Fitzgeralds Do Disney

March 7, 2017
Orlando, Florida

At the outset of this adventure we knew that we would be passing nearby both Disney Land and Disney World, which was a fact that we kept just between the adults. Our oldest has been asking for the past couple of years if we can PLEASE go to Disney Land someday because she’d heard amazing stories from friends, but we just weren’t sure that it would fit into this year monetarily, logistically, or philosophically.

But in February I worked for about a week during the Valentine’s Day rush at the florist where I worked during my college years. When they cut me a check at the end of the week, I knew I wanted to use that money for something special, rather than just deposit it and let it disappear on groceries and toothpaste. Once our plans for visiting family in Orlando were finalized, we realized that many of the expenses that make a Disney vacation expensive were already going to be incurred on our road trip (travel there & back, accommodations, food). So the only thing additional would be the ticket prices – and it just so happened that my flower delivery money was just enough to pay for 4 one-day tickets to the Magic Kingdom.

So we decided to go for it – it just seemed too convenient & too perfect to pass up the opportunity.  Like many before us, we recorded the girls reactions to the big news.  (If only they knew what Disney WORLD was…they had only heard of the LAND.)

We talked to multiple Disney-fanatic friends who gave us some helpful advice for making the day both memorable and bearable, packed both lunch and dinner into a backpack, and the Fitzgeralds did Disney.

We knew that it would be tiring and crowded, but we went in determined not to let that get to us and to squeeze as much happiness out of the day as possible. Disney worked its magic, and all 4 of us had one of the most fun 12 hour stretches of time ever.

Based on recommendations from those who’d gone before, we arrived as soon as they opened. We ate breakfast in the car on the drive down, drove into the filling parking lot in a long line of cars, and hopped on the ferry to ride into the park on the water. Through the gate and meeting Minnie Mouse.
Ready to start the day!
Our first ride of the day was the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. The girls were delighted by all of the activities to do while waiting in line, which was great because it was our longest wait of the entire day – about 90 minutes. Unfortunately, Coral did NOT like the coaster itself. It was really mild, but her first ever, and maybe we started out with too much. She was pretty freaked out by the end, but she rallied and we continued on!
Next stop was the carousel. This was much more Coral’s pace…
We caught part of a parade and the girls had a dance party with Judy Hops.
Aladdin’s magic carpet ride!
Medieval Festival at Cinderella’s Castle, complete with performances by the cast of Frozen and a few day time fireworks to get us excited for the big nighttime show.
Fire-breathing dragon in the Fantasy Parade.
Dumbo Ride! Coral particularly loved this one.
Meeting Ariel in her grotto.
Mickey’s Philharmagic. Brad and I expected this one to be cheesy, but we were so impressed! The 3D in this theater was what every other 3D experience wants to be…
In true Fitzgerald-fashion, we packed a brown bag lunch (you guessed it…sunbutter sandwiches, AGAIN) and ate pasta salad for dinner out of a Ziplock. (I know it’s weird, but this is how we keep these experiences affordable – we bought zero food in the park.)
At the Monster’s Inc. laugh floor, they put Brad up on the screen at one point to make a crack about his beard. In the waiting area they asked kids to text in jokes. We submitted Coral’s backwards, but they used it anyway! “What’s orange and sounds like a carrot?….a parrot! Wait, what?” (oops…)
I took Coral to meet Belle while Sunny got scared out of her mind at the Haunted Mansion. (Those were the only tears all day, and she recovered quickly. Emergency treat snacks in the backpack definitely helped.)
Then it was time for perhaps our favorite part of the day – the evening performances at Cinderella’s Castle and the fireworks show, complete with a music montage from all the classic Disney films of my youth. I’m not crying, you’re crying!
After the fireworks show is over many people begin to leave the park. That just leaves a bit of time after dark for the people sucking every drop of marrow out of this day to get in their final rides!
I was so excited to do this Disney classic – the teacup ride! We saved it until late in the day knowing it makes many people sick, but we made it through!!
Coral wanted to end the day with her favorite ride, which also happened to have no line at this point in the evening: Dumbo!
Dumbo ride to end the day!
End of the day pic for comparison – everyone was still smiling!
Since we made it through the entire day without purchasing ANYTHING inside the park, we let the girls each choose one souvenir on our way out.
We didn’t want hours of standing in line to allow us to forget how much we’d actually experienced, so Brad kept a running tally all day long of each ride or activity we got to do! I’d say packing all of this into one blitz day was quite the feat!

We got there as the park opened, and we left as they closed.  We only bought our 4 day passes and 2 souvenirs. We did all the things, and even the most skeptical among us was won over by Disney magic.  And that’s how the Fitzgeralds did Disney.

Leave a Reply