Upon our return trip arrival to Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, the concierge clerk uttered this statement to us as we were checking in.
I am not going to lie, but share that Disney truly does feel like a second home to me. Thus, this statement wasn’t far off from how I was feeling upon first arriving back with my family for a second year in a row.
I know some might wonder why our family did Disney for second time in only two year’s time.
The answer for me was simple as Disney is my happy place.
I mean how could anyone not be happy or feel some sort of magic while in Disney.
Even in 100 plus degree heat, I absolutely love Disney World.
Granted both of the times, we visited were in the height of the summer months, which records some of the warmest temperatures and most humid weather that Bay Lake or home of Disney World can offer.
But see, I happen to like the hot, summer weather (those who read this blog know that though). So, I am even more at home at Disney during this time of the year, especially closing out the parks later at night.
Make no mistake, I wouldn’t mind visiting Disney for Halloween, when they close down Main Street certain nights of the week for families to go trick-or-treating or for the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot also in October or even still yet to see Disney all done up for Christmas.
It also doesn’t hurt that my kids and even my husband are huge Disney fans. So, we are a Disney family through and through.
Not an inexpensive trip though by any means and doing this two years in a row has been a blast, but not cheap by any means either.
So, the Disney lover in me has done some research since my return from this trip on how to be able to afford to return to Disney more often.
Such as the Disney Vacation Club, which is Disney’s form of a timeshare for those who do love to visit and vacation there. After having spent thousands of dollars these past two years and seeing the cost for the vacation club members, it would seem like a possible wise choice for someone like myself, who has spent a fair amount of money already vacationing there in recent times. A timeshare can be a good option when vacationing with kids in a place where you regularly go to. When you no longer want the timeshare, a timeshare exit can be achieved with the help of a timeshare cancellation company.
Then there is also the Disney Parks Moms Panel, which moms and dads (too), who like myself love Disney and use their love and knowledge of Disney for good to help others who are planning their own Disney vacations that may have all sorts of questions and are in need of answers and even advice.
But only a select few get chosen to be on this panel annually and those who do get chosen, have to go through three separate rounds before getting that desired acceptance from Disney. Once in the program, from my understanding you get training at Disney World and also a trip for up to three other family members to join you for a trip to Disney.
While, I am still on the fence about the vacation club, but do see the perks for that, I am still so very interested in applying to the Disney Moms Panel. I missed last year’s deadline, but this year’s is right around the corner from what I hear and am pretty sure I am going to through my hat into the proverbial ring this year.
Still though, I thought I would use my blog space now to talk about this year’s Disney trip, which I only returned back from recently. Even though Disney World houses four theme parks and two water parks, we only went to three of the four parks this year. We spent one day in Epcot having to try out the new Frozen Ever After Ride that I fast passed, which was better than even all the hype surrounding it.
Also, finally got to go to Animal Kingdom after last year being derailed by a iPhone that took a toilet water bath!
Hollywood Studios was originally planned, but the girls were having too much fun in Magic Kingdom, so we skipped it this year and spent the majority of the trip at Magic Kingdom.
But why Disney’s Magic Kingdom?
1. Main Street is where it is at.
From the moment that I enter through security and scan my magic bracelet, I am truly transformed into a different, but equally magical world with the Magic Kingdom entrance sign. As I proceed into the Magic Kingdom and make my way into the beginnings of Main Street to be greeted by Mickey and Roy Disney (Walt’s brother) bronze statutes sitting happily on a park bench, it is as if I am catapulted into a simpler, yet magnificent time.
This is old time shopping at its finest with the Disney Emporium Shops leading it all, plus if you are looking for nostalgic eating, you have come to the right place with Casey’s Corner for fries, hot dogs and more, as well as Main Street Bakery and even The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, where you can round out the old fashioned eating experience with ice sundaes, floats or even more. Simply put Main Street is Disney World at its very best.
2. Who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse.
I grew up with the classic Mickey Mouse song and can sing that whole song still forwards and backwards, too. My husband also is a huge Mickey Mouse fan and being an artist still to this day is enthralled with how Walt Disney created this famous mouse character. So getting to spend time with the mouse is truly a no brainer for us.
