We took Guinevere to Disney World in May as a surprise. We’d been planning the trip for over 18 months, and when everyone tells you what an incredible and magical vacation it is – they aren’t kidding.
First thing of note, we “hired” a travel agent to help with the trip. I say “hired” because she went above and beyond in helping every aspect, but we don’t actually pay her – Disney does. So absolutely nothing came out of my pocket but I had tons of advice, all reservations and dining and FastPasses handled, she even waited til midnight on the day we were eligible to make sure to snap up the coveted Elsa and Anna FastPasses. I can’t rave about her enough – Laura at Glass Slipper Concierge.
Guinevere woke up at her normal time (8ish) on Monday morning, expecting to go to school. I asked her if she really wanted to go to school that day (she said yes) and then Tyler and I started musing that we didn’t feel like going to work, and wanted to do something fun. She pipes up, “Well, actually, I don’t want to go to school” and Tyler handed her a PlayDoh Egg (one of her favorite things to do, as seen on her YouTube channel!). She thought the egg was the surprise, until she started to put the clues together about the Mickey figurine and the Magic Bands. And then we got to tell her that in about an hour, we were leaving for the airport!
With the TSA in the news lately, we expected horrible security lines, but whisked right through and got there with tons of time to kill. I’d packed Guinevere a little backpack with toys and art to keep busy all week, so she was an excellent listener in getting to the gate and all settled so she could open it and check everything out – phenomenal motivation!
The flight went well, we landed early, and then it was time to head to our bus. Laura had mailed us packages before our trip with itineraries and brochures and all sorts of information. So I knew exactly where we needed to go getting off the plane to find our bus – I loved how straight forward it was. Bonus – since we were staying on property at a Disney resort, we could put yellow luggage tags on all of our checked bags, and didn’t need to pick them up at baggage claim – Disney got them, and delivered them straight to our room at the Bay Lake Tower Contemporary. We didn’t even need to be there, they put them in for us! We expected a video on the bus but it was broken, and it was a LONG ride since ours was last. Guinevere held it together pretty well, reading books on her Kindle app.
Since we knew our bags wouldn’t beat us to the hotel, we packed travel-friendly sunscreen and swimsuits in my carry-on so we could change at the hotel and head straight to the pool!
After the pool for a bit, we went over to Disney Springs in an Uber. Tyler has a good friend who is a chef at Morimoto Asia and we had dinner at his restaurant. The food was unbelievably good – I expected it, but it exceeded our expectations. The pork buns were my favorite – way better than even Momofuku (my previous favorite!) After dinner, we walked around Disney Springs a bit, and played at the Lego store. We hadn’t realized how much there was to do there, particularly at night, and wish we’d had more time to walk around and explore. We ended up taking a bus back to our resort and were a bit surprised at the wait time for a bus (maybe half an hour) and the ride length (we were last drop off, so maybe 40ish minutes or longer?).
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
This was our first day in the parks, and it was Extra Magic Hours (so if you’re staying on property, you get Extra Magic Hours to go to certain parks early or stay later than other Disney visitors). I kept hearing about this thing called rope drop at opening that was awesome, so I got my family to HUSTLE to get there before 8am. We got there maybe 7:45, and Tyler stayed to have the stroller and our bags searched so Gwen and I could dash to see the show. And by the time we walked in it was a smidge before 8…and we missed all of it. Whomp. So get there like half an hour early if this is something you want to see! Guinevere and I then took advantage of the open park to snag some pics in front of the castle and go meet Ariel before Tyler caught up to us.
We then stuck to Fantasyland and rode rides, met Merida, Cinderella and Rapunzel, and used some Fast Passes. Guinevere also got to play the role of Mrs Potts in an interactive Tales with Belle show, which she loved. We then let her play in the splash pad (thank goodness for extra clothes!) and had a late 2pm lunch at Be Our Guest. That was definitely the best use of a counter service meal. The food was wonderful and the ambiance was lovely. We did the most this morning (thanks to the Extra Magic Hour!) and it was a perfect start to the vacation.
After lunch, we dashed back to our hotel for a quick nap. I LOVED that about staying at Bay Tower – it was such a quick walk, and no need for any transportation! After the nap, we woke up refreshed and headed back to Magic Kingdom, this time to Tomorrowland. I had big hopes for riding fun rides here, but after two of them, Tyler caught an Uber to go watch the Caps playoff game with a friend in Orlando, and Guinevere just wanted to dance with the Incredibles, and so she did…all the way until time for fireworks!
A little note about that one picture of Guinevere with all the glow-in-the-dark bracelets.
Of all of the gorgeous pictures we took at Disney, this is my favorite. After we checked in on Monday to our incredible hotel, hung up all the pretty princess dresses, and tucked Guinevere in with all of the excitement and magic of the week to come, I asked Tyler if we were doing her a disservice. Was she being too spoiled? Would she come to expect wonderful trips and treats like this? How much could she really appreciate it? Her childhood is already so vastly different from my own.
On Tuesday, we went to watch the electrical parade and fireworks at Magic Kingdom, and I pulled out a pink light-up wand I purchased in the Target Dollar Spot and a 15-pack of light-up bracelets, at a suggestion from Pinterest that the lit toys in Disney World were expensive. Guinevere was super excited…and proceeded to hand out every single one of her bracelets to all the other kids around us that didn’t have any light up toys. It was a super proud parenting moment, and was reinforced throughout the week – constant thank yous and being told we were the best parents ever. When we told her she would get just one souvenir at the end of the week, she never asked for more (and it had to be tough, with all the shops and toys on display!), she just kept carefully inspecting each shop to decide if she liked something more than the current favorite.
She’s 4, so I expected some normal meltdowns and tantrums (and we did have some moments where we missed a nap and were tired from waiting in lines) but I was so proud of how sweet this girl was. Tyler and I have no idea how we got so lucky, but are incredibly thankful for a wonderful trip with her!
Coming up: a million more pictures, our hotel and tips and what we took in the parks…and duh, the outfits