I used to laugh at those families that went to Disney World over and over. Was there nothing else to spend their vacation money on? That was until we took the girl for the first time in October 2011. The joy in the faces of my girls the first time they walked down Main street, the wonder as the music for the parade started, “Celebrate a dream come true“, we all sang it for weeks after getting home. I remember Megan being so excited when the parade started to go by I had to hold back a tear, a mothers dream is to see a child that excited.
We returned in February 2013. That time was a celebration after my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and reconstruction. After receiving the pathology report and realizing that it was not “if” I would have gotten breast cancer but instead “when” we knew we had to celebrate! We went all out staying at the Kidani villas overlooking the safari and enjoying 7 jam-packed days. Once again we had a fantastic time! I really started to understand why people continue to come back, the fun had by the entire family was second to none! We could not wait to plan the next trip, we had become one of those families.
This weekend we head back. For the first time we will be driving and no villas. The kids are so excited because they will be sleeping in bunk beds. I am not sure who is more excited, the girls or Frank and I. My husband is just a big kid at heart and I have always had a loving fondness for all things Disney. I also fill with joy watching the girls have such a great time. The countdown has been going on for over a month with the excitement level increasing with each passing day…4 more days until Disney!
I have not posted in a while for several reasons..I will get to those once we return from seeing the mouse. Hold on Mickey, we will be there soon!
Before we get too far away from the Disney trip, there are two things I learned that I thought I would share.
First is the photo pass plus. Thanks to a friend (thanks Vince!) I learned about this before our trip and took full advantage. For $169.95 you can preorder the pass which will allow you to order a photo disc of all pictures taken inside the parks. It also includes any photos taken while riding Space Mountain; Splash Mountain; Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin; The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; Rock ‘n Roller Coaster; Expedition Everest; and Dinosaur (you know those that they snap as you are about to drop from a loop or twist wildly. The one’s that they charge an arm and a leg for at the end of the ride). If you have plans to attend character meals many of those pictures are included also, (1900 Park Fare; ‘Ohana (breakfast); Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show; Chef Mickey’s; Cinderella’s Royal Table; Tusker House (breakfast); Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue; and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus) Royal Banquet).
What I found interesting is the several conversations I had with different photographers at the parks who say that it has been in place for a year yet they are surprised that more people do not take advantage of the deal. I ordered our disc yesterday, it includes 272 pictures. We have pics from every ride except Splash Mountain since it is closed for maintenance. We also attended 4 meals and have great family photos to preserve those memories. We never would have bought the ride pictures without this but having them is very cool! Best deal for the money around!
The other thing I learned is that I could never eat all of the food provided as part of the Deluxe Dinning Plan. Three, three course meals a day is a ton of food! We tried early on in the week :-). By mid-week we started canceling meals, we were all full! Next time around we could definitely down size the meal plan!
So as we sat in the hotel one night we had turned the television on but had never changed the channel. After a few minutes we realized we were watching the “things to do at Disney” channel. That is when we saw it, one of the newest character visits at the park was Merida from Brave. She has become important to my family. When I was in the hospital, Frank and the girls went to the movies and saw it together. It was one of the first nights while I was still in the ICU after the prophylactic mastectomy. The girls got a bit emotional as they drew connections between struggles with Merida’s mother and their own.
According to the television, Merida was in Epcot. We had already been to Epcot and did not see her. We tried to look it up on the internet but found a wide array of stories. Seems she is so new that as they tested the character and first put her out with crowds she moved around a bit. We were able to find some cast members who told us exactly where to find her, in Magic Kingdom.
Thursday morning we had plans for breakfast at Cinderella’s castle. Merida was right down the path from there so right from breakfast we went. It was 25 minutes before she was even due to start her day the line was forming. We took our place and patiently waited. AT 9:15 the door opened and in the line moved. They have set her up in an area that was being used for Rapunzel the last time we were at the park. From what we are told during the initial roll out kids were allowed to shoot an arrow with her but it seems that has stopped. I can only assume that it took too long. For those wondering what happened to Rapunzel, it seems that she will join the new Princess Fairytale Hall currently under construction.
The visit was excellent! She chats with the kids and is very playful. She stole the hat of one of the cast members at one point hiding it behind her back. They all play along looking around for it as she places it on a father in line. She then is the one to “find it” announcing that “he took it!”. With others she takes children and hides with them or tells silly stories. It makes for a much longer line, but a much more fun and interactive visit.
When it was time for Meg and Madi to visit, Merida came over to the line to meet them. She immediately took their books and signed talking the entire time. The girls walked with her over to the picture spot. They posed and then both gave her a hug. Frank and I were starting to move along when we noticed Merida and Madi sneaking off to the side of the stage. They hide and snuck around for a few seconds until “found” by other cast members. She then gave Madison a hug and we were on our way.
I know this sounds ridiculous but it brought a small tear to my eye. It made Madison’s day! Well worth the wait!