Disney World!

We went to Disney World last week. Toby took two weeks off rather suddenly. At first we were going to just sit back and relax, but then I got this hankering to go somewhere. We talked about renting an expensive hotel room in Manhattan overlooking the Hudson for the 4th of July fireworks, one with a pool and great views. But many were all booked up. Others would not guarantee us a room with a view.

I then suggested DC. We looked into renting a hotel room and taking the train down. You would not believe the cost of that. Or maybe you would. I was surprised. The cost was nearing Disney prices, a realization Toby Joe muttered out loud.

“Hey! Why don’t we go to Disney World?” I asked, only I think I spelled it out or said it in Pig Latin.

This was out of character for me. I have had a fear of flying for over a decade. Toby is well aware of this fear. I am often hopped up on Xanax when we fly, except for the one time I was pregnant and took a (DOCTOR APPROVED) sleeping pill instead. I am a terrible, no good, nervous flyer. (This fear started before 9/11 and then after 9/11 it just became 10 times worse. I became one of those folks who literally threw tickets away right before the trip. I flaked on an amazing vacation in Thailand two months after 9/11. I’m that guy.)

Anyway, it’s been getting better lately. The last time I flew I did OK. My palms didn’t soak a napkin or Toby’s leg. When we got off the plane I said, “Is this how it usually is?” Toby looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Yes. It’s usually dreadfully uneventful.”

Now I want to go everywhere. My fear of flying has kept me from going so many places, seeing so much. It pains me realizing this now. So I have a lot of catching up to do. Japan for my 40th? Yes! Hawaii with the kids? Definitely. We’re going to go everywhere.

But I digress. After a few clicks and one large credit card transaction, we were taking the kids to Disney World and we were leaving in less than a week.

And it was awesome. The whole trip was awesome. We booked a room at The Wilderness Lodge (shown above) which is where my extended family stays every year for our reunion of sorts. It has a great pool; a nice running/walking trail; bike and boat rentals; a gym; and lots of awesome scenery. It’s just nice being there. And we’re lucky we can afford to. I’m very grateful.

The flights went off without a hitch, both ways. Elliot was shockingly well-behaved; I was worried about that. When we flew last year, he was still a wee one and was still nursing. I nursed him for almost the entire flight. And Emory is possibly the best kid traveler ever, he is amazing.

(He got his hair done in The Magic Kingdom. I love this kid.)

Here are a few things that made this trip awesome:

  • We decided ahead of time we’d only visit two parks the entire week: The Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  • We got to each park before it opened.
  • We got Quick Passes for the really popular rides (Big Thunder Mountain, Splashdown Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Soarin’) and visited the less popular ones using the nonexistent morning lines (Teacups, Peter Pan, It’s A Small World).
  • I got the Quick Passes by running to each one ahead of the family, which was awesome for me. (UTILITARIAN EXERCISE!) Also: Quick Passes aren’t printed for the opening hour, always an hour or so later giving us plenty of time to hit other rides.
  • We left each park between 1 and 2 PM and headed back to the hotel (pool) to relax, eat and nap.
  • We took one day off entirely and just sat around at the hotel, playing games and relaxing by the pool.

I know this schedule isn’t for everyone, but the lines went from 0 to 15 minutes long during the morning hours to over 75 minutes in the afternoon! No way I’m waiting in line for 75 minutes in the blazing hot sun, not with a toddler.

One thing we will definitely do in the future is buy a Disney Dining Plan. It’s worth it, we’ve discovered. But beware! You have to do it at least three days before you arrive. We tried adding it on there, to no avail.

Lastly: HOLY HUGE NUMBER OF BRAZILIAN TOURISTS! I guess July is “Brazilian Tours” month because there were literally thousands them. They all wore the same shirt and each group held anywhere from 25 to 75 people. There were orange shirts, red ones, blue, green, white. Seriously, there were thousands.

Damn, I originally set out just to post a few pictures, and here I am rambling on and on. I’ll shut up.

Emory on the carousel.

A woman gave Elliot a few stickers while we on line for Peter Pan, so he tried to eat them. Of course.

Elliot and Emory outside Italy in Epcot. We had lunch there during a torrential downpour.

God, I love The Wilderness Lodge. Check out this scenery!

Up before the sun on most days. I’m such a morning person, more so while on vacation.

Along the running trail.

This was my running buddy. Scared the SHIT out of me at first. At least it wasn’t a gator!

Lastly, isn’t this the cutest picture ever? I love my boys.

Have you ever been to Disney? Where did you stay? Did you enjoy yourself? Let me know! I’m always curious to hear where others stay. If you haven’t been, why not? Would you like to? Or do you hate all things Disney. (I know many families in Brooklyn who agree with you!)


  1. I haven’t been in years, but we’ll likely be going down with the baby in October 2013. My parents have had a timeshare at a place called Orange Lake in Kissimmee since I was 8 or 9 years old, and we pretty much went every year when I was growing up, often with lots of little cousins joining us. I always loved the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and always had fun experiencing them with little ones in tow, and soon I’ll get to share the experience with my own son. I never dreamed I’d get the chance, and I’m so, so excited.


  2. Kids make it all the more awesome. I have to admit. You get to walk down memory lane and watch them experience everything you once had. It’s amazing. I love it.

