disney world | memories + little tips | olive june
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disney world | memories + little tips

"they say if you dream a thing more than once, 
it's sure to come true."
-sleeping beauty


this past weekend, my husband and i took parks to disney world to celebrate his 4th birthday.  the whole trip was a dream. truly. the one-on-one time with our oldest was simply magical. instead of a birthday party, we decided to go with an experience (something we hope to do often. of course, not always at this level... but we love road trips and the idea of a special adventure) i literally didn't prep or plan anything and just wanted to take it all in and experience everything as it came. and honestly- i am so glad we did. 

for me, just observing all of the love around you... the parents doing this for their kids and the adults who are expressing their inner child so confidently. it's just really touching. the happiest place on earth. 

we stayed at the all-star movie resort and had the best weather (high 60's). the resort was perfect for us... both my husband and parks really love movies and the toy story part was a great way to begin our trip- he was mesmerized. when we were checking in, my husband held parks for a few moments and the friendly woman checking us in noticed that his magic band was toy story themed. (i mean- so observant because he wasn't at her eye level for very long at all) then she made a phone call (we weren't sure who she was calling) and when she got off, she said, "i was trying to get you all a room in our toy story part of the resort, but we only have a room in fantasia at the moment." we said- no worries! she said, "i would still like to do something special for him- who is his favorite character?" we told her buzz. (he didn't hear any of this...) after we were done swimming, we walked into our room to find close to ten things for parks: buzz lightyear colored balloons, a birthday card, lots of treats and buzz lightyear toys. talk about customer service... we were all blown away. it was so sweet and he was so happy. 

this was our first time visiting as adults/we both went twice as children... so i am in absolutely -no way- an expert regarding disney! but just thought i would share some things i would recommend, would pack next time, and some our favorite memories with you all. 
if you are looking for a planner, i can't recommend shannon at 101 vacations enough.
she was simply wonderful... personable, reliable, informative- a beautiful energy.
we loved working with her so much!

here is her info | 

"it's not just a place- it's a feeling"
my toy story tee is from target
mainstreet u.s.a was so lovely- so my style.
our favorite memories |

my husband:
01. star war's galaxy edge 
02. move it! shake it! street party (magic kingdom) 
03. fantasmic (we ended with this show- an ideal grand finale . hollywood studios) 
04. pop-up experiences (toy story army drum line, live performances along main street. etc.)
05. peter pan ride (magic kingdom)

mine:
01. main street u.s.a (magic kingdom)
02. holding parks' hand and seeing the joy + magic through his eyes
03. toy story land (hollywood studios)
04. old hollywood (hollywood studios)
05. fantasyland (magic kingdom) 

parks:
01. meeting + hugging donald duck, buzz lightyear, the incredibles, mike and sulley 
02. driving the cars on the speedway (magic kingdom)
03. disney junior dance party! (hollywood studios)
04. the castle 
05. picking out his souvenirs, riding the buses, all the treats and the hotel!  (walking in and seeing his surprise was a moment we will all always remember!) 
we also all loved the afternoon parade at the magic kingdom
packing tips |

for the hotel: 
01. scissors (we actually needed a pair more than once)
02. beer and wine (twist off)
03. more snacks 
04. batteries for souvenirs 
05. pack your backpack the night before / the morning hours seem to go fast 

for the parks:
01. a backpack! we had a hook on our stroller to hang it on and just grabbed it when we parked 
02. sunscreen 
03. ponchos 
04. band aids
05. an instax camera for fun mementos
06. a bright ribbon on your stroller to spot it easily
07. a pen/marker for autographs
08. tylenol (my husband had a headache) + thieves oil roller 
09. clothing layers in the winter- once the sun went down, it was very chilly
10. a large extra bag for souvenirs/things for the bus when heading back to your resort
11. a portable phone charger 
12. pack lightly if you have a stroller/you need to fold it down for the bus
13. snacks and water bottles 
14. sunglasses 
15. baby wipes
we were lucky enough to see a proposal in front of the castle
the donald duck hat was very loved. donald is his favorite.
(if you watched my insta stories, you know what i am talking about!)
i thought fantasyland was so charming
we ate lunch outside at the pinocchio village haus
dole whip in adventureland
other little tips:

+ i had a kids encyclopedia and a small forky toy waiting for him in his car seat when we were taking off (the book has the characters in it and that's where they signed) . it was a hit!
+ we didn't do this until the second day... but you can link a credit card to your magic bands - it makes everything so much easier!
+ get familiar with the mydisneyexperience app before arriving (it's awesome) 
+ something we did when i was a child: we would wrap my parents' coins and then would split it by three and that was the money we got to use for souvenirs 
+ a stroller that your child can sit or ride on (definitely bring a stroller for young kids)  
+ fast passes are incredible. once you use your passes, you can go on your app or to a kiosk to check for more options 
i got to see one of my dearest college friends, katie (she lives in cincinnati) at hollywood studios
we walked into the park at the same time
as far as the right age goes? ... i thought four was amazing! i would recommend maybe 3.5 and up? every child is different, but i do not think nash would have enjoyed it. he is a mover and a shaker and loves to run/climb (and there are a lot of lines) . my niece is almost 2.5 and i think she would do well + would love it.

 we really, really enjoyed being able to ride and just 'be' with parks this time around.

my parents came down from ohio to spend time with nash, which was so nice.  not only did they watch him so lovingly, but we came home to a clean house/fresh sheets, groceries, a clean car/full tank of gas, house projects were completed/some were a surprise, and homemade meals were in the fridge. they are wonderful. and i loved hearing about how much they enjoyed being with him.
this photo warms my heart
toy story mania was so much fun!
...
parks' woody + forky tee | here
-taking a small break-
we told him before we went into the parks to tell us if he ever needed to stop and take a break
we both couldn't have been prouder of him... so much stimulation, sugar, lines ...
and no meltdowns. he was the best travel buddy in the car and at the parks
"i was buzz for halloween!! bye buzz. i love you"
we are already looking forward to our next trip 
seeing the boys together next time will be very special 
...
just so thankful that we got to go and so thankful that parks enjoyed it so much
-pure magic-

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