Can we go back already?
Dorothy has asked every day if we can get a FastPass for a bus to Mickey’s House. It’s safe to say she had the time of her little three-year-old life. And based on the overall feeling in our country today, I need a dose of the Happiest Place on Earth.
If you missed my onslaught of Instagram posts a few weeks ago, we celebrated Dorothy’s third birthday at Walt Disney World. We had zero plans of going to WDW this year, until my aunt and uncle GRACIOUSLY offered us their Disney Vacation Club points. If you know me at all, you know I most definitely cannot say no to Mickey’s House.
Disney is not everyone’s idea of a vacation (my husband included) but we had the very best of times with our little princess… even with a few not-so-magical moments during our stay. I can now confidently say that taking a two-year-old the week before their third birthday is the ideal age. They’re old enough to be excited, and know what’s going on, but they’re young enough to only see magic. They’re old enough to be potty trained and to no longer take naps, but young enough to still be considered “free” for park tickets and resorts.
Two years, 11 months and 3 weeks = absolutely perfect.
Instead of completely attacking this post with 250 photos, I’m going to break it down day-by-day.
We flew out of Indianapolis on Monday afternoon, non-stop to Orlando. Let me tell you – flying with an almost-three year old is a totally different experience than flying with an almost-two year old. I didn’t have to pack a bag full of tricks. She was happy sitting by the window, eating jellybeans and watching her iPad.
Really, she was just happy to be an only child again.
My parents watched Frances for the week, so we could focus all of our attention on big sister. I cannot tell you how many times during the trip that Courtny and I got unexpected hugs and “I love you’s.” She was just so genuinely happy to have us all to herself.
I had pre-checked in to our resort, so I had a text message with our room number by the time we landed. We hopped on the Magical Express, and arrived at Disney’s Saratoga Springs within 30 minutes. Our stroller from Kingdom Strollers and our groceries from Garden Grocer were waiting for us at the bell stand*, and a golf cart drove us right to our room.
- Dorothy never uses a stroller anymore, but I still rented one. It spent most of the first day parked by Prince Charming’s Royal Carrousel (because, “She’s just a big girl!”) but after that Dorothy was ALL ABOUT IT. Disney is a lot of walking, in case you haven’t heard. I HIGHLY recommend Kingdom Strollers – I got a perfect City Mini Single for just over $10/day.
- This was my first time ordering groceries for the trip. We are big about eating out while on vacation (as you’ll soon see), but I knew we would need some items for our room. I ordered breakfast foods, Capri Suns and applesauce pouches to take with us to the park, and some adult beverages for after the princess had gone to bed. Garden Grocer was awesome (and you get a discount if you order early!).
So, about our room. It was ENORMOUS. It had a foyer, a kitchen, a living room, a dining area, a washer and dryer, two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. We had a ground-level patio that looked at the water. When we walked out of our door, we just followed a walking path along the lake and arrived in Disney Springs within five minutes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how absolutely amazing it was.
If we ever get to stay at Saratoga Springs again, I will 100 percent request to stay in the Congress Park area. In fact, Mr. Cotten sees no reason to ever stay anywhere else (outside of the villas at the Polynesian, of course!) Saratoga Springs is the largest DVC resort (and you’ll soon know why I know that), so being in the right location within the resort is critical. Congress Park was the perfect spot for our family. Not only were we close to a quiet pool, bus stop and playground, but we were just a short walk from all the shopping and dining we could handle.
So, obviously, we dove head first into Disney Springs as soon as we arrived. We’re lucky we ever made it out of the LEGO store.
My husband’s boss is Chinese. Every work trip he takes involves LOTS of ramen and hot pot. Like two or three dinners PER NIGHT. And he LOVES it. So, for our first night at WDW, I decided to cater to Mr. Cotten a little with reservations at Morimoto Asia.
Yeah, Chef Morimoto does not disappoint. There’s a reason he’s an Iron Chef.
This was, in my opinion, the best meal of our trip. The carafe of Sake Sangria might be influencing that assessment, but I’m seriously drooling looking at this giant bowl of ramen. And the atmosphere – did you get a look at those chandeliers? There was even a woman painted entirely red on the second floor, working as a human bar table (this was for a private event, but watching this lady was the highlight for Dorothy).
Our service was also super quick, which was great with a toddler who was fading fast. So fast, in fact, she didn’t even make it all the way back to our room.
And we hadn’t even met Mickey Mouse yet. 😉
Stay tuned for Day 2, Magic Kingdom!