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Old 30 May 16, 08:51 PM  
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Caroian
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The "Years in the Making" Trip - Day 1 (MK, Crystal Palace, DS, WPE)

Apologies because it is another long one. More pictures this time though. Reading my notes and looking through the pictures has brought back exactly how excited we were to be there and how much anticipation we had for all that was to come. Not sure my words and pictures can do it full justice though!

The first full day of the holiday dawned bright and early.

Actually. Scratch that.

It just dawned early. Very early. Before it was light, nevermind bright.

Thomas was awake at 4am. And since we were sharing a room that meant we were awake at 4am. He's not exactly a quiet kid! To be honest, this is pretty good for Thomas. He gets up at around 5.30 at home, so he was only an hour and a half early. But I still don't know how he does it! Bar a 40 min nap on the plane yesterday, he'd been awake for over 19 hours. Then he chooses to sleep for less than 8! Crazy boy.

Anyway, we resisted for a bit, but I finally got up with him around 4.30 and left Ian to sleep for a bit longer. (Some wifely brownie points earned there!) We did a Mr Men Sticker book, then I set him up watching some Netflix with headphones whilst I ploughed on with folding up the clothes and putting them away.

The alarm was set for 6, so we decided it was socially acceptable to "get up" just before that and we heard my parents were up too. I had pre-planned our Disney T-shirts for the day, so we were quickly dressed and organised.

We were out of the room at 7 and caught a Magic Kingdom bus from South Point at 7.09. The bus was pretty quiet - a group of about 5 people got on at Hospitality House and were highly amused by Thomas's incessant, excited chatter. He was particularly excited to spot the monorail track for the first time. "Look, look, look, it's a monorail!" Spying the track disappearing in to the Contemporary Hotel made him literally bounce for joy, and when he caught sight of an actual monorail, I thought he would burst! We also caught our first glimpse of Cinderella Castle from the bus and even I couldn't wipe a silly grin off my face!

We arrived at the bus stop at around 7.35am. Through bag check and I was "randomly selected" for extra security. (This would become a recurring theme - I must look highly suspicious!)

We joined the queue for dining reservations which was already moving through and we were in to the park pretty quickly.

















Our Crystal Palace ADR was at 8.20 which turned out to be an ideal time. It gave us plenty of time for a slow wander up Main Street and to explore the hub before checking in. We got our first Photopass pictures on Main Street (the time on these is 7.57). Thomas is one of those kids who has grown up being photographed and a short while ago decided that it is amusing to pull silly faces whenever a camera comes out. It doesn't always make for the best pictures, but it does absolutely capture his personality at this point in his life! (There will be a few more silly faces as we go on!)





Main Street was fairly rammed, but the hub was fairly empty at this time. This is all so different to how it was the last time we were here. But the space at this time in the morning was great and Thomas could charge around following the tram tracks to his heart's content.

















We checked in at Crystal Palace at around 8.10. The check in was a little chaotic as they kept asking for only one person to queue, but then wouldn't check families in unless the person checking I could see every member of their party. And I was surprised there was no pager system, instead just a CM shouting out party names, which meant everyone was pressing forwards to try to hear. (This is yet another thing that would be a recurring theme.)





We were seated within a few minutes. Our server was very friendly and efficient, although I didn't note her name. We chatted a bit about where we were from and she explained about how to use TS credits on the dining plan, as it was our first experience of this.



Just look at the excitement on that face!

Pooh came around pretty quickly and then we went to the buffet. Thomas is a pretty picky eater. (As well as a bad sleeper. I know. I must just be a terrible parent. I mean, clearly "made a rod for my own back" somewhere along the line! Because every aspect of a child's character is absolutely their parents' fault, right?! And forcing children to both eat and sleep is, like, dead simples. Yeah?! ) He was still finding his feet with being in a new place an all the excitement so he didn't want much. We got him a couple of Mickey Waffles. I took these back to the table with him and by that time Tigger was on his way. He was quickly followed by Piglet and I still didn't have any food!





















I finally made it to the buffet for myself, whilst Ian got Thomas some Coco Pops. The choice was all so good that I ended up with a huge plate of food even though I only had a tiny bit of everything. I loved Pooh's French Toast and the breakfast lasagne, which I'd really been looking forward to trying. Eeyore (thanks autocorrect for changing that to Eyesore) was the last character to come around and Thomas checked that he had his tail.







