April 23, 2013

Disney: Days 1 & 2

Day 1: Bumpy flight, Hollywood Studios

Our trip to Florida was notable for a couple of reasons. It was, for example, the first time the four of us were destined to spend five nights in a single room. All four of us came back on the plane so apparently it wasn't tragically bad. Perhaps the most notable was the fact that it was the kids' first time on a plane. We tried to prep them for what they were going to experience, going so far as to simulate takeoff in a local restaurant which drew the attention of some fellow diners. Oops. Not a fan of flying myself, I found this to be the perfect example of Putting On A Brave Face. I also found it to be a perfect example of Taking Xanax In The Morning. Regardless, the kids did fine despite the rather bumpy flight. We arrived in Orlando to warmth and humidity, cockroaches the size of Volkswagens, and Spanish moss which makes me miss living in the south.

We caught a Disney bus to our hotel - Port Orleans French Quarter - checked in quickly, dropped our stuff off in our room and headed to Hollywood Studios.

Our plans immediately hit a snag. Owen was overwhelmed. Who wouldn't be? But the size and scale pushed some buttons I didn't know Owen had. He was terrified of every ride, forced us to get a stroller, and spent most of the day being pushed around. The rest of us enjoyed ourselves. It was the perfect place to spend half a day getting used to the Disney experience.

The Park: 2 out of 5 stars
The Food: 2 out 5 stars
Sheer Awesomeness: 2 out of 5 stars
Overall: 6/15

The verdict: Hollywood Studios looked cool but didn't really deliver on its promise of awesomeness. The whole thing was supposed to be like a Hollywood backlot. And, sadly, that's what it felt like. There were brushes with greatness - the giant Mickey/Fantasia hat in the center of the park, the giant AT-AT outside the Star Wars ride - but there just wasn't a lot of depth to the park. At the end of the day we were pretty happy we'd picked this park to spend the least time at.

Day 2: The Magic Kingdom (Part 1)

If you walk into the Magic Kingdom, pass through the gates and gaze upon Main Street USA, catching sight of Cinderella's Castle and aren't in a little bit of awe, you don't have a soul. I love the Magic Kingdom. I prepared the kids to be in awe. And as soon as they walked through the gates, they were. Watching both of their minds get blown simulatenously was pretty awesome.

The girls made a beeline for Space Mountain while Owen and I took in the park. I lobbied hard for It's A Small World which I realize is totally cheesy but love with all my heart. Owen lobbied against any ride that had any hint of darkness. The struggle continued.

The Magic Kingdom, as an adult, lived up to my memories of it as a kid. Sure, I don't remember seeing ceiling tiles and exit signs in It's A Small World when I was 10 but, hey, the magic - or at least the spark of it - is still there.

When all was said and done, we left tired and hungry with a long list of things we wanted to do when we returned to the Magic Kingdom on Day 4.

The Park: 5 out of 5 stars
The Food: 2 out of 5 stars
Sheer Awesomeness: 5 out of 5 stars
Overall: 12 out of 15 stars

The verdict: It really is the happiest place on earth. I shit you not.

Posted by Chris at April 23, 2013 7:30 AM

I'm interested to hear where you were eating. I always found the food good at Disney. If you go again I highly recommend Disney food blog for recommendations.

Posted by: jodifur at April 23, 2013 9:06 AM

We went to Disney last year for the first time and are going again this May- I want to know where you ate too. It definitely can be hit or miss with the food, but we've found some things we liked and will do again (as well as some we won't). I have to agree though that I'd rank HS 3rd of the parks (MK, E, HS, AK) though my youngest really liked the Disney Junior stuff and my oldest the star wars stuff.

Posted by: Jess at April 23, 2013 9:28 AM

Thanks for posting Disney reviews! My kids are 4 and 7 so we're waiting until next year (MAYBE the year after) to take them. Thinking about planning the trip is so overwhelming! Hearing that you guys survived makes it seem a little less daunting. ;)

Posted by: akofaolain at April 23, 2013 9:58 AM

It's the happiest place on Earth until about day 5...:-)

Posted by: Holly at April 23, 2013 10:30 AM

We have visited Disneyland, Disney World and Disneyland Paris. Our last trip was Disney World. I swore after that trip that future trips would involve the meal plan.

It was so crowded at Disney World last time that we couldn't eat lunch until 2. Everywhere we wanted to eat was full with folks with reservations and meal plans.

I found that carrying snacks is vital to keeping everyone happy.

Glad you had a great trip.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at April 23, 2013 11:15 AM

I grew up a four hour drive away from Disneyland in CA and was very spoiled to have gone there many, many times as a kid. I've taken mine once and vowed to pack snacks next time. I also have to accept that we'll make it through about six rides and spend most of the time gawking. I cannot imagine five days in Disneyworld- our heads would collectively explode.

Posted by: rebecca at April 23, 2013 11:29 AM

I went with girlfriends and their daughters when Leda was 4 - for kids, Hollywood Studios is not all that...we spent about 2 hours there with the girls - the adults, after hitting the wine festival at Epcot, went back in the evening to ride Tower of Terror and Rock n Roll roller coaster over and over and over again! Rock n Roll Roller coaster is the best ever! My total Fav!!

I'm looking forward to going back in the next few years, when Leda's 10-12. I think then she'll be able to go on a few more rides she wasn't big enough to ride before! But she got it...it was magical! Glad your kids got it!

Posted by: cyndy at April 23, 2013 4:07 PM