Our Disney Trip

We are home from Disney, such fun (albeit crazy & chaotic, as always) trip, just in time for an ice storm last night. The drive was only six and a half hours (ish), we got a set of DVD players for the girls to watch movies in the car, and Eloise only cried for maybe 51% of the trip. Could have been worse. Harper did amazing on the car ride, she was just so excited to get there & wanted to watch all the princess movies she could before we arrived. We were so happy to finally get to our hotel Friday afternoon, we let the kids run (or I should say jump) off some energy before grabbing dinner & then watching Sea World fireworks and crashing for the night.

Our hotel had the most amazing breakfast buffet, I was honestly a little sad to have to stop eating in order to get to the park before it opened. We all were having so much fun & probably could have sat there eating waffles & omelets all morning long. They made Harper all sorts of fancy mini fruit smoothies & she was loving it! I know that probably isn’t even noteworthy, but you all know how I feel about breakfast food.
 
We stayed just a few minutes from the park, and we got there about twenty minutes before it opened. I was a little disappointed about how long it took us to get into the actual park itself after waiting in line to scan tickets & riding the trolley/ferry/monorail/etc. but we eventually got inside & Harper’s jaw dropped at the sight of Cinderella’s castle! 😉 It was freezing in the morning, like in the low 40’s & insanely windy, luckily we had sweatshirts with us & it eventually warmed up around noon. The first thing we did was see the big Mickey performance in front of the castle, this was perfect because Harper got to see a few of her favorites right away which blew her little mind. I was worried she would be bummed about not getting to meet Cinderella (the wait times were really long & we weren’t able to get a fast pass reservation) but she was thrilled to see her dancing during the show. We watched part of the street parade, where she got to see Ana & Elsa, Ariel & a few of her other favorites, then we headed off to meet Tinkerbell. 
Meeting Tink was hysterical because it was her first encounter & she did not know what to do with herself! We thought she would be shy or starstruck, but instead she walked right up to her & started asking questions. She even asked her where Belle was, to which Tinkerbell replied, “I don’t know, probably off reading a book somewhere!” 😉 Harper thought that was pretty funny.

We ate lunch, had some yummy Dole whips & did a fun jungle cruise, a much needed mid-day way to relax! We gave Harper a Snow White dress when we first told her we were going to Disney, she is one of her very favorite princesses, so of course she asked right away if she could wear it when she goes to meet her. She was so excited to show Snow White her dress & this was definitely one of the sweetest moments of the day. She even got a big red lipstick smooch on her forehead from her which she still talks about!

Then there was the highlight of the trip. Harper really wanted to see Belle, and although we couldn’t get a reservation for it, the line was only about 45 minutes. This attraction was called Enchanted Tales with Belle, where all of the kids get to play a part in the story using big cardboard cutouts, they act out the movie for five minutes or so while Belle is in the room watching. Of course, Harper was so shy & wouldn’t volunteer to take a part, so in the end they ended up handing her the salt & pepper shaker. She could barely sit still, she kept trying to get up so she could go see Belle up close. After they acted out the movie & entire group danced around the room in a line, Belle came back around & put a red cape around Harper’s back for her to play the beast. Harper was in total shock as she got to dance to Tale as Old as Time with Belle (!!!!!!!!), which I am positive was the highlight of her life thus far. Every time we watch the movie she wants one of us to dance with her during this part, so I know this is something she will never forget, and neither will we!!! I totally cried through the entire dance.

Disney was magical & I know that Harper had the best birthday ever!!

That being said, I think that the happiest place on earth might also be the most annoying place on earth. Aside from the fact that Eloise was definitely too young to enjoy it, and that we possibly just didn’t have enough time (we only spent one day at the actual park since we also spent a day visiting my brother who lives there) AND that maybe we just went during a crazy busy time (holiday, three day weekend, February, who even knows), I felt like a lot of things made Disney a giant pain in the ass. Again, it was all so worth it & the fun outweighed all of the negatives, but there were tons of times where I questioned why on earth people would do this over and over again. Although we will totally do it again. Maybe I’ll save that for another blog post though! Overall, we really did love it, Harper has already been asking when she can go back to see all of her princess friends & I can’t wait to print a few of these pictures for her to keep forever.

Happy happy happy birthday to the sweetest little princess of them all!!
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81 Comments

  1. I live 30 minutes from Disneyland and practically everyone has annual passes and I'm like WHY? Ugh. My baby is almost 10 months and we decided that we'll take him for his fourth or fifth birthday- when he doesn't need a nap or stroller.

