I’ve split up our theme park experience between the good and not so good. It is strange how you can go on about some things that aren’t as good and have it overshadow the good stuff. Over all our trip was great. A bucket list item got checked off and we learned a lot about how we might want to do it next time should we go again with the kids. The kids loved it because well it IS the happiest place on Earth, right?
This was the kids’ first visit to Disney and Universal. I felt like any sooner than three and they wouldn’t appreciate it as much or even remember any of it. There is still a chance they won’t remember anything, but I think they had a blast and appreciate it quite a bit more than they would have last year. I knew I would get emotional when I finished the race, but I also got a little emotional a few times with the kids just in the theme parks. My mind just seems to go back to when I thought I might not ever get to have kids. I, at one short time, thought I wouldn’t get to share all these cool iconic things with my kids. Whenever we do get to do something like go to Disney my mind goes back to that, and I start to cry. I am just so appreciative of what I have. I get so happy just looking at how their little faces light up when we do things like that. I love how they get all excited. I’m getting a little misty now typing this.
We actually went to Universal first. My husband and I LOVE Harry Potter. We let the kids watch the first movie even though it is a little scary at the end. I think they liked it. So they were able to recognize Harry Potter stuff when they saw it. I mean they even pointed Harry out on the billboards around town. I don’t think they fully appreciate Harry Potter yet, but they were not completely in the dark about who he was.
We forgot about E.T. though. The kids liked the ride, but they kept calling ET a sea turtle. A few days after we got home we found a copy of the E.T. movie and watched it with them. Again it was another one of those things we shared with them that gets me all misty eyed.
They did “okay” without naps at the theme parks. Baby Boy would doze off around 5 PM or so if they didn’t get one. He didn’t do that every time but quite a few times. He was only super tired and cranky maybe two or three times. Baby Girl did pretty well. The adults weren’t too terrible either. We got cranky with each other only a handful of times and I think it was because we were just tired.
We also got to see family while in Florida. We have been to Florida with the kids when they were just over one year old. We went to just hang out in Florida and spend time with my mother-in-law’s sister, Aunt Vicki, and her two girls Micah and Mimi. Micah has a little girl about a year older than our kids. We didn’t get to see the girls or the little one this trip. We saw their brother, Matt instead. It was fun. They had Universal passes and spent two days with us at the park. Otherwise I don’t think we would have been able to see them for very long. We basically had passes to one theme park or another every single day. Aunt Vicki and Matt are a hoot. We all rode the River Adventure Ride in the Jurassic Park area while my in-laws took our kids on the Pteranodon Flyers. We got pictures and they were pretty funny. My husband looks like he is trying to catch a Pteranodon, I’m just screaming, Aunt Vicki cannot be seen because she put her jacket is all the way over her head to keep dry, and Matt is just chilling and smiling. By the way, Aunt Vicki did not get wet.
My kids have been obsessed with the Grinch book and cartoon. They were not so impressed with the Jim Carrey movie. We caught the last day of Universal’s Grinchmas. We got pictures with the Grinch. Baby Boy might have acted a little scared but I know he was loving it because how much he talked about it afterwards. They also met Spider Man, Captain America, a minion, Shrek, Donkey, and Optimus Prime.
We meet so many other characters at Disney. We met a ton of princesses. I love the look on Baby Girl’s face when she saw Elsa and Anna. Baby Boy can be a little shy, but I know by the look on his face he was NOT being shy when we met Chewbacca. I think he was just in awe. It was really awesome. So much so my husband made the photo his profile picture.
We stayed about a week at a time share my in-laws had. It was nice and not too terribly far from everything. I think we were “spitting distance” to Sea World which we did not visit. I’ve never visited a Sea World but there was no way we could go with all the tickets we already had to the other theme parks. The time share was definitely spacious compared to the Disney resort we moved to for the race. The Disney resort was fun for the kids though. We stayed at Art of Animation. We had a Lion King family suite. The kids loved all the huge plastic characters around the place. They loved the pictures in the resort and room too. It was just a big cool adventure for them.
