Walt Disney World 2013

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So, in August of last year I found out that I was allowed to request unpaid days off from work anytime throughout the year. Then a few days later, Melissa found out that she was granted two weekends off in October for holidays, which amounts to 3 weeks off from work. So, we talked and decided that since the ability to take Unpaid days may be unavailable after this year, we decided to plan a trip to Walt Disney World for a week in October. The other thing we decided was that it was going to be a surprise for the kids. We were not going to tell them until the day of the trip. Below is an account of our trip!!!

 

Day 1: Travel and Magic Kingdom

So, our plane was leaving at 7am which means we had to be at the airport at 5am. So we aimed to get there by 4:30 just so that we were not rushed and to give us some time to grab a bite to eat after we got through customs. This means that we were waking the kids up between 3 & 3:30am. Below is the video of us telling them, which because it was early in the morning definitely did not turn out to be like those ones you see on the commercial, but it was still loads of fun.

We had the kids go to bed early because they thought that Aiden had an early hockey game in the morning, which you will hear in the video. When we woke them up they were none to happy to be up that early in the morning:

This is a video of them after we got them loaded into the van:

This was the first time that our kids ever rode in a plane, which is a lot earlier than we were when we ever rode on a plane. They were excited to look out the windows and see everything on the ground. For the plane ride we brought our iPad and the computer so that the kids would have something to watch for the plane ride. Aiden watched his videos for most of the way and Abby watched one video and then slept most of the way there.

When we got to Walt Disney World, we went settled into our hotel, got a bite to eat and then went straight to Magic Kingdom. We were tired when we got there, but were very excited to be there.

Arriving at Magic Kingdom
Arriving at Magic Kingdom

We walked around Magic Kingdom and saw a light parade down Main Street USA. We then went to watch the fireworks show at the castle which was amazing, especially when Tinker Bell flew from the top of the castle across to the far side of the park. I only videoed part of the show:

 

Day 2: Magic Kingdom

On the second day we went straight to Magic Kingdom. When we got there, the kids got have a picture with Marie the Cat. Then we took a picture in front of the Halloween Display. We then walked down Main Street USA and got to the end just to see a parade with some a bunch of characters such as the Cowgirl from Toy Story. We then went for a walk around the castle and ran into The Fairy Godmother, which was very exciting for Melissa because she loved The Fairy Godmother when she was younger.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

On the walkway to Be Our Guest Restaurant
On the walkway to Be Our Guest Restaurant
Sign outside "Be Our Guest Restaurant"
Sign outside “Be Our Guest Restaurant”

After we got the Fiary Godmother’s autograph, we proceeded to Be Our Guest Restaurant for our lunch. I went to stand in line while the Melissa and the kids went on a Merry-Go-Round. By the time they got back to me it was time to go in. Inside the restaurant, they kept the magic alive for us and the kids. When you walk into the castle, you are directed to a room where you place your order on a touch screen monitor. Then you walk into a huge dining room in the castle with probably 300-400 people inside so it is busy and noisy. So we made our way across the dining room and found a table tucked in the corner. We were just getting ourselves settled into the table and hands washed when out of nowhere came a waitress pushing a cart similar to the one you see in the movie and they have our order ready for us. Remember we were not told where to sit in the dining room and we had not even met the waiter, but they knew what we had ordered and where we had sat down. We found this quite incredible and the kids absolutely loved it. It was just like the song:

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, Put Our Service to the Test.”

For the rest of the meal, the kids us sang this song in between bites of our food.

Inside "Be Our Guest Restaurant."
Inside “Be Our Guest Restaurant.”
Abby and Aiden inside "Be Our Guest Restaurant"
Abby and Aiden inside “Be Our Guest Restaurant”

Story Time At Belle’s

After eating at “Be Our Guest Restaurant, we went to see Story Time at Belle’s, which was more magical than we could have imagined. First off we walked through Belle’s cottage and the kids got to see where Belle lived. In the cottage were some of the books that Belle read and marks on the wall where Belle measured herself while she was growing up.

 

After we walked through the cottage, we walked into a room with a huge mirror. When in this room, member from the staff came into the room and then asked the kids a few questions about Belle. Then, with a simple wave of the hand the mirror disappeared and opened to another room where there was a talking tea kettle.