One thing, we only found out at the end of our trip is the Mickey Mouse that is in Magic Kingdom in Town Hall on Main Street actually talks to the kids and was just so sorry I only learned about that right before our trip was ending, because both my girls would have loved this, especially my younger, because apparently he will even sing the Hot Dog Dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with them if requested.
3. Cinderella’s Castle is really as grand as you think it is.
This was our second year in a row dining at Cinderella’s Castle (The Royal Table) and this time, we actually got seated by the window while dining. I cannot express how grand it is to eat up in this castle while being able to look out the windows and view crowds enjoying the carousel and more down in the Magic Kingdom.
Plus, those dining in the castle get to meet Cinderella before sitting for dinner downstairs in the castle and then also get to meet a few of the other princesses, such as Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and rail (The Little Mermaid). One side note though, apparently Cinderella doesn’t eat french fries and only dines on mashed potatoes.
For three out of four in my family this is a non-issue, but my youngest (my picky eater) actually told that waitress that although Cinderella doesn’t eat French Fries, Lily does! No dice though and Cinderella means business. And yet so does Lily as she only ate the chicken nuggets leaving her mashed potatoes behind.
4. It Really Is A Small World.
If you have kids and even if you don’t, “It’s A Small World” ride is just a staple and must for those visiting Magic Kingdom. This whimsical boat ride that showcases dolls representing persons from all over the world and different cultures and then ending to represent and show how grand and large the world might be that it is truly a small world where all should and can get along together.
Plus, the song, It’s A Small World is rather catchy and always enjoy the person up above the boat entrance waving as you enter, as well as the clock that chimes every 15 minutes, too. It was this clock that let my girls know that they made it to midnight on the evening we stayed to enjoy the extra late night magic hours entitled to us being resort guests. My girls whooped and hollered like it was New Year’s Eve and they had made it to the strike of midnight. Then subsequently after, they collapsed in the double stroller we had rented for all the walking their little legs couldn’t handle just as Cinderella had at the strike of midnight having to leave the ball before her carriage and more became no more. Also on a side note, my girls absolutely loved the sign at the end saying goodbye specifically to us.
5. Dumbo is also a must.
This ride has a special place in my heart as both my girls absolutely adore it and beg to go on it multiple times when we have visited. So stands to reason, because of this that I have seen this one during all times of the day. I think my favorite is once the sun goes down, while you are soaring around in a circle feeling the night breeze upon you. Also, I would be remiss not to share that before you go on the ride, the kids can play in the indoor playground area at Dumbo. This is especially a treat on the hottest of days to get out of the heat a big and be able to take a bit of a break.
6. Be Our Guest really provides and serves up entertaining flair.
While Cinderella’s Castle is my absolute favorite, I would be remiss not to mention Beast’s Castle from Beauty and the Beast fame, as not only is it grand and majestic to get to eat here, but the food dinner and desserts here are also out of this world. I will say, we did dinner and have heard not so rave reviews for lunch.
But as far as dinner goes, totally recommend, because not only is the food amazing, but the castle itself is gorgeous, with the different themed rooms, the ballroom (where we dined), the West Wing (where the red rose can be found) and even a gallery. Plus, the Beast is available for photo taking here, but sadly he doesn’t have very good handwriting, so doesn’t give out his autograph!
7. Splash Mountain and The 7D Mine Train are for roller coaster ride lovers.
OK, so I am not a fan of big, fast or rides that have large drops, but still if you are then Disney’s Magic Kingdom has you covered, especially with Splash Mountain that has a 50 foot drop and The 7D Mine Train, which is a family oriented roller coaster, but make no mistake even though it is for families is still the big gun of roller coasters in Disney and than some.
8. Rain rarely stops the party.
Many other places you would vacation at would find you find you making alternative plans if it rained, but not in Disney. Thanks to ponchos, which can be purchased pretty much anywhere in Disney parks, including Magic Kingdom once rain looks like it will hit. I am not kidding that so much can still be done in that rain at Disney. Granted if lightening is in the area, the outdoor rides will cease to operate until lightening gone, but still you can catch a show, meet and greet with characters, go shopping and so much more still.
So there you have, my love and magical excitement grows just a bit more after this past visit to Disney World. And until I can return home once again, I will keep on Disney dreaming.
