Saturday morning, Jayme awoke to what he thought would be a normal day. Breakfast, video games, legos, ect. But as he came down the stairs he noticed something was different. A huge box wrapped in birthday wrapping paper was on the dining room table. This of course started “What in the box dad?” “Is it for me?” “When do I get to open it?”
Once breakfast was eaten and Joshua came down and made his morning appearance, Jayme was allowed to open the box. As he opened the box a huge red balloon with Mickey Mouse shot straight up for the ceiling only to have it’s escape hindered by a red string tired to a strange looking purple dragon aka Figment.
Inside the box Jayme found his My Pal Mickey doll and a blue binder. He took them out and looked at his dads totally confused. He asked how his Mickey doll got in the box.
Anthony came over and opened up the binder and turned to the page with a large Delta airlines logo on it and asked Jayme to read the date on the sheet. Jayme read out 2/11/12. Anthony then explained that this was an airline ticket. Jayme’s eyes then started to get big as the dad’s told jayme that in 3 hours we would be on a plane headed to Disneyworld. Joshua then headed up stairs and started bringing down all the suitcases that the Dad’s had packed the night before. Then after 3 very long hours we headed to the airport.
Flight Down & Hotel
The flight down was fairly easy. Jayme has become a seasoned traveler. We flew down on Delta to Atlanta and then had a 2 hour layover before we got on a Aeromexico/Delta flight to Orlando. We arrived at MCO Orlando International Airport a little after midnight. We hopped on the airport monorail and then walked down and collected our bags. We then had to fight crowds and swim back upstream to goupstairs and into the center of the airport to check in to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport.
Check in was fairly smooth. Checking in in-front of us was another family that was on our flight from Atlanta. We remembered them because they paid extra for a first class upgrade for the 1 1/2 hour Aeromexico/Delta flight to Orlando, which both Dad’s thought was pretty wasteful. It appeared they were being a difficult check in for hotel staff. They didn’t want to go down and collect their own bags from the bag collection carrousel, they wanted the hotel staff to fetch them. So they had to spend 20 mins describing what the bags looked like in grat detail. We got checked in quickly next to them and headed up to our room with our own bags, no help needed.
We have to say it, we love the MCO Hyatt. We were forced to stay there once before when we got bumped from a US Airways flight a few years back. So when we saw our flight was coming in so late, we knew the Hyatt would work great for us. The room was great, King bed and a nice big bathroom. They even had Jayme’s rollaway in the room and waiting for us. It was great, after a few quick showers and baths to wash off our travel dust. All three of us were asleep in no time.
DAY ONE – Downtown Disney
We woke late, 10a.m. est (7 a.m. pst). We had purchased the awaken package which gave us a late check out and a free breakfast. The hotel restaurant was very pretty and had an amazing view of the runway. The service and food were…. well ok. A bit slow and pretty standard hotel buffet food. We headed back to our room and finished packing and bundeling up for our day at Downtown Disney. The plan was for us to pick up our rental car at noon then drive over and check in to our Disney Hotel (Port Orlean’s Riverside), then take the boat down to Downtown Disney for the afternoon.
On our last visit in December of 2010 we came right at the peak of the coldest weather Orlando had seen in decades. So we were a bit bummed to see that the weather was rather cold High 50’s and mid 60’s for the first two days of our trip. But we bundled up and checked out of our hotel.
First challenge was getting the car. In the past we only had to walk out to the lot and drive off, but this time they wanted us to check in via the desk. So as Joshua and Jayme waited, Anthony ran in and got in a very very long line. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a express self serve check in console, a console that no one was using. At first it looked off, but a little ad popped up on it’s screen. No one else in line seems to give a second thought. So putting his fate in the hands of a gadget, Anthony took a chance and headed over the machine. 4 mins later his paper work printed out and he was on his way. As he raced back to his waiting family he looked back at the huge line that had not moved. Now free to pick any compact car we wanted, we all quickly picked…. a black Dodge Caliber. Same car we have at home and drove over and over in Hawaii. We really must be Dodge fans or just creatures of habit (definately habit).
Thanks to Joshua’s huge bag of quarters we had no issues sailing through the toll ways and arrived on Disney property within about 35 mins.
This was are third stay at Port Orleans, 2nd time at Riverside. So we knew our way around the grounds very well. We headed into the hotel lobby and checked in. We had a bit of scare as they had us in one of the old rooms with 2 double beds and Disney doubles are twins. Luckily with a bit of begging and our 2 queen confirmation from our travel agency (Travels Through Wonderland) in hand, they found a ground floor corner room with 2 queen beds and a pull down trundle bed for Jayme. Best of all it was one of the new re-habbed rooms. We jumped back in the car and drove over to our room, it was amazing. Once again Jayme was thrilled to have his own special little bed.