When we were in that room they picked people out to be members of the cast to help with the story. Now, we knew that they often picked the smallest child in the room to play the beast so we hoped that Aiden would get picked because he was one of the smallest. Unfortunately, they picked someone else, but then that kid backed down because he was shy, so Aiden put his hand up and they picked him.

Now as The Beast he did not disappoint. Right on cue during the story, he stepped up and roared loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. Then as the story goes, he got kissed by Belle so that he would turn into a beautiful prince. At the end of the story, he also kissed Belle.

Here are some videos from Story Time with Belle:

 

When we left the Story Time, everyone told Aiden that he was a very cute Beast, which made Aiden blush and extremely shy. So, while we did not know what the Story Time with Belle would be like, it turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire trip!!!!!

After that we went on a few more rides at Magic Kingdom and then in the middle of the afternoon we made our way to the Shuttle to go to Downtown DIsney for our Supper

Downtown Disney

It took us a lot longer to get to Downtown Disney than we thought because our bus went to a lot of different stops than we did not anticipate that it would. This resulted in us almost missing our dinner reservation at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. Fortunately after a little running after we got off the bus we got there only a few minutes late.

After dinner we went walking throughout Downtown Disney to see the sights and the sounds. One of the highlights was an actress who was dressed up all in red and was staying completely still and then if you stood in front of her for picture she would occasionally move. Abby and Aiden thought this was funny. They were also eager to take a picture with her to see what she would do with them.

A little while after that we walked to the Disney Store. Before we got there though we walked past the lego store and outside of the Lego Store, they had some pretty incredible lego creations including the Loch Ness Monster and Woody and Buzz Lightyear. At the Disney store, the kids picked a few souvenirs that they wanted and we bought a few items including our Mickey Mouse Ears, which I learned that you can only purchase in Walt Disney World Parks. They are not sold in retail stores. After I bought the ears, I went and had them engraved with everyone’s name. The cool thing about shopping at Walt Disney World is that whatever you buy, you can have it shipped back to your resort so that you do not need to carry everything around the park with you.

And that was the end of Day 2.

Day 3: Planet Hollywood

The family with Mike Wazowski
The family with Mike Wazowski

Background Info: Just before we came to Walt Disney World, we had the kids watch Star Wars Episode 4 for the first time and they absolutely loved it, watching it multiple times after that in the lead up to the trip. Letting them watch it payed off huge in Planet Hollywood because they knew what the 3D Star Wars ride was about as well as the Jedi Training.

On Day 3 we got up bright and early so that we could get to Planet Hollywood right when it opened up so that we could sign the kids up for the Star Wars Jedi Training Activity which operated on a first come first serve basis. When we got to the gate, the kids saw Stitch lined up outside of the gate and they really wanted a picture with him. Since we didn’t want the kids to miss the Jedi Training, I decided to go in and sign them up and Melissa would meet me inside after the kids got their picture taken. However, after I raced to line up for the Jedi training, the staff came out and told me that I needed to have the kids with me for the signup which it did not say on the website. So I stayed in line because there were about 30 people in front of me.  So, I started calling and texting Melissa multiple times to no avail. After 5 minutes, she answered the text and then she called me. Since she did read the map, she did not know where to go. So I told here how to get there and then I waited. It was only 3-4 min from the gate. I waited 10 min and no Mel. So I called her again and found out that she had made a wrong turn. Fortunately, the father in the line in front of me had been here plenty of times and he gave me directions on how to get to the sign up area. They finally did arrive when we were 5 from the front and we got signed up for Jedi Training in the afternoon.

Abby and Aiden with Stich
Abby and Aiden with Stich

Star Wars 3D

After we got them signed up, we went on an incredible 3D Star Wars ride, which the kids and us absolutely loved. They loved it so much that they went on the ride again at the end of the day. After the ride we made our way through Tatooine Trading Post.

The family with their make believe lightsabers in Tatooine.
The family with their make believe lightsabers in Tatooine.
Melissa and the kids with their make believe lightsabers!!
Melissa and the kids with their make believe lightsabers!!

Tow Mater, Lighting McQueen, Phineas and Ferb, Monsters University, The Muppets, Mickey Mouse and Wreck it Ralph.

Some of the highlights from the day included getting our picture with Tow Mater and Lighting McQueen. We also got to meet Phineas and Ferb who we thought the kids didn’t know, but as soon as they saw them they ran up to get their autograph. We also went to watch MuppetVision 3D at the Muppet Theatre. Later on we got to meet Mike Wazowski and Sully from Monsters University. We also got to meet Wreck It Ralph and Penelope. Lastly, we got to meet Mickey Mouse for the first time on our trip. He was dressed up like he was in Fantasia.

