Somebody pinch me – I cannot believe I’m writing a post about vacationing at Disney World! I’m so beyond grateful for the few days away that we experienced as a family.
Taking Hadley to Disney while she’s in this really innocent princess-loving stage was something I so deeply wanted to do. Because I like to keep things real around here, you should know that February was a hard month for this mama. Everybody has their share of heartache and often very tough things to juggle, so I don’t want to say that my struggles were any more than anybody else’s, but in the same breath I don’t want to dismiss my struggles either because they were very real for me. Simply put, I was feeling the weight of the last few years with no let-up in sight. We needed to get out of town and add a little bit of a family fun to the mix.
We knew we wanted to go to Disney, but looking ahead at the next 18 months, we knew there was going to be zero opportunity.
But then I started thinking about a random little four-day weekend that Jamie would have at the end of March, so I immediately emailed my precious reader and new friend Alicia who’s a Disney travel agent and asked her if it was even possible to plan a trip in four weeks. She said absolutely.
So Jamie came home from work that night and I blurted out my idea – to fly to Orlando, run around Disney for a couple days, and fly home with no time off of work. After nearly 60 seconds of shooting out my idea rapid fire, he interrupted me and said “Are you still trying to convince me if we should go? Because I think we should do it for sure.” And then I let out a shriek so loud I probably could have woken up the girls.
So for the next month I bopped around as giddy as could be, hoping and praying that our trip would be what I dreamed it would be. I feel like I sound so petty for “needing” a Disney vacation, but I wanted this experience so badly for Hadley at the age she is, and in turn we wanted that memory for ourselves. So we did it!
Leaving at 8:30 p.m. on a direct flight (woohoo!) Wednesday night and paying for an extra night at the resort was actually way cheaper than flying out Thursday morning, so we crossed our fingers that the girls would sleep on the flight and took the first option.
Of course (!) the girls did not sleep a wink on the 2.5 hour flight, and shenanigans ensued with Sadie. She was exhausted and didn’t know what to do with herself. She didn’t want to eat or drink, so Jamie ended up walking up and down the aisles for almost an hour (he got many high fives and “You’re the best dad ever!” from other passengers… haha!).
As soon as he would try to sit, she would wake back up, so about 90 minutes into the flight we whipped out our free drink coupons and cheered to the madness. Reason #18,572 that I love Jamie – we handle chaos well together and find a way to keep each other going.
Sadie even ended up in nothing but her diaper at one point because the plane was so darn hot and her fleece jammies were way too warm!
We landed at midnight EST, grabbed our bags, and headed to Disney’s Magical Express charter bus for our complimentary ride to our value resort, Pop Century. We arrived just after 1 a.m., checked in, waited almost an hour for the pack N play (my only complaint from the trip, and I mean only!), and then finally all went totally out cold by 3:30 a.m. WHAT A NIGHT. I’d been optimistic that it would go better than anticipated, but it definitely went just like everyone feared when I told them we had an 8:30 p.m. flight. Ha! I’m still glad we did it though because we woke up in sunny, warm Florida and totally maximized our time.
The girls slept for four hours (OMG), so when they got up we decided to walk around the resort and grab a quick-service breakfast.
Pop Century (a value resort) was the perfect choice for our family. It was so so so inexpensive and was perfect for little kids! I would stay at a Disney value resort again and again, with or without kids.
I would compare the value resorts to an interior, windowless room on a cruise ship. We had everything we needed! The room was small and nothing more than a standard hotel room, but we received all of the perks of staying on a Disney property that we would have received if we were at a moderate or deluxe resort. We were only in our room to sleep and shower, and we only hung around the resort in the morning or at night. Seriously… if you are looking to cut costs on your Disney vacation, definitely consider a value resort. We had a wonderful experience and immensely enjoyed all that our resort had to offer.
Anyway! By 10:30 the girls (and me) were ready to nap (not a surprise after four hours of sleep). We all slept until around 2 p.m., ate a snack (I packed a zillion from home), and then got ready to head to Hollywood Studios for our first day of fun at the park!
I have the most wonderful friends. I only bought the girls one new outfit for the trip so that we could save our money for the actual trip, so I was excited when they started bringing me outfits to borrow that their daughters had worn during previous trips. Hadley is wearing a dress my friend Sarah made, and Sadie is wearing a dress from my neighbor Marcy that she found and brought over while I was packing!
I’ll be back on Thursday to continue sharing about our trip. Stay tuned!
PS: If you have any Disney World questions, please let me know ASAP and I’ll do my best to fully answer them throughout my upcoming posts. 🙂
To continue reading about part two of our trip, click here!