We took a bunch of photos of the room (like the disney geeks that we are) then feeling a bit brave put on our light spring jackets and headed down the the boat dock. Disney run’s some little bus/boats down the river to Downtown Disney from select resorts. It’s a nice 15 minute boat ride and a bit more special then taking a resort bus. Once we got on the water in the boat, we quickly regretted our light spring jackets. A wind was blowing across the water and mid way down all three of us were popsicles. The curse of the cold weather seemed to have stuck again. Jayme ignored the cold weather for the most part and spent the whole ride talking the boat Captain’s ear off. For the rest of the trip we referred to the boat Captain as his new friend and would look for him each day as we walked past the dock.
Downtown Disney is fun, kinda a large outdoor shopping mall. The 2 big hits for us was the Pin store for Anthony and the Lego store for Jayme. Jayme loved the lego store he quickly was able to find a lego Fire truck set that he JUST HAD TO HAVE!!! As Joshua took Jayme away to other distractions, he gave a wink to Anthony who grabbed the box and headed to the check out counter. We got off pretty cheap, it was only $25.00 bucks and worked out great for us as it gave Jayme something to do all week long when we had down time in the hotel room. We also were able to hide the package from Jayme until we got back to the room, which made it a super cool surprise once we got back to our room.
By the time we got out of the marketplace area and reached the upper Paradise Island part of Downtown Disney, it was pushing 2:45pm and we were all starting to get hungry. We tried to get into several of the restaurants only to be told they all had 45 min+ waiting times. The last place we tried was the House of Blues, at first it didn’t look like it would be very kid friendly but it really was. We had a great lunch and Joshua even had a few drinks, the vacation was officially ON!
After lunch the weather really started to get chilly so we hopped a warm resort bus back to our hotel and layed down for a nice nap. After a nice nap and a bit of further exploring of our resort it was dinner time. Per tradition: we always have our first welcome dinner at Raglan Road, this time was no different. Skipping the bus and cold boat ride this time we choose to drive over in our rental car. Raglan Road is one of the restaurants in Downtown Disney, a traditional Irish pub with live traditional dancing and music. Both of which Jayme LOVED! Jayme did state that he could dance better than the professional dancers which was quite hilarious…
DAY TWO- Magic Kingdom
We woke early on Monday morning 6:30am est (3:30am pst), but thanks to our 2 prior nights on eastern standard time, it really didn’t feel so early to us. We dressed warmly, as the temperature was only suppose to get to a high of 65 for the day, then headed down to the hotel’s food court. We chowed down on yummy Mickey waffles, orange juice and the other normal breakfast staples before jumping into our rental car and heading over to the Magic Kingdom.
One of the perks of staying at a Disney resort is free Disney transportation plus free parking. We like to drive in and then take the bus back for a nap. Return via the bus and then beat the crowds and rush at park closing by jumping in our car and driving back. This was the travel plan for the day.
After parking we got to the transportation center nice and early, we had at least 45min before the park opened. So we took the monorail over Bay lake to the Magic Kingdom. Jayme loved it! We passed through bag check and then waited with a small crowd just pass the ticket booths for the welcome show and rope drop to happen at 9:00am.
As 9:00am hit the Disney Railroad came rolling in and on it was Mickey and all the gang. They did a short welcome show and song and the next thing we knew they dropped the rope and we were walking on to Main Street USA. As the crowds poured into Tomorrow land and Fantasyland we did the trick we learned from a cast member and headed into Adventure land. We did a walk on to the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of Caribbean, then had to drag Jayme away from Splash Mountain. Neither Dad was up for getting wet on a cold day.
We made really good progress all day. Jayme had his big “It’s my Birthday” pin on so every castmember was saying happy birthday to him and several would do little special things for him. He was made a Jr. Deputy of Frontier land and even got a little sliver badge to wear. For the rest of our trip when ever he would see kids breaking the rules he would comment that he had to do something because he was a Deputy. It was SO CUTE!
