Friday, December 1, 2017

Disney Day The Last: Magic Kingdom Again

Two weeks after our final day at Disney, I'm writing out our final day at Disney! After all the recapping and photo-booking you'd think I'd feel some Disney fatigue, but this was my FAVORITE day and though my body has decided not to sleep anymore and work is killing me, I am so excited to write it all down. Or at least what I can remember from our planner Kaleigh's PDF trip plan, my pictures, and my own sparkly memories. I apologize in advance for how many pictures are involved, but you have no idea how many things I DIDN'T take pictures of!

Because Disney is magic and Magic Kingdom is the most magical of it all.

Part of the magic was us getting up, dressed, and packed with ALL our luggage downstairs in the lobby of our hotel by 7 a.m. to take advantage of early magic hours at Magic Kingdom that day. When Kaleigh put that suggestion in her plan for our trip I scoffed to myself that there was NO WAY we'd be anywhere by 7 a.m. on the last day of our trip after 5 days of fun and late nights and having to also check out of the hotel that morning.

view from our balcony; up with the sun

But bam. There we were on Main Street USA at 7:15 a.m., ready for a redo of our castle pictures because Claire is turned sideways and staring somewhere 45 degrees away from the camera in our first round.

The park was pretty empty and there wasn't the usual long line for pictures, so the kids requested and received some individual shots as well. Lanman, with his beloved lanyard and trading pins.

Cora. Our magical princess unicorn traveling toddler, absolutely killing me every moment of this trip.

We headed over to Tomorrowland because we hadn't been there yet. The kids REALLY wanted to do the Speedway, so we went there first, pausing for a few extra pics. Claire slayed. As we walked away, James was shaking his head saying, "where did she learn that?"

Tomorrowland Speedway time! It should not surprise you that Landon (tall enough for his own car!) was a responsible and excellent driver.

Or that Cora was an INSANE one.

We hit the barrier between the wheels as many times as you can hit it in a single lap and when we passed by an elephant ride, spinning around in the distance, she yelled while flinging her arms in the air and off the steering wheel, "LOOK!! MAMA! ELEPHANTS! I RIDE THEM! STOP THIS CAR!"

Claire rode with James and was super pissed she couldn't reach the gas pedal to command total control of the vehicle. But she still enjoyed her ride.

We hopped over to Space Mountain next where the complete lack of line allowed us to ride it 3 times in a row until we could perfect our arms-up ride post for the camera that flashed surprisingly early each time.

nailed it

It's a great ride, but after 3 rounds in 12 minutes we decided we could take a break and headed out to reunite with our broken-hearted-not-44"-tall-toddler and motion sick father who were riding the little kid Barnstormer roller coaster together in the Circus section above Tomorrowland.

We did the flying elephant ride Cora had spied from her speedway car while James sat out because flying in circles is not a thing his brain or stomach have ever been able to handle.

Our first Fastpass of the day was Enchanted Tales with Belle. I had no idea what this was, but knew it involved a Belle in a yellow dress who did not sign autographs. You start in a little room with an enchanted picture frame that shows you images from the movie, the kids all chant about something something "take us back to the day Beast and Belle fell in love." Then you go to another room where you can "try out" for roles in the little play you're suddenly about to put on. Claire sang a note and was granted the role of the Wardrobe. I was hiding in the back and utterly petrified at being asked to "play" anything.

Then we all growled (not me) and LANDON'S growl was apparently just the best of all. He would be the Beast.

He was an AMAZING Beast.

I died on the inside multiple times.

Then. THEN. Beast and Belle did their dance. We had no idea this was about to happen. I couldn't take my eyes of my sweet, little boy dancing with a princess in front of a room filled with strangers with an adorably dazed look on his face, so I fumbled for my phone, missing the part where she had him twirl her, and catching this little bit on the end.

It was absolutely one of my favorite moments of the trip. My heart squeezes every time I watch it. Then, dance concluded, it was time for Belle to take pictures with each of the participants and guests. Still in costume, the LandonBeast went first.

Claire beamed through hers and had an adorable conversation with Princess Belle.

Cora, after chatting with a dozen princesses over the last five days, froze up completely when faced with Yellow Dress Belle. It was too much. She was also possibly too tired and hungry.

She would definitely not take a picture.

It's still part of my magical memories.

Post-Belle we stopped for some much needed waffles at Sleepy Hollow. Needed because we were starving and because we still had food credits to use up.

Waffles ahoy!

Landon had been asking for a Mickey waffle all week.