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Play and Dine

Kids ready to meet their favourite characters
Kids ready to meet their favourite characters

 

For Lunch, melissa had made reservations at Disney Junior’s Play and Dine, which was an all you can eat buffet where the kids get to meet characters from their favourite Disney Shows. Each character came to our table and signed the kids autograph book and took pictures with them. In addition to that, they had several sing-alongs during lunch where the kids got up and danced with each other to songs from Disney Junior Channel. It was amazing and the kids had a great time!!!

 

Jedi Training

After lunch, we made our way to Jedi training. At Jedi training, Abby and Aiden got to dress up like Jedi’s and then they walked them up onto a platform where a Jedi Master trains them on how to become Jedi Knight. The Jedi Master who led this group was incredible, helping Aiden when he had difficulty opening his lightsaber. The Jedi Master was very animated which kept the kids and parents having fun. Near the end of the Jedi Training, Darth Vader comes out of nowhere and attempts to convince the Jedi Trainees to come over to the Dark Side. Then each Jedi Trainee fights Darth Vader. A few minutes after Darth Vader came onto the stage, I felt someone pulling on my shorts and I looked down and Aiden was beside me. He was great throughout the training, but when Darth Vader came out, that was it, he was done. There was no way he was going to fight Darth Vader. So Abby fought Darth Vader for both of them!!!

Fantasmic

At the end of the day, we went to the Fantasmic Show, which is based on Fantasia. At the show, they gave half of the members of the audience Mickey Ears that lit up different ways during different parts of the show. The lights were controlled via radio frequency so that why would change at the correct time. It was quite remarkable. And of course the show was incredible, especially when they lit half of the river in front of the stage on fire!!!

Watching Fantasmic Show
Watching Fantasmic Show
Watching Fantasmic Show!!!
Watching Fantasmic Show!!!

Day 4: Animal Kingdom

Melissa, Abby and Aiden checking some of the birds
Melissa, Abby and Aiden checking some of the birds

We started our fourth day at Walt Disney World at Animal Kingdom. Upon Entry to Animal Kingdom, we walked through a long, wide trail that was full of all different types of birds for the kids to enjoy.

And wouldn’t you know it, when we got to the end of the path, we noticed that Stitch had followed us from Hollywood Studios.

Stich coming through a crack in the ground at Animal Kingdom
Stich coming through a crack in the ground at Animal Kingdom

 

After that, we went for a walk and before long we came across the Tree of Life from The Lion King!!

Melissa and the Kids in front of the Tree of Life
Melissa and the Kids in front of the Tree of Life
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life
The family in front of the Tree of Life
The family in front of the Tree of Life

After a few quick pictures, we went up to the far corner of Animal Kingdom to locate the restaurant that we would be eating at because it was going to be a Character Lunch so we didn’t want to be late. Once we found our restaurant, we realized that we still had time to do an activity so we lined up and went on the Kilimanjaro Safari Tour.

The Safari Tour was incredible  on its own, but was mad exceptional by a very animated cast member from Disney. The Safari Tour Leader was very knowledgeable about the entire “Savanna” that we toured. Even though it is like a zoo, the animals are allowed to roam a lot further in a more natural setting. This made it feel more like a real world setting for the kids. On the tour we saw giraffe’s, antelopes, lions and gorilla’s to name a few.

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After the animal Safari, we walked around the African section of Animal Kingdom a little while checking out the sights and sounds until it was time for lunch. Each section of Animal Kingdom had a different theme, some of which were continents like Asia and Africa. When you were in a section that was named after a continent, all of the buildings and structures were designed to look like the ones you would see in that continent. That was pretty neat!!

After we finished walking around the African section, we went to eat our character lunch, Like the one at Hollywood Studios, this was an All You Can Eat Buffet where the characters came and visited our a table a couple times and took pictures and autographed the kids books.

After finishing lunch we went for a walk into the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. On our way there though we came across a couple interesting characters. First, we came across another mime who was walking on stilts and camouflaged to look like a tree. The person would only make small movements and then would freeze for pictures.

