Last winter, I mentioned to my husband that we might want to think about Disney soon since Anysa was already 9. I always had this vision of wanting her first Disney experience to be so magical. I guess I forget that it really can be magical at any age. I was surprised when he didn't hesitate and went to work making a plan.
I signed up for email updates from MouseSavers, checked out deals on the Disney website, and searched for what other people had done. I got overwhelmed from the beginning. It was probably due to a combination of my perfectionism and just having no idea where to start. I found out a family from church goes every other year and she always plans the trips herself. She gave me a lot of good ideas and a starting point. Her best tip for us was to plan our trip when Disney offered their free meal plan.
In the end, I got a travel agent from Small World Vacations to plan the bulk of our trip; hotel, meals, reservations. I did lots of other research as far as how to plan our day, what to take, how to do souvenirs cheaply, etc. I was really blessed that the mom of Anysa's friend gave me her Disney book and access to the website that allowed me to make itenaries based on best times to go to each park and how to navigate the parks and maximize our time there. I was in Planning Heaven!
We booked our trip the week before school started. We planned a stop in Pensacola to visit the beach and one of my dear friends from high school, as well as a stop in Alabama to meet another special friend...more on that later! ;) We had 6 nights and 5 days at Disney. At the end of the series, I will tell you where we stayed, where we ate, which tips worked best for us, and some of the things I planned for our trip.
We left Texas earrrrly on a Friday morning and arrived in Pensacola late on Friday afternoon. My big kids had only been to the beach in Galveston, so this was much different for them. It was just breath taking! The beach backed up to our hotel, so we just walked out there. My friend, Raelyn, and one of her sons spent time with us at the beach and then ate a yummy dinner with us. It's shameful that I didn't get our picture together while there. We were too busy talking! :) We loved the beach! I can honestly say that I could probably live there. It was beautiful!
Not sure at first.
He quickly changed his mind!
They spotted some dolphins!
We arrived at Disney on Saturday afternoon. After getting checked-in and settling in our room, we went to our first planned dinner at Cafe Mickey. It was a good choice and a great introduction for kids. The kids had so much fun meeting Mickey and his friends and the food was abundant and yummy!
Waiting for our table.
I guess I should probably restate who exactly had fun...and who did not! We didn't realize that the real live characters would be a tad more intimidating for Brax. He was not happy for most of the meal. Poor guy. Can you see the fear in his face? At one point, he had a serious hold on my husband's neck.
The only way I could get Brax in a picture with Minnie!
He finally let Mickey close while he sat in my lap, but as you can tell, he was not about to take his eye off of him!