Let me just start by saying that the day after I received my “only 5” Magical Express vouchers, I got another another envelope containing another 5=) So Disney, being Disney, had notated my request, and of course, they delivered. How could I have ever doubted them?! Now on to more planning!
The very next thing I do after our vacation package and airline tickets are obtained, is create a rough itinerary for our trip. This will include what park we are going to each morning and evening, restaurants we will be dining at each day, and if we have any other reservations such as The Pirates League that J does every year. (FYI-this is a MUST do for pirate fans!) We are also thinking about setting sail on the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. I’ll let you know if we book it!. The day we arrive we never go to any parks. We arrive at our hotel and remain there for the rest of the day. This gives us a chance to settle in, unpack, walk around our hotel, swim in the pool, or check out the arcade and gift shop. We also like to take this day to experience our hotel’s restaurant for dinner. We also like to have a surprise waiting in the room for our kids on arrival day. We do this by pre-ordering some sort of In-Room Celebration from the dream makers at Disney Floral and Gifts. Last year we pulled out all the stops and went for the big kahuna, Mickey Mouse\’s Grand Welcome. We are still deciding what to surprise them with this year! I really think it is totally worth it to do this for your children. J really truly believed that Mickey himself had come and left him all these great goodies. How magical!
The first full day of our trip we always start off by heading over to the Contemporary and hitting up Chef Mickey\’s for breakfast. Character dining is a great way to introduce your little ones to Disney characters at the very start of your trip! We love Chef Mickey’s because it is a buffet style breakfast, and a great way to fill up your bellies before your first big day in the parks, and because of the characters! You will be greeted by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, the Fab 5 themselves! Little ones will be able to spend some time with the characters and take pictures and get autographs. I know if we don’t see Mickey at the very start of our trip, J will not be able to contain himself until we do, so seeing him first thing is a must for us! On our very first Disney trip it was also a great way to get him acclimated to the Disney characters, which he warmed up to very quickly! My little ones also love the Contemporary, because they get to see the monorail running right through it! After our breakfast, our first day’s park is always the Magic Kingdom. Although I love all the parks, there is just something about walking up and seeing Cinderella’s Castle on the morning of your first day! I decide which parks we will go to on each subsequent day by which park is opening early. If you do decide to utilize Extra Magic Hours, I recommend only staying in the EMH park until just after lunch. After that you will have everyone that had the same idea as you, as well as guests who are coming to the park for the afternoon. After lunch is a good time to leave whatever park you are in anyway, and head back to your hotel for a rest. If you have little ones in your party, this is a MUST. We do not take naps normally in my family (I know, crazy) but every year about 2 months before our Disney trip, I instate nap taking as training for our trip! After lunch in the parks, we head back to our room, bathe the kids and put them down for a nap. My husband and I take showers, and the kids wake up refreshed and ready to take on another park for the evening. Trust me when I tell you to do this! One day the kids swam in the pool instead of napping and this is what they looked liked all that night in Epcot:
What park we go to at night depends on the night time shows in the parks, and where we are eating. If you would like like, take a look at last year’s itinerary, The Beckley Family Walt Disney World Vacation 2010.
This year we will be dining at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at our hotel the Wilderness Lodge, the night of our arrival. This restaurant has fabulous barbeque and is a real hoot for little ones! Our first full day we will be heading to the Contemporary first thing for Chef Mickey bright and early at 8:25AM, and then riding the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. We’ll just do something quick for lunch that day and then head back to our hotel for rest time. We’ll grab a quick dinner at our hotel’s quick service restaurant, the Roaring Fork, and then head back to the Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade, and the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks. Now heading back to your hotel mid-day does mean that you will miss the afternoon parades and shows. This is actually a real bummer but something that we as a family will just have to wait to enjoy until our kids are older and have the stamina and endurance to spend a full day at the parks! Our second full day will start with a quick breakfast and then we will head to Hollywood Studios. We’ll grab a quick service lunch at the ABC Commissary, and head back to our hotel to rest up for an evening at Epcot where we’ll dine at Tuto Italia Restaurante in Italy. My children love Italian food, so they adore this restaurant. It is tradition for them to get the spaghetti and veal meatballs, and they must look like this while eating it:
How could you pass up a night of this?! After dinner we’ll stay for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Our third day we will go to the Animal Kingdom in the morning, eat lunch there at Flame Tree Barbeque, and head back to Epcot that night for dinner at Les Chefs De France. Hopefully this time the kids will be awake to meet Remy!
Our fourth day we’ll be off to Epcot in the morning and we’ll lunch at La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. That evening we’ll travel back to Epcot for dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco which will be a new experience for us. I love middle eastern cuisine and I hear this place is great! Our fifth day will be at Typhoon Lagoon. We’ll nosh at Lowtide Lou’s for lunch and we’ll eat dinner at Ohana at the Polynesian, which I’m looking forward to trying for the first time as well. This will be our first year as a family not doing the Spirit of Aloha Show, which is the Luau at the Polynesian. I wonder if the food will be similar? Our sixth day will be at Blizzard Beach and we’ll have a quick lunch at the Warming Hut. We’ll head to Hollywood Studios that night for dinner at Hollywood and Vine and that night we’ll watch Fantasmic which my little ones adore. Last year we did the Fantasmic Dining Package where we ate at The Hollywood Brown Derby (excellent), and then got priority seating for Fantasmic. I do recommend this although we’re not doing it this year. Our last full day we will relax at our hotel, and swim in the pool, eat a quick lunch at our hotel and for the evening head on over to Downtown Disney for an evening of shopping and Disney Quest and dinner at Wolfgang Puck Cafe which is my absolute favorite place in The World, and the world for sushi! Sadly I won’t be able to have it this year because I’ll still be nursing little M! And the next day is departure day!
I hope our rough itinerary sounds good to you and inspires you to do a little planning of your own. So until next time, go get yourself wrapped up in some pixie dust!