I absolutely loved reading the trip reports and found them really helpful so perhaps my experiences can help someone who will be traveling with small children.
Travel dates: April 19 25, 2008
Travel method: Personal Auto Driving from DC
Resort: All Stars Movies
Accommodations: Standard Room w/King Bed in Mighty Ducks Section
Disney Resort Experience Represented in Group: Recent Disney Fanatic w/3 previous trips to WDW and 1 trip to Disneyland in the past 3 years
Cast of characters: Me Carin (39 years old) My son Aidan (4 yrs old) and daughter Kate (2 yrs old)
PRE TRIP REPORT
We are recent WDW fans which began with our first trip in August 2006 which was only planned for 2 days but we extended to 5 days staying at the Wilderness Lodge Villas, 2nd trip in November 2006 at Port Orleans Riverside, and 3rd trip in November 2007 staying offsite at the Sheraton Vistiana Villas. Also, I went to Disneyland in September 2007 for a weekend after a conference in LA. I decided we would push up our trip for 2008 as my son will start Kindergarten in the fall and did not want to take him out of school and my husband is a stay at home dad needed a break from the kids.
DAY 1- SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 2008
Left the DC area yesterday and stayed overnight in Savannah, GA so only had about 4 hours of driving in the morning and arrived at the AS Movies resort around 1pm. We were originally booked into a preferred room but, all the King size beds had showers and my toddlers will not take showers so they moved us to the Mighty Ducks section for a King bed with a bath. The room was ready so we were able to check in and get our room keys right away. There was almost no wait at that time to check-in and they gave my kids balloons and coloring books and crayons which they loved. The cast members were really helpful especially the baggage porters who helped me get all our numerous bags to our room very quickly. The refrigerator we requested was there waiting for us but it did not close very well so I had to put a heavy bag in front of the door in order to keep it closed. Since this worked, I didnt complain. The rooms are definitely smaller but for the price and since we were just a party of 1 adult and 2 little kids, it was fine for us. When staying in the Mighty Ducks section I found it closer to walk over to the All Stars Music main building for buses and food court rather than schlep all the way to the Movies main building. Last word on the resort, I had read that it tends to fill up with tours with large numbers of teenagers which was definitely the case when I was there but it wasnt too loud even though the pool was right outside our door but then again, I generally fell into bed exhausted after chasing my kids through the parks each day.
After we unpacked a few bags, we took a bus over to Animal Kingdom but after just an hour or so, I realized the kids were just too tired from the day and of driving so we headed back to the resort for dinner and bed.
DAY 2 SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 2008 MAGIC KINGDOM
We got up early to be at the park opening for Magic Kingdom which we took a bus from the AS Music section. Now just for a moment picture this, Mom with backpack full of diapers, snacks and bottled water, 2 year old in one arm and the double stroller in the other so to all those wonderful kindhearted people who offered help getting on and off buses and offering seats at peak times, I want to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude from the bottom of my heart and aching back. For every bad experience Ive had with impatient people cursing me under their breath, Ive met at least 2 or 3 who were understanding and helpful, especially the cast members. Now Ive always read that it makes a huge difference in wait times by getting to the parks before they open but this is the first time I was actually able to achieve this. They were not wrong. We were able to ride Peter Pan 3 times in a row and one time they did not even make us get off the ride and just ride again. Peter Pan is far and away my kids favorite ride at Magic Kingdom. We then rode Winnie the Pooh, Cinderellas Carousel and Philharmagic. We then headed back to Main Street to meet our tour guide for the Family Magic Tour which my 4 year old loved but was hard to participate in with a double stroller imagine trying to run through the masses of people pushing a double stroller without mowing them down. At the end, we got to meet Peter Pan and Wendy and my son was thrilled that they let him hold Captain Hooks hook. Just one minor complaint, after spending $27 per person and participating in a 2 hour tour/hunt, Peter Pan didnt even have time to give autographs as he has to be in a show that started right as we were finishing.
We had lunch at the park at the hotdog place on Main Street which I love the corndog bites and back to the hotel for the afternoon nap which is essential for toddlers. I tried to forego the nap one day which resulted in constant meltdowns in my 2 year old by 3 or 4 pm. After their nap, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for our dinner reservation at Crystal Palace. We had the basic dining plan but both of my children has several food allergies that make eating out tricky (dairy, eggs, nuts, shellfish) so when I made the ADRs, I listed out all their allergies and upon seating at the restaurants, the chef comes out and takes us through the buffets or menus to tell me what is safe for them to eat and will often make special dishes without the ingredients they are allergic to. This is one of the things I love about Disney and really sets them apart from other parks/resorts. However, I think the buffets are so busy, especially the character meals, that the chefs only told me what was on the buffet they could eat, which was not very much. So if anyone has significant allergies, I would not recommend the buffets. At one of the character lunches at Hollywood and Vine, my kids were only able to eat roasted chicken, steamed broccoli and salad which seemed meager given they charge around $20 for this. The kids really enjoyed seeing Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore so they still had fun.
After dinner, we went to Adventureland and rode Alladins Magic Carpets and then crossed over to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear. Then back to the hotel for bed.
More to come...