We had a nice lunch at the Plazza restaurant, nice sandwiches. Then caught a resort bus back to our hotel for a nice long nap. We made it back to the Magic Kingdom around 3:30ish and headed over to Tomorrowland were Jayme found his most FAVORITE ride in the whole world, Autopia. Little gas powered go carts cars which the kids get to drive. Over the trip he did this ride at least 6 times. Space Mt was Jayme’s 2nd favorite ride. We used fastpasses to bypass the 90 min wait (with pass 10 min wait), but Jayme really struggled with understanding that we could not get unlimited fastpasses. We really worked hard on this trip to be aware of Jayme’s limits, so many times we would skip a ride because of the wait time and make plans to us a fasspass or hit the ride on our 2nd day. This worked really well for us and Jayme was able to get on every ride his size would allow at least once over the course of our trip. We also would prep Jayme before each area or ride and help him set some managed expectations.
That evening was the Wishes Fireworks Spectacular which Jayme really liked.
DAY THREE – Animal Kingdom
We woke again early 7:00am, but today we were not in a huge rush. Today’s park destination was Animal Kingdom, a park that we both feel is a half day park. The big excitement for the day was it was going to be mid 70’s, so everyone jumped into shorts. It was also Valentines day, Anthony presented Joshua and Jayme with boxes of Chocolate and cards and Josh and Jayme gave Anthony a card. It was funny because everyone figured the other person would forget. But none of us did, how is that for sappy.
We had breakfast again at the hotels dining hall and then drove over to Animal Kingdom. We arrived about 9:45am (well past the 9:00am rope drop) we started to get a bit concerned that we had made a mistake by delaying because once we reached the maingate the crowd was huge. As we walked up the main road it was shoulder to shoulder with all the other guests.
We made a beeline for Expedition Everest fearing long lines. But we were excited to see only a 25 min standby wait and quickly grabbed a fastpass for about 1 hour out and headed down to Dinoland.
Our first offical ride for the day was a flying Dino ride. Jayme really loved it as he had a control stick that rasied and lowered our Dino. After that thrilling 2 min ride, were we reached the mind blowing height of 20 feet we headed down to DINOSAUR, the big thrill ride in the Dino area. The premise of the ride is you enter a jeep that goes back in time and you see Dinosaurs. Jayme was not impressed, he has become a Doctor Who fan and he did not understand/buy into the idea that a Jeep can go back in time. Police box yes, bumpy jeep no.
As much as he disliked DINOSAUR he LOVED Expedition Everest. Grand total he had us do it 3 times. It was at this point we realized that Jayme is a coster junky. On the scary parts he would hold on to one of his Dad’s arms, with all the strength he had, then scream his head off only to beg to do it again before the safely belts had even been released.
For lunch today our Travels Through Wonderland agent booked us in the Tusker House, a African buffet. On our last visit we really enjoyed our meal so as we walked up to the podium to check in we started to get a bit worried when we noticed that Disney had changed the lunch schedule to a Character meet. This worried us for 2 reasons. One Character meals tend to have kinda dumb down so-so food. And second, Jayme kinda was not buying into meeting Characters. Whenever we had seen one in the parks he would ask all about the costume and want to know who was inside the costume. Jayme is VERY smart and a bit to old to fall for it… at least we thought.
The hostess checked us in and sent us over to the waiting area. Once at the waiting area we were queued up for a family photo with Donald Duck. Jayme was pretty quiet, and asked a few quiet questions about who was in the costume. But the second we got up to Donald Jayme had FULL buy in and was really meeting the real Donald Duck.
The meal also was quite good, a large selection of Americanized African foods. The only bad moment was when Joshua tried to order a drink and got carded. Guess who left his ID back in the hotel room and could not get served? SO FUNNY! Also a mistake he never made again on the trip.
During our meal Jayme’s buy in to the Character meet continued as he began visually stalking Mickey Mouse as Mickey made his rounds around the room meeting each table. We met Goofy and Daisy, but he kept asking over and over when Mickey was going to come over. Finally when Mickey did come over he had a long conversation with him and even told him a secret (one he has still not told his Dad’s).
After lunch we did Expedition Everest again and then Joshua and Jayme braved the Kali River rapides. Bothwere soaked head to toe!
We walked around in the now gorgeous sunny hot afternoon to dry off and then took the train up to Rafiki’s planet watch, which is a backstage look at how they care for all of the animals. Jayme liked the train the best.
Next up was Kilimanjaro Safari. On our last trip we skipped this ride because we found it to be too fast and not enough animals. So we were very pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed the ride this time. We took a lot of great photos.
After the safari trip we headed back to our resort and had a nap. We had dinner reservations again for Downtown Disney, something fun for Valentines day. We choice to have dinner at Paradiso, Taste of Americas. We took the boat down again, this time it was a pleasant and warm trip. The Captain even dropped us off on a closer pier to our restaurant.
