Category Archives: Disney World

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Staying at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

On our fall trip to Disney World, we stayed at the All-Star Sports Resort. Our room was over in the Center Court building, which had a tennis theme.

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Our room was cute and small, a standard value resort with a sports twist.

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This was the cheapest Disney resort at the time of our visit because they were refurbishing the food court and the arcade. We didn’t have plans to eat there anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, the refrigerators were also in the process of being replaced because some of them were faulty. That was inconvenient. Luckily, we could refill still our resort mugs near the lobby, and we brought a cooler, so it all worked out.

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The kids fell in love with the Huey, Dewey and Louie statues on the tennis court, along with an angry Donald Duck.

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They liked to pretend the ducks would follow us to the parks every day. They even followed us home!

They also liked to play at the Touchdown building. Who wouldn’t love to run around on a giant football field?

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We tried to swim as much as we could. We really liked the Surfboard Bay pool, the large main pool. The water was really warm!
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They played movie near the pool, which was fun. We watched a bit of Tarzan one night.

The main pool was closed for undisclosed reasons one evening, so we went to swim at the Grand Slam Pool.

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The baseball theme was pretty fun. It was shaped like a baseball diamond and had Goofy pitching in the middle.

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It was a fun place to stay. A good value, great for little kids, and on Disney property. Couldn’t ask for more than that!

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Meeting Sofia the First at Hollywood Studios

We are BIG Disney Junior fans in this family. Both kids are mesmerized Sofia the First. Hollywood Studios recently added a Sofia Character Meeting, and we were there bright and early!

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The line was surprisingly long for a day when the park had very low attendance, but Sofia is super popular. Plus, we realized later, everyone who wants to meet her probably isn’t old enough to go to school yet anyway, so they can easily be at a theme park on a Wednesday morning in September!

Luckily most of the line is shaded, and there are ceiling fans closer to the front. And we had princess toys.

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Finally, we go to the front.

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Scarlett got a little time by herself with Sofia to talk about her Sofia the First sneakers and compliment Sofia’s amulet.

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Then Luke got up the courage to join in. He’s doesn’t always like Princesses, but he loves Sofia.

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Our goal was to see Jake as well, but he didn’t come out until an hour after Sofia. And then we were busy. And then it rained! So that’s two trips to Hollywood Studios where we missed Jake. It’s a good thing Sofia was just so adorable. She almost makes up for it!

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Le Fou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern

Completing the Beauty and the Beast trifecta at Magic Kingdom, we all went to Gaston’s Tavern for a late night snack.

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I had heard things about Le Fou’s Brew and really wanted to try it.

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We used four snack credits from our Dining Plan to get 2 cups of Le Fou’s Brew, a chocolate croissant, and a cinnamon roll as big as my head.

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I was afraid that the drink would be too sweet, but it turns out an apple juice slush type drink is really delicious! It was one of the best snacks we had on the whole trip.

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While we ate our snacks, we enjoyed the amazing atmosphere inside the tavern.

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No one shoots like Gaston

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“I use antlers in all of my DE-co-rating!”

We also had great fun sitting in Gaston’s chair.

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Enchanted Tales with Belle

Continuing my Beauty and the Beast fandom in New Fantasyland, I had another goal of seeing Enchanted Tales with Belle.

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Portrait in Belle’s Cottage

The last day of our trip in February, I got in line with Scarlett for the show, but the line was already 30 minutes long. She was not even a little interested in waiting, so we went to see Ariel, who had a 2 minute wait instead.

The plan this trip was to go on our first night at Magic Kingdom during late night extra magic hours.

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Luke checking out Belle’s checkers.

The wait was only 10 minutes! We walked right into Belle’s cottage without even having to wait outside. But alas, a cast member came out to tell us Maurice was “tinkering in his workshop” and we’d be let in when it was done. 20 minutes later, he was still tinkering. And while that was happening, this was happening.

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Scarlett fell asleep, Tom was just blinking

Since we didn’t want Scarlett to miss Belle, and we didn’t want to stand there until the park closed at 1am, we decided to try again another time.

