My family and I had been dreaming of a trip to Walt Disney World during the holidays for years, and this year we finally got to make it happen. From December 14th to December 19th, 2017 we had a magical, fun-filled, and believe it or not, relaxing vacation in The Most Magical Place on Earth.
We started our vacation by checking into The Boardwalk Resort, one of the Epcot area resorts. To read more about this amazing resort, check out my review.
After settling in and resting for a bit after the long drive, we headed to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
This was our first Very Merry Christmas Party, and Alyssa’s first hard-ticketed event. Our family has attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party twice, and I felt as though the Christmas Party had a lot to live up to. I’m going to be completely honest, I liked the Christmas party better! We thoroughly enjoyed the festivities (I’m a sucker for Elsa’s lighting of the Castle), the short lines for attractions, the sweet treats and the parade! I loved the parade!!
And so ended Day 1! We really had a fabulous time, although my kids couldn’t make it through the whole party. My husband took them back to the resort and let my sister and I stick around by ourselves. Totally worth it.
Day 2 began with a lazy morning enjoying Boardwalk Resort. Breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery (delicious).
We also rented a Surrey Bike to explore the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club resorts. Exhausting (because I am clearly out of shape), but also a really great time.
That afternoon, we visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of this trip was seeing all the parks decorated for the holidays
First row for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster!
Back to the resort for the evening for ice cream and entertainment! The street performers are seriously amazing. We saw magicians, kid entertainment, guitarists and singers. It was wonderful!
Day 3 – Animal Kingdom! We arrived at Animal Kingdom soon after it opened and went straight to Africa to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. We had a FP+ for Kali River Rapids, but at 45 degrees, we decided to skip that one. A kind lady at the Boardwalk Bus Stop let us have a Rider Swap for Dinosaur, so my sister and husband hit that while I took the kids to Dinoland to get their faces painted. We also hit up Everest in Asia (and got a couple of Rider Swaps for later).
What are Rider Swaps, you ask? I explain all that in this post.
We left Animal Kingdom to go to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a lunch reservation at Sanaa. Christopher and I had eaten here before, but my sister and the kids hadn’t.
Melanie checking out Auntie’s pink lemonade.
Sanaa’s famous bread service. Naan bread served with 9 distinct dipping sauces. BUT, right before this trip we learned there was a *10th* separate sauce that was rumored to be extra spicy. As Christopher and I love spicy food, we had to try it out.
The 10th sauce! Definitely request it if you like extra spicy food.
Our server at Sanaa recommended the cutest dessert for the kids. Paint your own brownie! None of the adults liked the actual taste of the brownie, but the kids definitely had fun.
This day was also Kid Club night for the youngins’ and adult-night-out for us. We dropped the kids off at Lilo’s Playhouse in the Polynesian Resort and headed out to Animal Kingdom. Why did we go back, you ask? Pandora at night.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Also, we could only snag a FP+ for Flight of Passage in the evening hours, and thank goodness we did. At the time of our FP+ reservation, the stand by line was ~4 hours long. As it was, the FP+ queue took approximately 40 minutes before we were able to board.
Just as an aside, we saw some nastiness in the stand-by line. A gentleman near the front had called security to complain about the long wait and was verbally berating cast members as we walked by. Listen, I get it, waiting in a really long line sucks no matter what the reason, but if you fail to get a FP+ for the most popular attraction in all of Walt Disney World, please don’t blame the cast members. They are just doing their jobs, please be kind.
After Flight of Passage, there is an example of poor planning on my part, I didn’t realize there was a special ticketed event at Hollywood Studios this same evening, and our plan had been to hop over to DHS to catch the Galactic Spectacular and Sunshine Seasons Greetings (the Christmas themed projection show), so we had to miss out on that. As of this writing, I still have not seen the Star Wars fireworks/projections at Hollywood Studios! Something goes wrong in the planning every time.
Day 4 began at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for breakfast at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.
We had the BEST time here! Check out a full review in this post, but safe to say this was definitely the highlight of this trip.
And since I am a WONDERFUL mother who LOVES spending time with her children, we dropped the kids off at yet another of Disney’s Kids Centers, this time at the Sandcastle Club for the evening. The kids actually chose to spend the evening there because the plan for this night was Disney Springs to go see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I had LOTS of thoughts about this movie, and if you are at all interested in hearing them, I rant about them on the Dis Explorers Podcast.
Day 5 – Epcot day
One of the best parts of staying at the Boardwalk is the proximity to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. For our Epcot day, we walked over to the France Pavilion for breakfast in a nearly empty park. Seriously, basically everyone who entered through the International Gateway took a left into the UK pavilion to enter Future World, but we took a right into France.
So, following some delicious pastries and an amazing macaroon, we took off towards Future World for Soarin’, some character meet and greets and the new Mission Space.
Goodbye Lt. Dan, hello Zoe
Quick side story, a few trips ago, my son and Goofy got into a dance competition that basically devolved into booty shaking. This has sense become a tradition (that, thankfully, all Friends of Goofy have kept alive), hence the booty shot of Goofy above.
Following a break, we headed out to the Grand Floridian for a dinner at 1900 Park Fare, a character meal featuring Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Druzilla.
All of these interactions were amazing! My personal favorite was Anastasia. Who does Anastasia think is prettier?
After dinner, we wandered around the Grand Floridian to take in the decorations.
For our final night in Disney, I stayed in the resort with the youngins while Christopher and Alyssa went back to Epcot.
This view. Seriously.
Day 6 – Departure Day
The saddest day of all. Thankfully, one last character meal was to be had before we had to leave for home. We had a breakfast reservation at Trattoria al Forno, a character breakfast featuring Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
Flynn Rider was AMAZING. He was such a fun meet and greet! The best of the breakfast for sure. And this food was GOOD. Different breakfast fare, which is appreciated after a week of pastries, scrambled eggs and mickey waffles.
I can’t get over how much I enjoyed this trip. By doing less, enjoyed it more. Less pressure, more fun! I’m already ready to go back!