This dinner was perhaps the best we had the whole trip and the drinks were good too 🙂
DAY FOUR – EPCOT
Wednesday arrived and it was EPCOT day! For a special treat for our train obsessed little boy, we drove back the Transportation center by the Magic Kingdom and took the long Epcot Monorail to Epcot.
As we did the day before we got a late start and didn’t make it to the main gate until about 9:30am. Once in we spotted Stitch doing a impromptu meet and greet and we made a beeline right to him. We didn’t see him in Hawaii in his home town, but we finally found him in Orlando. Lilo & Stitch is probability our families favorite Disney movie. It was great for Jayme and Joshua to get some face time with Stitch.
We spent the morning in Innoventions East and West and then moved out to Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Jayme’s new favorite ride, Mission: Space.Mission: SPACE is a motion simulator thrill ride at Epcot. It simulates what an astronaut might experience aboard a spacecraft on a mission to Mars, from the higher g-force of blastoff to the speculative hypersleep. The attraction exposes riders to forces up to 2.5G, more than twice the force of gravity at the Earth’s surface.
The ride has 2 options, First option green, a less intense advenure and Orange the full 2.5G spinning mission. Guess which version Joshua and Jayme put Anthony on 3 times? They loved it. After Mission: Space we grabbed fast passes for Test track and then worked our way around World Showcase.
We stopped off in Mexico and rode the Three Caballeros ride. During this ride we had our only really negative run in with a fellow guest. She said behind us in the boat. The ride it self is a cute boat ride were you search for Donald Duck who has gone missing he Mexico, lots of music and Mexico tourist destinations are highlighted. As the boat turned the first corner, Marge became telling her life story to the people seated in her row. She talked about how she waited to claim Medicare and Social Security. She talked about how he got her home loan. She talked about how he stayed in a loveless marriage, just so she would see Europe. In fact we now know more personal information about Marge then we would have ever cared to know.
As the boat was lifted up to the dock and everyone started to de board, Anthony had reached his limit. He turned to Jayme and Joshua and said. “Well kids, what did that boat ride teach us?”, he then proceeded to loudly recite key parts from Marge’s loud private conversation. Let’s just say she seems a bit taken back. On the plus side we did get some super cute photos of Jayme in HUGE Mexican sombrero’s.
Here is were we the Dad’s made our one and only mistake. We were all having such a good time, we skipped our nap. Only going to make that mistake once, trust us. We had a great afternoon exploring the World Showcase, but around 3pm, Jayme started to get that whine to his voice. By dinner time, he was a big party poop.
Dinner itself was at Les Chefs de France. All three of us had a nice dinner, but there was some pouting and some bad choices at the dinner table. Luckily Jayme was able to turn it all around and we got to stay for the fireworks. but nap time was not going to be missed again.
DAY FIVE – Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios is a half day park. Hollywood Studios is a half day park. Hollywood Studios is a half day park. We have said that over and over for years now, and every time we go we forget that one important fact.
We arrived around 10am having had a late breakfast. The bag check line was itself a 10 min wait. Poor Joshua, aka our Sherpa, took one for the team and waited in the line while jayme and Anthony waiting by the turnstiles for him.
We headed right to the rides we knew Jayme was going to love. First stop the ride of all rides for Jayme, STAR TOURS! In all I think we rode it 5 times.
Next was Toy story Mid-way Mania, when we got there the wait was already up to 90mins so we grabbed a fastpass and headed to Tower of Terror. Well then…. our day was kinda done. Jayme was not really into Princess stuff. We did do the Light Action’s car show and the Indy show. But then there was really nothing for us to do. In retrospect we should have come at noon.
We had to kill a bunch of time ,which was hard for Jayme, But dinner time finally came and we headed over to Mama Melrose for our dinner reservation. Dinner was ok, it was kinda cheap Italian food. Next time we will be spring for our favorite, the Brown Derby.
After dinner we headed up to Fantasmic. Jayme loved the Disneyland version. By the time we got there it was standing room only. It only took a second for both of us to decided to skip the show and ride Star Tours again. No way are we (the spoiled) going to stand. LOL
DAY SIX – EPCOT
We woke up late and headed over to EPCOT for our second day touring the park. Last time we took the Monrail, this time we took our car. We got really great parking, much to the pain of Jayme, who really really wanted us to take the parking tram rather then walk the 150 feet.