With bellies full we left our tip and headed back out in to the Florida sunshine, blinking like moles.

We caught the Main Street Trolley Show before heading for our first FastPass to meet Mickey. What better way to start the holiday? It was just after 9am so there was a mass influx of people and of course we were heading the wrong way down Main Street against them to get to the Town Hall theater. I guess that wasn't the best planning on my part, but we managed fine.



My turn to get excited in the queue!

Standby was already showing 30 minutes, but we waited less than 10 and got to see Talking Mickey! He was very impressed with Thomas's "Clubhouse" hat and almost straight away asked Thomas if he wanted to do the Hot Dog Dance. This was exactly what Thomas wanted to do but he'd come over a bit shy, so it was fantastic that Mickey asked. They danced away together and I may have had a little "moment". Autographs and pictures done we headed back out.











We then walked over towards Fantasyland, heading through the castle. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel was showing a 10 minute wait and that looked about right, so we joined. We were on the next ride. Thomas didn't want to ride alone and only wanted to ride with me, so we shared a horse. Once we were all on, we sat still for an absolute age, but never did fathom what the problem was. Once we started we did about one and a half turns before stopping again. There were no announcements so people didn't know whether to get off or stay put. After about a minute a woman with a baby in a sling was led off to the exit and then we started again!







By now it was time for our Dumbo FastPass. Dumbo was one of the first rides I ever rode in the Magic Kingdom (in it's old location obviously). We were straight on this one. Thomas loved being able to control how high we were flying and giggled the entire way round.





Spot the old vs the new...

Once off we joined the queue for the Barnstormer. It was posted at 30 mins, but the Lines app said 15 and this was spot on. Now, this is a ride that I was sure Thomas would love. It's basically the same as the Octonauts ride at Alton Towers - a pretty standard kiddy coaster. On our Alton Towers trip last September, Thomas had loved Octonauts so much he rode it multiple times in a row (the place was deserted on a drizzly, mid week September day, 3 months after the Smiler accident). He'd also loved the Caterpillar roller coaster at Paulton's Park just a few weeks before. But since then, something has obviously changed. The moment the train pulled out of the station he said he didn't want to do it. After that though he seemed ok. He didn't scream or cry, but his usual giggles were conspicuously absent. To be honest, I put it down to being tired and overwhelmed.



We spent a bit of time at Casey Junior (it's a train, so that's a winner) but we'd forgotten to put swimming stuff or a change of clothes in the bag, so Thomas couldn't get too wet.

We then walked back through Fantasyland with the aim of getting a drink and cooling off a bit as we were all still adjusting to the heat. Under the Sea was showing 10 minutes so we headed in to the cool and air con. There was actually no queue at all, just the time it took to walk through the queue line. Thomas seemed to have a wobble about this too, I think because it seemed quite dark, but the three of us shared a carriage and he settled in to it, singing along as we went around. He did put his hands over his ears for some bits though, which is standard reaction when he's feeling unsure and afterwards said he didn't like Ursula "as she is the meany". Spot on, kiddo.

Next stop was Gaston's Tavern where we used snack credits on Le Fou's Brew. This was the first time someone raised their eyebrows at exactly how many snack credits we had (105 at that point), but it certainly wasn't the last! We also got some iced water. Thomas has never really had ice in drinks before, but this became a new favourite thing. He loved trying to fish the slippery cubes out with his straw telling us he was "ice mining".



So, this is a trip report featuring a small child and therefore we couldn't possibly get through it without mention of poo. Now I know some of you won't have batted an eyelid at that (anyone who has ever spent a day in the company of anyone under 5, probably). But otherwise - well, be grateful we're getting it out of the way early, but you might want to skip the next paragraph!

Thomas is a child who hates doing a poo anywhere but in his own house. I'm sure we've all got a bit of sympathy with that. But equally, when you've gotta go, you've gotta go. When he's really desperate, but resisting, he gets whiny and agitated, and then starts running around in circles and wiggling around. You know - the "poo dance". He always asks to go home too. Or in this case to "go back to Old Key West". It was completely obvious that this was what was going on here. It took a good 15 minutes of our day to convince the poor kid to "just go". And it wasn't helped by those annoying auto flushes (what is it with those. They go off unexpectedly when you don't want them to, but then when you really want them to flush, they don't bloomin work! And don't get me started on the paper towel dispensers!) Anyway, poo managed and we were ready to move on.