  2. You are lucky to live close enough to have a decent drive to Disney! (Not here in Buffalo, NY.) I have family and friends who are BIG Disney people and go multiple times a year, and with small children. My daughter is 14 months old and my husband and I agree that we don't want to go until she is at least 3 or 4. Your pictures are adorable! – Becky

  3. hahaha!!!!!!!!! I can never understand how people can go and stay the ENTIRE day! We generally go, walk around…..stay for a few hours and then head back home. (florida passes are Super cheap! like 4 days for $140!!!!) You are my hero if you made it there all day!!! We are actually going back for our spring break for one day and we are trying to convince the kids that Downtown Disney is JUST as cool! ha!

  4. My husband and I met while working at the jungle cruise! 😉
    Those photos of Harper dancing with Belle are absolutely PRICELESS.
    And, there is no reasoning behind the packed-to-the-rim park. Disney no longer has a peak or non-peak season. It's always just packed beyond measure anymore. Since having kids and moving away from FL, we became Disney Vacation Club members; we do it all for the kids. Seriously anymore! 🙂 We're so blessed to have a once-a-year vacation, I know!!, but you leave there needing a vacay from the vacay!
    So glad you got to pack a lot of fun into your day! xo

  5. I haven't been in a long time but I think the time of year you goes plays a big part. Holidays must be super crowded there! But those pictures of Harper with the princesses are amazing! The positives really do outweigh the hassle of it all sometimes!

  6. I've been waiting for this post! I literally shed a tear reading about Harper dancing with belle (maybe it's the beer I've already had/maybe it's a little bit of the little girl me being jealous/maybe it's me picturing my daughter doing the same thing!) I'm dying to take my 2.5 year old to Disney, it's my favorite place ever! My husband and I got engaged in cinderella's castle, but it's so expensive and we want to wait until our 6 month old is old enough to enjoy! Glad you had fun!! Happy birthday, Harper!!!!

  7. We must have just missed you! We left the parks on Thursday! Presidents day weekend is the busiest weekend in all of February :(we go to the parks almost every year. My only real advice is that you need a full week to see every park and all of the rides at a good pace. We took our son at 11 months & just last week- he turns 2 on the 21st! The first time I just wore him in the baby carrier and nursed him or he slept the majority of the time, we had a group too so we could leave the babies and do baby swap for the height required rides. Disney is much different with kiddos, that's for sure! Staying on property is also a blessing because of the free transportation! I love Disney but it can be overwhelming! Hopefully you can make it back when you have more time because there is so much to see and do there! With your appreciation of breakfast food (poohs stuffed french toast at the crystal palace is out of this world!) you'd love alot of the sit down restaurants! Glad you enjoyed !

  8. This was just the sweetest post ever! I had tears reading about Harper dancing with Belle! Every little girls dream! We have season passes to Disneyland (LA) and we go a lot. Mostly during the week we try to avoid weekends and especially summer. We love October, December, and any time in spring. I think it was super busy probably because of the 3 day weekend.

  9. Thank you for sharing! Totally teared up reading about Harpers dance. Can you please share where you guys stayed-I'm at a total loss and we're going early May for the first time with our toddler before baby number two arrives.

  10. Amazing Post!! Love all the photos!! Vacations/trips are way more fun for kids, I have way more respect for my parents now that I have kids!! hahah!

  11. So glad you all had a blast and I totally feel ya on the rough parts too. When we took our little guy this summer because I had a work trip there and my husband said if we ever came back for a vacation, we would probably need a vacation from that vacation. And I totally agree.

    I will say though that after talking to some people who stayed at the park (we didn't), that it seems like it would be a better way to go because you get a wrist band to jump lines for rides and restaurants. For me the waiting in lines for everything was the worst part.

    XOXO,
    Summer Ann
    Simply Summer Ann Blog

  12. Aww love the stories with the Princesses. And I hear ya about the "effort" involved for a trip like Disney. We aren't attempting for a few more years, but it's of course a bigger production coming down from PA, with flights and what not. I'd like to go when the girls are 5 and 3, but P wants it more like 6 and 4. I figure as long as they are potty trained and able to okay skipping naps, we're gold. Glad you made such great memories!

  13. Staying in the park is the only way! Also using a travel agent. Disney has tons that are free (mouse takes travel) and they tell you all the secrets to when to go, how to not wait in so many lines, and where to stay. traveling with kids is hard tho- but ours are way easier at disney bc they are so entertained!

  14. Haha I was lusting at how magical of a trip this sounded….and then I got to the end! Love how you're keepin' it real ;). I'm looking forward to taking my daughter in 3-4 years (she's only 7 months right now), but I can definitely see how exhausting it all can be. I bet especially since you're pregnant right now too. Thanks for recapping your trip!

  15. Thank you Jessica for making me bawl like a baby! This was the cutest/best blog post I have ever read.
    I can't wait to visit Disneyland! I am SO excited for Harper to meet her favorite princesses!!!

