Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Disney World

Disney World. The Happiest Place on Earth. One of my all-time favorite places in the world, and something I've been most looking forward to doing ever since we found out we were pregnant. My mom is one of the biggest Disney fans I know, only to beat her was possibly her own mother, and I distinctly remember traveling to Disneyland and Disney World all the time as a kid and obviously loving it.

We decided to bring Sydney to Disney World for her second birthday, 1/3 because I was so anxious to introduce her to one of my most treasured past times, 1/3 because Disney in January has relatively lower attendance (if you know my husband, you know this is vital), and 1/3 because she could still fly for free if we booked the trip before her second birthday. Jordan had never been (to either Disney World or Disneyland) and I was so excited to introduce him to Mickey as well---although I can't say his enthusiasm matched mine. Being the Disney fanatic she is, my mom couldn't help but somehow manage to squeeze her, my dad and my brother along for the trip, but I didn't mind because---DISNEY!
I was so excited to start planning the trip but also incredibly overwhelmed. I belong to a few mom groups on Facebook, and there are always posts about Disney -- and about FastPasses, character meals, dining reservations, swapping pins, Magic Bands, etc. Magic Bands? What the shit are Magic Bands? FastPasses? Reservations to meet a character?? Not to sound old, but the last time I was at Disney I could just walk right up to Minnie and give her a hug. Not so much now unless you want to get beaten by a bunch of soccer Disney moms who have been waiting in line for two hours.

Strutting her stuff at the Orlando airport -- excited to meet Mickey!

Anna & Elsa birthday balloon for the win 

Making a wish (to meet Anna & Elsa, I'm sure)

We stayed on Disney property at the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, which was adorable and lovely and super convenient, and our first day there we explored the hotel and Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). I was amazed with how much has changed, Jordan was amazed with the sneaky ways Disney gets you to spend money, and Sydney was still amazed with her Anna & Elsa balloon. Those Magic Bands? Wow. Everywhere I looked people were spending like they were ballers, flashing their Magic Band around like it was Monopoly money. Well done, Disney.

We booked three character meals, and our first one was a breakfast at Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort---and I highly recommend. Not only was the food buffet style and actually pretty good, but it was such a fun atmosphere and a great way to kick our Disney experience off. Sydney was a little apprehensive of Mickey and his friends (aka she leaned so far back in her highchair to get away from Minnie she almost fell over), but she soon warmed up to them. I don't blame her, though...I had forgotten how huge they were. Mickey's head? The size of a spaceship.

Jordan, Sydney and I then went to Magic Kingdom and my parents and brother went to Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios---I think), and it was so nice to have the day to ourselves with zero plans or agenda. Upon walking in, my excitement was at an all-time high (I'm sure Jordan thought he was taking two kids to Magic Kingdom), and I instantly remembered all the times I had with my mom and grandma back in the day. My eyes welled up with tears, and I may or may not have cried off and on all day watching Sydney take everything in. I couldn't help it---it was SO cute watching her!

Jordan was all about the rides and kept asking if Sydney could go on roller coasters -- not quite. But surprisingly there were plenty of rides for her to go on, and you better believe we hit them all up. She loved Dumbo and Aladdin's Magic Carpet (same concept), absolutely freaked out with happiness on the Spinning Teacups (barf), got bored on It's A Small World, yelled at Ursula on The Little Mermaid Ride, wasn't the biggest fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, and giggled the entire time at the Monster's Inc. Laugh Factory. I get motion sickness fairly easily (and by fairly easily, I mean I got sick on Dumbo), so Jordan was so happy to have a little adventurous pal to tool around on the rides with. 

The next day was spent at Animal Kingdom, braving the rain and thunderstorm weather reports, but it actually didn't rain too much. The day ended up to be pretty wonderful with a half-empty park, and we all had a great time exploring the park---and drinking delicious adult beverages! Like all kids, Syd loves animals so she obviously loved the safari, but there was also a dinosaur ride that was like Dumbo, which she rode that no less than four times. We had a character dinner at the park, which was amazing because the restaurant was maybe 1/3 full so Sydney had endless time with Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, and those poor characters had to wave hi to the same 20 kids for what felt like six hours.

Our last day was spent with the whole family at Magic Kingdom, and it was such a magical day. It was fun seeing my mom interact with Sydney and get so excited about, well, everything (my mom has unlimited bundles of energy), and it was fun watching Sydney want to show my dad everything. We did another character breakfast, Cinderella's Royal Table, which was held inside Cinderella's castle, and it was an experience for everyone being that no one had been inside before. Sydney dressed up as Snow White, and watching her tell all the princesses it was her birthday and that she was two years old was probably the cutest thing ever. Until I realized she thought she was going to get a cupcake from all of them.

The day only got better for Syd when she found out she was going to meet Anna & Elsa (and worse for Jordan when he found out Magic Kingdom didn't serve alcohol), and she absolutely FREAKED. OUT. It was by far, hands-down, the best moment of her life. Sydney is pretty quiet in public and is more shy than outgoing, but when she saw Anna she ran down the hallway straight into Anna's arms for a hug. If your heart is bursting then welcome to the club because I totally cried. She was obsessed. She showed Anna her braids, told her it was her birthday, asked her where Olaf was...it was so. damn. cute. I think it was that exact moment when Jordan finally got the magic of Disney (although he was still bitter he couldn't have observed that magical moment with a beer). The cuteness abruptly stopped when Sydney realized Elsa was in the same room and was waiting for her---and then she couldn't stop screaming for Elsa. She finally got to meet Elsa, and she just kept staring at her with a smile--not talking, just smiling--and didn't. want. to. leave. We had a stage 5 clinger on our hands, and I literally had to pick her up and carry her out with her hollering, "I love you, Elsa!!!" over my shoulder and out the door. #restrainingorder

I promise she was more enthused than this pic looks, lol.

Showing Anna her own Anna braids.

Totally fangirling out.

I couldn't even watch them.

The trip was such a success. Sydney kept telling people she met Mickey, Minnie, Anna, Elsa, etc., and she was just so happy to have been at Disney World. It was definitely a trip to remember, and even though Jordan's not quite the Disney fanatic I am (he almost died when I told him the line for Dumbo during peak season is like an hour long), he even had a good time. If anyone is thinking of taking their kiddos, I highly recommend! There's something for kids of all ages to do, and Disney makes the planning process really easy and family-friendly. We I can't wait to go back, and I may or may not have already booked a girls trip with Sydney and my mom to go to Disneyland in June. I haven't been back there since I was maybe eight, so anyone have any advice/must-dos for Disneyland??



  1. Your trip sounds amazing and your video on Instagram should be an ad for Disney. I had to show my mom and Jim because it completely portrays the magic of Disney. I'm a huge Disney fan as well! I would want to go regardless of the kids. Haha
    But I can't wait to take Colin and Avery eventually!

    1. Ohh, thanks so much, April! The video took so long to put together (lol), but I definitely teared up once it was finished; you're absolutely right---it completely captured how magical Disney is! Syd and I are actually heading to Disney again (Disneyland this time!) in June!! :-)

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I've been binge reading your blog for a few hours now, I ended up on this post right before heading to bed. I'm new to blogging/parenting and I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your posts. You are so authentic and transparent in your articles (not to mention funny- still laughing at how much you hate E.T. from another post). I admire how great of a mother you are to Sydney, she's such a lucky little girl to have a mom like you. I'm sure I can go on and on, but to keep this short I'll just say - keep doing you girlfriend! Because as a reader & a mom, I absolutely love everything you're about!
    -Angela Moretti


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