For the seventeen years I’ve lived in Florida, people are often surprised to hear we’ve never been to Disney World. We have no definitive reason why we haven’t other than every time we thought about it, we decided to explore somewhere else instead, concluding that what it costs for a day at Disney could get us several days in another town on our bucket list. That said, we know lots of people who love their Disney excursions and figured we’d take the family there eventually. It happened by accident last week after we realized the weather forecast was going to be too cold for Volcano Bay where we were planning to take the family on our weekend trip to Orlando to celebrate Dash’s birthday. We gave him the choice between a party or a weekend adventure with the family, and he chose adventure because he is Dash.
The Orlando sky when we arrived was singing Happy Birthday Dash.
We found a 3-bedroom Airbnb so my dad and Gary could stay–the perfect setting for our own little family birthday party. We cooked dinner together, played cards, ate cake–all the birthday things.
As for Disney, if you’re looking for “how to do it” tips, don’t listen to me. I simply don’t know enough about it, and I’ve realized there’s basically an unwritten encyclopedia of ins and outs and secret tips and ways to navigate Magic Kingdom that can make a day go smoother beginning with “Never visit Disney on a Saturday.” Saturday is what we had for this trip, so that’s when we arrived–at park opening–and we still dealt with overwhelming crowds and wait times, even with the disability pass. Nella’s disability pass allowed us to check in at rides and come back at a given time rather than stand in lines, but she had to be riding for it to work for the family; and she was very hesitant about getting on any rides that day. Thankfully, Disney employees were very understanding that siblings got bummed out, so they made accommodations. And we did what we do best–had fun given the circumstances.
Arriving to the park…
We were exceptionally lucky to have the most amazing weather the day we visited–cool enough for sweaters in the morning, my favorite.
It took some convincing to get Nella on the Small World ride (another woman in line was selling it to her–“It’s just a pretty boat ride! Not scary!”), and I’m so happy she finally agreed.
The fast pass line for the Peter Pan ride was still a really long wait, but one of my favorite moments of the day happened when we stepped off. Dash realized his birthday wish when he blew out his candles the night before came true–he wished he could fly.
One of the best things we did–thanks to lots of people recommending it–was bring our stroller even though our stroller days are over. We used it to stash our stuff and periodically hold a pooped out kids who needed to sit.
The 4-D Donald movie (the kids really loved this).
Lainey’s rainbow Minnie ears.
Having the poppas with us so we could split up when needed.
My favorite photo of the day.
This stinkin’ Minnie wand I made the night before we left–made her happier than any ride.
Watching Nella and Dash fill their Disney journals when the day was over.
Climbing into bed Saturday evening.
Our birthday celebration for Dash continued this weekend with family and more cake and a proud birthday boy who insists he’s much taller now that he’s seven.