Sunday, April 17, 2016

Disney, Day 1: Monday, 4/11

We embarked on our Disney vacation with skepticism, which was mostly rooted in the inherent difficulty of planning a first Disney trip--so many weirdly specific logistics, so much required advance planning. There are resort reservations, Fast Pass reservations, meal reservations. We planned six weeks in advance and were told we were much, much too late.

But we got our bookings, and off we went. Along with the skepticism, we went with openness and a willingness to be surprised by the fabled magic of Disney. And I’ll say this: magic was in abundance with our four- and six-year-old traveling companions. They were the perfect ages for Disney. Lucia, especially, was the kind of child for whom Disney was made. Greta had a wonderful time but was, in my opinion, still a bit too young; but I’m glad we went while Lucia was six, because six is the perfect Disney age. I’ll go wild here and say we’ll have to go back when Greta is six, just to give her that same experience.

We kept our trip princess-focused and didn’t stray much beyond our three daily Fast Pass selections. We stayed in the Magic Kingdom, primarily Fantasyland--we didn’t rush around, didn’t try to see too much. By 1:30pm each day, we were all Disney-ed out and were ready for swimming at the hotel. In the posts that follow, I’ll give, a day-by-day rundown of our trip.

Disney: Monday 4/11

We drove from Jacksonville to Disney and checked into the Polynesian Resort. Our rental stroller was waiting, and we left our bags with the hotel and went to the Magic Kingdom. 

First up: meeting Mickey at Town Hall, our first glimpse of the sheer joy that would characterize these meet-and-greets. Next we went to Adventureland and climbed up the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, and then went on the Jungle Cruise. We had a hot-dog lunch at Casey’s Corner (chaotic and crowded, no Disney magic in evidence), saw the tail end of a parade (magic in evidence as the girls waved gleefully at all the characters), and then went on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Greta was underwhelmed. But both girls were extremely excited when we let them pick out plush Minnie Mouses at a shop. They were our constant companions for the rest of the trip.

After some Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, we went back to the Polynesian, checked into our room, and headed to the pool. For Greta, this was easily the most magical experience of all. After eighteen months of swimming lessons with virtually zero progress, she jumped into the resort pool and proceeded to swim like a little fish. Diving underwater, swimming short distances on her own, ecstatic that she was actually starting to keep up with super-swimmer Lucia. “I’m diving for things!!” she shouted at one point. “This is amazing!!!”

Then it was time to change for dinner--Frozen Fever Elsa dresses for the girls--and head back to the Magic Kingdom for the Be Our Guest dinner at the Beast’s castle. Greta nearly fell asleep at the table as we waited for our food to arrive, but we got through the wait with magic-ink coloring books I’d bought for the trip. Both girls rallied after dinner, when we got to see the enchanted rose and meet the Beast in his study. Then we rode the Prince Charming Carousel, and the girls ran around with their Minnies for a while before we finally called it a day.

First character meeting with Mickey
Jungle Cruise

Meeting the Beast at the Be Our Guest dinner

Playing with Minnie Mouses

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