The reason that all of this is significant is that I put down his reluctance on the last couple of rides, and being generally a bit agitated to the fact that he'd needed to go. It didn't occur to me that it was anything more.

So we headed out towards the Seven Dwarves Mine Train for our next FastPass. This is a ride that Thomas had been obsessed with. We'd watched the YouTube videos over and over again. He'd been singing the Snow White songs non-stop and telling everyone who asked about his holiday that he was going to Florida and "they have a Seven Dwarves Mine Train" and how he was going to ride it. In anticipation, I'd managed to bag a few FastPasses. Walking round, the signs were good. He wanted to stop and watch the trains go past, getting excited each time he saw one.

But when we told him we were going on, he got a bit upset, saying that he didn't want to ride. Not the reaction I was expecting. We gently tried to persuade him, but he was fairly firm. So we sent Grandma and Grandpa on first to see if he would change his mind.

Now this is where I really was a bad parent. His sleeping, eating and pooing habit are quirks of his personality that we try not to make a big deal about and know everything will change as he grows, so I refuse to be labelled a bad parent just because my kid doesn't really like fruit/sleep well/insert other supposedly terrible thing. But I've always been someone who said that I'd never force my child to do something optional that they really don't want to do. Easy to say about theme park rides when your child is happy to give anything a try, as Thomas used to be. But I'll admit now that I got a bit frustrated. He'd built this up to be so exciting and I knew, based on previous experience that he would enjoy it. I could sort of feel all of my expectations for the trip evaporating. I know that was my problem and not his, but I also didn't want him to miss out on something I was so sure he would enjoy. And with a standby queue in excess of 90 minutes, it’s not like he could just change his mind in an hour’s time. So I dragged him in to the queue before my parents had even come back, before he had too much more time to work himself up over it. (I figured we could still just do a parent swap if he really freaked out). We were at the front in no time and so I loaded him in promising not to let go of him the whole time.

The thing is, he was tearful, but not screaming or yelling that he really didn’t want to do it, or I would have taken him off again. And I really did believe that he would enjoy it just like all the rides that have gone before. So off we went. And he did enjoy it for the most part. Although he wouldn’t admit that afterwards. and actually, when I saw the ride photo, I knew that he actually hadn’t enjoyed all of it.





I’ll say I felt pretty rubbish, but I guess my decision came back to haunt me because, if anything, it made him more wary about any more rides for the rest of the trip. So yeah, not my finest moment, and I doubt I would have done it if he hadn’t previously been so excited about it and I hadn’t consequently built my expectations perhaps a bit too high. so there is my top tip: Expectations; Manage them! I promised to make it up to him with a treat on the way out.

It was around 12.30. We were all flagging a bit by now and had the car to pick up, so we decided to call it a day and head back to OKW. We stopped at the Casey’s Corner Restrooms which were diabolically busy (tip: avoid these and head the other side to Tomorrowland if you can) and then in to the Emporium. I picked up a Mickey cap, as I hadn’t brought a hat with me because I needed a new one, and Thomas picked out three chocolate coins in the shape of a Mickey head as his “treat”.

I had an odd encounter in here. Whilst I was trying on hats a couple of loose pegs, with their hats missing, fell down. A CM was there, helping a young boy and his parent, and said quite forcefully “now you’ve broken them. That’s not very nice”. I was so shocked I couldn’t even rearrange my face in to an appropriate expression. He didn’t attempt to pick them up either, so I bent down, picked them up and said “there seem to be some extra pegs here, perhaps they should be put away.” It was just so un-cast-member like, and I still can't get my head around it now!

As we arrived at the bus stop and OKW buss was just pulling up. Thomas was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the bus. I managed to carry him off the bus and all the way back up to our room (no mean feat, carrying a 15kg pre-schooler) and got him in to the bedroom and on to the bed. we crept out and all sat down in the living area. before we’d even taken our shoes off, the door opened and out ran a lively Thomas. So much for a nap! Ah well, the brief power nap seemed to have perked him up. (Anyone see yet another recurring theme developing here?)



We were all still pretty full from our big breakfast, so we had some snacks left over from travel day and then my parents walked up to Hospitality House to fill up the mugs and also order the shuttle to the Car Care Centre. Thomas sat on the balcony waving at the Disney Springs boats and eating Quavers.

