J and I have started the tradition of taking our children on vacation in lieu of gifts on Christmas morning. Thanks to a canceled flight to San Diego, we ended up at Walt Disney World for the second year in a row. And although it wasn't our original plan, it couldn't have been more perfect. Here's the good, bad and ugly of our Disney Christmas 2011 ...
Disney Rocks: I'm not quite sure if you've caught on yet, but we are kind of Disney obsessed in this house. The girls love it, J REALLY loves it and I have to admit, even I get all excited by the sight of Cinderella's castle.
Since March 2010, J, Dizzle and I have each visited the most magical place on Earth four times and this vacation marked Doodle and Dilly's third visit. In fact, we love it so much that we finally sucked it up and purchased annual passes. And our next trip is already on the books for February. (I'm running the Disney Princess Half Marathon.)
Bonus: Now we have the perfect excuse to race every runDisney event.
The Weather: Can you say perfect? 80 degrees and sunny. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
My Princesses: The girls could not have been better behaved on this trip. They rolled with the punches, sprinted through the parks like champs and smiled the entire time. If they behaved that way all the time, they'd get anything and everything that they ever wanted.
Family Bonding: Since Dilly is now over 40" tall, she can go on pretty much everything. And since we don't really give our children a choice (if you are tall enough for the ride, you must go on), this was the first trip that we got to stick together the entire time. It was so awesome to do everything with our kids and not have to split into two groups (riders and non-riders).
Plus, it was pretty epic to take a two year old on Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain and Dinosaur.
The Food: I already knew from our past trips that the food at Walt Disney World is delicious and um, calorie dense. We ate well (and by well, I mean we binged) all week long. And I loved every glorious minute. Especially those two chocolate dipped, candy coated rice crispies treats and the Ghiradelli Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Delicious.
The Characters: For the first time, we waited in line (or snagged a fast pass) to meet the Disney Characters. The girls loved it. Dilly danced with Phineas and Ferb (her favorite part of the trip) and they were all struck with awe by meeting the princesses.
As for J and me, our favorite character was Prince Eric. Talk about hilarious. Trust me, if you are going to wait in line to meet one character make it Ariel and Prince Eric. It will be well worth your time.
Having a Plan: The thing about the Disney Parks is that unless you are visiting on a non-peak week, you need to have a plan to navigate successfully. Knowing how you are going to attack the park can mean the difference between hitting every attraction (without waiting in crazy long lines) and missing everything and waiting two hours for Toy Story.
We executed perfectly. Despite insane crowds, we hit every attraction at the four parks in our first five days. Sure, we had to get there before the parks opened to beat the crowds, but we rode rides 2 or 3 times while we watched people wait for HOURS to just get on once. We kind of crushed it.
Happiest Place on Earth: Seriously, Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth. We had the best time ever ...
Tired Feet: We spent 11-13 hours at the parks each day, which left all five of us we really tired feet (we didn't have a stroller with us). Every night, I was convinced I wouldn't be able to walk the next morning, but somehow, we kept at it.
The Crowds: We knew that we were visiting during one of the busiest weeks of the year, but I don't think we really knew how busy it was going to be. My advice, visit in September when the parks are nearly empty.
Oddities: The crazy people at the gym. Still can't quite figure out what was going on with them.
Nutrition Fail: Remember that food I was raving about? Well, all that indulging didn't come without a price. The scale isn't my friend right now.