JKLMN take on Disney….Part 6

Saturday, May 27, 2017, 9:27 pm…Punkin Lakeside RV Park, Hammond, LA

Goodbye Walt Disney World!!! Sadly, today we had to say goodbye to Fort Wilderness and Walt Disney World. I can truly say that we have had a magical time while in Orlando.

As a first time Disney-goer here are some things I have learned:

  1. Do not try to do 7 days in a row in the parks. I know you want to try to fit it all in but 7 days in a row is hard, both on the parents and the kids. In our case I had us scheduled to go, go, go from the time we arrived until the time we left. Everyone in our party was begging for a break about mid-week. We finally took that break on Friday, the last day there. Staying at Fort Wilderness meant that we had a whole extra “park” to explore. There were pool parties, carriage rides, horse back riding, campfire sing-a-longs, outdoor movies, biking, beaches, playgrounds etc. Basically, staying at the Fort can be an event in itself. My kids were grateful for the chance to hang around and enjoy these things on their last day.
  2. We definitely got our money’s worth out of the dining plan. Remember, every meal in Disney is expensive, it is a theme park after all. It was great to be able to enjoy the dining experiences (and they were experiences) without worrying about how much it was going to cost. Honestly, my kids were so excited that we were eating out and I was letting them order something other than water to drink. 🙂
  3. Take advantage of your dining plan snacks. Honestly, you end up with more than you will ever be able to use so don’t hesitate to buy the ice cream or slushy when the kids ask for it. Also, remember that at the end of the trip you can go to the gift shop and load up on Disney themed snacks to give as souvenirs if you have snack credits left (and every quick service meal you don’t use can be converted over to 3 snacks).
  4. Florida is hot and humid, deal with it.
  5. Fast-passes are a MUST and you should be purposeful in how you schedule them. Schedule all of your fast-passes in the mornings if you plan on staying at the park all day. You can pre-schedule up to 3/day. Then once you use your last one you can schedule another one and so on. I read this a hundred times but still forgot and had ours spread out all day. This meant that we didn’t take full advantage of the system.
  6. Don’t expect your kids to be happy all the time. They are going to get tired, hungry, hot and on and on and on.
  7. The fireworks at Magic Kingdom (and Hollywood Studios for that matter) are a must see. Yes, you will have to fight huge crowds but it is worth it. The fireworks are mesmerizing.
  8. I know I’ve said it before but…schedule down time.
  9. Figure out the transportation system early on. I had read up on some of it before we arrived but honestly, I’m directionally challenged. Thankfully, my hubby is not and he quickly figured out the best ways for us to get to every location.
  10. I’m a mom, I like princesses. I have a daughter, she likes princesses. Our Disney planner (use one!) has 3 daughters, they like princesses. By the end of our trip, my husband was begging me not to take him and the boys to yet ANOTHER princess dinner or meet & greet. I say this to say, make sure you schedule things for your whole family. My boys would have enjoyed more “boy stuff”.
  11. Finally, like I briefly mentioned above, use a Disney travel planner. Ours came highly recommended from a lot of friends and she walked us through everything. She answered all of my silly questions, made our reservations, then made our dining reservations at 180 days out. She also made a few of our fast-pass reservations at the last minute because I had messed some up. Then, once we got to Orlando I kept texting her questions that she quickly answered for me. If you have a good Disney planner, your trip will go much more smoothly.

I’m sure I’ll remember more tips for a first-timer but for now, this is what has been on my mind.

As for travel, thankfully today has been an uneventful travel day. We were on the road for about 13 hours before we decided to stop. Unfortunately the RV park we have  ended up in seems a bit “shady” but it will work for a good nights sleep. We should be rolling into Hot Springs sometime tomorrow evening.

Good night all!

 

JKLMN take on Disney…Part 5

Thursday, May 25, 2017, 10:01 pm…Fort Wilderness Campground

Wow, what a busy last two days! We spent yesterday and today in the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to see and do there that it really does take 2-3 days to see/do it all. I can say that by the end of today, I feel like we have made the most of our trip. We even watched the fireworks show in Magic Kingdom again tonight. Let me say, I could probably watch that show every night and it would not get old.

