Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Disney Day!

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A couple weeks ago we took a little 4 day vacation to Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. Since it is only a little over an hour away from Orlando and we have children, we had to abide by the Florida law that anyone within a certain distance visit Mickey while there. Dems da rules!

We picked Thursday, August 18 to visit and hoped that many children would be back in school already to lessen the summer crowds a bit. We also watched the weather pretty closely and debated switching our visit to Friday instead when we saw there was a 60% chance of storms that day (which seemed a little higher than the normal everyday chance of storms in Florida), but ended up sticking with our original plan so we wouldn't lose our Fastpasses and all that. It ended up being a perfect day to go! We had the best day! I mean, Disney makes it hard to have a bad day, but crowds and weather can definitely make a huge difference and we lucked out in both departments that day.

I had reserved our three Fastpasses 30 days prior to our visit. (Since we weren't staying on property and were only doing a day visit, that was as early as we could reserve them.) I wasn't expecting much since people staying on property are allowed to make Fastpass reservations 3 months in advance, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at what was left. I used a site similar to this to pick which are most advantageous to reserve, and went from there. I also wanted to pick three that we'd be able to use as soon as we got there so that we'd be able to reserve more Fastpasses for the rest of the day. (You can't reserve any more until your first 3 are used.) I REALLY wanted to ride The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the first one wasn't available until 8:00 that night, so essentially we'd give up an entire day of Fastpassing to snag that one. So, I passed on that Fastpass (ba dum ching!) and hoped for the best.

I ended up choosing:
The Jungle Cruise
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Peter Pan

Our first Fastpass was valid from 11:45-12:45 so naturally we entered the Magic Kingdom gates at 1:00 p.m. Doh. Missed that one. So maybe our day didn't start as expected but we didn't let it get us down.

From there, we Fastpassed, we lunched at Cosmic Ray's, and we Fastpassed some more. In the middle of the afternoon the sky got dark and we heard thunder in the distance so several rides closed for a while, but it didn't slow us down. We chose new Fastpasses for rides that WERE still open and just moved on. It never rained at all, and then the thunder moved on and everything opened back up. We got to do SO MUCH this day! And mostly ALL with Fastpasses! Our ride order looked like this:

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Lunch at Cosmic Ray's
Peter Pan
Under The Sea (during the "storm")
Teacups (during the "storm")
Carousel (during the "storm")
Dumbo (storms over!)
The Barnstormer, twice, with rider swap
Mickey's Philharmagic
Magic Carpets
Tiki Room
Dinner at Pecos Bill
Pirates of the Caribbean
It's A Small World
Haunted Mansion
Jungle Cruise
Light Parade
Splash Mountain, where we caught the beginning of the fireworks right as we came out of the cave and went down the big hill - so magical!
Winnie The Pooh

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Guess I should mention that my BFF Amy was also with us, and was riding with Charley in front of us. :P

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So, we missed a few in Tomorrowland, Big Thunder Mountain was closed for refurbishment, and we sadly never got to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. But I think we did awesome! We never waited longer than 20 minutes for any ride and both Charley and Laney were so good! And sure, it was August in Florida which means H-O-T, but I truly didn't think it was bad at all. Disney must have a way of making the heat not as intolerable, apparently. Oh Disney, how do you do it?! We left around 11, after a visit in the gift shop and the sweets shop while Laney slept in the stroller.

We definitely deserved a redo after our last visit when Charley was sick and this day more than made up for it. We are doing a week long trip in 2017 so I'm hoping for the same crowd volume and luck.

I opted not to take my good camera either based on John's suggestion, and that ended up being good advice. It is big and clunky and a lot to keep up with, and I can't tell you how many times I've almost knocked out my children from it swinging down while I lean over to pick them up. So, my pictures of the day aren't as good, but I enjoyed my time more by not focusing on keeping up with the camera and trying to get good shots. I did buy this one picture for $15 at the end of the night to make up for it, though.

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Worth it!
At the end of the night we had one sleeping baby in the stroller and one sleepy baby that we were carrying on the ferry boat back to our car. She may be 43 pounds, but when your almost 5 year old falls asleep on your shoulder and you think to yourself that this may be one of the last times she does that EVER, you get super strength and hold her and soak it all in. It was a perfect ending to a perfect Disney day.

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We'll be back, Mickey!

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