Our family trip to Disney World will be one that I never forget! The flight delays, the bribery, the smiles, the giggles, very little sleep, the freezing cold weather, seeing the characters, making memories as a family…it will all be held in my heart forever!
To say our trip wasn’t exactly what I planned would be an understatement! We didn’t have the best of luck during our first big family vacation but we tried hard to smile through it and laugh to keep from crying at times…I’m mainly talking about my husband and I! The kids will tell you everything was wonderful because in their little minds everything was! ha! They weren’t the ones walking around in the rain pushing a 100lb rain covered chariot full of demanding toddlers 😉
So I’m going to do my best to remember every little detail of our trip and share it with you guys! It all started a few months ago when my husband (who isn’t a Disney freak like me) called and said he did something big for the kids for Christmas…I was stumped and couldn’t guess. NEVER would I have guessed it would be a trip to Disney World for 5 days!! I was SO excited y’all, like stupid excited! The kids were the perfect ages to go and even though I knew it was going to be challenging I was so game for the adventure!
I immediately began researching the extended forecast, getting my sister to help me look for fast passes and character dining reservations! If you haven’t been to Disney those things open up 180 days and 90 days before your scheduled arrival at the parks! We were only 56 days out when my husband booked this so honestly we were scrambling! We were able to still secure some really great rides and restaurants and I was even more excited!!
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Up next was finding everyone matching shirts/outfits for the trip! I absolutely love matching the kids and it doesn’t get much cuter than matching Disney! I found all of our designs here and had a local lady do all of the vinyl for us! We were set! I continued watching the weather and it was supposed to be in the mid 60’s during our entire stay with a few cooler nights. No big deal, right? WRONG!
We decided from day one that we weren’t going to tell the kids about the trip for 2 reasons, one it just seems more fun and two…who wants to hear their 3 kids ask “how many more days until we leave for Disney World” a billion times in 56 days….NOT this mom or dad! ha! I planned out in my head that since we were leaving a few days after Christmas that I would wrap a huge box full of Disney goodies and surprise them that way! I filled the box with this, this, this and this wrapped it up and was ready to see their faces! Let me tell you, it was hard waiting! Do you know how many Disney World commercials come on especially around the holidays, including the Disney Christmas Day parade?? Our kids kept saying “Mom and dad will we ever go back to Disney?” We would shrug it off and be like “maybe someday” It was SO hard but I knew deep down it was going to be worth it!
The morning of the 29th I finished packing us all up and we were ready to let them in on the big secret! Those of you who are curious, I kept a Disney stash in the laundry room upper cabinets full of all our clothes, bathing suits, etc that we would be taking and packed secretly the day before in the office nook of out laundry room! I had Matt take the kids into Greleigh’s room while I went to set up the camera and the big box! Then we told them to go watch a show or something and they all walked into the living room to the box…You’ll have to watch the video to see the rest of their reactions! One part of the video that I need to explain because it’s so funny to us is when Greleigh says “Are Brynli and Channing coming with us this time? (I say “no”) and she responds with “YESSSS, it’s only fair that we get to go without them since they went without us” Haha! So our first Disney trip for everyone was the entire family. My mom took all 10 of us 2 months after Huxx was born and then the following year my sister and her family went back alone and it crushed my kids lol They just didn’t understand why they would go without them this time so Greleigh was making it known that is was “fair” that we went as a family without them! #thatgirl She likes to keep things tit for tat around here so don’t try to sneak anything by her!
So after we got the kids all dressed and ready to go we headed off to the airport! We wanted to be there early because good grief, we all know airports and children, 3 of them 5 and under at that don’t mix well! We didn’t want to be rushed and feel pressure so we made sure to arrive in plenttttty of time! Everything was running smoothly until we boarded the plane and didn’t move for about 25 minutes, just sitting at the gate…then over the speaker we hear something about a cracked windshield and having to deboard the plane until further notice….a 6 hr further notice yall!! HOLY freak! Have you ever been stuck in a tiny airport with no stroller, 3 kids, and pregnant which means no alcohol to take the edge off? Yeah me neither until this trip! Ha! They didn’t really update us much throughout the process but told everyone to hang tight….well we unravelled quickly! Let me just tell you, the amount of fruit snacks, suckers and gum my children consumed during this delay is shameful!