A mime camouflaged as a tree
A mime camouflaged as a tree

We then carried on down the path, where we happened across Simba from Lion King. Abby picked Simba up and held him in her arms 🙂

The Kids holding Simba
The Kids holding Simba

After that we made it to the Asia section. In the Asia Section, the highlight was without a doubt, the Flights of Wonder Show.

Kids waiting to see flights of Wonder Show
Kids waiting to see flights of Wonder Show

At the show, the kids got to see all kinds of different birds from Asia. What made it really interesting was that during the show, the bird handlers picked me to go up and stage and sit in a designated spot. Once in that spot, I was to point my camera at the other end of the theatre. At the other side was a huge owl that they were going have fly right toward me and land just behind my head. All I had to do was try to capture a picture of the owl as flew right at me. I think I did a pretty good job considering it flew only inches above my head!!!

Owl flying right towards me onstage
Owl flying right towards me onstage
Owl just as he passes my head.
Owl just as he passes my head.

After that we went for a walk through some other parts of Asia, Discovery Island and DinoLand USA. We saw some fish, a tiger and came across couple of your students who were on an exchange program from a country in Africa. These two students were sharing some of their games from their homeland. One game, Mancala, caught Aiden’s attention because it was played with marbles. So, Aiden asked the student “What is this,” followed shortly thereafter with “How do you Play.” So the nice young student sat down with Abby and Aiden and explained the game and played a game with them. The kids sat for 20 min playing the game and were upset when we told them we had to go so that we could get to our next ride. When we went to Epcot Centre a couple of days later, we located the game, bought it and brought it back with us to play at home.

 

At the End of the Day we went to watch The Lion King Show at a theatre near the front of the park. Here are a couple video clips from the show

After the show, we wrapped up our day by eating at the Rainforest Cafe. We ended up with a great table in the corner away from the centre area where most of the tables were. After that, we caught the late bus back to our resort. And that was the end of Day 4

The Family Eating at the Rainforest Cafe
The Family Eating at the Rainforest Cafe

Day 5: Magic Kingdom Not So Scary Halloween Party

On day 5 of our trip, we went back to Magic Kingdom because we had passes to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the evening. However, before that started we went to see some other areas of Magic Kingdom that we had not seen on the first day that we were there.

So we started with another parade down Main Street USA, checking out an old time firetruck, meeting Minnie (which was a highlight for Melissa and the Kids), and getting our picture taken in front of Cinderella’s castle.

After that exciting start to our day we went to the Haunted Mansion. At the mansion, there were some pretty funny tombstones that lined the path that you waited on to get into the mansion. There was even one, that played the instrument when you touched it. The kids thought that was pretty cool. Who am I kidding, I thought that was pretty cool too!!!

After that we took the kids to meet Rapunzel, Snow White, Cindrella, and Princess Aurora. It was great when we went to meet these characters because we used the Fast Pass System so we only had to wait for under 10 min to meet everyone.

Later on in the day we went to Tinker’s Nook and met Tinker Bell and Rosetta. To meet them we had to wait for about 45 min, but it was worth it. The nook felt so real with everything being extra large. In addition to that, Rosetta and Tinker Bell played a little game with both the kids when went and hid inside of one of the tea cups. It was absolutely magical.

Later on in the day, we went to check out Buzz Lightyear’s hunting monster’s ride the Monster University’s Laugh Floor. The Laugh Floor was very interactive with the animated characters interacted with member of the audience.

This leads us to the highlight of the day, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. After we ate supper, we all got dressed up in costume and went back to Magic Kingdom for the Party.

The party started with the kids getting to go Trick or Treating all over Magic Kingdom.

Kids dressed up for Trick or Treating
Kids dressed up for Trick or Treating

Then we went to watch the Boo To You Halloween Parade:

Then we ended our day with a smoothie and a picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle. By the time we left at the end of the day, we had been in the park for 14 hrs, which you can see in the picture of us drinking the smoothie, which was taken by a very nice man who was waiting for his grandchildren to finish up their evening.

The family enjoying a well deserved treat after a night of trick or treating
The family enjoying a well deserved treat after a night of trick or treating
The kids and us at the end of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
The kids and us at the end of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

 

Day 6: Hanging Around the Resort

So Day 6 we just hung around the Caribbean Resort for the day and enjoyed a quiet day. The day started with the kids going on a Kids Pirate Cruise that took them all around the Man Made Lakes of the Resort in search of treasure.

Aiden forgetting his Sword!!!