We had several dining reservations, but my favorite Disney dining experience was one we just showed up to for lunch at the Garden Grill at Epcot. We didn’t have to wait very long. The food was fantastic and it was a rotating restaurant. It rotated at a nice comfortable speed. The front side was the entrance while the back side was the scenery for the Living Land boat ride. You had a countryside scene, a dessert scene, things like that if you have not been on the boat ride. My son was being picky as usual, but they were nice enough to not charge us for him. It was a set price per person because it was an all you can eat family style setting. I loved that too. It is nice to have an all you can eat, but have the food brought to you. Their sweet potato fries are awesome. Makes me hungry just thinking about them. The kids also got to see Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale.
We did Cinderella’s Castle for breakfast. My daughter dressed like Cinderella and got to have her picture taken with the “real” Cinderella in the lobby. My son didn’t have a costume but we did dress him up in a nice shirt with a vest and tie in his favorite color, purple. He said he was dressed like a king and was happy with it that day. Baby Girl loved meeting all the princesses during our meal. We saw Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, and Ariel. Baby Boy was a little bashful at first. He did not get his picture with Cinderella in the lobby but he did with the other princesses during our meal. The food was okay and the kids got a magic wand and sword. I was worried at first that my son was going to skip another meal but we finally got him to eat some Mickey waffles.
We had been to Chef Mickey’s before when we went with my sister-in-law and her kids years ago. So we went again for a late breakfast this time. It wasn’t much different from what I remembered. The kids loved seeing all the characters. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. An added bonus was that my son was more willing to eat since there was a wider variety of breakfast food. Doing a late breakfast was cool because you got breakfast and lunch on the buffet. The adults liked that.
Be Our Guest had really good food. We did lunch though and didn’t see any characters. I was excited at first because I thought Baby Girl would eat the turkey sandwich and Baby Boy would eat the macaroni with red pasta sauce. It was a no go though. He likes spaghetti but he was not thrilled with the way the noodles looked. He would not even try it. He wouldn’t try anything anybody tried to share with him. Baby Girl ate a few bites of the turkey sandwich but she wouldn’t eat anything else. This was very frustrating for me especially since we had struggled with so many other meals. Baby Girl dressed as Elsa this day, but Baby Boy didn’t want to dress up this time unless we had a Kristoff outfit. The adults all really liked the dishes they ordered. I think most of us order different sandwiches The lentil soup was really good.
The kids loved the rides. I think the rides the kids liked the best were any kind of boat ride or train ride. My son liked Haunted Mansion but my daughter hid her head behind me the entire ride. Later she said she wanted to ride it again, but I think it was because her brother talked about it so much. After we got off that ride we found a headband with Minnie Mouse ears on it in my daughter’s stroller. It was late and we were leaving. We wondered if someone just wanted to give them away to be nice or if maybe a worker just saw my daughter’s stroller and thought it would be nicer than taking it to lost and found. We are not sure how often things like that are ever actually claimed.
Some of the virtual rides we went on the kids thought were a little scary because of the bad guys. They were not so scared that it upset them real bad. They of course liked the good guys winning over the bad guys every time. They wanted to be carried a lot when we were in line, but they weren’t too bad. They would sometimes make a little game of going around me or one of my legs. It let the time go by for us all. There were a few rides we didn’t get to hit, but I told my husband it is just an excuse to try to save up and come back a few years later.
Like I said, it was a great trip. I’ve got at least two other posts to talk some more about it all. The other posts about the not so good stuff has a little drama (we had a stroller stolen) and some complaints (why can’t I find a Kristoff outfit next to a Anna or Elsa outfit?). The last post is our two races. I decided to post them together and compare side by side instead of telling you about one and then about the other. It kind of made it easier to remember. I hope it is easy to read and follow it.