  16. Oh man! It sounds like it was possibly a nightmare of waiting and crowds. One, you HAVE to stay on property. Makes everything so, so much easier. Two you must get to the park like 30 min before they open. Three, never, I mean EVER, go on a holiday! Four, the fast pass, you must fast pass or its basically pointless for rides and dining. We have been twice with the girls and the first time Penelope was 9 months and we had zero probs. Plan on going again this fall. I went a lot growing up, and want the girls to go a lot too. WDW is def an experience that needs massively planned out and way in advance. Lots of online research. But staying on property, with the dining package, and fast passes all the way, you walk right on every attraction. It's def "a whole new world" lol! lots love it, it's like a cult. Others don't understand the hype and joy of it. But it looks like Harper had a blast and will remember it with total glee!

  17. We live about an hour from Disney and go frequently, but only on days rated a 6 or less on the touringplans.com scale 🙂 I think this past weekend was a 10/10 on the busy scale 🙂 My daughter is turning three in a few months and going on the slow days —you can see everything 🙂

    You have AMAZING pictures of her with snow white and belle….ADORABLE!!!!

  18. I wanted to cry reading that you cried! I'm a total sucker for those moments! How awesome that it was so magical for Harper, I can't even imagine what it must feel like for a 3 year old to get to meet her favorite princesses! They both look adorable. These are memories that will stay with you and Harper forever!

  19. Super cute pics! We lived in Orlando until this past June when we moved to Atlanta. We got annual passes to WDW when my daughter was 1 and we absolutely love going! Our passes are good until the end of March so every 6 weeks or so we take a trip down and go visit the different parks. My daughter hair turned 2 on Valentine's day and she LOVES Disney! And she talks about it all the time 🙂

  20. We live in Orlando and used to have annual passes-I've never been to the Magic Kingdom when it wasn't a total kick-yourself-in-the-ass for going hassle! No matter what time of year, what day of the week. Epcot and Animal Kingdom are my favorites!!! If you ever come back down here I recommend those 🙂

  21. Loved all of your photos! My husband and I are going to Disney in a few weeks (minus our 9 months old who is vacationing at Grandmom and Grandpops). It will be my 18thish time. I honestly can't remember how many times I have been there. It'll be my 3rd time with my husband. You definitely went on one of the busiest weekends of the year (Valentine's day, President's day, Mardi Gras). Next time you go, I would recommend staying in the park at one of Disney's hotels, it would save A TON of transportation time because Disney has buses that drop you off right near the entrance. I'm pretty obsessed with planning trips, so if you need any help, let me know!

  22. Breakfast food is always notworthy! I love all of the pictures, especially the one of the girls with Tink. Harper's face is just pure joy. And yeh, I definitely got a little misty eyed reading about her and Belle. How awesome that must have been for her!

    Our Little Miracles

  23. I can't wait to take my little one but I'm definitely worried about all of those annoyances that you're talking about. Looks like you all had a great time though and Harper has some precious memories!

  24. Hello! Harper looks like she loved the park!! We have gone to Disney a few times now, and honestly what I have learned is that it is too hard to do it one day. We tried to do it in 3 once, and it was total chaos and stress and I just wanted to stay at the pool and drink. BUT, we did go twice now for 7 days (my daughter was 6), and we used My Disney Experience to book everything ahead of time. By the time we got to Disney, we knew what we were doing everyday, and what we were fast passing. It made the trip sooo much easier and less stressful. Maybe try it if you go back!

  25. 1000% agree that WDW is one of the most annoying places on Earth. We were there for 5 days when my son was 5, and I vowed to not return until he was old enough to properly handle it – i.e., not get tired/cranky/need a stroller. I saw so many miserable people and whiny young children, which made me wonder "Why the hell are we paying so much $$ to be this unhappy!" Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun too (and great memories!!), but I didn't exactly leave feeling like "OMG this is the best place EVER and I can't wait to go back!"

    Honestly, at her age, 1 day is all you need! Back-to-back days is exhausting and overstimulating at that age. Go back when both (all three!) girls are old enough to really enjoy it 😉 Or if you do go for longer, I strongly suggest adding a "rest day" between each park day. I also second that you should stay on the property – makes getting around much easier and quicker.

  26. So glad you guys had such a good time!!!! We live by Disneyland and have gone a few times and plan to take Mason for his 3rd bday in July, but I totally understand what you mean about it being a pain in the butt. But seeing the look on their faces and the fact that Harper got to dance with BELLE, totally outweighs the pain the the butt-ness for the adults!

  27. Totally just had tears in my eyes reading about Harper and Belle! So so sweet! Glad you all had a wonderful time! Harper's face in the picture of the two of them with Tink is hysterical!