My dad, Ian and I were all going to be driving, so we all went to get the car. We were the only people on the shuttle and the driver was very friendly, telling us exactly how to get back once we had our car. We were the only people there at that time, so no queue. We told the lady that we didn’t want the extra insurances, but when she gave us the paperwork, they were on there. She smiled and said she hadn’t heard us say we didn’t want them… Yeah, right! So another top tip: check the paperwork carefully.It seemed to take an age to remove them but we were done pretty soon. We headed outside to find a black Chrysler Town and Country. My dad drove us back and we got the car seat installed. The whole experience was very painless and took around 40 minutes in total. I guess picking a car up at MCO could save time, but this isn't time we'd have been doing anything else with, and I'd do it this way again for sure.

In the meant time, Thomas had discovered that the cupboard could serve as a useful extra bedroom for him.



We then drove round to Hospitality House to pick up our rental stroller. We’d hired from Kingdom Strollers and I couldn’t fault the service. We knew that we’d need one despite the fact that Thomas has not used a pushchair at home for over two years. Wanting to do long days, the heat and distances involved meant we knew he’d soon be asking to be carried or to sit on shoulders. At home he rides his balance bike (well, until now as just this weekend he’d transition to a pedal bike and amazed us with picking it up just like that, no stabilisers needed Look at me. I’m digressing again!) everywhere that bikes are allowed and obviously that wasn’t an option here either. Hiring worked out cheaper than acquiring a stroller of the same standard by any other means. And it was so handy that we could just pick it up at bell services, who obviously handle a lot of these as they gave us a quick demo on how it folded etc. We’d had it delivered today rather than yesterday as the maximum hire period was 21 days, and we wanted to have it for the full day on our final day in case we wanted to stay to do Wishes.

The stroller we'd ordered was a City Mini GT. We were given a blue one, which seemed to be the colour of choice for all the rental companies. we'd taken some fuchsia pick ribbon with our family name on and tied two large pieces to the handles. this was an absolute Godsend for picking it out in the stroller parks, especially when it had been "managed".

That job done, we headed to Disney Springs on the boat. We had a wander around, watched the Amphicars launching, which really entertained Thomas and had a look in the shops. We’d forgotten the voucher for our gift card though, so couldn’t pick that up.



Ours was right in the middle here



On Dibbers’ recommendations, we headed to Wolfgang Puck Express for dinner. Pizzas for Ian, my mum and me, chicken meatballs for my dad and chicken nuggets and fries for Thomas. the only problem her being the fries were seasoned with ‘green stuff! Don’t like the green stuff!” as Thomas put it. So we had to pick it all off! Ah, the joys of parenting. We picked three wrapped desserts (rice crispy treat, cookie and brownie) to take away and then shared two pieces of strawberry cheesecake, which was some of the loveliest cheesecake I’ve ever had (Cheesecake Factory included). Have to agree, this is a fantastic use of QS credits.

We wandered around a little more and I picked up a “My First Visit” pin for Thomas from the Pin Trading Store (to go with the button he had). Thomas then spotted the little train ride and asked ever so nicely if he could have a go. He was so excited that he got to sit in the engine and drive, telling the little boy with him exactly how it all worked. He really is train mad!





The sun was starting to set by now









So we queued up to get the boat back to OKW











Once back we filled up the refillable mugs and then headed off to bed.

Here's Sleeping Beuaty h... er... HIMself!

Oh, okay... okay

We didn't actually make it straight to bed. We were giving Thomas a few minutes to fall asleep without us distracting him and term... fell fast asleep on the sofa.

And because my dad loves his little girl so much... the meany took photographic evidence!





May have caught a few flies there

We did make it in to actual bed shortly after this... promise
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Old 30 May 16, 09:13 PM  
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HelenJNT
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Brilliant first day. I have to admit to feeling like Thomas (the tiredness, not the poo thing...well, maybe...) at several points too!
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Old 30 May 16, 09:25 PM  
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Lovely day!
Where do you get the voucher from to collect your gift card? We have it included in our package but I only have the invoice - do they give it to you on check in?
S
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Old 30 May 16, 09:31 PM  
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Fantastic Day and loved the Hot Dog Dance and the excitement on your son's face throughout. While we took our kids at a younger age I always feel the best time for innocence, believing in the magic and able to cope with the long days is between 4 and 5 and your photos remind me a lot of a visit we had with our eldest DS at 4 with my parents. It is sad to think that now he is nearly 21 he has outgrown disney and prefers Universal
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Old 30 May 16, 09:40 PM  
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Sounds like a great first day. Not surprised Thomas was shattered.
We had a similar guilty parent moment with our DD last year. She had watched Expedition Everest loads and really wanted to ride it. She had a wobble, we encourage her to go on and she burst into tears at the exit. Cue guilty parents

Look forward to reading the rest. 😀

Edited at 09:41 PM.
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Old 30 May 16, 10:00 PM  
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What a lovely first day! I love the blurry pic of him running through town square towards main street, I can feel his excitement.