Properly waffled, we did the Carousel again for Cora and then stopped in the princess store so she could pick out her Disney present. Claire had already selected a big book of Frozen stories and a little card to attach to her lanyard. Lanyard had a Goofy hat and a special trading pin. Cora had two little plastic Elsa/Anna cups she picked out after the Frozen Ever After ride, but had otherwise been biding her time.


Now the agonizing selection process had begun. There was a lot of comparing and contrasting. Frequently with objects not in contention.

She consulted with experts.

She chose a Princess Aurora barbie and 'Rora did everything with us for the rest of the day.

We were ready for a little break again, so we decided to ride the train around Magic Kingdom. 'Rora had her own seat, obvs.

The train was great! We got to see some sides of things you can't see from the streets and paths and it was about 20 minutes of rest and entertainment that was perfect for an early afternoon stop.

Once back at the Train Depo (where we took our amazing pictures on the party night when it was closed!) we saw that the line to see Tinkerbell was super short so we decided to hop over there. And by "super short," there was no line at all! Landon had paused to trade pins with someone (as he did every 15 steps) so the girls were chatting away with Tinkerbell and explaining that their brother was missing.

"A lost boy?!" she cried, "I know about lost boys!"

And with no line, Tinkerbell set off to find him, her handler trailing behind.

She found the Lost Boy who looked very confused at why this green winged princess was so excited to see him.

It was awesome.

We felt the need for another roller coaster and of our two faves (Mine Train and Thunder Mountain), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had the shorter line, so we headed over there. I think we walked at least 7-8 miles every day of our trip, but we probably did 10+ on our last day because we were no longer following Kaleigh's orderly plan and were instead zig zagging all over the park in the most inefficient way possible.

I was glad most of our vacations are hiking because the kids never complained and they walked SO MUCH. Dawn to dusk, to and from the park, all day. But there's so much to see and do as you walk around that you don't really notice it. I did notice that I'd lost 5 lbs when I got home. And I normally work out every day and do NOT normally eat Mickey pops and/or (AND) waffles and giant pretzels as snacks. Disney = an excellent boot camp.

But back to Thunder Mountain. James sat it out because he doesn't like feeling like he's going to throw up, but the kids and I were so glad to get to ride it again. It's such a great coaster. This was actually the day I got my beloved video of Cora on the ride. I watch it all the time. Such joy! (I linked it in the Day 2 post on Magic Kingdom because I was so impatient.)

Speaking of joy, this is how Cora walked around Magic Kingdom when not in her stroller. In her own world, always singing, and full princess curtsying every 15 steps or so. She had many fans throughout the park.

We wandered back over to the castle because we had a Fast Pass for the Peter Pan ride, but first we saw another show on the castle stage! Because those just happen like all the time.

As always, Cora couldn't believe what was happening right in front of her face.

The Peter Pan ride behind the castle was super cute for our 5 minute wait, but very much not worth the 80 minute wait it showed for the stand-by side. Our overhead tour of London and Neverland complete (it really was cute), it was now 2:30 p.m. and FINALLY time for the big finale of our trip - Cora's (slightly late) Birthday Lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table! Inside the castle! ("Yes, INSIDE the big castle," I explained a few dozen times.)

We were all very excited. And not just because we were VERY hungry.

You meet Cinderella in the foyer of the castle. She was nice, but by far our least interactive and personable princess. Maybe she just has a lot of stress from hosting lunch for so many families in her home.

She was patient while Cora did a full compare and contrast of every element of their outfits, so that was very kind. But mostly I felt like she wanted us all to get out of her foyer so she could sit down.

Our name was called and we were escorted up the beautiful castle stairs to an even more beautiful room and a great table by the windows. I was absolutely as excited as the kids. And not just because I found out Cinderella's Royal Table is the only place you can order alcohol in Magic Kingdom! I ordered a glass of champagne immediately, my first drink since my medicinal margarita 5 days before, and sitting in a castle looking out over my magical kingdom on my last day at Disney holding a champagne flute was perfection.

It was a great meal and by far our fave of the trip. The kids first court was fruit and cheese, which are Claire's two favorite things. Landon rejected the cheese and Cora rejected the fruit so after a mid-course exchange of plates, everyone was very happy.

I ordered a salad appetizer (For those who like reading menu items like I do it was the "Castle Salad: Fried Beets with Nueske's Bacon, Mixed Greens, Pickled Pearl Onions, Marinated Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese tossed in a Maple Vinaigrette" - is was SO good) to be followed by a salad entree (Beef Tenderloin Salad: Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Mixed Greens, Roasted Marinated Mushrooms, Blue Cheese Crumbles, and Fried Leeks in a Balsamic Vinaigrette - CRAZY GOOD) and like my champagne, they were perfect. I really just wanted vegetables at this phase of our trip and these were exceptional.