    We’re not Vacation Club members ourselves, so we’ll likely go down more often.

    You’re going to have a blast. And that’ll be a PERFECT age. Also, October is great because of the whole dressing up thing in the Magic Kingdom.

    We’re going back in November for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I am SO excited because I THINK we’ll get to see the Xmas decorations, which are supposed to be breathtaking.

    My third and hopefully best half this year!


  3. Oh! You’ve now bestowed TWO pieces of advice I’ll have to keep in mind. The early schedule AND the pre-Christmas time visit. My husbands grandmother has a condo a few hours from Orlando and she’s always on us to come visit, so if she’s still around (knock on wood) two birds with one stone! I’m also kind of itching to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Seuss Landing at Universal Studios as well, more for me though ;) I’m still pregnant with my second, so it may have to wait a couple years. I wonder if going with a girl and a boy would be different than with two boys considering all the “princess” stuff…hmm


  4. OMG with the Brazilian tourists!! They must have followed you from New York, because I got caught up in a similar (each group wearing the same color t-shirt) SWARM of hundreds of them in Grand Central the other day, and the experience made me want to never leave my apartment.

    I went to Disney for my bachelorette party several years ago, which sounds cheesy but was actually such a hoot. I don’t remember the name of where we stayed, but it was enjoyable, even for a bunch of drunk 20-somethings being escorted by the huge inflatable pirate doll my friends required me to haul around the entire weekend.


  5. Kim C – Mihow’s first trips to Disney World were in the Fort Wilderness Campground with her only brother at the time and you see how she’s turned out! And then when we had the third child we had a bicycle seat crash with him while riding in the campground and that will explain a lot to all of those who know the BKGUNNER. Why not have a princess day for the girl and a Pirate’s day for the boy. It does work out.


  6. @scbob Another great idea! I will have to jot these down somewhere :)


  7. Runnin my first half and first Disney World trip February 2013 for the Princess Half. We are super jazzed and will be staying at the Animal Kingdom since there are 4 of us splitting the room. I cannot wait and we are baby free!


  8. I’m so glad you had a great time at Disney. What a fun, impromptu trip! We have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge for a special treat. It’s really a beautiful place. We’ve been to Disney as a couple, with one child, and with one child while I was pregnant. Each was a great experience and different in their own right.

    We love the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. It’s quiet, really pretty, and well situated—you can even catch a relaxing boat to Downtown Disney. Last year we tried something new at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Meh. It’s huge. So huge, there’s an internal shuttle. Even with six pools, you’d rather be at the main pool with the pirate water park.

    I think it’s so smart to stay at the resorts. Once you board the Magical Express, you basically abdicate all responsibility to the real world and can just enjoy yourself.

    I’m on the fence about Disney. I don’t want to bow to the Mouse, but I can’t help but be blown away about how good they are at making it a magical experience. It’s really what you make it, but also, they create a haze of escapism that’s really so wonderful. And you don’t realize it’s happening to you until you walk back into the Orland airport.

    Hope you get to go back again; looks like you all had lots of fun!


  9. You did Disney perfectly. We’ve had annual passes for the past couple of years, since we’re only 2 hours away, and we’ve never managed to do it as well as you did. Mostly because I can’t extract my husband out of the park.

    We love staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas – especially if we’re able to upgrade to a savannah-view room. Nothing quite like enjoying a glass of wine or cup of coffee on the patio, with a giraffe hanging out nearby.


  10. I am literally TEARING UP at how big your kids are getting!

    And now I totally want to go to Disney World. I’ve never wanted to see it before.. but doing it on a schedule like yours makes so much sense. Now I just have to convince Marshall… :)


  11. MerryJennifer: we bought annual passes this year as well since we’ll be there again in November for the half and then MAYBE again next year, before the 365 day period is up. It was worth it in the end. Also: you get 10% discount on many stores and restaurants! Which we used the entire week we were there.

    Chele: I KNOW! It’s hard for me too. I keep tearing up because I’M getting SO OLD! :]

    Definitely go. It’s a great time. You can make the trip into whatever you want.


  12. We were there at Easter time and stayed at the Contemporary for 4 days. It was super busy and we did far too much but didn’t regret the exhaustion at all. The dining pass was excellent and we found the location great as we spent most of our time at Magic Kingdom. We travelled from Australia so it will be a while before we go again but we were amazed by the number of people there from New Jersey. Glad that you all had such a lovely time – I love the photos!


  13. I love all your pictures and it looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time. I’ve taken Annie to Disneyland three times. The first time, hell, absolutely hell. Second time was very structured, much like yours, there early, back to hotel in afternoon for relaxing swim and nap, and if she was up for it, back at night for fireworks and the nighttime shows. Third time I took her, just this past May, she was able to do more, last longer, and handle all the stimulation much better. I think Disneyland is a lot of fun — for kids and adults.

    Disneyland is AWESOME for special needs kids. We got a special pass that allowed us to use the disabled entrance on rides, which got us in right away. They don’t openly advertise this pass, but an employee there clued us in the first time we went and Annie was screaming at the long waits. Special needs kids can’t wait, at all. The pass is good for everyone in our group, as long as she is riding with the group. It made the whole experience so much less stressful.

    Sounds, and looks, like you had an awesome time!


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