Fast forward to the flight, we boarded the plane and headed to Houston! I forgot to mention during the first part of our delay, like 20 minutes in probably our connecting flight got delayed randomly (like before we even knew how long our Lubbock plane was going to be delayed) until 9pm which ended up being a blessing…until they changed it to 8:30 while we were still in the air at 8:15 heading in to Houston. Total panic…we talked to the flight attendants and they told us what gate to RUN to, we asked if maybe we could get off first with our small children so we could make it #nope…so here we are 8:25 landing, trying to get off the plane with 3 kids, 3 bags and 2 backpacks at gate 44 and running through the Houston airport to get to gate 22 to be told, “this isn’t your gate, your gate is 51″…..cue even more panic! Thankfully we met a sweet family on the plane who lived in Houston and the came to the gate to check that we made it, and when they saw we had been sent to the wrong gate they stayed with me and the kids to run slow because hello #pregnant, lots of bags and short legs, while Matt hauled ass (excuse my language, but I feel like its necessary) to the gate to tell them to hold the plane! Thankfully we made it but if you can imagine at this point we are exhausted and thinking the trip can only get better from here! Right?!
We ended up landing around midnight Florida time, got our luggage, and headed for the Magical Express which is a huge bus that takes everyone staying on a Disney resort to the property! Of course there wasn’t a huge line which was nice but apparently they were only running one bus for all the resorts so once we got on the bus we waited about 45 minutes before moving. Once we pulled out of the parking lot it was about a 45-55 minute drive to our resort! Y’all….after some confusion at the resort and getting all checked in a shuttled to our room it was about 3am! Do you feel bad for us yet?! We literally all crashed and woke up about 6:45 to get to the park and do Disney!
Day 1– Holly Wood Studios
With not so many smiles on their faces we made it to the park about 8:15 or so! Of course the kids were exhausted and so were we! 4 hours of sleep and a day full of airport catastrophes can take it out of anyone! We ended up scoring a last minute dining reservation at Disney Jr Vine & Dine with some of our favorites from Disney Jr! The kids were so happy to see them! We had fast passes for Tower of Terror, Toy Story and the Frozen Sing Along! Those are all things I highly recommend for the ages of our kids! They loved them all! Tower of Terror being a favorite for sure! My kids are adrenaline junkies so they were all about this ride! It’s pretty intense so keep that in mind if you have more timid children! We also ate a seasonal Christmas dinner with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy! Goofy was so interactive and he was my kid’s favorite! We of course did things in between this stuff but the things we got fast passes for were the longest wait times! This day we didn’t go back to the resort for a nap! Huxx napped in the stroller so we were good to go! We stayed for the early showing of Fantasmic which is a must see! It’s such an amazing interactive show that the kids are totally captivated by! We watched it snow on Sunset boulevard and enjoyed a laser show projected up on the Hollywood Tower! This was by far the warmest day in Florida! It wasn’t typical Florida weather but we weren’t freezing so that was a win!
Day 2– Epcot
We spent New Years Eve in Epcot because we heard there would be the biggest celebration at night so we wanted to be part of that. Until we got to Epcot and realized that so did the rest of the world and it was packed!! Well to be honest Disney World in general was packed during this week and we had no clue that it was one of their highest crowd times…we didn’t have an option when planning this because my husband had travel credit to use that expired so this was our only option with Greleigh being in school. Epcot was a shorter day for us, we arrived early immediately went to Frozen Ever After and then had breakfast at Akershus, which has great princess interactions! Each princess comes to your table and interacts with each kid so mine of course loved this! We had fast passes for Soarin and Seas with Nemo! Soarin is hands down my favorite ride ever! I have never experienced anything like it before and it is breathtaking!! Not a thrill ride but it is just amazing! My kids even loved it and it has no tie in with Disney really, it just takes you through some really neat places all on a big screen and makes it feel like you are really there! We left for a nap around 4 or so and we all ended up sleeping for 4 hours! ha! So we went down to the boardwalk to watch the fireworks from there because everyone said Epcot’s fireworks could been seen from there and it would be less crowded! I’m thankful we did that because it still took us about 1.5 hrs to get back to our resort due to traffic/buses etc! To give you a little example of just how packed it was in the parks…Magic Kingdom reached capacity and was on a phased closure by 9:30am…capacity is between 70,000-100,000 according to their website! We all rang in the new year and mine and Matt’s anniversary on the boardwalk and then headed back to the resort!! It was a fun day but sooooo many people!