In order to get on the Cruise we had to  walk down to the Main Resort, which was a lovely walk alongside of the water that takes about 10-15 min. So we got ready and headed out down the path to the cruise in the morning. When we got checked in for the cruise, Aiden suddenly realized that he had forgotten his pirate sword that he had been talking about bringing on the Pirate Cruise all week. We tried to comfort him and tell him that there will be plenty to do on the ship, and that the other children didn’t have swords. Well, just when I told him that, a boy checked in with a sword and when Aiden saw that, he became inconsolable. So since we had 15 min cruise left, I took off my flip flops and ran down the path all the way back to the room and got the sword and all the way back and got there with a couple minutes to spare. Aiden was very happy to get the sword. So happy, that when one of the Pirate Cruise Leaders suggested he leave it on the dock so it didn’t fall overboard, he happily agreed!!! So after all that, he never even took the sword with him on the Pirate Cruise 🙂

So, while the kids were on the cruise, I went and soaked my feet in some water since they had gotten a little torn up running back and forth from my room. I followed that up with a power nap. And Melissa sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun and view.

Melissa relaxing while kids on Pirate Cruise
Melissa relaxing while kids on Pirate Cruise

After the kids got back from the cruise, we got some lunch and then spent the majority of the afternoon in the pool at the resort.

In the early evening, we walked down to the beach and found them having a fire and roasting Marshmallows. So the kids and I roasted a few marshmallows.

Roasting Marshmallows on the beach
Roasting Marshmallows on the beach

For the evening, the kids and Melissa played on the beach and then took in a movie on the Beach.

I went to Hollywood Studios and rode on the Rock N Roll Roller-coaster and dropped in the Elevator on the Tower of Terror.

Peter riding the Tower of Terror Ride (Toronto Maple Leafs Shirt on the far Right)
Peter riding the Tower of Terror Ride (Toronto Maple Leafs Shirt on the far Right)
Peter on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Peter on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

 

I got back to the resort just as the movie was wrapping up and we all headed back to bed to get ready for the final day.

The Toys Having a Party in Our Room

Every morning while we we there, the kids got a gift from Tinker Bell that was left somewhere in the room for them. Sometimes the gift was related to somewhere we were going that day or connected to something that we had done the previous days. A lot of the toys were action figures and stuffed animals. The kids absolutely loved  looking for the gift every morning they were there. What made it real special thought was that when we came back to our room at the end of each day, the toys were in a different part of the room so it looked like they had been partying all day. When the kids made it back to the room awake on a couple of the days including Day 6 they were always eager to see what the toys had been up to.

The toys arranged in our room when we returned at the end of the day
The toys arranged in our room when we returned at the end of the day

 Day 7: Epcot Center

On our final full day at Walt Disney World, we went to Epcot Center.

The family at Epcot
The family at Epcot

And wouldn’t you know it, Stitch followed us there too!!!

Stich made his way to Epcot too!!
Stich made his way to Epcot too!!

While we were there, the kids got to see Alice, meet Pluto and later in the day they met Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

The kids did not find Epcot as interesting as it was a lot of displays and they wanted to go on more rides. We did go some cool rides though. We went into the future on a 3D ride. The kids got to meet and talk to Crush from Finding Nemo. We also went on on a 3D ride where we flew over a bunch of a variety of countries. We also watched a 360 degree movie that taught us about Canada that was not too bad. I found it funny though that the cast members from Canada were dressed like lumber jacks 🙂

The kids also got to check out a pretty cool Aquarium and really found the British phone booth quite entertaining.

We also checked out the China Exhibit at the end of the day and looked at replicas of the Terracotta Army, which was as fascinating that the kids would allow it to be. They found them interesting for a few minutes and then wanted to move on.

The kids checking out what they think is a mailbox
The kids checking out what they think is a mailbox
The Cain's in China Section
The Cain’s in China Section

The only downfall at the end of the day was our supper. We ate at Le Cellier restaurant in the Canada section of Epcot. We ordered Prime Rib Steak cooked Rare. The steak was cooked perfectly, but that was basically all that was on the plate. There was a Prime Rib Steak, a couple Potatoe Fingerling things and nothing green at all. We were extremely disappointed. This was the only restaurant that we had a bad experience at for the entire trip.

And that wraps up our Walt Disney Trip. It was the best vacation that we have ever gone on and can’t wait to save enough money to go again in the future!!!

Maps from Walt Disney World

 

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