Thursday, December 08, 2022


 It's my favorite place to take the kids, and this was our FOURTH trip. Surprisingly, I didn't grow up going to Disney, and our family vacation in 2014 was my very first time. I WAS HOOKED. Listen, the Magic Kingdom is ... magic. We had the most fun at WDW, and that's hard to say about any place you are traveling to with 4 kids under the age of 8. We liked it so much that we surprised the kids with a Chrismukkah trip that same year, and we returned in the summer of 2015,

Somehow, SEVEN YEARS passed without a trip to see the mouse, so when we realized we could see Ben's parents for Thanksgiving and squeeze in a Disney drive-by, we were SO EXCITED.

This was our first time staying in a moderate resort instead of a deluxe resort, and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, we were barely in our rooms at all, and our resort had a really fun pool. Our first day at Disney was just a day to hang out at the hotel and explore the grounds, and Port Orleans Riverside had plenty to explore.

We also really really liked our princess rooms, and we were happy that they were adjoining, even though we would have been just fine with rooms close to each other. Harry and Jack would have preferred a room with a pull-out couch or chaise, something our rooms at the Beach Club and the Grand Floridian always had. There are rooms at Riverside with pull-outs included, but we opted for the princess rooms instead because we knew Dorothy and Minnie would love them.

Something I really like is how committed to their themes Disney hotels are. These rooms were quirky little delights.

BUT-- the deluxe resorts are SO MUCH BETTER LOCATED at Disney. To just jump on a ferry and be at the park is a dream. I didn't like driving to Magic Kingdom, parking, and then taking the ferry. Also! When we left the park at the end of the day, the ferry to the parking lot was broken. I did NOT want to ride the monorail (claustrophobia and also COVID concerns), so we took a boat to the Polynesian and walked to the parking lot from there.

Next time (If there is a next time-- I feel very sated re: Disney), we will either stay at a deluxe resort on the ferry line or in walking distance to MK/Epcot OR we will be better about making good dining reservations. If you have breakfast at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary, for example, you can park there and walk to MK. Or if you have breakfast at Beach Club, you can park and walk to Epcot (which we did). Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Fort Wilderness, etc, all have restaurants and good proximity to the parks.

We did not pay for Genie+, but we did buy tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, meaning we got access to the park after it closed and we had early access as well. This meant we rode all of the rides we wanted, more than once, with not a lot of waiting.

Because we were only there for 2 days, we decided not to get park hopper tickets, so we went to 2 parks, one each day. I think this was a good choice since our hotel was not connected by Disney transportation (besides the bus, which, not during a pandemic for me, thanks), and getting around was harder. BUT ALSO, it is really nice to spend a day at a park and then have dinner and fireworks and a couple of rides somewhere else, so I **think** we will always get park hopper tickets going forward.

Our previous Disney trips have always included the Disney meal plan, so we could treat the whole thing like an all-inclusive experience and not pay attention to the mount of money we were hemorrhaging at the park. This time, we did not do that and the meals ARE SO EXPENSIVE MY GOD. At least $100 any time we had a meal or a snack. That is something I would rather not know, so the meal plan is maybe something I’d like to get again. The kids throwing away 1/2 full $4 waters really got to me after about 36 hours.

In some ways, it was harder to be at the parks with 4 big kids and a baby than it was with 2 little kids and 2 toddlers, which is wild because I don’t like rides, so it was NBD for me to hang with Min and ride the teacups SEVEN TIMES, and everyone else could ride with a sibling or with Ben and his parents. It **might** be because Minnie is used to being our sun, and when the day did not completely revolve around her, she was not as resilient as I would have liked her to be.

Still, toddler meltdowns aside, we had a magically fun time, and I am so glad we made the trip.

I uploaded these in chronological order, but Blogger lives to destroy my narrative thread. So. In random order:

Ben was like REALLY excited to meet Cinderella

Dorothy rode Space Mountain first thing, and it scared the heck out of her, but she also loved it. The rest of the time, this was her roller coaster face.

Mulan was Minnie’s very favorite princess. She actually snuggled up and almost fell asleep on her chest, which started out cute, but then got kind of weird/attachment disorder-y.

Hotel lobby tree- so pretty!

After you meet princesses at MK, the line empties out to a mercy store OF COURSE. Minnie was delighted with her Cinderella jewelry.

Nighttime at Epcot— we almost made the fireworks.

Comparing their new stuffies 


Magic Kingdom tree!

Minnie LOVED the MK Christmas parade

Trying really hard to make the Epcot fireworks

The kids LOVED our Cape May character breakfast. Also! They haven’t been to a buffet since before the panny 

Belle!! Ben’s mom and I had a really good time strolling Epcot with the girls for  Princess meet and greets.

