Warning! Warning! This is a PERSONAL blog post!
This is SUCH a personal post. This is a big, smiley, cheesy, look straight at the camera, tourist-trap, OMG we had a blast, PERSONAL post. It will NOT offend us if you don’t look at it. But enough of you (including, like, my grandparents… hi guys!) want to see these photos with a little commentary, so this is just the best way to share them. And plus, I don’t mind admitting I like to have them easily accessible like this, and a blog post is a great little time capsule.
We spent January 3rd through January 9th in Orlando, wearing ourselves out by walking nearly 60 miles around the Walt Disney World Resort. We had an absolute blast. I am happy to give anyone who’s interested my honest-to-goodness full review of the experience with full do’s and don’ts. Suffice it to say, I’m still a die-hard DisneyLAND fan, and my allegiance will always lie there. I don’t see us needing to do WDW again for a very long time, whereas I can do Disneyland four times a year and not think that’s enough. But that really comes down to personal preference, and regardless of that, I can say it was a really wonderful trip and we all had a blast.
We were also very lucky to have our friend Kevin, of Berg Photography, come with us for the first few days of the trip. Actually, having him there spoiled me so bad that I might never want to go on vacation without him again. It was SO nice to be able to just live in these moments with my kids, and not worry about lugging around the camera. It felt so… well, Kardashian of us to have paparazzi, but really, it’s now something I highly recommend. If you’re already investing heavily into an amazing vacation, save a little longer and spend the extra money to bring someone along to document it. Best. Idea. EVER.
(Plus, it really works out when they’re as awesome as Kevin, especially since he’s a Disney Nerd like us. And we LOVED that Nicole got to come for the first night, too, so I could get some girl time in with one of my besties!!)
The trip started with a half day at Epcot. That park is the least kid-friendly of all four, so a half day there was really pretty perfect for us to tackle as a whole crew.
Although we try to pay equal attention to them as much as possible, you’ll probably see more photos of Dorothy in this blog post than of Jack. That’s for a couple of reasons, one of which is that he’s 11 and not super into photo-taking these days. But also because often when Dorothy wanted to meet a character, one of our crew would split off with Jack so he could ride an attraction too big for Dorothy… and obviously, not both of those things are photo-ops. But rest assured, he was always somewhere having a blast when Dorothy was huggin’ down with her Disney peeps.
We ate our first night’s dinner in Japan at the World Showcase. Teppan Edo was delicious! Here’s my mom demonstrating cheater chopsticks.
The kids and my parents were exhausted after a long day of traveling, but the Magic Kingdom was open 4 hours later than Epcot… so DUH! We sent the sleepies back to the hotel, and partied hard, castle style, with Kevin & Nicole!
I swore to Mack he wouldn’t get wet on Splash Mountain because they turn the jets down in the winter. I lied.
On Sunday morning, we sprang up bright & early to hit Hollywood Studios. The crowds were pretty crazy, but an early start helped us get a lot of stuff seen!
We learned how to draw Buzz Lightyear in the animation studio…
Mack is kiiiiind of obsessed with Baymax since we saw “Big Hero Six”, so he had no shame about waiting in line to hug the big guy.
Build your own lightsabers!! A must for a young Jedi in training.
What, you thought I was joking?? NOPE. Jack actually got to do the Jedi Training Academy!
Mom & Jack chickened out, but the “big guys” and I took a spin on the Hollywood Tower of Terror. I managed not to completely pee my pants, which is a huge personal victory.
Thanks to my mom’s perfect scheduling, we caught the last night of the Osbourne family Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios. I’ve really never seen anything like it… pretty much the most Christmasy-est Christmas that’s ever Christmased.
On Monday morning, our crew grew by one… my sister flew in from LA! YAYYYYY!! Magic Kingdom day, for sure. This was the last day we had heavy crowds, which is good, because I was starting to get pretty annoyed at all the other people who dared to be at the happiest place on earth at the same time as me. (Joking. Mostly.)