Finally, during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Scarlett and I were hanging out in Fantasyland before the fireworks. Low and behold, the wait for Belle was only 5 minutes! It was so not crowded that the cast member told us we wouldn’t be let in until 20 people were gathered, and we only made 5. Scarlett thought that was fine. So we went to explore Belle’s cottage.

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Scarlett said “This is my favorite book!”

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Luckily for us, a family of Princesses and a large group dressed quite impressively as Haunted Mansion ghosts arrived and we were lead into Maurice’s workshop, then through the magic mirror to the Beast’s castle. First, we met the Wardrobe. This is one of the most impressive mechanical characters I have ever seen. She was incredible!

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We were supposed to reenact Belle and the Beast falling in love, so before we got to Belle, everyone was given parts to play. The other kids were picked, but Scarlett wasn’t, probably because she is so little. I told her to volunteer, but she didn’t want to, although later she really regretted not being able to play Phillipe!
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Lumiere!

Finally, we were let into the library. There was an awesome animatronic Lumiere. And then Belle emerged!

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They did a cute little show. I thought it was fun, especially with the actors already in completely unrelated Halloween costumes.

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The Beast/Ghost

Since Scarlett was the only kid that didn’t have a part in the show, a cast member came over and asked if she wanted to meet Belle. I was surprised she actually said yes!

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It was a very sweet meeting. Sadly (for me), Scarlett didn’t want to stand up there and wait for a formal shot, so we didn’t get one posed with Belle.

She immediately regretted it and wanted to do the whole thing again, but it was time for HalloWishes instead.

Oh well, guess we’ll just have to do it again some day!

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Great Disney Dining at Be Our Guest

I grew up watching Beauty and the Beast over and over and over so I was super psyched about Be Our Guest opening up at Disney World.

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During our first trip in February, though, the line for lunch was just too long and the kids were too little to wait. During our second trip, the kids were seven months older (a big difference in the preschool years!) and with planning and luck, we got in!

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I got in line at about 10:40AM. The plan was for Tom to take the kids to ride something while I waited, but the cast member in charge of the line said if I got in before they got back, they would just have to go to the end of the line. We all stayed together and I’m glad we did, because we only waited outside for about 15 minutes.

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It was hot and there were umbrellas being passed through the line to keep everyone from getting too much sun. The line moved fast, though, so we didn’t need one. The kids barely even got to play with their “waiting in line” toys. It was okay, though, because playing outside the Beast’s castle was fun, too.

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Inside was pretty cool as well.

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We got to place our order on a touch screen and were given a magic rose to take to our table so the server could find us.

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It was time to choose a room in which to enjoy our meal. At first, we chose the ever popular West Wing.

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It was amazingly decorated, which is probably why it was the most crowded dining room. I felt just like we were in the movie!

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Our food was delivered very quickly, right to our table. The magic rose really works!

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My Croque Monsieur

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Tom’s Carved Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich

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Kids’ Whole Grain Macaroni

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Scarlett was excited to get her meal.

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Triple Chocolate Cupcake
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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake

Everything looked delicious, but we barely took a bite before Scarlett decided the West Wing was too scary. The thunder and the darkness was making her nervous. So we picked up everything and moved over to the Ballroom.

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Scarlett was much happier in the light and the snow!
Finally we could enjoy our food, which, of course, was great. Those cupcakes – mmm!

Before we left, I took a peek in the Rose Gallery. So adorable!

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What a wonderful place to eat lunch! It was just so fun to be immersed in Belle’s world. And on the dining plan, it only costs a Quick Service meal credit. Now that’s a deal.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Part 3

See Part 1 and Part 2 of our MNSSHP experience.

As soon as the parade ended, we headed for Main Street to see the Princesses and their Princes meeting at Town Square Theater
On our way our of Liberty Square, though, we spotted Tiana and Naveen at their gazebo and there wasn’t anyone in line. We even asked if it was open because the first time we met Tiana, we waited 45 minutes. It was open so yay!

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It was a nice little bonus that we hadn’t planned.

Next, we continued to the other princesses and princes. The parade was still going down Main Street, so we cut through the stores all the way to the front on the street. It was a good strategy – we beat the crowds and saved ourselves a seriously long wait! The sign said the wait was 50 minutes but we were in and out in 20.

