Travel, United States
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The Neals take on the (Disney) world

We did it, you guys. We survived the planning. The buildup. The exhaustive research. We’re finally on the other end of our Disney trip, and because I lugged my DSLR all the way to Florida and carried it everywhere except for the pool, I thought this was worthy of the blog. :)

Grateful for being able to keep bedtime routines while traveling. Also, we learned that Q is a huge fan of pull-out sofa beds. I’m pretty sure it’s the novelty, but hey, not questioning it.
Pictured above is what you get with two first-time flyers. “Daddy, this is a huge TV!” 1903_DB_002
Happy to report that the kids did great on their first flight! Those headphones were a huge game changer – they even came with built-in audio splitters. (This will only make sense to those of you who only have one tablet and two kids whom you are desperately trying to quietly entertain for the duration of the flight). Another pro-tip that worked beautifully was giving the kids applesauce pouches at takeoff to help with ears popping.

We also packed snacks galore. I have to give the MVP award to dum-dum lollipops for creating a small, yet extremely effective tool. (Just assume that all of these tips came from someone smarter than me!)
Touching down in Orlando also means immediately touching Mickey’s nose! Since we stayed at a Disney resort (Fort Wilderness Campgrounds), transportation to the resort was provided to us via the Disney Magical Express aka a charter bus. The kids were amazed that there were tvs inside the bus, which made the 30-minute ride VERY convenient.
IMG_3744Even though we arrived relatively early on our first day, we didn’t want to over schedule ourselves, so we took our time acquainting ourselves with our cabin and surroundings, and then ultimately decided to rent a golf cart (our first unplanned expense) and hit up the pool.

A couple of notes here if you’re interested! We loved staying in a cabin. We had our own kitchen, and the bedroom (incl. a queen and bunk bed) was separate from the living space, so we were able to put the kids down every night while we cleaned up dinner, made plans for the next day, etc.

We also ordered Amazon same-day groceries to the cabin as soon as we landed in Orlando. Jay and I made a general list before we left, so it was just a matter of processing the order. The only hiccup was that I had to call the front desk to confirm that they had our groceries, which they then delivered to our cabin and even placed the cold items in the fridge.
After the pool, we hunted down some dinner and took advantage of the playground by the marina.
1903_DB_005Overcast and rainy – not the forecast we were looking for, but we made it work! We caught one of the first ferries to the park. We waited 10 minutes for our ferry at the marina, and it was an ~8-minute ride.
Can you tell it’s raining? The apparent upside to all of this? Little to no crowds!
Ruby’s first glimpse of Cinderella’s castle…<3
DB4We tried to watch Disney movies before our trip so that our kiddos would know the characters. Even if your kiddo isn’t into characters, Magic Kingdom has so many themed areas (almost everything is themed!) that it makes it feel, well, magical. Ruby loved meeting these leading ladies. 1903_DB_008Spinning teacups! One of the things I loved most is there were many, many rides/shows/experiences that our family could enjoy together. 1903_DB_0071903_DB_009DB51903_DB_0101903_DB_011A photo of Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Minnie and Mickey singing together. Sadly enough, Ruby was napping in the stroller and missed the entire performance. :(

But not to worry – she woke up for the festival of fantasy parade, in where I took a bajillion photos because let’s face it, the magic catches up to you as an adult too! 1903_DB_0121903_DB_0131903_DB_0141903_DB_0151903_DB_016DB61903_DB_0171903_DB_018DB7DB8The above photo was taken in the 10-minute window of the entire day when the sun decided to make an appearance. Despite being unprepared for the weather, we loved Magic Kingdom and could’ve spent several more days here. DB91903_DB_0201903_DB_019Each kid received an “allowance” that they could put toward toys/trinkets. We helped them keep track, and they did pretty well with the concept. 1903_DB_021DB10Ruby and Tink = bffs. 1903_DB_0221903_DB_023On our next full day, we had a “non-park” day, and the only thing we scheduled was a character dining experience at the Polynesian Resort (Ohana). We caught a ride on the monorail and enjoyed peeking into other resort hotels. DB11Ruby surprised us all when she jumped in front of Mickey to close out the music parade. These are the memories we will never forget.DB12You might be wondering, “what is Ruby hiding in those cheeks?!” Jay and I honestly think she thought breakfast was going to be done when the characters came over, so she stuffed as much food as she could beforehand. 1903_untitled_001-4 copyDB131903_DB_0241903_DB_025A well-earned nap before an outing to Disney Springs. Transportation was conveniently provided as a continuous loop. 1903_DB_026Quentin discovered a love and talent for Legos during the trip! DB141903_DB_0271903_DB_0291903_DB_028We ventured to Hollywood Studios on Thursday for a Frozen sing-a-long show complete with SNOW. Ruby was entranced. Quentin wasn’t a fan of the special effects. After exploring Toy Story Land, we ended up going back to the cabin to enjoy the pool one last time.1903_DB_0301903_DB_031Phew – did you make it to the end?! This trip proved to us that we can do anything together. After a 2:30 a.m. start to our return trip, the longest airport security line you have ever seen, a 3-hour boarding delay with two gate changes, and a 3-hr drive waiting for us after touch down, you are probably sympathizing for us and the state of our kids. Thankfully and most surprisingly, our kids were champs through it all, and we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Except we’d pack ponchos and more dum-dums. And book a later return flight. ;)

Thanks for following along!


  1. Lynne Pieczynski says

    Jenny – what beautiful photos and memories you will have forever! One question, in the picture of Q right before the parade pics – it looks like whatever he had in his mouth, was coming out his back???? lol A future illusionist!!


    • Haha, he was eating a lollipop while standing in the parade line. It really does look like it’s coming out the back though – yikes!


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