Edited and added on September 2, 2016:
Oh and keep your fingers crossed about Disney Moms Panel for me as the the first round open next Wednesday, where I plan on throwing my hat into the ring officially.
Also linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday and Finding Ninee, where this week’s sentence is “One of my favorite vacation memories is…”
Allison G smith says
Your post makes me smile. You remind me of my friend, Jen, who is also a Disney Fanatic (she also has two girls). She goes to Disney at least twice a year – and her oldest is now a senior is still totally into it. They’ve also been to Disney Land, Disney Europe and Disney Japan (her husband is a pilot) . I do love Disney, but wish I had more spark for it. The work and money involved kind of overwhelms me. Glad you had a wonderful trip.
Thanks Allie and I know it is quite expensive, but no matter how much, I just can’t help but love Disney and the experience that much more 😉
Amanda || Growing Up Madison says
I will most certainly keep my fingers crossed for you for the Moms Panel. We’re skipping Disney World this year but we’re doing Disneyland in just a few short weeks. It’s going to be our first trip ever there and I’m super excited. We already have our 2 weeks planned next year for Disney World however, and while my older kids are getting bored with Disney, luckily I still have Madison who is a big fan. I’m hoping the novelty doesn’t wear off anytime soon for her. 🙂
Got my fingers crossed that the novelty doesn’t wear off for Madison anytime soon either and you need to give me the 411 on Disneyland after you go now, too!! 🙂
It makes me so happy that YOU are so happy in your special place! So glad you got to go and love seeing all these precious family vacation pics! xoxo
Aw, so much love and hugs, Meredith. Seriously though Disney is so my happy place always!!! xoxo <3
Cinderella doesn’t eat french fries? WHAT?! A true princess…looks like an AWESOME time! We’ve NEVEr dined in the castle, I am booking that now!
Yay and cannot wait to hear what you think of the castle, because even barring the lack of French Fries, still a winner to us!! 🙂
Seana Turner says
The girls look so beautiful in their dresses – what a wonderful time. We went with our family when our girls were young and it really was one of our best vacations ever. You, by the way, hold up very well in the heat – you look so gorgeous in that family photo! I love the heat as well, but my hair – not so much. I never heard of the Mom’s panel – what a great idea. I hope you get selected:)
Seana, you are too kind and thank god I wear my hair up and with gel, because it is so thick and would frizz in a second in Disney’s heat for sure. But thank you for your kind words about that and more here always!! 🙂
Great post!! you definitely captured why disney world is really so much fun! I love the moms panel and the blog too!! So awesome that you were able to get a window seat at the palace! Perfection!
Aw, Nellie, I truly hope I captured the magic of Disney here and did it justice. That said, I love the Moms Panel too and would be honored to get to apply this year. Oh and that window seat was amazing!!! 🙂
Disney is so my happy place too. I really want to go back!!
Dara, I love that we have this in common, too!! 🙂
William Holland says
Never been to Disney. I had a chance in California when I was about ten, but oddly I didn’t have any desire to go. I’ve never been a crowds person….but I’m glad it’s your happy place. That’s very cool!
Happy Tuesday, Janine!
Thanks Bill and probably because I grew up in NYC that the crowds don’t phase or bother me. So crowds and all truly my happy place indeed! Happy Tuesday right back at you, Bill!! 🙂
Diane Roark says
I am with you by wanting to be on the Disney Mom’s Panel. I still have not been chosen. It would be so much fun. I counted how many times we have been to Disney and it is almost 20 times. When we lived in Louisiana we went every Feb. to escape Mardi Gras. Anyway, Disney is a home away from home for us too. We have always played Disney Trivia to pass the time in the car since my kids were little and still do. We went to Atlanta last week and played Disney trivia the whole way. My teens and young adults love it. They won first place on the Disney Trivia contest on our Disney Cruise a few years ago. Disney is a lot of fun no matter when you go but we especially love going during the Christmas season to see the Christmas magic OR in the winter when it is far less crowded and not hot. We have a Disney trip planned in January 2017. Now that my kids are older, our favorite park is Epcot. We cannot wait to ride the updated SOARIN ride.
Sorry for the long comment! I get so excited thinking about all the fun we have had over the years at Disney. We have great memories. We did look into getting the Disney Vacation Club but we would have to a purchase a huge package for my big family and going as much as we go. It was not feasible for us.
