Thanksgiving Reunion Disney Style

We spent the entire week of Thanksgiving in Disney World and it was truly magical. 
We went as a large group (33 family members) on my dad's side and had the best family reunion ever! Planning for this trip began over a year ago. I take no credit in any of the planning and I am beyond thankful for my cousin Christi and other family members who are organized and on top of things. Bob and I are also beyond thankful to my amazing and generous parents. Without them there's no possible way we could have taken a trip like this. Seeing Ella and McKenna's reactions to their first time at Disney World is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I couldn't be more thankful. 
The few weeks leading up to the trip I began getting things together for the girls. Before the trip they didn't own any character shirts. Now they own about 7 a piece. And of course McKenna has worn her Doc McStuffins shirt every day since we have been back. (including the 3 times she repeated it in Disney World) About a week before we left I took the girls to the Disney store outlet and let them pick out shirts. They were tickled and couldn't wait to wear them all! I surprised them with new suitcases and backpacks for the trip. I filled the backpacks up with all kinds of goodies for the airplane and they weren't allowed to open them till we got on the plane. I got the backpacks at JCPennys and they were adorable. They were the smaller size but so cute! 
The plane ride went great! I am not the biggest fan of flying. It kinda terrifies me. Like a lot. Having kids has helped keep me distracted and put on a brave face. McKenna had only flown once when she was an infant so this was all new to her. She did great. We brought her carseat onto the plane and she sat perfectly still and even fell asleep for a bit. Ella sat next to JoJo and made jewelry the entire time. 
We arrived at the hotel on Sunday around 3pm. We stayed at the Polynesian because it had a monorail that took us straight to Magic Kingdom. We didn't waste anytime. We dropped our bags in the rooms, grabbed a quick bite and jumped on the monorail. We were all beyond excited! The second we walked through the gates there was a place to buy Mickey and Minnie ears. We didn't think twice. 
As we walk towards the castle, the music starts. Then Mickey and Minnie come out on the stage, followed by all the princesses. They all sang and danced and it couldn't have started at a more perfect time. It was such a cool and special moment. I was fighting back the tears. We were all in awe. 
We rode a few rides that night and the girls were loving every minute.
The next day we went to Hollywood Studios. That is where all the Disney Jr. stuff is so I was super excited for McKenna. Even though she doesn't really watch any of the shows, (because she can't sit still for that long) she loves Doc McStuffins and Sofia. The line to get your picture taken with Sofia was 45 minutes long so we skipped that part. There was a super cute show though with all the characters and they had bubbles, soap studs, and confetti fall from the ceiling during the show. The girls loved it.
We watched the Muppets 3D show which was ok. I was sad they didn't have anything else Muppet. 
Then we headed over to the Toy Story ride that everyone says is a must ride. The wait time for the line said 80 minutes. This was our first full day so we hadn't really figured out how to use the fast passes yet. We decided to go for it. There was 10 of us so we had each other to keep company. We played heads up on our phone, McKenna was passed around to everyone more than once and the kids were swinging on the bars like monkeys. It had been a good hour when we realized the line wasn't really moving too fast. It was taking FOREVER. Then someone comes on the loud speaker and says, "Some of Andy's friends came over to play so the wait time is going to be longer than expected." She came on and said that at least 3 different times. Basically it was code for something was broken on the ride. We had already waited too long to turn back now so we pushed on. It ended up taking us 3 hours before we rode the ride. Insane. The ride was cool but not wait 3 hours for it cool. After that ride is when we learned how to use the fast passes.

Tuesday we went to Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast in the castle and got to see all the princesses. It was so fun!
After breakfast we rode some rides and I found out that Ella is my risk taker. She loved the big roller coasters and even the haunted rides. She couldn't get enough of it all. I rode the space mountain coaster with her and Bob and I was terrified. The whole time I kept thinking how Ella was probably so scared but I was so wrong. It didn't scare a bit. (so she says) She loved it!

That afternoon was when a few of the cousins had appointments at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. This was one of those things that had to be booked like 180 days in advance. My cousin did it for everyone which was awesome! This place was Ella's dream. It was a beauty salon fit for a princess. They made her feel so special and pampered. She got her hair done, nails and makeup. When they were all done, they made a big deal out of turning her around to see herself in the mirror. She gasped with excitement. It was awesome!

We watched the firework show and light parade at the Magic Kingdom that night. It was all so amazing. 
We even stayed out after the fireworks to ride more rides. McKenna was a trooper. 
We had breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto the next morning in our hotel. McKenna loved taking pics next to all the princesses but if it was a big costume character, she wouldn't let me put her down. 
We headed to Epcot after breakfast on Wednesday but didn't stay long. There wasn't really any kid friendly rides there so we all headed over to the Animal Kingdom. It was Bob's favorite park. I thought it was super cool too but Magic Kingdom was my fave for sure. 
We ate lunch at rain forest cafe.
The safari ride was awesome. They drove you around and you got to see all kinds of animals right up close. It was pretty cool.
We saw a lion king show that is really good and couldn't leave without some face paint.

Thursday was Thanksgiving so all 33 of us (actually it was 30, as 3 were down with a tummy bug that went around (or thru) the fam all week) headed over to the Grand Floridian Hotel for our Thanksgiving feast!
We brought our best table manners.
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We had a whole room to ourselves and the little cousins loved running around with each other. 
My cousin hired a photographer to take some pics of everyone. 
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We all had matching shirts which made my heart so happy! I didn't make them, 33 was too many for my skills so we went to a professional. I think they turned out great!
It was fun being in one room with everyone for a meal. There were so many of us so it was really the only time everyone was in one spot at the same time. 

We finished Thanksgiving out at Hollywood Studios. We went to the Beauty and the Beast show that was super cute. Then Ella wanted to ride the Tower of Terror with my dad and Bob. I couldn't believe it! When they came off the ride she wouldn't show me the picture because she said it looked like she was crying. She kept telling me that she was not crying and she loved it. She wanted to do it again!
There was a Rockin Roller coaster ride that Bob and my dad had already ridden. They said it was so good that my mom and I should go. We aren't big into coaters but we got talked into it. I actually liked it but my mom felt differently. This picture says it all. She never even opened her eyes. My dad cracks me up that he is laughing!
Once it got dark, the park had a Christmas lights show with snow being blown in too! It was so fun and it finally felt right to start celebrating Christmas since we had eaten our stuffing and turkey.
Friday was our last full day and we wanted to go out with a bang. We got to Magic Kingdom early. We rode rides, danced with Stitch and ate lunch in Beauty and the Beast's castle.
We ate dinner in Downtown Disney Friday night. We had plans to head back to Magic Kingdom for a late last night but then that dang tummy bug hit me. Boo. Mine really was the best timing though. I didn't miss a day in the parks and at least I wasn't throwing up on the plane the next morning. 
We were so sad to leave Saturday morning. Here are the girls with their sad faces.
It was a trip we will never forget! 


Misty said...

What a dream!

Joni Anderle said...

Sounds amazing! We spent Christmas there one year and it was the best ever!

Leslie said...

Such great pictures and tips. I can't wait for our trip. I just booked our fast passes but I need to make sure I know how to use them. Bummer about your tummy bug. I'm expecting that same thing to happen to all 24 of us too.
Anyway thanks for t-shirt help. You are the best!!!!

Ryan and Sylvia Mack said...

Laughed out loud at the picture of Ella on the Tower of Terror! Hilarious!! Loved all of the pictures!

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