My eldest DS9 has an issue with rides and we told him that we wanted him to ride everything once and if he didnt like it he wouldn't have to ride it again. He did really really well up until ripsaw falls in IOA. That one was too much and after queueing for 45 minutes he's managed to work himself up a fair bit. In the end we just walked out of the exit as the rest of the family got on.

I can't wait to read the rest!
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Old 30 May 16, 10:11 PM  
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great trip report and amazing pics
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Old 31 May 16, 10:24 AM  
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Caroian
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Originally Posted by HelenJNT View Post
Brilliant first day. I have to admit to feeling like Thomas (the tiredness, not the poo thing...well, maybe...) at several points too!
Ha ha... I think we've all been there (with both!)

Originally Posted by pho3nix View Post
Lovely day!
Where do you get the voucher from to collect your gift card? We have it included in our package but I only have the invoice - do they give it to you on check in?
S
x
Thanks. I'm pretty sure it came with all our documents that arrive a few weeks before you go.

Originally Posted by Mel49 View Post
Fantastic Day and loved the Hot Dog Dance and the excitement on your son's face throughout. While we took our kids at a younger age I always feel the best time for innocence, believing in the magic and able to cope with the long days is between 4 and 5 and your photos remind me a lot of a visit we had with our eldest DS at 4 with my parents. It is sad to think that now he is nearly 21 he has outgrown disney and prefers Universal
Ah thank you. it is definitely a magical age. Old enough to really enjoy everything and remember it, but young enough to get totally lost in the magic! Surely no one is too old for Disney It's always hard to think that day will come... cannot believe how quickly my little boy is growing up already!

Originally Posted by Animagus View Post
Sounds like a great first day. Not surprised Thomas was shattered.
We had a similar guilty parent moment with our DD last year. She had watched Expedition Everest loads and really wanted to ride it. She had a wobble, we encourage her to go on and she burst into tears at the exit. Cue guilty parents

Look forward to reading the rest. 😀
I'm sure we're not the only ones! It's so hard when you know they had really wanted to do something and you don't want them to regret not doing it. I still regret not letting my mum buy me a Snow White dress on our first trip, so I guess I didn't want Thomas to feel that way about anything. hopefully he doesn't regret that he did go on!

Originally Posted by Excited6910 View Post
What a lovely first day! I love the blurry pic of him running through town square towards main street, I can feel his excitement.

My eldest DS9 has an issue with rides and we told him that we wanted him to ride everything once and if he didnt like it he wouldn't have to ride it again. He did really really well up until ripsaw falls in IOA. That one was too much and after queueing for 45 minutes he's managed to work himself up a fair bit. In the end we just walked out of the exit as the rest of the family got on.

I can't wait to read the rest!
Thank you. i love that photo too as I think it captures the excitement of that moment and seeing the castle properly for the first time!

Yeah Ripsaw falls does look very intimidating so I don't blame him for that (funnily enough though I think it is one that looks worse than it is). It's a fine line isn't it, to be encouraging without upsetting them. Sounds like he did really well though


Originally Posted by smythy21 View Post
great trip report and amazing pics
Thank you. I'm pretty pleased with some of our pics
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Old 31 May 16, 03:24 PM  
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I'll be following how Thomas gets on with the rides as I also have a 4-year-old who is a bit scared of them! He'll be turning 6 when we go, but I'm not convinced he'll have turned into an adrenaline junkie by then...I totally understand the fine line between encouragement and force! We made a challenge sheet for Legoland which got him onto some new rides with the reward of a gold star for each one

Love the photos with Mickey, and of you sleeping!
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Old 31 May 16, 04:35 PM  
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Loving your report so far - this year we are also taking our 4 and a half year old for the first time so am shamelessly amassing tips! :-) Kingdom Strollers sounding a good idea I must say, was it okay with them on the Disney buses?
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