I took a lot of advice from family and friends when planning our trip to Disney. However, one piece of advice that I received (several times, in fact) I ignored: that was to not go to Epcot because our kids were so young (2 and 4). I chose to ignore this advice because I remember loving Epcot as a child, and couldn't stand the idea of not going. And boy am I glad we did!!!
I only made two FastPass+ Reservations for our day at Epcot: Spaceship Earth, and Frozen Ever After. We chose to start the day with Spaceship Earth - it's an "oldie but a goodie" that everyone enjoyed.
We headed next to The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion. Next to 'Elles', fish are Baby Sage's favorite animal, with him loving Nemo in particular, so you can imagine how much fun this was for him! Actually, both of my kids really enjoyed this, and we could have literally spent hours there! The adventure starts by boarding a "clamobile" and searching for Nemo - it was just sweet and precious. We then saw the aquarium, which was real-life characters from the film. One tank was full of Clownfish - which of course, is what Nemo would be. There was another tank that had various characters from the film, where we spotted, Dory, Nemo, and Marlin.
From there, we saw the 5.7 million gallon tank! (Yes, you read that right and yes, that IS a lot of water!!!!) This housed sharks, stingrays, sea turtles - and a lot of other small fish. We loved watching a diver feeding the stingrays - it was amazing!
Of course, in typical Disney fashion, you have to exit through a gift shop! I think Sage and I were already outside when we realized the grandmothers and grandkids were still inside... Baby Sage walked away with a Nemo stuffed animal, and Emma decided to pick something out in "Norway" (from the Frozen exhibit). Yes, it's true: my kids came home from a LOT of stuffed animals, but I will say, they are still sleeping with them all each night!
Once we put Baby Sage (and Nemo) in the stroller to head to the World Showcase, he was asleep immediately. Our first stop was Norway to meet Anna & Elsa in their summer home. Emma will tell you this was her favorite part of the entire trip - yes, even better than getting her hair done the first night. She truly was in little girl heaven. We stood in line roughly half an hour here, but the line moved quickly, and we stayed entertained weaving through their home. Not bad at all!
We met Anna first, and she was extremely friendly and really took her time with Emma. She asked Emma if she liked to build snowmen and Emma responded that it doesn't snow in Alabama! While all of us were laughing, Anna quickly invited Emma to Arendelle to build one. Emma gave her the sweetest hug before we moved on to meet Elsa. I have to say, while Elsa was just as sweet to Emma as Anna had been, I truly think that Anna is Emma's favorite of the two (in the movie and in 'real life'). I'm so glad we did this at the end of the trip, because I'm afraid that it might have ruined the rest of it for Emma if we had done it sooner!
Once we met Anna and Elsa we used our FastPass+ to ride Frozen Ever After. Without the FastPass+, the wait was over 2 hours, so if you are planning to go on this ride, the FastPass+ is a must! This ride just opened this summer so it's still extremely popular. Of course, poor Baby Sage slept through this ride! (But don't worry, there was plenty of gift shops in the area, so Emma had no problem finding her toy!)
We grabbed a quick lunch at La Cantina de San Angel (in Mexico). The food was delicious and I had one of the best margaritas EVER!! The heat (and kids) made us all want an adult beverage. We paid a ridiculous $10 per drink, but both Sage and I agreed it was worth it. (I had the aforementioned margarita and he had an ice-cold beer.)
Before we could leave Mexico we had to take a quick (it's actually a slow) boat ride through Mexico! We boarded the small boats for the Gran Fiesta Tour, starring The Three Caballeros. Once done with that, we left Mexico to walk slowly through the World Showcase.
The kids were getting tired by this time, so they relaxed in and enjoyed the stroller ride. (Yes, in case you were wondering: I wished I could climb in the stroller, too!)
Germany had this big miniature train set that Baby Sage just LOVED! Emma was actually pretty excited about it, too! Both kids hopped out of the stroller to watch/run after the trains. The best part was when the train went under the walkway and came out of the other side. We literally had to pry Baby Sage off the metal railing he was having so much fun.
