Disney World Top 10
We had the amazing opportunity to take a trip to Disney World with my family. I had been once as a child and once as a college student (competing in a cheer competition), but I had never been as a mother. Experiencing Disney World through the eyes of my children was a magical experience that I will never forget.
Here are the Mackey party’s Disney World Top 10 (in no particular order):
1. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique (Magic Kingdom)- We started off the trip with a highlight. The girls got to visit the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle (while Judah went with Dad to drive cars and ride the carousel). We booked it for as soon as the park opened, so our Disney experience started off with a bang (talk about setting the bar high!).
You arrive at a store and pick out all you might need to transform into a real princess. To save on cost, we brought our own princess dresses, and then Grandma splurged on some talking wands. The Fairy Godmothers “in training,” help your princesses get dressed. Then you pick out your princess package and look at photos to determine which hairstyle would complete your outfit: Hattie chose a bun/tiara combo while Eliza went with colored extensions.
Next, you head on over to the salon. (We requested 2 salon chairs together, so our wait was a bit longer, but it was worth it.) In the salon, the Fairy Godmothers “in training,” do hair, make-up, and paint fingernails. They stay in character the whole time and answer any questions your children can come up with - such as “Why does this take a long time? Can’t you just wave your wand and turn me into a real princess?” (Eliza). Eliza was matched with the perfect Fairy Godmother, who patiently answered all 5,000 creative questions. The look is completed with fairy dust, a wish, a big mirror reveal, and an announcement about the newest princess in the kingdom. It was amazing.
We booked a Fast Pass to meet Cinderella and Elena right after the girls transformed into princesses, but, unfortunately, the Fast Pass had expired before we finished - mostly because we arrived late do to traffic, boarding trams, tons of people, and our lack of experience. My sister-in-law knew someone who worked at the Boutique, so we really got the royal treatment! She walked us over to Princess Fairy Tale Hall, and explained that our makeovers took a little longer than expected. She asked them to let us in the Fast Pass line (without a valid Fast Pass) AND asked if we could meet Rapunzel and Tianna on the other side (also without a Fast Pass)! She canceled our expired Fast Pass and told us to rebook something for later in the day, and let us skip to the front of the line to meet FOUR princesses. (Thank you, Libby!) My kids thought it was so amazing, and they loved showing off their own princess attire to other “real” royalty. All.the.heart.eyes. We took photos, received autographs, and had the most magical time - all before 10 am. Goodness, it was amazing! I think I almost cried 4 times.
Then we headed over to get the required castle photo (obviously, it was really bright outside - lol!) before it got too hot to wear those fancy princess dresses anymore. (Don’t worry, they wore cooler, more casual princess attire underneath their fancy dresses. You can find those looks here: https://jane.com/
2. Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid (Magic Kingdom)- Eliza’s favorite ride was the Ariel ride. We didn’t book a FastPass for it, and only waited about 25 minutes. The waiting area was shaded and cool, with lots of things to look at and fossil prints explore. The ride basically went through an overview of the movie, and the girls loved recognizing their favorite scenes. Plus, you sit on giant seashells, which adds to the overall experience. At one point, a giant Ursula was creepily laughing and looking like she was going to attack us, and my sweet Hattie Rae exclaimed, “URSULA! I love Ursula!” (If you didn’t know, she was Ursula last Halloween - by choice!) Judah, unfortunately, missed the entire ride. He fell asleep in line and slept through the whole ride!
*Eliza’s second favorite ride was Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Magic Kingdom)...even though she’s never seen the movie.
3. It’s a Small World (Magic Kingdom)- Hatties favorite ride was “the singing puppet ride.” Im pretty sure it’s a requirement to ride it while at Magic Kingdom. Although Marcus said, “I think someone could make a movie about one of these puppets that just doesn’t want to sing that annoying song anymore.” Originally we didn’t have a Fast Pass for this ride, but after we got one free during our “Royal Treatment,” I booked it in order to skip the line.
*Hattie’s second favorite ride was Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom). We had to wait the longest for this ride (35 minutes), probably because of the new movie release. They enjoyed it though.
4. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Magic Kingdom)- Judah’s favorite ride was the Buzz ride. He like the lights and shooting the lasers and turning the car back and forth. Marcus liked the competitive nature of the ride, and he scored the most points, of course. I rode with Hattie who just didn’t get the overall concept, and only hit 1 target. She thoroughly enjoyed herself anyway though! We used a Fast Pass on this ride.
*Judah’s second favorite ride was the Na’vi River Journey (Animal Kingdom), even though none of our kids have seen Avatar. The neon colors and bright lights along the boat ride were a hit with all of our kids. It was pretty cool and worth a Fast Pass. (We were especially thankful that our time slot happened to be during a torrential downpour, so we got to stay dry for a little longer.)
