My husband and I love to document life moments through photography. Some of the best memories we love to look back at are our personal family vacations. If you haven’t gone to The Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida yet, here’s a glimpse of our summer vacation story. Hopefully it will give you some tips about travelling there if you plan to do so in the near future. Or perhaps it can shed some light on how it feels to travel with kids from ages 2.5 years to 11 years old.
So, being a business owner of a portrait studio, managing and operating inside the mall with the mandatory 70 hrs/week mall hours, and booked out months in advance for weekend wedding work, it just made sense to do a last minute family vacation during the week. It was now or next year since the kids would start school in a few weeks. We were going to driving, so this was our plan: We would leave Charlotte, North Carolina during the night and arrive in Orlando, Florida in the morning ( a total of 8 hours – not bad right, when you’re a passenger ) – just in time for the amusement park to open! Call us cray cray – but that’s how our vacation started! It was actually a great idea since the kids were sound asleep (and we only made 1 stop to refuel) plus night owl traffic was a breeze, until we hit Orlando! We arrived near Magic Kingdom around 8 am to hit the morning and amusement park traffic. We stopped by a rest area just a few miles away the exit. Everyone freshened up while my husband, Thay (pronounced like “tie”) tried to catch up on some sleep. Thay is an awesome long distant driver so of course he drove all the way which allowed me to catch up on some sleep and do my makeup in the car. Makeup was not as perfect as I would like, but, I had to look decent for Mickey Mouse! My bags were still noticeable since the rest in the car was not as satisfying as the comfort of your own bed. But then, we do what we do to make things happen for these 3 darling monkeys of ours!
We thought we were arriving to the park pretty early at 9 am but boy were we wrong! The parking lot was already packed and we had a hike from where we parked to the entrance of the gates. Admission was a bit pricey but, hey – this is the land where dreams come true! Adults were $105 and kids from 3 - 9 years were $99. My little one got in for free since he was under 3. The box office agents were very pleasant and helpful – we were handed our admission cards where we wrote our names on the back in permanent marker. The cards were scanned each time we entered a ride or attraction. This was something new from our last visit 5 years ago. (we got wrist bands last time) I also saw kids scanning their watches instead of using the cards.
Once we passed the bags checkpoint and screening booth, we entered the waiting area for the Ferry Boat. Seeing the Magic Kingdom from afar was such an exciting feeling. My son, who is 2.5 years, just recently got introduced to “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” on the Disney Channel. He also likes so many other Disney movies and shows such as CARS, Frozen, Doc McStuffin, Sophia the First, but his favorite is doing the hot dog dance from the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” episodes. So, he knew we were going to see “the castle” and it was pretty fun seeing the excitement in his little eyes. The girls visited the park years ago when Penelli was 4 and Kashia was 2. They can remember a few things but now that they are older, I know they would have more vivid memories of this family trip.
The Ferry Boat ride was smooth and we can hear all the exited chatter all around the upper and lower deck of the boat. There were people that came from all over and throughout the day, I heard so many foreign languages. Which made me realize – do people really travel across the world to this park while we can just make a straight overnight drive and visit the park ove