I LOVE your post. It makes me want to drop everything and go to Disney. No matter how many times you go, you always notice something special.
Diane, just another reason why you and I are good friends, because you sound so similar to me with your love of Disney here and truly enjoyed reading your comment to me on this. Seriously, thank you for sharing that I am not the only Disney lover around here!!! 🙂
Thanks for sharing the photos. Your daughters look like they are having so much fun. They look adorable in their princess outfits.
My pleasure sharing and thanks Marilyn for your kind words about my girls!! 🙂
Sounds like a magical trip! I hope to go there one day with Eve. And good luck with the panel!
Thank you so much, Bev and do hope you get there with, Eve soon too 😉
Kathy Radigan says
I loved seeing your FB posts about both of your Disney trips. Your girls look so happy!!! We have not done it yet as a family but your posts really make me want to give a try. Well sort of since I would rather stab myself in the eye than travel with my family, but I’m getting there. Lol! xo
Aw, trust me we had our fair share of stab our eyes out moments, but still wouldn’t trade any of that for the world with going to Disney with my gang here!! LOL xoxo 😉
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
I desperately want to go to the Magic Kingdom! I’ve never been there and it looks and sounds sooooo amazing. I heard Halloween is an especially awesome time to go (plus the temperature might be a little more tolerable for a cooler climate dweller such as myself.
Thanks so much for sharing these delightful moments and memories. If I ever go, I’ll certainly take your recommendations to heart.
Wishing you a lovely day.
Happy to share and I also would love to see Disney during Halloween time, not just for the weather, but just the way they supposedly decorate and all they do for this holiday, too!! Have a lovely rest of the day now, too xoxo 🙂
Mo at Mocadeaux says
Yes to all of this!!! There truly is no place like Disney World. All of the members of our family are dedicated Disney fanatics. I’m pretty sure that Disney devotion was one of the qualities that my son and daughter looked for in their spouses. After countless trips to Disney World over the years, and after staying in the Disney Vacation Club condos in Bay Lake Tower and seeing firsthand how amazing they are, we joined DVC almost 2 years ago. Our only regret was not doing it sooner.
Omg, Mo, my only regret is I didn’t look into DVC sooner either here as I did spend quite a bit the last few years when I could have put it to this and had a good portion paid off already in all honesty.
Rabia @TheLiebers says
We’ve only been once. The trip was fun, but the company was not. 😉 I’d love to try again with just the five of us!!
I think the company can totally make or break it and do hope you get to go back just the five of you now, Rabia 🙂
What great pictures! I have never been to the Florida Magic Kingdom, but Disneyland is such a special place. I have heard great things about the new mine tour ride. We are hoping to go in October and I can hardly wait 🙂
So I have never been to Disneyland, but hope you share more when you do go this October, too 😉
We’re such twins because we finally made it to Animal Kingdom. And we wanted to go to Hollywood Studios but missed it!
I’d love to go for Christmas one year. We always go on the off season in the winter because I honestly can’t handle winter here without that nice break to our other “home”.
Yes, Main Street is where it’s at.
You made me hungry for mashed potatoes!!
And the Dumbo ride rocks. It’s Des’ #1. It’s funny because I don’t like spinning rides but with a wide radius like that, it’s alllll good.
We most certainly are twins and I truly would love to do Christmas, too. Maybe we could manage to meet up and do that together one year as that would be awesome and the best Christmas gift I could imagine. Seriously smiling just thinking about Christmas, Disney, Main Street and us hanging out there together now!! 🙂
Aunt Gloria says
This is quite a review of the highlights of the trip and more! I’m so glad you are all Disney lovers and enjoy all that the park(s) have to offer. The girls look so beautiful in their princess dresses. And look at Emma on the roller coaster….I’m impressed! Not for me though. I love Lily’s pitch for the French fries….so what if Cinderella prefers mashed potatoes! Good luck on getting on the panel. Sounds like it will give you another chance for a family trip to Disney. It’s nice to have the good memories of your two trips…and worth the money invested. Love to all…..
Aw, thanks Aunt Gloria and definitely just loved sharing all about our Disney trip here. Love you too!! 😉
We love Disney too! We just got back from our 2nd trip as well!! I love that my 3-year-old could ride almost all the rides, and we could ride them all together.
