So I learned 2 things this day.
1- Doing curls in Kerigan's hair was a waste of time. Despite the cooler temps in Florida at this time of year, it was still humid enough to straighten curls. Ha!
2- The early magic hours offered to on property guests are worth their weight in gold.
This moment is one I will remember forever. The first time she saw the castle. Basically no people were in the picture, which is something you hardly ever see. The park opened at 7:00am for on property guests. Now, most of you who read this know I am not a morning person, to say the least! Ha! However, I had to change that for this trip. It wasn't easy for me, as I'd much rather sleep late and stay up late. But for my kids, this was the best thing we did.
There were NO crowds. No lines. It was pure bliss. Kerigan and I went straight to the Anna and Elsa meet and greet, which can have up to a 3+ hour wait later in the day. We hardly waited and Kerigan was just mesmerized.
The characters are amazing. Many of them take extra time and really talk and interact with the kids. Anna danced with Kerigan. It was so sweet!
Anna is one of Kerigan's favorite princesses.
After that we went to meet Ariel at her Grotto. Another huge line later in the day, but no wait this morning!
She spotted Dumbo and wanted to ride so we did. With no wait!
We waited a little while for Merida, but not more than 30 minutes.
We basically hit everything in the New Fantasyland and met several princesses and were done before 9:30. It was amazing. It started getting crowded right around 10am. So we had a nice three hours of bliss.
Side note- I made this autograph book for Kerigan before we left. It was super easy to make and way cheaper (and cuter!) than the ones in the parks. I just bought a sketch book from Walmart (thicker paper so the pen wouldn't leak through) and scrapbook paper, stickers and some ribbon. We got a ton of compliments on it and Kerigan was so proud of it!
I used extra scrapbook paper on the inside for some of the princesses so they could sign right on the paper. Then on the left I'm going to put pictures of her with each princess next to their signature.
This was in a gift shop we stopped in. So cute!
Riding It's a Small World with Ga Ga and Papa
We always love this ride- it's a classic!
While we were doing the princess thing, my boys hit Tomorrowland first thing and rode tons of rides with no waiting in line! Craig took a few pictures, but he is not the picture taker! He just likes to enjoy the moment! Ha!
On their way to Tomorrowland...
Getting ready to ride the Buzz ride! This one was his favorite the last 2 times we went. This time his favorite was space mountain! My little boy is growing up!
I love how Craig took a picture of the picture! Ha! I felt so happy that Andrew and daddy got to take advantage of the early hours too. It was key to divide and conquer! I hated being split up, and we didn't do it too often, but it was worth it to get lots of rides in for Andrew, and for Kerigan to meet the princesses which Andrew could care less about!
Just as it was getting crowded was the perfect time for our Cinderella breakfast reservations. This was probably the most anticipated moment of the trip for me. I couldn't wait to take my girl inside the castle to meet all the princesses! And you can see how happy she was!
Walking upstairs to eat! A magical moment. I will never forget doing this with her. She was so excited to eat inside Cinderella's castle!
Knight in shining armor! Ha!
The princesses come to your table, which is so amazing you don't have to wait in any lines to see them! It's the best way to meet them, in my opinion. The ones we saw earlier in the day (Anna and Elsa, Merida and the mermaid Ariel) aren't at meals, so you have to wait in line for them.
Princess Aurora was next!
Then the "human" Ariel!
Andrew was so funny because he kept saying he wasn't going to stand with any princesses! But when they came around I think he enjoyed it more than he thought he was going to!
Look at him with Jasmine! Ha!
Jasmine was Daddy and Papa's favorite princess too... I wonder why?? HA!
Her daddy will always be her prince!
The future prince charming (don't you love his shirt! Ha!)
Just outside the castle we were in time to meet the Fairy Godmother! She was so nice and fun and had a fit over Kerigan's dress! She did turn quite a few heads in this dress. It was definitely the only one like it! She just looked beautiful.
Andrew did have to be bribed to get in this picture!
We went back through Tomorrowland for a short time because Kerigan wanted to ride the People Mover. So we walked by just as the Incredibles were having a dance party!
Andrew always loved this movie too. I had such mixed feelings with him this time- I was sad because he is totally out of the phase where he thinks these characters are real. He knows they are just people inside, and the magic is basically gone for him. :( But he still did have a great time and enjoyed the older kids rides like the roller coasters! I was just grateful we took him when it was magical for him too!
This isn't the most popular ride, but we always enjoy it! It is like a little train, and it takes you slowly through Tomorrowland, inside where it's cool, and you ride past and see inside several of the rides like Space Mountain and the Buzz ride. Andrew was happy to ride it again after he and daddy did this morning. And Kerigan loved it!
Walking through Tomorrowland
Then we headed towards the parade and I tried to take pictures but it was obviously too bright! Ha! They were trying so hard to smile for me!
We were dying laughing about this. Papa put Kerigan on his shoulders for the parade and her dress almost covered his whole face!
Anna and Elsa!
You can only take so many pictures of a parade. It's one of those things that you have to see in person. But I did take some pictures of the Christmas things because they were unique.
It was pretty spectacular seeing the reindeer and Santa in a Disneyworld parade.
Finally got one in front of the castle! But it was very crowded by this point!
In the afternoon we rode more rides that we had fast passes for. They have a new Fast pass system that works really well! You go online ahead of time and book fast passes for 3 rides. Once you use them all, you can go to the kiosks at the parks and get more. My tip: make them for as early as possible, because you can't get more until you use them all.
The kids loved the teacups! (Yes we changed Kerigan's clothes for the 3rd time! She was getting hot in her dress!)
We let the kids pick something out of the gift shops at each park. They had fun looking at everything! Mommy did too!
Elsa is in the bottom left corner of this picture. This show was spectacular! Elsa came out and did some magic and the castle turned into an "ice" castle! An amazing sight. Another plus for visiting at Christmas time.
Just seeing all the lights and decorations were worth beating the crowds!
The unfortunate part for me (the night owl!) was leaving before the night parade and fireworks. The kids just couldn't handle more. We had been there for 13 hours and they were done by this point. Getting there early was the best part for us, so it was a trade off. We were too far away to try to leave in the middle of the day for a nap and rest and to go back at night. Plus, we weren't ready to leave for a break in enough time to make it worth it.
2 more quick things I learned:
1- a three year old is not to big for a stroller. And a stroller is worth the headache. Craig refused to bring a stroller this trip insisting Kerigan was old enough to walk. True, she can walk. But the problem was the miles and miles of walking, plus the crowds, plus needing her to walk FAST. We ended up carrying her 90% of the time. Plus we had nowhere to stash our stuff.
2- This one is mainly for heart families...
So remember all the hype when they took away the Guest Assistance cards and how angry families of special needs kids were/are? They failed to mention that these puppies are available. They are a little different in that you still have to wait the amount of time that the line is, but the key...? You don't have to physically wait in the line. Huge difference. You can do other things, like use your other fast passes, meet characters, etc. It is still a time saver. You just take it to the cast member at the ride and they write the time to return (however long the wait is for the ride at that time). Then when you come back you go to the fast pass line. So it's like an extra fast pass! Score! We didn't discover it until a mess up at Universal Studios (story coming later), but we used it after that and it saved a ton of time!
Next up! Epcot!