Once inside first stop was Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Anthony’s favorite ride. We had a great day, re-riding Jayme’s favorites. Mission Space again won as Jayme’s favorite but he didn’t really care for Soarin, which is simulated ride. We mentioned this to our family therapist when we got home and he felt it might be the motion that Jayme is drawn to, rather then the visual stimulation.
We had a pretty horrible lunch in the American experience. But dinner was great! For our last dinner in Epoct we headed back to Marge’s Life story boat ride… ahh I mean the Mexico and had dinner at the San Angel Inn. The San Angel a little Mexican restaurant inside over looking the Marge’s boat ride. On our last visit, years ago, we were sat next to the restroom, but this time we had a great seat and a really friendly waiter. The menu is more traditional Mexican then Tex-Mex. So Jayme got to try some new tastes.
The evening ended again with fireworks. This time we watched from Japan.
DAY SEVEN – Magic Kingdom
Last day in the parks, which means we got to sort of sleep in. We have 9:00am breakfast reservations at Kona Cafe inside Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Spa.We drove over to the ticket and transportation lot and took the Monorail to the resort.
We had pacadamia pineapple pancakes, Kona press pot coffee and Joshua even ordered the Big Kahuna (French Toast, Pancakes topped with Pineapple Sauce and Macadamia Nut Butter, Eggs, Home-fried Potatoes, Ham, Bacon, and Sausage) We all had a huge sugary breakfast and headed to the parks happy and full.
First stop once we entered was a visit and photo shoot with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Then we spent the day exploring and re-riding our favorite rides.
Towards the end of the day we stopped to have Jayme’s portrait drawn. It turned out ok, we seemed to have been assigned to one of the artists that did more cartoons then life like portraits, but for $35.00 it was still good.
That evening we watched the Main Street Electrical Parade, which Jayme LOVED..
Travel Day Home
Today we learned a VERY important lesson. If you see something you want, buy it.
While in EPCOT day’s before we saw a very very cool Tin Sign package of the Disneyworld attraction posters. Both of us said, YES lets get it. Well we decided to wait and pick it up on Sunday. So when we woke we had a plan. Pack our bags, eat breakfast, go swimming and relax until check out. Then go to Downtown Disney, watch a surprise movie for Jayme, do some shopping then head to the airport.
Everything ran to plan until we got to Downtown Disney. We got to the movie theater and Jayme was thrilled to get to see Star War’s Eppisode 1 in 3-D. We had not let him see the new Star War’s movies yet, so he was thrilled. The movie was what is was before, long and dull, but Jayme loved it. We left the theater and looked down at our watch’s. The movie’s run time was incorrectly listed, we now had less then an hour to get to the airport.
So began our running shopping trip. 3 shirts for Jayme.. check, something for Joshua to wear to work.. check, new Mickey watch for Josh.. not sold! (Panic) Metal tin signs.. not sold! (MORE Panic)
We dived out the Disney store and started running to the far end of the Marketplace searching for the watch and the Tin signs. Luckily in our panic we found both! Jayme though it was a great game as we ran around and even made rocket sounds as we weaved around the fat tourists, laughing in his cute way the whole time.
Treasures secured, we got the car and quickly headed to the airport. We arrived WAY outside of our comfort zone for checking in at the airport. Thankfully, we had checked in online before coming or we would have missed our flight. We got to the check in desk only to find a huge (angry) line.
Frontier, the airline we were flying home, had only 3 people working and one was stuck helping a potential passenger who did not know her confirmation number, did not have a credit card, but was sure she had booked the flight. We hopped in the bag drop only line and even then waited 20 mins. The mood of the crowd was ugly and very vocal. With our flight boarding and due to take off in 10 mins the lady in front of us kindly let us cut.
Once it was our turn check in only took seconds and we raced off to the terminal. One good thing was since check in was so horribly bungled, they were forced to hold the flight for all of the passengers. But we ran anyways.
Once onboard, we had to chase away a guy (cue angry person look from Joshua) who was trying to pinch our assigned seats. Frontier does not issue assigned seats unless you pay extra, and with Jayme with us we paid extra to insure our family stayed together. This passenger did not and was shocked his family would be split up. Once we were settled the flight was pretty smooth. It was a 4 hour flight to Denver, then a 2 hour layover and s short 2 hour flight home.
We paid the extra $6.00 for Jayme’s seat and he watch cartoon network for 4 hours. He loved it so much he didn’t want to get off the plane. For him the flight home was too short.
It was a great trip and we can’t wait for the next one!