Minnie and Dorothy are not familiar with Elena, but they loved meeting her anyway.

Ready to go on our second morning. I loved that we all wore WI shirts, and we got lots of GO BUCKY and ON WISCONSIN shouts.

Cooper LOVED finding all the holiday Olafs throughout Epcot’s world showcase, and he took his scavenger hunt map really seriously.

The excitement on the ferry heading to MK at 7am was palpable

Minnie looking through the doors of the hotel lobby moments before she tumbled down a short  flight of outdoor stairs and skinned her legs, not just knees.

Coop turned his completed holiday tradition map in for a cute little prize.

Prince Charming, too!

Minnie amusing herself in the princess line at MK


The kids loved the hotel pool

Cooper bathed in the light from Dorothy’s ears.

Statue face

We sure did buy ears and wear them

The three of us cooled our heels at Epcot while everyone else rode the new Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, which they declared THE BEST RIDE EVER.

Day one, fresh as daisies

Minnie LOVED the Barnstormer roller coaster


Princess line antics


When Minnie and I took this carousel selfie, she saw herself on the screen and realized she was missing a clip-on earring. WE FOUND IT thanks to a super nice ride operator.


Non-licensed drivers love this one. Everyone else is kind of meh

I took pictures of the kids in the lobby while everyone else checked in

STILL CRYING from Space Mountain

This was from a stand that sold hot dogs and turkey legs and they both sort of tasted like hot dogs.

Another non licensed driver living it up

Minnie was losing it, so I gave her an ice cream bar and a stroller nap.

Either before or after Splash Mountain


Riding the flying carpets— she liked it, I swear

So did they

You can never have too many picks of Minnie Mouse

Walking in to our hotel

She LOVED the princesses

Sunset dinner at MK


Sleeping bebe  while we waked around the world eating lunch

On the way to breakfast day 2

Goofy is Jack’s fave

Minnie, Minnie, and Stuffed Minnie

Parade excitement

One tired baby

On our way out the park

Werther’s store—one of Jack’s favorite Epcot stops

Snow White made the best in0character chit chat. She asked the kids if the fairest friend on their shirt (Bucky) helped with housework

Snow White roller coaster

Princess, lounging

Just some random midday delight

Guardians roller coaster

She cannot even believe it.


Did nt make it to Epcot fireworks after all.

OMG they look alike

The hotel pool was a blast for all

She HATED Dole Whip— it made her ANGRY

Everyone remembered this car from Beach Club and wanted a pic

More hot dog flavored turkey legs


A crowd pleaser



Clearly the Minnie/Minnie thing is not getting old for me.

The princesses also thought Minnie was cute.

Spoiler: this one made our Christmas card


Space Mountain for the second time, sans Dorothy

Grandma bought Bolt for Minnie


Flying carpets remains a fave

On the way to MK

First photo at the park!

Where they belong

Literally wore these like for serious.

Teacups, pre-ears

We walked all the way around the world for Chinese food and then Jack was like actually the orange chicken at the mall is better.


Minnie, out

What are they even eating?


A personal hero of Minnie’s

OK, let’s take a hot second to talk about the hotel.

Minnie and Dorothy seriously got a kick out of all the princess touches like the beds, the portraits, the Aladdin’s lamp faucets in the bathroom, etc.

Also! Our rooms were a study in contrast. Ben, Harry, and Jack trashed theirs— TRASHED IT

But Dorothy, Cooper, Minnie, and I kept our spotless

Probably because everyone wanted to hang out with Ben and his snacks and his pizza deliveries.

But seriously, Disney. WHO THOUGHT THESE BATHROOM “DOORS” were a good idea?!

Besides Minnie, I mean.

ONE MORE THING! Minnie loves a particular episode of Mickey Mouse Club House (season 4, episode 9) that features Minnie Mouse as Cinderella. Minnie-rella. In fact, Minnie-rella is her favorite Disney character. Only it’s NOT A CHARACTER, but that was the person she was most excited to see. As soon as we got to our hotel, A Disney bus emblazoned with 50th Anniversary Mickey and Minnie pulled into the parking lot, and Minnie lost her darn mind screaming MINNIE-RELLA because 50th anniversary Minnie is wearing a blue ball gown THANK GOD. Disney magic for sure.

Behold, the Minnie-rella song:


  1. This is SO fun!!!

    "Minnie was losing it, so I gave her an ice cream bar and a stroller nap."
    I want an ice cream bar and a nap EVERYDAY.

    I have never been to Disney, but we have been discussing it as an option in 2023...

  2. Wow that looks like ... fun... and exhausting at the same time LOL I've only been to Disney twice (always as an adult) and I think I would have liked it more if it hadn't been just PACKED with people LOL You guys sure made the best of it though.