Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Disney Dream Come True!

I am just a little bit of a Disney fanatic. Over the past 6 years, we have been to either Disneyland or Disney World 5 times! To me it really is a magical place and I just excited thinking about it. About a year ago, I told Steve that I was dying to get my Disney fix, but I knew that our budget was too tight to even fathom a big vacation like Disney World. Well I was determined to make it happen so we did a lot of saving and A LOT of planning. I was determined to get the best deal possible for this trip and also to start saving to make it a possibility.
The Disney Money Jar

I constantly researched deals online and read blogs about making Disney affordable. My "go to" websites included,, and all questions could be answered at I booked our trip about 7 months in advance so that I could make our dining reservations early. About 3 months later I scored a deal online for free dining at Disney... yes, I said FREE! All of our food in the parks was free & we ate at many nice restaurants including a lot of character meals. After doing the math, this was about $1200 in food alone! Eating at Disney is very expensive. That's about 3 1/2 months worth of groceries for us! I decided to stay in the cabins at the Fort Wilderness campground. Nana and Papa came along for the trip, so we were able to split the cost of the cabin. In the end, the trip turned out to be quite affordable, but without sacrificing any of the fun. In fact, we spent about $1500 less than our original budget!

One perk of staying on the Disney property is the transportation. And luckily since we were staying at the cabins, we got to take a quick boat ride to and from the Magic Kingdom! Here is our first boat trip. Notice the matching Disney shirts fit for the occasion!

Cinderella's Castle
One perk of having the Disney Photo Pass... 
lots of fun borders, photos at character meals, and everyone gets in the picture!

Chef Mickey's

One of my favorite highlights was breakfast at Chef Mickey's. The character meals saved a lot of time waiting in line to meet all of our Disney pals!

 Celebrating my birthday. Free cupcakes at all of the restaurants! I'm all about anything that is free!

Minnie Mouse!!!

 Gabrielle just loved Minnie Mouse! She was even playing with her nose!

 I love how Pluto has to hold the book to sign his name...


It's not everyday you get to go to France, Ireland, Germany, and Canada in one day!

Meeting all of the Disney Princesses at Akershush in Norway! One of Papa's favorite places we ate.

 Gabrielle reviewing her autograph book...

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!
Ever since Steve and I went to Disney World before we had children, I was hoping one day we would have girl so I could take her to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Luckily, we were blessed with 2 little princesses!!!

When the day arrived, my plans didn't go according to plan. I made the appointment for a time before the park even opened so we could walk down Disney Main Street without all the crowds. These appointments go fast and I had to call months advance. Well, we were all ready to take our boat ride over to the Magic Kindom 30 minutes ahead of time, only to realize the boats don't run that early! To make a long story short, we ended up 45 minutes late. I'm sure it was a sight to see a crazy panicked mom running down Disney Main Street with her very confused 3-year-old dressed up like a princess. A lady working in one of the shops said to me, "no need to rush dear, the fairy godmother will wait for you!" Apparently, she had seen this scene before! I felt like one of the crazy moms from Toddlers & Tiaras!

Luckily the fairy godmothers at Cinderella's castle were very accommodating and she wasn't going to be late for the ball after all! I have to say the price tag was worth it... we both had a lot of fun playing princess. 

Breakfast in Cinderella's Castle! What more could a little princesses ask for?!? Can you tell I'm reliving my childhood through my daughter yet?

This is one tired Snow White!

Animal Kingdom

Lunch at Tusker House. The was so yummy with a big dessert buffet!

The Tree of Life

Hollywood Studios

Birthday Dinner at Be Our Guest

Be Our Guest is one of the newest restaurants in the Magic Kindom, and it is also EXTREMELY difficult to get a reservation. Well, all of my advance planning skills were put to the test and I got us one of the last reservations available when I called at the earliest time I could make a booking. It was definitely a highlight of our trip! Who wouldn't want to eat dinner in the Beast's castle?!? 

Surprise Birthday cake from Papa!

All the ride photos we got with our Photopass:

Rockin' Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios. So much FUN!!!
This one makes me laugh. Steve and I have the look of a dear in headlights, and I the picture wouldn't be complete without the random guy wearing a white American flag tank top.
Classic Disney Picture!

Scoring Points with our Astro Blasters!

Grace was so brave on this ride! 
 One of Nana's favorites! 

 Burning some rubber!

A few last highlights and memories of our trip:
1. Grace falling out of the bunk bed in the cabin because she said she saw a spider in the middle of the night. Her landing pad was Gabrielle's port-a-crib with Gabrielle in it!
2. Getting lost trying to find Walgreen's to pick up Papa's lovanox injections for the blood clot he got in his leg a week before the trip! So grateful he was still able to come with us. 
3. Arriving at Hollywood Studios 45 minutes before the park opened so we could ride Toy Story Mania before the line got to be a 2 hour + wait! 
4. Counting and keeping track of all of our dining credits. I wanted to maximize the value of our free dining plan!
5. Steve finally getting some time with the family without having to worry about work! Yaaay!!!

One of the most memorable vacations we've had yet!!!