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.
So jealous that you were at Disney World, we are Disney freaks and practically lived at Disneyland before the girls started school and that cut us down to once or twice a year. The food is amazing and calorie dense! Sounds like a great trip.
Wow, what a great family vacation. And I love the idea of something like this instead of gifts! Memories are worth much more than things!
Your trip sounds AMAZING! I think this is such a good idea for Christmas gifts for the family. So much fun.
Also, Price Eric is kind of terrifying.
As always I am envious of your organization abilities. Keeping a good plan at Disney is hard! Your good far outwieghs your bad and ugly. The girls are going to have the best childhood memories ever!
sounds like you had a blast! We did this once and went to Maimi for Christmas still working on talking the husband into doing it every year. :)
Looks like an absolute blast. I'm going to use this as a guide for when we take Chico to Disney. That is on the list for us in the next year or two.
Isn't it crazy that you plan out the day? If we are here at this time, then here at this time we will avoid X, Y & Z.
It's like race planning....hilarious!
I freaking love Disney. And I LOVE the point you made about needing a strategy. People laugh at me when I start strategizing my trips, but there's TOTALLY a method to the madness, and it really makes for a much more relaxed trip than frantically racing around to attractions all willy nilly and standing in lines.
Glad you all had a great time!!
great pictures, are those mickey headbands? so CUTE!! and I agree, nothing beats a Disney vacation. My house full of men could take it or leave it though which means I need to just go on my own! :)
Your girls are adorable. I like how you "crushed" it touring the parks.
Now, please share some consonants with me, since for the last three turns I continue to only have vowels.
My Fav: The character drawing lesson in Hollywood studios!
The worst for me: The Bear Country Jamboree! Can you say inappropriate?! The worst is the bear singing about blood on the saddle and blood on the ground....
Looks like an AMAZING trip! Glad you guys had lots of fun! I agree, when going to a place like disney you need to have a plan of action! :)
Looks like an awesome trip and great memories! The scale will be your friend again soon enough! :)
How lucky that both you and your husband love Disney so much. I haven't been in years and need to get back there. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
So glad you had a great time at my favorite place oon earth! Boo for December crowds. We love end of September, too!
your family could my family twins. we too LOVE Disney and I have DREAMS of running the Princess Half next Feb as well. Maybe we can ride tower of terror together!! YAY for memories!!
we are a disney loving family as well. honestly i feel like you walk in and instantly feel happy.
Question: we have 3 kids and want to head to Disney World soon. How do you manage seating with an odd #? Does an adult ride alone and two kids together? For some reason this totally stymies me.
So glad you had such a good time -- I enjoyed reading how you rocked the crowds!!
What a fab Christmas!! Glad you had so much fun! I love love love Disney. It's the ONE place on Earth my kids have behaved gotten along and not been total turds. It really IS the happiest place on Earth. :)
I love Christmas at Disney World! We celebrate Christmas in 2009 there and it was wonderful! I can't wait to go back next November
A.W.E.S.O.M.E. I must admit, this post has me stoked for my trip to Disney for the Goofy in just under 2 weeks! I am so excited to do all of this stuff - amazing vacation!
My parents used to take us to Disney for Christmas as well and they are some of my fondest memories. I loved it. How cool that you and your family do that too. :)
Happy New Year to you and your family! I love the pictures and the vacation recap!
LOL This totally made me laugh! Growing up in Florida I have had my fair share of visits to Florida and defintely know many a friend who works for the mouse. Well looking at your photos, I TOTALLY KNOW THE PRINCESS IN YOUR FAMILY PHOTO! LOL She was one of my students when I worked at UCF. It always makes me smile when I recognize her in my friends photos!
Glad to hear you and the family had a great time to Disney. I am jealous!
Looks like a trip you and the girls will remember forever! :) And don't fret the scale. It wouldn't be right to go there and eat healthy! :)
My kids also love it every time we go to Disneyland. We are hoping to be there again this Christmas. Looking at your pictures made me miss the place so much.
I could imagine my kids while reading your post. I'm planning a Disney trip since last two years and hope to made it this year with my kiddos. Anyway, If you came with a baby , I recommend to rent baby strollers that are less expensive in Disney.
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