  28. The wristband only lets you get earlier fast pass selections but you still only get 3 like everyone else and you can't jump lines at restaurants. The band is just park tickets, fast passes, dining plan credits, door key and credit card if it's linked. However, staying in the park gets you the extra magic hours…. which is very nice 🙂

  29. Our daughters first disney trip was at 14 months… we are going back with her at 26 months. September is the slowest time to go but Hot… you living in HotLanta would be used to it 🙂 at that time they have the Food and Wine Fest at Epcot (it's awesome) and the Halloween Party. We stay on Disney Property and its great…. their transportation is so helpful (don't have to deal w car seats or hot cars) . We stay out of parks on the weekends too and give ourselves 2 days at MK… There is so much to see. Hopefully your next trip is better and Harper's pics/memories were adorable 🙂

  30. Also, Disneyland has a baby care center wear the changing area is nice and quiet and spacious. Also tiny toilets for tiny people.They also have a private area to nurse and a kitchen area to feed and/or warm food. It makes taking a baby much easier.

  31. I can't speak to Disney World, but I have an annual pass to Disneyland and I have been taking my son about every other month since he was three months old. Having a pass and going all the time means you can easily skip things and have no regrets because you will just do it next time. It's way more stressful going on a weekend and doing everything in one day. We have literally gone to Disneyland for lunch, a ride, and a parade.

    It seems like your three year old enjoyed herself enough for the whole family! Disney certainly knows how to bring magic into our lives. 🙂

  32. we just went to Disney ourselves, and I cried through the entire Frozen show, watching my toddler absolutely GLOW with excitement and happiness. when the lights came on, every other mother was crying too!

  33. Harper's face while Snow White was holding her….priceless. She is such a cutie! Loved Eloise using her feet to hold her bottle while drinking it. My Ella used to do that too.

  34. Sounds like maybe you weren't quite prepared for WDW and that's why it was a "pain in the ass". If you go again, I would recommend planning as much of your day as possible as far in advance as possible. It's also not very realistic to try to do a lot in one day with a toddler, on president's day weekend.

  35. sounds like fun! And i wanted to cry while reading your post. We decided to take Mila there for her golden birthday (she'll be 5) and by that time our little one that's due in june will be almost 3. Its 2 1/2 years away but i already cant wait! lol

  36. Oh my cuteness!! This is by far the cutest post I have ever read!! Harper looks SO happy and excited in all of the pictures– and her dancing with Belle— OMG I would have died!! So stinkin' cute!! And you seriously have the cutest family ever!!

  37. I teared up a little myself at the picture of Harper and Belle dancing. That is what Disney is all about. Those special, magical moments.

    Next time you go, you definitely need at least a few days at Magic Kingdom to do Disney right. We would go every year if we could!

  38. This so sweet! I absolutely love Disney and I was so excited to take my little man to experience the joy of Disneyland. It's all I ever thought about while I was pregnant with him. I would love to share that experience with my daughter but since we moved to Texas, that won't happen for awhile. Your post made me so happy and your daughters are just too cute for words!

  39. Reading your story made me SO EXCITED to take my daughter and future kids to Disney World when they're older. Sure, it's a pain in the ass and exhausting but the magic in their eyes that in turn put tears in mine are so worth it. Glad it was a fun trip! -NG

  40. I thought about you guys when I was there Friday night. I have season passes (totally worth it) but this weekend was CRAZYYY busy!! Wish it could have been less hectic for you guys but so glad she had fun! What sweet memories!

  41. You are still so teeny – where's that baby bump mama? You need to frame that first picture of Harper. Love the stories and how magical this was for Harper! That sweet little girl deserves it! And the mickey hair clip for Ellie – SO perfect! Glad you guys had a good time. Hopefully this gross week will allow some relaxation.

  42. I've been praying for you and your family. Not sure how your pregnancy is going, but i know everyone deals with things quietly. Don't be scared to share anything, every one will give you the upmost support.

  43. Oh my gosh, Harper LOOKS like she was in heaven! What a fun birthday trip, but I totally get the pain-in-the-ass part of Disney. We live in Maine, so we are waiting until BOTH kids are old enough to enjoy it so we don't have to go through it all too many times. 😉 I always had more fun as a teenager/adult anyways, but I do know how magical it can be for little ones! What a fun birthday!

  44. What a magical day for her and I bet it was so fun to see this magic come alive for her! We are planning on surprising Elle in Dec for her 5th birthday at Disney! Just can't decide which on property resort to stay at and if we want to make it a land and Disney Cruise trip?! Why do these decisions need to be so hard? Any suggestions you have I would appreciate it.

  45. We are Disney maniacs. If you know how to do it right, it can be magical every time :)) And very little pain-in-the-ass :)) Takes a lot of work and planning upfront, but is sooooo worth it.

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