The kids got a Wishing Star and a wand (or sword, if you're a LandonBeast) and it was all very magical.

While we ate, princesses made their way around to the tables. We got to see Ariel, in her "real people clothes."

Snow White

Aurora (who remembered us from Sunday night, which seemed impressive)

and Jasmine.

Cora was in heaven. It was her 2nd and 3rd meeting with each of these princesses but the sparkle was not dulled. She still had much to chat about and many more hugs to give.

Our desserts were delicious. The girls got a Decorate Your Own cupcake platter that Cora found *delightful* (though she still would not allow us to sing to her, something our waitress took in stride).

Happy Birthday baby girl!

I had assumed we would leave the park post-lunch. We'd already been there for 8 hours and it was the 6th day of our trip, but nope! We headed BACK over to Tomorrowland for another turn at the Speedway, Space Mountain, and then the Astro Orbiter.

That's our hotel! So close, SO GREAT for walking to/from the park like we did every day!

It was now 5:30. The park closed at 6:00 for another Christmas party. We still needed to get our bags, turn in our stroller, take a transfer bus to the car rental center, get our car, and drive to our new (cheaper!) hotel for our last night in Orlando before driving to Tampa in the morning to fly out of that (WAY CHEAPER) airport. We'd done a lot, we'd had an amazing time, I was pretty ready to begin the next logistical phase of our trip, but James had been watching the Splash Mountain ride on his iPhone app all day. It had been closed on Tuesday and all morning on Friday and had juuuuust opened back up. There was a 25 minute wait. We had 30 minutes left in the park. "Let's do it." he declared and we raced over from Tomorrowland to Adventureland (about the furthest possible diagonal through the park) to make it.

And I am SO GLAD we did. Like I have tears in my eyes typing this (it's the magic; it makes me teary). It was SUCH a great ride and I love so much that we all got to ride it together in a grand, splashy (literally) finale.

Going down the drop at the end with all the kids' squealing and Cora's little arms up in the air and joy on her face... I'll remember that forever. It was the PERFECT end.

And it was the end. The park was closed and we had to hightail it outta there. We said goodbye to Main Street, used our last 3 snack credits on cotton candy and popcorn for the walk home, and got down to the business of checking out of our Disney life and securing transport to our new transitional one on our way home.

Disney has a car center (of course), so we took a transfer van there. Cora slept on my shoulder the whole time and I loved every second. We got our car and headed to our new cheap hotel that thankfully had a pizza place in the lobby for us to order a few pies to go because it was now somehow 8:30 p.m. and we were starving. When I originally booked the hotel I'd looked for one with a pool, thinking we'd head over there mid-afternoon. I definitely did not realize it was the late night dining option that we'd most use (we never saw the pool). We tucked the kids in bed and James and I passed out ourselves, looking forward to a free breakfast buffet and a day at the beach before flying home to reality and a lot of photo-booking.

not at all in reality

It was the best week you guys. I'll post a wrap-up with actual, practical advice (mostly, call Kaleigh), but I want to end this by saying I never had any interest in Disney and I loved every second and consider every penny well-spent. It was a wonderful, magical, totally unique week. I have no need to go again, but I loved it. I loved being there with the kids, I loved seeing their faces, and while I went into it thinking it would be kind of a hassle for James and I but we'd enjoy it for the kids, the truth is that I enjoyed it for me. I had a blast. I'm literally crying again. Next year we're planning a big trip to Costa Rica and the year after that has Europe written all over it, but I am so glad we saved and planned and spent one year's really big trip on Disney. It was worth it.


  1. Kaleigh Kirkpatrick12/1/17, 5:24 PM

    I’ve loved reading all of your blogs!! Thank you for including me in tour special trip! I am so glad you had such a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing all of the photos and memories! Love seeing photos of the magic ��

  2. Thanks for sharing. It looks like SO much fun.

  3. Hi! Thank you for sharing! I've been reading for a while and love following along. I have never been to Disney but didn't like the movies or rides as a kid so we never went. Loved hearing about your amazing experience. Makes me want to actually take my future children. Have a great weekend!!!

  4. Having been to Disney a handful of times, you've captured such magic I'm fighting the urge to contact our Disney planner and book immediately.I absolutely love these recaps and am so glad you all had such an amazing time.

    Also, I giggled because you (mistakenly?) call Landon "Lanyard" in this post, and I love it :)

  5. Yay! What a week. I LOVED Cora walking through the park, curtseying. And Tink!! A lost boy - how smart of that cast member, and adorable.

  6. I totally want to book a trip to Disney right now! You managed to capture the magic and I found myself crying reading this last post. I am so happy you guys had the best time, it really is a magical place!