We awoke from rest at our not-so-great hotel relatively early. I was definitely ready to get on with our time at Disney, but I also wanted to get out of the yucky feeling hotel. Raileigh and I dressed in green because it was St. Patrick’s Day. Darren, who didn’t bring anything green with him, opted for red (and got several pinches from me throughout the day). The hotel offered a free continental breakfast, but after seeing the cleanliness of our room, we opted out of that. Instead, we stopped at the Chick-fil-a in Celebration, FL and filled up.
Our next stop- Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Registration at the Grand Floridian. Registration opened at 8am and we arrived a few moments after that. We were greeted by a wonderful group of people who would be heading up the celebration. We were handed our lanyards to wear during events, our 7 day Park Hopper Passes, and a few wonderful bags of swag. We also looked over the itinerary, which was full of magical events and happenings.
After making sure we were all squared away, we headed off to the parks. First stop- Magic Kingdom! After all, this is the iconic park at Walt Disney World, and home to the castle that Raileigh had been talking non-stop about!
Standing right in the Town Square upon entering Disney World were Daisy Duck and Pluto. We quickly found that Raileigh has a thing for Daisy, so we waited in line (the longest all year, according to the Disney line manager) to see her. Raileigh was thrilled to get a hug and her very first autograph.
After admiring the castle and letting it sink in that we had FINALLY arrived for our week at Disney, it was time to enjoy a few rides. First stop- The Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. The cruise took us along some of the most famous rivers in Asia, Africa, and South America. It was relaxing, nice, and the perfect way to introduce Raileigh to the magic of Disney.
Next, we started walking meandering our way towards Fantasyland, which is full of many Raileigh appropriate rides. As we walked near the backside of the castle, Raileigh got very excited to be so close to something we had been talking about for weeks. She asked if she could touch it, so Darren lifted her up for a closer look and feel of the walls.
First stop in Fantasyland- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We climbed aboard a honey pot and went on a journey with Pooh, Piglet, and friends. I’m pretty sure that Raileigh excitedly exclaimed each and every time she saw a new character.
Next, we rode Peter Pan’s Flight. In fact, Raileigh loved “flying” on this ride so much that we rode it a few times. There were lots of special little touches hidden throughout this ride, and I enjoyed looking for those each time that we rode.
Next up- the infamous Mad Tea Party. I had no idea how Raileigh would feel about spinning around in circles over and over again. Of course, she loved it. She got a bit dizzy, but couldn’t quit giggling.
After this, we made our way to Tomorrowland and one of my personal favorite rides- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. On this ride, you climb aboard your own space cruiser and shoot at targets throughout the ride. Darren and I both had guns to shoot with, but Raileigh had control of spinning our cruiser in circles. Needless to say, neither of us racked up many points, but Raileigh had a blast! We all enjoyed the ride, so we rode once more.
After exiting the ride for a second time, we spied a Buzz Lightyear character meeting spot off to the side. So, we got in line to meet “my best buddy”, as Raileigh refers to him. We munched on a delicious park hot dog and snacks while we waited. Raileigh was pretty excited to meet Buzz and get his autograph stamped into her book. He would be the only character we encountered that stamped his name (the rest signed with a pen or did nothing at all).
After meeting Buzz, we wanted to rest for a bit, so we headed for the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. This was an animated show, but somehow actually interacted with the audience. I have no idea how it worked, but it was hilarious. We all really enjoyed it (so much so that we would go back for a second time later in the week).
After taking one more ride on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, we headed out of the park to check into our hotel. We arrived back at the lovely Grand Floridian Resort and Spa where we had registered for the celebration. This time, we were there to stay. The gentleman at the front unloaded our bags while I went through the easy process of checking into our room. Thankfully, even though we had arrived a bit early, it was all ready for us.
One of the hotel employee’s asked if we’d ever stayed with them before. When we responded “no”, he took us on a mini tour of the main building and premises. Then, he told us he’s be right back and escort us to our room. Not too long later, he came back on a golf cart, loaded with our luggage, and drove us to the building we’d be staying in.
After getting our bags up to our room, I took a few moments to take in some of the delightful details of our beautiful accommodations.
Shortly, I headed off for Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, located between the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and the Polynesian Resort. We were greeted with fun buttons and Minnie Mouse Bridal Ears (the same ones I wore on my honeymoon with Darren over 6 years ago!). There was an informal cocktail reception with the most gorgeous, vibrant candy bar I have ever encountered! I filled my box with sweets, knowing full well that Darren and Raileigh would love the treats.
We were also able to check out some of the things available to couples getting married at Disney. Like everything that I have seen at Disney, they really go the extra mile and add many special little touches.
After a brief while, we were ushered into Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, where we were able to be a part of Disney Weddings 20th Anniversary Celebration! We enjoyed some wonderful guest speakers including Carley Roney of The Knot and David Tutera, of My Fair Wedding. Though I had never heard of this show before, I found his talk to be engaging and motivating.
Then, we had the amazing opportunity to preview the all-new line of Disney Wedding Gowns in the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Collection by Alfred Angelo. I am going to talk more about them later, but let me just say they are all lovely and absolutely gorgeous.
We were also introduced to a lovely couple who had gotten married at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion almost 2 years earlier. They were treated to a surprise vow renewal, and we got to be the guests. We witnessed the ceremony, complete with perfectly choreographed dancing groomsmen and bridesmaids. Then, the couple was sent off in true Disney style with fireworks and a Cinderella carriage.
It was finally time to meet back up with our families. We headed to the beach area of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where we would enjoy an amazing dinner, carnival games, and more wonderful surprises. There were many yummy things to eat including kabobs, salad, and more than I could ever remember to tell you! There was even special selections for kids, including mac and cheese and brownies with Mickey Mouse sprinkles.
Shortly after getting our food, we were joined at the table by Kathleen of KatyDid and Kid and her family. I am so glad that Kathleen joined us! She became my new blogging buddy, whom I would spend much of the celebration with. Plus, our kids and husbands hit it off, and spent the evening together as well.
We enjoyed some carnival games and there was even a man who could make balloon animals in the shape of just about any Disney character imaginable. Raileigh was made Crush, the turtle from the movie Finding Nemo.
The night was made even better when we got a surprise visit from 4 classic Disney characters- Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto. It was wonderful to see them for the first time, and Raileigh was thrilled to meet each of them.
After taking in the celebration for a bit longer, we decided to eat back out to Magic Kingdom once again. The park often doesn’t close until midnight or 1am, and for this family of night owls, that was perfect. We found that the rides were always less crowded, and we often had little or no wait. Not to mention, the castle at night is breathtaking. It changes colors often, and always looks beautiful.
First, we rode “It’s A Small World”, a ride that I remember from my childhood trip to the Magic Kingdom. Every land is different and they go by quickly. Raileigh enjoyed finding the animals and other things that she recognized along the ride.
We also went for our first ride on the carousel. Raileigh chose a big horse to be hers for the ride, and we all enjoyed the happy music and the ride.
Next, we went on a ride through Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Raileigh loves Snow White, but I didn’t know if this ride still might scare her a bit. It didn’t at all. In fact, when the ride was over, she asked to ride again, so we did just that.
After this, we headed off to meet Mickey and Minnie near Space Mountain. Raileigh quickly noted that they “changed clothes” from when she had met them earlier in the evening. She was quite observant and would pick up on things like this during our entire trip.
It was finally time to call it a night. We had been going for about 16 hours at this point and were all pretty exhausted. It didn’t take long for us to fall asleep, dreaming of our second day at the most magical place on Earth.