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My Unsolicited Disney World Review- Part 1

Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where have I been? Disney World! Remember that time I told you that Carlene convinced us to go? Well we did. We had a blast! We stayed in the new Art of Animation Resort, hopped around from park to park, shopped at Downtown Disney. And Carlene was tall enough to ride just about every ride!

So this was my 8th (I think!) trip to Disney. My 2nd as a mom. My 1st as a mom with a dreaded double stroller. I’m a planner by nature, so I planned the entire trip myself, had our dining reservations made 6 months ahead of time, made FastPass+ choices a month in advance. My husband swore I stayed up at night in the hotel and memorized the maps of the parks, but I promise, I sleep. Disney vacations require PLENTY of sleep. I just love the place so much that I remember exactly where I need to go! I really should be a Disney travel agent, or just work in Disney World. Hmmm…

Anyway, I want to share my pluses and minuses so that you can have the best Disney vacation ever too!  And once I started writing them, I realized I was writing a 10 page essay, so I’m going to break this up into multiple segments so I can really share everything I want to share.

Disney's Art of Animation ResortFirst up, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. This resort was FANTASTIC for families. Most of the resort is family suites (in themes of Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King), but we stayed in a Standard Room with a Little Mermaid theme. Carlene couldn’t have been more excited about the room, or the resort. Statues of all your favorite characters from the themes decorate your walkways, with the main pool surrounded by Finding Nemo friends.

I checked in online while we drove down, so checking in once we got there was a breeze. We were greeted as soon as we walked in the door, and all set to go within 5 minutes, with no line to wait in. Definitely check in online! And since the check in process is so quick, you can take the time to check out the awesome sketches on the walls in the area. You have got to see how scary Ursula was originally drawn to be!

Our room had been meticulously prepared, even with a towel Mickey on the bed. To our surprise, there was also a mini-fridge, which was so great for us with having a 1 year old who drinks milk. The downside to the mini-fridge is that you are limited to just 3 drawers in the room, total. But there is ample space to hang clothes in the sink area. Or if you are lazy like me, you just throw random crap in the drawers that you gather as the week goes on, and you keep your clothes in the suitcases.  Hey, I’m on vacation here.

Our room continued to be meticulously cared for as the week went on, so thank you to the housekeeping staff for that! We did get to meet our housekeeper one morning as we were returning from the pool. I didn’t catch her name, but she was  very sweet, and I’m glad I could personally say thank you for helping to make our stay great.

Speaking of the pool, there are 3. Two smaller ones, and one Big Blue Pool. If you stay here, go to the Big Blue Pool, and make sure you duck your head under water and keep your ears open!  There’s also a cool sprinkler area that the kids were able to run around in. And there are a  few playground areas throughout the resort, perfect for letting them stretch their little legs.

There were some things you’d wish for better, of course. The food court is your standard Value Resort fare, and the food was just eh compared to some food you can get in Disney. We ate dinner there on our first night, and breakfast there one morning, and otherwise steered clear, besides hitting it up for our refillable mugs that came with our dining plan. And as a quick FYI- the resort refillable mugs now have a sensor  which activates the soda fountain for the length of your stay. So if you are used to bringing your mug from last time to use again, it’s not going to work.

The shower in the Little Mermaid room was made to look like Ariel’s treasure trove. Very very cool, until you attempt to shave your legs in a navy blue dimly lit shower, or if you are the kind of person who likes to wake up with a shower. It’s dark in there. But that’s minor in the big scheme of things. Also, the walk from the Little Mermaid area to the main building is a small hike, but this was no surprise to me, as we did opt for just a Standard Room.  Just be aware!

I’d personally love to stay at Port Orleans, or the Polynesian, or the Contemporary. But when we visited the Polynesian for breakfast one morning, Carlene said, “I’m glad we didn’t stay here, this place is boring.” And you know, she’s exactly right. As an adult, these resorts are so beautiful. But as a kid in Disney, of course you want to be surrounded by your animated friends! So yes, we’ll stay at these others someday, but I definitely foresee us back at Art of Animation for our next Disney vacation!

So what would you like to hear about next?? Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom? Or do you have any specific Disney questions?


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They say elephants never forget…

Well neither do little kids! Princess Carlene is currently 4 years old (going on 14, or so she seems to think, but those are stories for another day). When she was 2 1/2, we took her to Walt Disney World for the first time. Booking the vacation was a little spontaneous, at least for me who usually books everything way too far in advance. She had just received The Princess and the Frog on DVD, and at that time was watching it daily. One night while I was at work, she told my husband she thought that princess castle (Cinderella’s) in the beginning was so pretty. So Don told her it was in this awesome place called Disney World. She was sold.

By the age of 2, she had already figured out I was a sucker. So the very next day, when I sat down with her to watch The Princess and the Frog yet again, she said some magical words. “Mommy, can we go to Disney World?” Don hadn’t even told me at this point that he mentioned it to her, so here I thought Disney was sending my child subliminal messages through their movies. But it didn’t matter to me how she learned, because a few hours later, the trip was booked!

Then I excitedly told some family and friends about our upcoming vacation. I remember being told by just about everyone I mentioned it to that she was too young and wouldn’t appreciate it. I was asked, why take her if she’s not even going to remember it? My answer was simple; she may not remember, but WE will. It turns out my answer wasn’t entirely correct, but neither was the peanut gallery’s assumption. We’re approaching 2 years since our trip, and she still asks to go back to Disney World every day. Every. Single. Day.

So, is there some sort of moral to this story of mine? Not really. Just don’t ever think your child won’t remember something. Your child might just surprise everyone and wind up costing you a Disney vacation more frequently than you had planned. I mean, Carlene will only think those beautiful young ladies are REAL princesses for so long. And if that means that I’m pinching pennies this year to make it happen, I’ll pinch until my fingers blister just so that I can see that look of amazement on her little face once again.