Day 3– Animal Kingdom
This day was pretty much freezing cold and rained the entire day! It was about 40 degrees, windy, no sun and by the end of the day we were all chilled to the bone! The kids had their stroller covers so they didn’t feel the brunt of it by any means but Matt and I were pretty miserable! haha! I would have given anything to be pushed around in a covered stroller! We had breakfast reservations at one of our favorites, Tusker House! We had fast passes for Expedition Everest, Dinosaur and Na’vi River! Matt and the kids also did the safari but it’s not recommended for pregnant mamas so I sat that one out and had some coffee! It’s pretty rough and bumpy so I’m glad I didn’t go! Greleigh was the only one tall enough for Expedition Everest because it is a thrill roller coaster! Of course she loved every second of it and Kaige was devastated! He was about 1/4″ to short and he cried but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some wonderful Disney snacks! 🙂 They both loved Dinosaur and Huxx enjoyed a nice stroller nap! The Na’Vi River is in Pandora and it was absolutely amazing! It’s a family ride so we all got to enjoy this one and the details were out of this world! The Pandora rides are newer so we lucked out being able to get a fast pass for this. The other Avatar ride at one point during our stay had a 5.5hr wait…like seriously!?! We also had the dining package for the Rivers of Light show that was incredible! I highly recommend it, however at this point it was about 6pm, freezing, raining and the kids were SO cold because we were sitting right on the water with no wind break! We stuck it out and then basically RAN to the bus to get some warmth! Preggy mama was exhausted!
Day 4 — Magic Kingdom
This day was colder than the day before but not as much rain so that helped some! It was so windy and again, no sun! I wore, not kidding 5 tshirts, a pull over and a Northface and was still cold! haha I weighed so much that day! We ate breakfast at the Crystal Palace with the Winnie the Pooh characters and even though my kids don’t actually watch Winnie the Pooh they still enjoyed the characters and they interacted alot with them! It’s a really great breakfast buffet which is what most of the restuarants we ate at are because #welikebacon and it allows us to eat as much as we want and get full for the day! We had fast passes for Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain! All 3 of theses were a hit! The kids actually rode Splash Mountain 3 times because the wait was like 15 minutes because #articblast! No one wanted to ride a water ride! Except my crazy kids…thankfully Matt was a good sport and did it with them because that’s another ride pregnant mamas can’t ride! We watched the Festival of Fantasy parade which was one of our favorite things! It’s a fantastic parade with so many breathtaking floats! We went back to the resort for a nap and came back for some rides and the Once Upon a Time firework show and lighting of Cinderella’s castle and it never disappoints! The lights, fireworks and music are all just so magical!
Day 5– Free Day
We were supposed to enjoy a day at the resort swimming and playing on the beach but #articblast! This day it POURED! So we had to get creative…Dave & Buster’s here we come, in a $60 taxi ride with 3 rented car seats…Y’all I’m telling you it was packed. I guess all of Orlando was trying to find something to do inside because there were 4-5 people in line for each game at D&B! I’ve never seen anything like this and of course we just had to laugh to keep from going crazy in there with 3 kids!! We went to bed this night at 5pm because Disney makes you head to the airport 4 hours before your flight and we were supposed to take off at 7:10am for a direct flight! So we had to be up by 2am to get our luggage loaded and get to the front of the resort for bus check in!
Once we got up at 1:45am, got everything all set up for the luggage people to come at 2:40am and began waiting for them, no one came, we called, no one came and at this point we were like 10 minutes from our bus leaving the resort! Of course, they forgot to put us on the schedule so thankfully we kept calling until someone finally picked us up! Story of the trip right?! Well it doesn’t get better….
