The best memories I will take with me from the day though, are definitely the parade in the afternoon, and meeting Mickey Mouse - that Mickey legit acted and talked exactly like Mickey Mouse and was soo cute with Landon, very believable!! The parade was really cool, as we got front row seats sitting on the curb on Main Street with ice creams, and a few of the characters even pulled out for a second to interact with little Blair, she definitely looked like a celeb even the Hotshot Disney characters were smitten with :) Landon was super adorable waving to all the characters and really excited when he saw the ones he knew from the movies. He met Ariel The Little Mermaid earlier in Ariel's Grotto, so when her float came by he was screaming "Ariel!! Hi!! That's my friend!!!" To the little kids next to him.
Landon was really a huge trooper and stayed awake and happy the entire day. He bit it at about 11:00, so he still got to see the 9pm fireworks over the castle and the night parade, but it was also nice for Chris and I to have a little time to ourselves at the end to get coffee and hit a few shops while he was out.
A few tips & tricks for those of you who are thinking about going with your kids anytime in the future:
- GET THERE EARLY. I can't emphasize this enough. There were extended hours during the April vacation week that we went so the park actually opened at 8 and we got there right at 9, but we literally knocked out every single ride in Fantasy Land without hitting ANY lines within the first hour.
- Go to meet Mickey Mouse IMMEDIATELY following one of the parades. They pull the characters from their typical 'meeting spots' to get ready for the parade maybe 30 minutes prior to the next scheduled parade, and then they go right back there when the parade is over. We were waiting in an 80 minute line to meet Mickey and very quickly called it quits and RAN back there immediately following the parade and the wait was only 10 minutes. Huge score. Mickey was amazing and DEFINITELY worth taking your little one to meet. WAY better than Santa Clause. Do it.
- Get good seats for the parade. The parade was AWESOME. And I'm typically not one for parades. We hit the 3:30 one and got curbside seats on Main Street, and can easily say it wouldn't have been that awesome if we had to stand the whole time and holding the kids up to see over others.
- Download the MyDisneyExperience App and get the Fast Passes! This allows you to plug in your ticket number to 3 rides/characters you want to meet and pick your hour timeframe within which to cut the line to do so. I would suggest using for Pirates of the Caribbean (awesome ride, always a really long wait) or meeting Mickey. The app is super user friendly, and kiosks throughout with Disney reps to help you with any problems.
- in addition to knocking out a ton of stuff early with no lines, right around 9:00 everything is dead too. Most people are watching the fireworks and go home for the night right after. All the rides in Fantasy Land were pretty much wide open at this point as well.
- Pick a day that is not super hot or rainy. We were prepared with ponchos for rain, 30% chance in the forecast, but we lucked out with 70 degrees and cloudy. It was perfect for the amount of walking we did and for the little ones not getting too tired, hot, or cranky. I really think an extreme weather day could make or break a good Disney day with small kids.
- TAKE BREAKS, sit down, get lunch, listen to your body and don't be a freak about trying to fit everything in. Of course we were freaks and actually did fit everything in we wanted to do and felt like we completely killed Disney in one day but I threw my back out 2 days later, and I know all the stress of carrying Blair and Landon on and off played the biggest part in that happening.
Alas, the photos from my iPhone that I still can't stop looking through: