research and the Happily Ever After fireworks held at Magic Kingdom can also be watched at the Ticket & Transportation Centre to the right of the entrance.
- Epcot Fireworks- Illuminations fireworks can be seen from most places around the Yacht & Beach Club or BoardWalk.
- 6. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing Along. Nightly campfire show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground (7 or 8 p.m., depending upon the time of year.)
- 7. Boat rides & Ride the Monorail. The transportation in Disney World is free, and a great way to take the kids on a little adventure too. Why not turn it into a fun game or treasure hunt!
- If you/re taking a day off from the park, this is a great and relaxing thing to do!
- 8. Mickey Scavenger Hunt. At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, pick up a map at the front desk and go out on a self-guided Hidden Mickey property scavenger hunt. Guided tours are also available.
- 9. Go for a Hike! Love the wilderness? You can hike the 2.5 mile trail that connects Wilderness Lodge and the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds for some time with nature, fun actives and a campfire ready for you at the end.
- 10. Drawing Classes. Head to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a free drawing class anytime from 9am-4pm. Classes happen every 30 minutes. Lead by the artists on the property, and teach you so many amazing tips about animation. Afterwards, go through the Art of Animation Resort and walk over to the Pop Century Resort too. We did this with out family and they loved it. The themed decorations and massive character statues make for awesome photo opportunities.
Thank you Disney for sponsoring our trip and this post. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and we are so thankful!