It’s a magical Wednesday, friends!
Over the weekend, I took my now 14 year old (I’m still in denial that Kensington is 14!), and we hit up Walt Disney World for an EPIC weekend!
We had the magic.
We had the amazing food.
We rode allllll the rides.
We endured the DOWNPOUR!
It was all the things (plus rain!) I had imagined it to be.
Last year, after travel restrictions loosened up, our family deemed it the year that we TRAVEL on our birthdays! Andrew went to Canada (not on his birthday but it was his birthday gift from me!) in the fall, Madeley went to Walt Disney World, I went to Vermont, Smith went snowboarding and Ashby went to Nantucket. Kensington was our “last but not least” Shull to travel for her birthday, and it was certainly worth the wait.
A few things before I dig in to today’s post:
1: September was a WONDERFUL time to visit as the crowds were down, rides were easy to hop on, it wasn’t super super hot and the entire place was decorated for FALL and HALLOWEEN!
2: Kensington was able to safely and deliciously eat gluten-free at every.single.turn. From breakfast to dinner and a million snacks in-between, she enjoyed all the goodness of Disney food without the gluten. I’ll share more below, but that was such a fun perk to this trip. Loads of magic minus the gluten.
3: I was so nervous, but this was SO easy! Let me be really honest with you…I would have been less nervous to take her to Europe alone.
Here’s the deal…I am the WORST kind of WDW traveler…because…I am spoiled.
Not just spoiled, I am spoiled rotten.
The last FOUR TIMES I’ve been to WDW, it’s been with Erika who is the Walt Disney World Queen. She and Jane here at my travel agency do #allthethings Disney World, so I didn’t have to do a single thing but follow behind Erika. She had all the details booked, told me where to go, and each and every trip was pure magic…and I didn’t even have the app on my phone (and if you know about Disney World, then you know, you MUST have the app!). I was nervous that I wouldn’t understand the technology, the new Genie+ system, how to make sure we got great rides booked, got places on time, etc. But you guys, I did it all! Ha! I was very proud of myself 🙂 .
4: Going with a teen was SO MUCH FUN!! I thought taking Kensington when she was three was a little tiring, well hello…taking her when she was 14 was even more exhausting but in a GOOD way. This girl kept me go, go, going! I knew she would have fun (she’s been several times before), but I didn’t realize that there would be such a huge jump from going with her when she was younger and going with her now. We rode every ride (many more than once), she was still into the younger rides (teacups, anyone?!) too but was also sprinting from rollercoaster to rollercoaster. It was non-stop fun in the best possible way!
So, here we go, on Friday morning, Kensington and I headed to Orlando and checked into…
…our lovely room at The Yacht Club there in Walt Disney World.
Eeeeeeks! One on one time with my kids is one of my favorite things in life.
We grabbed chicken Caesar salads, waters and chips really quickly at our resort and then dashed off to…
Kensington hadn’t been to this park since she was three, so it was like she was seeing it for the first time again.
We had Lightening Lane reservations for multiple rides, so we hurried from one to the next until it was time to grab a quick dinner…
…we stopped and enjoyed BBQ while it rained.
BBQ and a poncho…an excellent combination 🙂 .
We stayed at Animal Kingdom until it was time to scoot on over to…
…Magic Kingdom for our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! We did this last year on Madeley’s birthday trip and it was the highlight of our trip. Spoiler alert, I would say the same this year too! A few times a week during the fall season, at 7:00, the park closes for the day and you aren’t allowed to enter unless you’ve previously purchased tickets to the party. The crowds are significantly down, all of the cast members change into Halloween costumes/attire, they have two parades, fireworks, some complementary food and you can trick or treat (gluten-free options too!). The best part? You can pretty much immediately ride any ride you want as many times as you want since the crowds are so low. We rode several rides (Space Mountain!) without waiting a single second. We walked right up and got immediately on board. It is just extra extra magical and so much fun!
Fourteen years old 😉 .
The Haunted Mansion ride was extra spooky.
Our faces here crack me up!
Look at us back there on Splash Mountain! Hahahaha!
Clearly me and the guy behind me are having two very different experiences. Bahahahaha!
Kensington looks insane here. We were laughing so hard at her face!
Having the best time staying up late with my girl!
We stayed up waaaaay past our bedtimes, so the next morning, we slept in a bit and then…
…headed off to Hollywood Studios!
It was another morning of ride, ride, rides for the Shull girls! We both said this was our favorite ride until…the last day when we moved it to number two 🙂 . Slinky Dog Dash is so fun!
For lunch, we went to Hollywood & Vine where they host Minnie’s Halloween Dine this time of year.
A selfie with Pluto 🙂
Awwww! The Big Guy himself was there!
And how spooktacular was Minnie’s outfit?!
Needless to say, lunch was a huge hit!
…this has always been one of my FAVORITE rides!!!!
After lunch and a full morning/afternoon in Hollywood Studios, we made our way over to…
Look at us adjusting our ears. Ha! We stayed at Epcot from 3:30 until it closed at 9:00. We took our time walking around the world, rode several rides and had dinner in Mexico. I did not take many pics though because I was too busy staying dry. It rained the most hardcore on this afternoon/evening (like sideways raining!), but Kensington didn’t complain one time. Me on the other hand? I complained a ton 😉 .
The next morning, we got up for our last day in Walt Disney World…
…good morning from The Yacht Club!
Our third and final day was BEAUTIFUL! We didn’t have any rain, lots of clear skies and were thoroughly able to enjoy the fall loveliness at Magic Kingdom.
The park didn’t feel crowded AT ALL, so we hardly had to wait for any of the rides.
Is it even Magic Kingdom if you don’t have Dole Whip?
All the fun!
We did several rides a second time!
…we had lunch reservations at Be Our Guest too!
This was our first time to eat here, and we loved it!!!
The food (and drinks!) were delicious, we loved our server, the whole experience was perfection!
Eeeeks! It’s blurry, but look…THE BEAST!
Around 3:00, we headed back over to Epcot to ride…
…Ratatouille! Now, when I went last October, I declared this my very favorite ride, and you know what? I still love it so much! I could have gone on this one over and over again!
Oh Epcot, you are so charming!
I’m clearly living my best life back there 😉 .
BUT…the ride we were most excited to ride was Guardians of the Galaxy…
…OH MY GOSH! This was the absolute best ride I’ve ever been on in my entire life. The second it was over, I wanted to do it again. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!
It was hard to come down after this ride, but we did in…
…Canada 🙂 .
We finished off our evening (and our trip!) with a lovely dinner in the UK.
It was an epic trip to celebrate an amazing kid.
Friends, I absolutely without a doubt would not have had this amazing trip if it had not been for my FABULOUS Walt Disney World team here at Mix and Match Travel Agency. They planned, scheduled, handled every single little detail. Did they do it because I’m the boss? Nope. They do it for all of our Disney clients. If you are considering a Walt Disney World vacation, reach out to us today! Of course, we would also love to help you with your next cruise, tropical vacation, European trip, and many other wonderful destinations. All the details and how to inquire are on our site.
That wraps up the year of birthday trips!
One final thing, I had so many DMs about what we were wearing, my bag and those Mickey ears! We bought the poncho, ears and Minnie sweatshirt all there at Walt Disney World. Everything else we are wearing is a combination of athleticwear we had in our house. Below you can see some of the items and then click to open them up to see more details. I used and LOVED THIS MINI BELT BAG, but I also know that so many people are currently raving about THIS ONE too that comes in other colors too.
Have a magical Wednesday 😉 .