We got to the airport finally, got all checked in and boarded the plane to be told our plane wings were iced over and we would be sitting for 20-25 minutes until we could be de-iced! Then 30-40 minutes went by sitting at the gate because we were 4th in line to be de-iced! Apparently Florida doesn’t de-ice very effeciently! HA! So finally we take off and like I said we were supposed to be the flight from Orlando to Lubbock just stopping in Dallas to pick up passengers but we got to stay on the plane! #wrong Since our plane was late taking off in Orlando they stubbed our flight and got a new plane to leave for Lubbock but we weren’t informed of this! When we landed in Dallas we stayed on the plane for about 20 minutes with no new passengers getting on, when finally an employee came on the plane and said there would be a mandatory “aircraft switch” where they would be switching out planes and that we needed to go to gate 4 to catch our flight to Lubbock! Sooooo we did just that, laughing once again because this just couldn’t be real life! We get all of our junk and kids to gate 4 to be told the news of our flight leaving without us about 30 minutes ago, even though we were the original plane flying to Lubbock! They told us we would be moved to the 3:30 flight…it was 9:45am y’all! This is where
we my husband lost his cool! Ha! I’m proud of him for making it this far in the trip! He explained our frustrations and what all we had been through and they were able to get us on a 12:30 flight to Austin that would then connect to Lubbock! Even the flight attendants from our original flight from Orlando were so upset and said how poorly it was handled! They didn’t even know the flight had been cancelled to bring in a new flight! You should have seen our kids! They were THOSE kids in the airport and I wasn’t even concerned! They had been up since 2am…changed planes, waited in airports, eaten all the snacks and were just done…as were we! And again, no stroller, 2 adults and 3 kids! #hotmess
We were never so excited to get back to Lubbock and do our normal life in all our life! We joked that if we could make it through that trip without absolutely losing our minds that we could do anything!! Most people don’t do Disney with 3 kids 5 and under and we did it during the coldest week Florida has seen in decades! We had a blast, an #articblast if you will but it will forever be one of the craziest trips we hopefully ever have! I tell people I feel like everyone has that vacation where you think “man that is not at all how I expected things to turn out” and Lord I hope this was ours! Right now we are keeping the D word out of our house/mouths because Matt and I have PTDD! (POST TRAUMATIC DISNEY DISORDER) Disney is hard when all conditions are perfect and everything goes your way but when it’s completely the opposite it’s hard to stay positive! I’m extremely thankful for a loving, patient husband who really was a rockstar! The kids were actually the easy part of the trip! 😉
Now I’m going to answer a few questions that you guys asked! And keep in mind that the above outline is just hitting high points of our day! Of course there were rides, more eating, snacks, shows etc that we went to that I didn’t include!
1. Where did you stay?
We stayed at Disney Caribbean Beach Resort. It was the only resort when we booked that had space for what we needed! We enjoyed the resort but like I said a lot of the amenities (pools, beach area, game area etc) we didn’t walk around to see because of the weather! They were also undergoing some renovations so that was a pain also!
2. How was the foot traffic for the time you guys went? (December 29th – January 4th)
I will NEVER go back during this time! EVER! School being out and everyone there over the holidays it was crazy! Most rides had a minimum wait of 45 minutes so with 3 small children that just isn’t enjoyable!
3. Are the pools heated?
Yes, “heated” I say lightly because even though they were the one decent day we had (60s) I couldn’t even get in the water it was so cold! lol But the kids didn’t seem to mind! In typical Florida weather, even the winter I’m sure you would be just fine!
4. Did you book through a travel agent?
Yes, we went through an agency for the trip because my husband had travel credit but she did not schedule our entire day/fast passes/ meals etc! We (my sister mostly) did all of that!
5. Favorite ride? Favorite restaurant?
Tower of Terror and Soarin! Hands down! Favorite restaurant is a hard one because honestly all of the food in Disney is amazing! We never ate one place we weren’t happy with and Mickey mouse waffles just taste better 🙂
6. What camera did you use/tripod?
7. How did you keep the kids entertained on the flight/airport?
Lots of snacks, stickers, coloring pages, and of course the trusty iPad!
If you made it through this entire post then you deserve a family trip to Disney World! We will definitely be going back someday just not sure when! The kids are already asking and I just keep telling them to not say bad words in front of daddy! 😉 Now enjoy this video and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!