We continued to walk through the different countries, but stopped at Japan for the Pick-A-Pearl station located inside the Mitsukoshi store. I remembered doing this as a little girl, and was excited it was Emma's turn! First you go to the register near the oyster tank, pay for your oyster selection, and then wait for your number to be called. When Emma's number was called she was asked to pick an oyster out of the tank. We had a very enthusiastic cast member who, prior to opening Emma's oyster taught us how to count to three in Japanese. As we all counted to three, she began banging a drum. When she opened Emma's oyster, there wasn't just one pearl, but two! Emma called them twins! They were a beautiful silver color that the cast member cleaned up and even measured for us. Emma was so proud of her pearls, and G-Daddy was pretty proud of Emma's luck. In fact, he wanted to buy more oysters to go with her luck. We told him that we think since he paid for the oyster, it's only fitting he pay to have them set at Jimmy Smith Jewelers. He didn't laugh at that quite as hard as the rest of the adults did for some reason... Either way, when Emma gets her ears pierced, you know what her first pair of earrings will be!
We continued through the World Showcase and then headed back to the hotel around 2:30 to rest a bit and freshen up for dinner that night. We had dinner reservation at Chef Mickey's inside the Contemporary hotel. I wanted to end our trip with a bang and what better way than with Mickey and his crew dressed in chef's attire???
At dinner, we got to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Dinner included lots of dancing, and swinging napkins over our heads! You know, all the things we teach our kids they are not allowed to do at the dinner table!
Don't worry: to loosen us up, adults have the opportunity to enjoy some cocktails with dinner - it helped with the rule breaking. The cocktails were great: the buffet, not so much. But we were there for the characters and the fun right?!?! I will say the dessert buffet was delicious, and that, among all of us, we probably tried every single dessert!
After dinner, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom. We had purchased the Park Hopper prior to our trip. Without the Park Hopper you are limited to one park a day (the park you start in). With it, you can obviously switch between parks. We thought we would use this a lot, as I originally believed we would probably end each day back at the Magic Kingdom, but we were truly too exhausted each day to even consider it. With the age of our kids, we did not need the Park Hopper. If you have older kids, it might be worth it, but it definitely wasn't needed for us.
So why, on our last night there, did we go back to the Magic Kingdom? We had not seen Wishes yet, and the only thing Emma said she hadn't gotten to do was meet Tinkerbelle. So you can guess where we headed when we arrived! Luckily, the line for Tinkerbelle was only 10 minutes.
We got a great surprise with Tinkerbelle! While we went for Emma, I actually think Baby Sage may have enjoyed it the most. The whole trip, he wasn't exactly scared of the characters, but he also didn't really want to interact with them. That all changed when he met Tink. He was absolutely smitten with her! Both he and Emma gave her lots of hugs and also got her autograph. Baby Sage had a smile on his face the entire time! I was so glad we had gone back for that.
And, of course, we exited into a gift shop! In the end, it was a good thing, because we hadn't purchased any Mickey Ears, and what is a trip to Disney without Mickey Ears??? It has been a little late in the trip, but oh well! They made good use out of them for Halloween!
We then took a spot on Main Street for Celebration the Castle Light Show. I won't lie. I was skeptical about how great this would really be, but I was amazed! It really did wow me. (And everyone else.) After the light show, it was time for the Wishes Firework Show - which is, naturally when Baby Sage decided to fall asleep on me! This child can obviously sleep anywhere and through anything, because those fireworks are LOUD!
It was an amazing firework show, and we all loved seeing the beautiful castle lit up. Emma especially enjoyed seeing Tinkerbelle fly - especially since she had just met her! I hate that Baby Sage missed it, but maybe he'll be able to stay awake for it on our next trip!
I was so happy with how it all ended. It was a really fabulous five days with family! I am so glad Sage agree to take us, thankful for the helpful (and generous!) grandparents who went along for the ride, and for sweet children that had the time of their lives! I'm ready to do it all again.
Well, maybe in a year. It takes some time to plan, you know.