First, the preface. We usually head down to Florida each December to spend Christmas with my in-laws. Usually we fly down. This year, for various reasons, we decided to drive. We also decided to take the Little Man and Little Miss to Disney World. Those who follow along probably know that the Little Man is 3-1/2 and the Little Miss just turned 16 months. We did the Disney trip with some trepidation. We had friends who had rough experiencing bringing their young ones. Would we have the same? I managed to keep detailed records of everything we did with the kids while on our Disney adventures. But rather than slam you with one massively long post, I’ll spread them out a bit, and give them to you in smaller, bite-sized chunks, one post for each day we spent at the resort.
Kelly found a great deal. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort for 3 nights and our packaging included the Disney dining plan, basically for free. We planned our drive so that the first day, we’d drive for 6 hours, the second day, we’d drive for 4 hours, and the last day, we’d drive 3 hours. As it turned out, we ended up arriving at Disney World around 1pm on Sunday afternoon.
About the only confusing thing was where to go to check in. The GPS took us to the Caribbean Beach Resort, but not to the Custom House, which is where you check in. We had to ask around a bit, but after a little while, we found the Custom House. I went and checked us in and despite being there early, our room was ready. We headed over to our room, in the Barbados section of the resort, unloaded the car, and then headed back out. Kelly’s plan was to spend our first afternoon and evening at Downtown Disney. She had arranged for us to have dinner at Planet Hollywood so we decided to grab a shuttle from the hotel to Downtown Disney.
We walked to the bus stop and pretty much walked right onto a bus to Downtown Disney. That was our experience for our entire stay. Whether heading for a park, or leaving a park, I don’t think we ever waited more than five minutes for a bus. We brought two umbrella strollers with us, but only took one to Downtown Disney. We thought we’d see how the Little Man did walking.
One of the first thing we did upon arriving at Downtown Disney was take family picture in front of a Christmas scene they had. Next, we went to locate some food. The Little Man and I located a good place to eat while Kelly and the Little Miss started investigating shops. After I finished my snack, we went into Once Upon a Toy, which the Little Man loved, but not as much as he loved the Lego Store. That was a pretty cool store, with all kinds of gigantic Lego sculptures outside and places for kids to build and create inside.
I wanted the kids to have a blast. Wandering through shops usually isn’t my thing, but I actually enjoyed myself. I let the Little Man build things in the Lego store until he grew bored, and then we moved on. We found a candy shop and we each got some candy, making use of our first dining plan snacks. I got some delicious chocolate fudge. Kelly got a rice crispy treat, and the Little Man got some candy as well.
Downtown Disney was pretty crowded, but the weather was great and the kids seemed to be having a good time. We split up briefly, and I took the Little Man to the Margarita Bar, where I got a well-deserved drink. I think let the Little Man ride the small railroad across from the bar and he was delighted by this. He rode it himself, and sat in the caboose and seemed to have a blast in the process.
From there, we made our way to Planet Hollywood, where we had dinner reservations. It seems like reservations are pretty much required for the sit down places if you don’t want to wait in long lines. We had no wait and actually had a terrific dinner. And everything we ate and drank, except the alcohol was covered by the Disney Dining plan.
After dinner, we made our way back to the bus stop and walked right onto a bus heading back to the Caribbean Beach resort. I think we were all pretty exhausted and both kids fell asleep quickly. They weren’t even disturbed at 10pm when we could hear the explosions of fireworks go on for about 10 minutes before reaching a crescendo that I was certain would wake them–but they slept through that as well. For the amount of walking we did, the Little Man did amazingly well. Both kids were well-behaved, even at the end when we were ready to head back to the hotel.
We planned to spend part of our first full day at Disney World at the Animal Kingdom. And we wanted to be there early.
To be continued…