You may have noticed by this point that I took my Disney wardrobe
too seriously. I had SO much fun with it, and no shame at all about being a grownup and completely Disney-fied. I made sure we got some good shots of my wardrobe selections… and then my dad photobombed some of them.
Monday night was probably my favorite few hours of the entire trip… the Hoop-Dee-Doo at Fort Wilderness. Holy wonderfulness. The show was hilarious, the food was delicious, the togetherness was perfect… it’s a MUST for me at WDW, without a doubt.
My parents got to do a little dance for their 30th wedding anniversary, and of course, my sister and I cried like sissies.
Our boat got back to the Magic Kingdom just in time to catch the last half of the fireworks show!! Pretty fantastic way to end a night.
Tuesday morning was pretty special too, as we went to the Polynesian resort for the O’Hana Breakfast. Lilo & Stitch are fine and all, but let’s face it… Mickey & Pluto are the stars anytime they’re in the room.
Dorothy knows she’s beautiful, and believe me, WE know we’re in trouble.
Kevin left us about mid-day on Tuesday, and we didn’t have another camera, so that day went on un-documented with a fun little safari ride & an evening spent at the resort pool. BYE KEVIN!
On Wednesday morning, the McG crew woke up super excited for the PIRATE’S LEAGUE!! If you’ve heard of the Bibbity-Boppity Boutique, this is similar, except a bajillion times better. You can be “made over” into a pirate or a mermaid, and ADULTS CAN PLAY, TOO! We made it a special little thing for our family of four, and OH we had so much fun.
I found myself being so grateful all over again for the incredible man that Mack is. How many dudes do you know that will sit in a makeup chair and get this stuff applied to their face, and say the chant, and speak in Pirate-ese, and be in a silly little parade, all in the name of getting on their kids’ level? We’re so VERY lucky to have him.
Thursday was our last full day at the park, so we hit the ground running. Luckily, we actually COULD run, because it was cool & blissfully sparse in the park that day.
My precious parents, giving a 30th wedding anniversary squeeze in front of Lady & the Tramp.Awwwww.
After lunch, my folks took Jack and my sister to Disney Quest… a huge 5 story arcade of awesomeness, while Mack and Dorothy and I went and walked around the World Showcase again. I really would love to go back and do that as a date day sometime. Dorothy is a great kid, but it’s just not a really fun park for a 4 year old, and there’s a lot of stuff we had to hurry through because she was bored beyond words.
You’d better believe she perked right up when she saw Mulan at a meet & greet, though. I LOVE that my sweet girl’s favorite princesses are all the FIGHTERS!
It was cold AGAIN, and rainy, on Friday morning. But was that going to stop us from our last couple hours of magic?? Not a chance.
The very last thing we did on vacation was meet Mickey. And this time? This time, he TALKED. I’ve been hanging out with Mickey mouse since before I could walk, and never ever NEVER has he spoken to me. It was absolutely amazing, and perfect, and I have no idea how it’s done other than to say that Disney Magic is a real live thing.
Happy Anniversary, Mama & Daddy. Thank you so much for raising me to be just as freaky-in-love with Disney as you two are, but much more than that, for being so in love with each OTHER. I know it hasn’t always been easy, but the realness of your love is constant inspiration to Mack and I. We hope we can be the example to our kids that you’ve been to us, and we’re so very grateful for such a fantastic relationship with you guys.
This trip was perfect, and wonderful. With my husband, my kids, my parents, and my sister, I couldn’t have asked for more. Absolutely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life (thanks in no small part to so many great photos.) Even though we’re back to real-life now, and thoroughly entrenched in the work of 2015, I’m a happy happy girl for having gotten to kick off our 2015 in such magical fashion.
If you read this whole thing, you have me sincerely impressed. Thank you for all your sweet comments on our instagrams and facebook posts, and for being such positive voices in both our professional & personal lives!