Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disney Prep 101 (& a review of our hotel)

We booked our Disney vacation way back in March, pretty much the same day they announced that free dining was being offered this fall.  We also made our dining reservations at the same time. (key in getting some of the harder to reserve places!) So we were SUPER excited by August!

Hotel Review:
We choose to stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort this time – which is a moderate Disney resort.  Last year we stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter and these two resorts could not be any more different in terms of size. the rooms are a great size though, which is a plus.
8.26  (14) [blurry, excited girl! yay mickey towel thing!]

Caribbean Beach is one of the larger resorts – so you have to know where you are going and where you want to request to stay to avoid walking too far to get to the pools and to the restaurant. They have an internal shuttle that drops off at each resort area and we only took it one time (when we got there) because it’s not too prompt.  It was much faster just to walk.

We stayed in Jamaica.  We got a building close to the bus stop (yay!) and it was only a 3 or so minute walk across a bridge to get to the main pool/food area.  It was perfect. Each resort area has a little beachy area and a private pool as well – and they are surprisingly quiet! So if you needed to chill out, you could jump on a hammock and pretend you were really in Jamaica!

Gianna LOVED the pool – and I loved that they had a little kid area that is fenced in. They really watched for bigger kids too and made them leave!
8.26  (22)8.26  (28) [got to spend some time with our cousins when we first arrived too – so that was awesome!]

They also had life jackets available to use for in the big pool.  There was a zero entry area and 2 water slides, which Mike liked!  They had tons of pool activities and different things for kids to do. We spent one afternoon at the pool and G was totally into the dance party!
8.29  (547)8.29  (554) [totally getting down with the big kids]
And the smores!
8.29  (583)8.29  (608)

We never made it to any of them, but each night they also play a movie by the pool area outside. It was really neat and something fun for the kids and parents to do after a long day of walking!
There is a table service restaurant and then several quick service stations in the hotel – so we were able to eat there whenever we needed to.  They offered a pretty wide variety of food too – so it was easy to get something different each meal!

Aside from our dining reservations, I wanted to get a few little things for G to make this trip a little extra special. So I bought a few things (under $20 for everything) and wrapped them up so she could “receive” something each day. I thought it might help with all the “I want it” comments that we knew were bound to happen. And, it worked!
On the airplane, she got some new shades from Tinkerbelle. (this girl ADORES sunglasses, it’s crazy!)
On Monday, she got this amazing autograph book “from Minnie” made by the one and only NicDSC_07188.27  (110)
She really liked it and was so proud to get all the characters to sign it. She told pretty much everyone who asked that Minnie got it for her!

The next day she got a Minnie and Mickey tshirt to wear because we were having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s – I had to convince her to wear it, but she looked adorable!
8.28  (9)8.28  (54)
Then on Wednesday Rapunzel left her a nightgown to wear to bed. Which we practically had to peel off of her at one point.
And finally, on Thursday, Cinderella left her a new pair of princess shoes. that light up. and OMGAH she was so happy to show them off to the one and only, Cinderella that night! (no, I didn’t let her wear them all day – just for dinner!)
DSC_07228.30  (321)8.30  (326)
While she still asked for things – it was easy to say “hey, remember you got X today from whoever” – it really did work pretty well as a diversion tactic!  Of course she still asked for “pets” (stuffed animals, if you don’t speak Gianna) and she got a Rapunzel doll that had apparently been waiting for her ALL DAY and 2 different Ariel dolls (because her dad is a sucker).  We also brought our own glow sticks and stuff for the nighttime events, but really only ended up remembering them one of the two nights were up after dark!

Other than the fun goodies, our other prep was remembering to pack extra clothes/bathing suits in our carry on bag since we were using the Magical Express service (although, we got our bags in about an hour and a half).

And my handy tip – if you are going to bring band aides, make sure you bring GOOD band aides. because the ones I brought were horrible, and of course, I actually needed them!

More pictures and probably a daily recap of what we did coming soon. I have gotten a lot of questions on what do you do at Disney with a three year old, so hopefully that will help.


renee said...

I'm loving all your disney tips and OF COURSE all the pics. Can't wait to see more!!!! <3 you guys!

Tiff said...

I'm really excited to read about what there is to do with little ones there - I always go back and forth about taking Mason now or later when he will remember it better/be able to do more.