Right now I have to do a “review” of Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom. The day I told my kids we were going to Disney, Logan immediately started begging me to get reservations at Be Our Guest. Somehow our travel agent came through and managed to snag us a table (thank you Jennifer!). It was FANTASTIC! The food was probably my favorite of all the meals we’ve had here (and that is hard to say because I haven’t had a bad meal yet) and the atmosphere is amazing. You truly feel like you are in a castle. The icing on the cake is that you get to meet the Beast. Be Our Guest is the only place in Disney where you can meet the Beast. The kids just loved it, and so did I. Then to end the night we got to have some of “The Grey Stuff”. If you don’t know what that is you need to brush up on your Disney movies and go watch Beauty and the Beat again. I can say it was delicious (just ask the dishes).  If anyone reading this is planning a Disney trip, put Be Our Guest at the top of your must do experiences.

The question now is, do we go to a park tomorrow or do we take the day off and play at the campground on our last day here. The kids are begging to swim and ride bikes all day. Honestly, I think that is a fantastic idea myself. Johnny is leaning towards one more day in Epcot, though he is tired himself and has to drive for two days straight Saturday and Sunday. I guess we’ll see where the wind blows us tomorrow, we are on vacation after all.

JKLMN take on Disney…Part 4

Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 11:18 pm…Fort Wilderness Campground

There is no tired like Disney tired.

What a busy last few days! We have hit 4 parks in 4 days plus we’ve made a trip to Disney Springs. Today it is all catching up to me. My feet hurt and I’m a bit grumpier than I’ve been all week. I’m hoping a good night’s rest will take care of that.

Let me tell you what is so magical about this place though. This is the only place in the world where you see parents trying to calm over-stimulated, overly-exhausted kids and yet they  still end the day saying they would do it all over again. (My oldest heard a parent telling a kid, “There is no crying in Disney!” LOL)

Do you know what makes it worth it? At the end of a long day, when everyone has reached their limit, you watch a fireworks show and your child turns to you with a HUGE smile on his face and says “This is the best vacation ever!”.

JKLMN take on Disney…Part 3

Sunday, May 20, 2017, 11:46 pm….Fort Wilderness Campground…Falling asleep

Wow, what a day! Nothing can prepare you for a day in the Magic Kingdom. I don’t care how much prep work you have done, how many blogs you have read or maps you have looked at. Walking into the Magic Kingdom immediately makes you feel like a child again and then is complete sensory overload the rest of the day.

We arrived at “rope drop” this morning. Of course, being rookies, we didn’t have a clue where anything was or where to go first. We basically wondered around in a circle for a while. We did meet several Princesses right away, which Macy loved (Noah & Logan not so much).

One of the highlights of the day was Enchanted Tales with Belle. It’s basically a little story that they pick kids from the audience to act out the story of Beauty and the Beast with Belle. Macy got picked to be the Beast. That meant she got to dance with Belle. The look on her face was priceless.

I was grateful when Johnny’s cousin Susie and her family (Jose & Kimberly) arrived at the park. They are Orlando residents and season pass holders. They jumped in as our personal tour guides which helped us navigate through the chaos.

A few more highlights of the day, riding the Monorail, Noah and Krue’s first roller coaster ride (Seven Dwarves Mine Train) and dinner tonight at O’hana which is located in the Polynesian Resort. The food was fabulous!

We chose to come back to the campground and do some swimming for the evening. The kids had been begging for hours to just go to the pool. I think they had just as much fun at the pool as they did in the park! I’ve got to remember, kids will be kids.

Now I am absolutely exhausted. I’m actually falling asleep as I type this. Goodnight.

JKLMN take on Disney…Part 2

Friday, May 19, 2017, 11:46 pm…Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

Wow, what an eventful 2 days. Let me tell you, 2 days is pushing it when driving from Arkansas to Orlando, FL while pulling a 30’ travel trailer. More importantly, RV life is definitely not easy.

First, though, an update on the iPad situation. Johnny removed the broken headphone jack from the iPad in less than 5 minutes when we stopped for lunch. I was super relieved and Logan was never the wiser until after we had remedied the situation.