Aw, love that you love Disney, as well and also just got back from there, too!! 😉
Totally wow!! You had such a great time. I enjoyed reading about your Disney trip. I would love to try the big and fast rides, lol! Hope to experience the Disney magic in the future too. And goodluck on Disney Moms Panel. You go friend!
Aw, thank you so much Rea and got my fingers crossed for some Disney magic for you real soon now, too!! 🙂
Kristi Campbell says
Aw Janine! I’m so glad it was just as magical this time. I mean, you’d said so but seeing the post with all of the photos makes me want to go back SO BADLY. We just had the one day there last year and wow. I want to go back!!! xoxo Keep us informed about Mom and Vacation Clubs too please – is it worth it? xo
Kristi, I will so keep you posted and still weighing my option, but definitely will let you know xoxo 🙂
Maria Brittis says
I am in such AWE in all you do and your accomplishments! You do it all and so well!
as for this post on disney I loved visiting this magical place with the kids when they were small, but now I go with my husband alone without the kids and its still a ton of fun.
Aw, thank you Maria and appreciate your kind words. I hope to enjoy Disney more with my kids over the years, as well as someday just my husband and I, too 🙂
Every time you write about Disney, I get an ache to start planning a trip for the five of us. Someday I know we’ll get to that magical place. And when we do finally book it, I will be going through every single one of your posts, so I can be in-the-know! Best of luck on becoming a panel member!
Aw, I have no doubt you will get there and cannot wait until you do to hear all about it from you. Thanks for your kind words and also for your good thoughts on the Mom’s Panel, too 🙂
Melanie Chisnall says
Just had to pop over here to see all your pics of Disney…. wow!! It looks like you and your family had a blast! 🙂
We wanted to go to Disney in Anaheim last year when we were in California, but it was just so expensive so we decided to give it a skip. Maybe one day we’ll come back and see, until then – I think I’m just going to have to live vicariously through you! Thank you for sharing with us! :))
Aw, Melanie in all these years I have never been to Disneyland and the west coast here. So, I loved when you shared your experiences from there and we can live through each other’s experiences for sure now, too!! 🙂
Good luck with the Moms Panel – I applied last year with no success. Hope you have better luck! You know I’m a huge Disney fan as well, and I hope your family continues to make wonderful memories in the parks.
On my bucket list: going to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in October once we are empty nesters!
Thanks Dana and I am with you on Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival as it is totally on my wish list, too!! 😉
catherine gacad says
i vividly remember reading about your phone incident from last year! i can’t wait to take franco to disneyland (since it’s closer to us that disney world). but i would love to go to disneyworld one day!
Aw, hope you can bring Franco to Disneyland very soon now 😉
Kelly L McKenzie says
Mickey Mouse talks? Well that is really, really cool. My Disney experience is at Disneyland and I’ll never forget my then 6 year-old daughter placing a note on the mantle at Minnie’s house. Minnie popped out, read it and then enveloped her in a huge hug. To have her speak would have been amazing.
Best of luck with the Moms Panel, Janine.
Kelly, I am dying to see my little one’s reaction to Mickey talking and got my fingers crossed that on the next trip this will be one of the first things we do indeed get to do. And thanks for the wishes on my Disney Moms’ Panel try out next week. Seriously appreciate it!! 🙂
Kenya G. Johnson says
Will do about keeping my fingers crossed! My husband and I went to Disney in 1997 and it was their 25th anniversary. The castle was made to look like something else. It’s special now but then I was disappointed that it didn’t look like the regular castle. As two young adults, our experence was totally different. I did get to see the Winnie the Pooh characters at one breakfast and I was pretty excited.
Thank you, too Kenya and I would have been disappointed if the castle didn’t look the way it should, too in all honesty as it is just one of my favorite parts and do expect it to look a certain way though still!!
Kristi R Campbell says
Such a great post, Janine! I love the photos so much and that you went to Disney two years in a row AND got the vacation package!!! I think we’re going next fall and that feels too long from now already!!! Thanks huge for linking up – the girls are ADORABLE and a perfect vacation before school starts for sure!
Aw, my absolute pleasure and loved that I could link up Disney for vacations with you this week. Hugs and happy last weekend of summer now!! 😉