The first royal couple we met at Town Square was Snow White and her Prince. (Tom asked The Prince his name. He said it was Ferdinand, but most people just call him The Prince.)

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Luke decided to hide from Snow White for some reason.

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At first she was upset.

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Then they made up.

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Snow White is just adorable!

Next, we met Cinderella and Prince Charming. I loved them! They were really lovey dovey – so cute, and authentic!

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They both took a lot of time to talk to the kids. So sweet.

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Our final couple was Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.

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I have to say, Flynn Rider was THE BEST. He kind of stole the show from Rapunzel.

He saw us and said “Oh, pirates! Of the Neverland variety!” He also knew who Izzy was, which most of the characters did not (Jasmine pretty much insisted Scarlett was actually Boo.)

It was good times.

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Tom totally bonded with Flynn. He said Flynn was like Han Solo. I think it was appreciated.

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Meeting the Princes with the Princesses was so much fun. Totally made the MNSSHP admission price worth it!

That about wrapped it up. We left the park at about 11:45pm and getting back to our car wasn’t too bad. Before we left, we got a great Halloween photo on Main Street.

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I wish we could go 2 or 3 more times to do some of the things we missed. Guess we’ll just have to go again next year!

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2013 – Part 2

Halfway through Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Scarlett and I met back up with Luke and Tom in Frontierland to stake out a spot for the Boo To You Halloween Parade. It wasn’t very crowded at the 10:30pm parade, so we found a good spot pretty quickly. While Tom saved our place, the kids and I went to Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup at the Diamond Horseshoe.

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My kids did not want to dance. That’s surprising for Scarlett, who dances all the time, everywhere. I guess she’s just not into hoedowns.

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After we left, Tom took them back in while I saved our spot, and supposedly she danced then so I’m happy about that.

They returned right as the headless horseman road by, and the rest of the parade wasn’t far behind!

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Minnie and the Gang

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Halloween Piglet

After a bunch of classic characters came by, it was Pirate time.

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Captain Hook
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Jack Sparrow

Haunted Mansion ghosts were pretty awesome – and actually scary!

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The Villains float was my favorite.

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Dr. Facilier

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Maleficent

Pluto and Goofy bring the parade to an end – with candy!

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It was a great parade, even my sometimes squirmy kids.

Next post, we finally get to meet some cool (royal) characters!

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2013 – Part I

Our fall trip to Disney World had the added bonus of falling during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a special event at Magic Kingdom that features trick-or-treating, a special Halloween parade, costumes for kids and adults alike, rare characters, and much more!

The park was decked out for fall. Pumpkins everywhere!

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After spending the day at Animal Kingdom, we entered Magic Kingdom around 6pm. The party started at 7pm, just as we were finishing a quick (crowded) dinner at Pecos Bill’s.
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We were pretty stoked to dress up as Jake and the Neverland Pirates characters for the party. Luke was Jake, Scarlett was Izzy, I was Captain Hook and Tom was Mr. Smee. We looked GOOD.

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I had high hopes of meeting all sort of awesome, rarely seen characters – The Seven Dwarfs, Tarzan and Jane, Lotso, Jack Skellington. But one time waiting for Jasmine and the Genie and we knew that wasn’t going to happen. It was hot and Luke wanted to go on RIDES, not meet people! So plans changed.

Dad took Luke to the trifecta of Mountains and other “big kid” things, while I took Scarlett to attractions for the littler set. I was sort of bummed for a minute but there was almost no wait for any rides so that was pretty fun. Scarlett was delighted to have a boat all to ourselves in It’s A Small World.

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A perfect Pirate Ride

Scarlett and I did catch a glimpse of the Dwarfs on the way to Under the Sea. She was willing to meet them if we could skip the line, but we’re not that important. She didn’t care too much.

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After playing around in Fantasyland for a bit, Scarlett and I sat right outside Enchanted Tales with Belle to watch the Happy Hallowishes Fireworks Show.

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The kids still aren’t thrilled with the booms made by fireworks. Luckily,  I learned to bring

Noise Reducing Earmuffs.

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Scarlett was able to enjoy the show without freaking out (even though some of the villains’ voices in the show made her nervous.) Huge benefit!

Next post, we meet back up with Dad and Luke to watch the Boo to You Parade!