Now on to the “RV life is not easy” statement. We had not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 tire blow outs on the way here. It all started at a random gas station we tried to go to. Long story short, we missed a turn, had to go find a place to turn around and while doing that ran off a curb into a ditch with the camper wheels. That of course caused us to blow a tire and bend the rim. We were prepared though, we fully expected to have to change a tire or two on this trip. So, quick tire change and we were back on the road within 30 minutes. No more than an hour later, just before Mobile, AL, Papa’s camper blew a tire. At this point we were already at least an hour behind schedule but we couldn’t go on without a spare. We changed his tire, then made it our goal to find a place to buy a tire. Thank goodness, Wal-Mart was only 10 min away and they ha dthe tire we needed. Now, we were exhausted. We had made reservations at an RV park on the other side of Pensacola, but now that was at least 2 hours away and it was 7pm.  We changed our plans on the fly and decided to stay at an RV park in the town we were in.

That was a wonderful decision and the best part was, they had a pool. The kids had the opportunity to swim for a while before bed time. They needed to get out some energy after being cooped up in the trucks for so long.

Today, we got on the road around 8am and I can tell you that God was watching over us. Not long after we were on the road Johnny told me to start looking for a tire place. He was not comfortable driving without having at least 2 spare tires (keep in mind we were down to 1 at this point). I found a place , we got another spare and then headed back on the road.  Now we were set, 2 spare tires and a long straight stretch ahead of us. Then, literally AT the exit we would have taken the night before if we had chosen to keep going rather than stopping, Papa’s camper blew 2 tires at 1 time!!! Thank goodness for that 2nd spare that Johnny had insisted we get. Then, as we were trying to figure out how to change this one or if we needed to call roadside assistance a guy pulls up. Turns out Florida has a program where “Road Rangers” monitor the interstates and stop to help any motorists who have issues. He got our tires changed and had us back on the road within an hour. Once again, we were looking for replacements for our spare tires, which we did find just one town away from where we were.

I am happy to say that the remainder of the trip was uneventful. We finally pulled in to Fort Wilderness around 8:45 tonight. We are now set up and everyone is tucked in to bed. Tomorrow…we take on Magic Kingdom!!!

JKLMN take on Disney…Part 1

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 11:22 am…Somewhere on I-49S in Louisiana.

Here we go! Day 1 of our trip. There was very little sleeping last night. We finally got everyone settled down around 10pm. Even then though neither Johnny nor I slept very well. Let’s just say I was very grateful when my alarm went off at 3:15 am. We managed to get everyone up, loaded and hit the road by 4:05am.  We met up with Nanny, Papa and Krue at a truck stop in Malvern, about 30 minutes outside of our hometown. I wish I could say all the kids had gone back to sleep by then but….no. They were all awake & hungry.

So, there we went, me and all 3 kids into the truck stop to find some breakfast. The minute we walk in the door my youngest throws his hand over his face and tells me it stinks. (Now is a good place to mention that he has a very weak stomach. Anything that smells bad to him makes him puke.) My mom alarms immediately went off and I quickly herded him into the bathroom where he started puking in his hand before we made it to the toilet. Oh, the joys of motherhood.

We managed to get cleaned up, a bag full of very unhealthy truck stop food and back to the truck. The trip went on fairly uneventful until just after Shreveport, LA. For some reason, who knows why, Macy and Logan switched iPads. Within 5 min Macy had snapped her head phone jack off in Logan’s iPad. So, as of  the time I’m typing this, Logan still doesn’t know. Positive in the situation, I have passed the time googling ways to remove a broken headphone jack from an iPad. Nothing I have tried has worked yet but I’ve still got plenty of time to keep trying.

JKLMN TAKE ON DISNEY!

Here we go! We are currently packing for a vacation that I have dreamed about for years, we are going to Walt Disney World.

Of course, we can’t just go to Disney, we have to make it more of an adventure. We are pulling our camper 17 hours to Orlando and staying at Fort Wilderness Resort.  This will be our first RV trip that is more than an hour away from home.

I plan on documenting our adventure here. STAY TUNED…