5. Tusker House Character Breakfast (Animal Kingdom)- The Breakfast buffet at the Tusker House was fantastic, and the Safari atmosphere was a lot of fun. Our kids enjoyed meeting Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey. (We were a little disappointed that Minnie wasn’t there though, although my girls still talk about how “she missed the bus that day,” which is what our waitress told them.) One of the trip highlights for me was seeing Judah meet Mickey Mouse! He sleeps with a stuffed Mickey, and he loves Mickey so much! Mickey was so good with him and fed right into Judah’s excitement. It was so sweet! We also got into Animal Kingdom before rope drop, which gave us some extra time to explore.
6. Festival of the Lion King (Animal Kingdom) - My favorite thing was this musical. It was on par with a Broadway show, and everyone was mesmerized by it, even my 2 year old. There was singing, dancing, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and all our favorite characters from the Lion King. We used Fast Pass on this, but we should have used it for something else because a lot of people can go in at each showtime.
7. Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Kingdom)- My second favorite ride was Kilimanjaro Safaris, which deserves a number all to itself on the Top 10 list. You will definitely need a Fast Pass for this one unless you want to wait for 2 hours, but you get to see elephants, giraffes, big cats, and so much more up close and personal. It’s a pretty long ride in a covered car, which is a nice break from the walking and heat. Everyone enjoyed it - 2-year-olds to 60+ year olds. Judah fell asleep toward the end of the Safari, though. Poor kid just couldn’t hang all day at Disney.
8. World Showcase (Epcot) - Marcus and I ditched the kids....ahem left them to have fun with their grandparents...and went off on our own to explore Epcot. It was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on! We got to explore Mexico, Japan, Germany, and Morocco. We had dinner in China and dessert in France. We stopped and met Anna and Elsa in Norway - because our daughters would be so disappointed if they knew we skipped the opportunity to get a photo with two of their favorites. We looked at all the shops, listened to the music, bought a couple of souvenirs, and enjoyed our uninterrupted time together. We used a Fast Pass for a spot to view the firework show - Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It was a pretty neat show, but it is retiring September 2019. We had such a fun time on our Epcot date!
9. Soarin’ Around the World (Epcot) - Marcus and I aren’t big rollercoaster people, but we did enjoy riding a few rides at Epcot that had a taller height requirement! Marcus’s favorite was Soarin’. It’s a virtual reality hang gliding ride that takes you to see some of the Wonders of the World. Some of the “drops” (like over the Great Wall of China) actually felt like a roller coaster. We joked, as we glided over the Taj Mahal, that we had finally seen it...you know, since our day trip in India was spoiled by a visa system being down. It was a pretty neat ride.
10. Memories - Our favorite part, though, was definitely the memories we made with family. Was it all sunshine’s and rainbows? Um, we went with a 2, 3, and 4 year old, so definitely not. We giggled at every temper tantrum thrown in the “happiest place on earth.” We paid too much money for food. We were sweaty and hot and tired....but, you guys, it was amazing. Laughter abounded as we made a mess with rapidly melting ice cream cones (a poor choice on my part). Squeals of excitement could be heard as our kids saw characters come to life. I’ll never forget how ridiculous everyone looked wearing brightly colored ponchos in the pouring rain. I will cherish these photos and memories forever.
-Make a countdown chain! It saved my sanity every time my kids asked, “Are we going to Disney World today?” It also kept things super exciting for a whole month before we left.
-Get a stroller! Even our almost-5-year-old got tired of walking in the heat. We got a double and could easily fit our 3 kids. Plus, Judah was able to take a nap in it.
-Bring a cooler, lots of drinks, and tons of snacks to save on costs in the park. (See previous tip: Get a stroller! to carry the cooler.)
-Bring cooling rags! I honestly thought these were silly when my mom brought them, but everyone was fighting over them in the July heat. They seriously drop your body temperature and actually keep you cool. It was like magic! You can buy them in the park for a pretty penny, but they’re much cheaper on Amazon!
-Download the My Disney Experience App. This will help you keep track of your Fast Passes and tell you wait times for each ride, which was super helpful. Utilize those Fast Passes, too! We rebooked as soon as we used them, so we could stand in line for as little as possible.
-Stay on property with littles. We did not stay on Disney Property. Our hotel was AMAZING (check out The Fountains), but navigating kids and car seats and parking was hard sometimes.
-We missed the parade at Magic Kingdom. We’ve heard it’s amazing, but we just couldn’t make it through the crowds in time. I wish they would have been able to see even more characters. So, plan ahead!
-After such a long day, we decided to skip the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. It was probably the best choice for our tiny kids, but i wish they could have experienced it!
-Marcus and I thoroughly enjoyed our date in Epcot, but I think it would have been fun with the kids as well. There were princesses to meet in almost every country along the World Showcase. There was music and food. Let’s not forget that Anna and Elsa and the Frozen ride is there too! We probably wouldn’t have spent a whole day there, but hopping over to that park for a bit would have been fun.
In summation, we loved Disney World.