Our Not-So-Magical Visit to Disney

Our Magical Visit to Disney

Okay so that isn’t exactly the truth, we had some complications… but we made the most of it and most definitely have a vacation to remember! Like I always say, ‘we don’t have it all together, but together we have it all’.

Just a little general disclaimer… besides the disclaimer that Disney provided us with media passes to facilitate this post, I’d like to disclaim that this will be a very long post. Very. Long. If you read it all, you’re amazing. Thanks.

Heading Out

We had dropped off my three older kids with their grandparents on the way to Disney. The kids haven’t seen them in a couple years and were planning on spending a week at their house. Those three kids have been to many of the Disney parks more than once, so I didn’t feel bad not bringing them with us.

I mentioned in Simple Tips for Visiting Disney, we left home without our double stroller… and like I mentioned in My Visit to SeaWorld, we made the huge mistake of renting a stroller at the park. Poor Baby Jack couldn’t lay back and relax and he had just started sitting up on his own the week before. So we purchased two umbrella strollers on the way to Disney. There wasn’t much to chose from so we were stuck with what we got, but it worked out. It was a hassle using two separate strollers, but more convenient than using the park stroller.

We packed a good sized backpack filled with diapers, wipes, sunblock, water bottles, first-aid stuff, ponchos, a clip-on umbrella for lawn chairs the stroller, and a few other things. We brought two cameras, a little point and shoot for Mike and I had my DSLR. That way we didn’t miss a thing!

Disney provided us with one-day park hopper media passes and we wanted to make the most of our day so we tried to hit more than one park and tried to arrive as early as possible. We also happened to be one of the very last guests at the park too, but not by choice haha.

Hollywood Studios

We arrived around 10:00am and parked at Hollywood Studios. We decided to go to Hollywood Studios for just a few hours first and then spend the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom. The parking situation at the parks is awesome! There is a tram at the end of each parking aisle to pick you up and take you to the front of the park. I wish our local zoo had this haha.

In the park, we walked the streets of Hollywood Studios for a couple of hours and got to see everything we’ve seen on TV. It was exciting.

Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios

After walking around for a while, it was nice to sit and watch the shows. It helped cool us off a bit and we were able to regain some energy. Watching the shows is a great way to get out of the heat for a little bit.

We had lunch and ate outside at the Backlot Express before we left the park. It was crowded inside the restaurant with no seating available, but the tables outside were almost empty, which was nice because I was able to feed Baby Jack without really bothering anyone. It was just too darn hot for a nursing cover!

It was a quick visit at Hollywood Studios, we only stayed about three hours, but we were anxious to see the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

We took the bus from the Hollywood Studios park to the Magic Kingdom park. This was very convenient! Once dropped off, we had the choice of taking the Monorail or the ferry into the park. We chose the Monorail to take us into Magic Kingdom. It was fun!

Once inside the Magic Kingdom park, we walked around in amazement. I felt like I was 5 years old again and I REALLY loved watching Mike’s face and Gracie’s face when they saw the castle! That’s a feeling you just can’t beat! We must have taken a million pictures with the castle behind us haha.
Magic Kingdom

Ready for a bunch of pictures? You know I can’t help but share way too many haha…
Magic Kingdom
Gracie saw the statue of Mickey holding Walt Disney’s hand and she said, “Is that Mickey’s daddy?”
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
We couldn’t pass up the chocolate decorated taffy apple or the Mickey cake pop!
We were caught in quite a few thunderstorms throughout the day and managed to escape one storm by heading into Gustans Tavern for a slushy.
Magic Kingdom
Daddy is afraid of roller coasters and has waited his whole entire life to ride the tea cup ride!
Magic Kingdom
And more rain.
On and off all day long.
We spent so much time waiting under awnings.
Not fun.
Magic Kingdom
It was at Gustan’s Tavern, when we were trying to escape the rain again, that we got tired and more lazy. We forgot our backpack, left it at the tavern. Oops! We didn’t realize it until the next downpour and decided to pull out the ponchos and umbrella. Luckily enough we made it back and the staff told us they turned it into the lost and found – but we didn’t have time to go all the way to the front of the park to retrieve it so we decided to wait until our way out to get it back.
And then at the very end of the night we made it over to the Beast’s castle for dinner at “Be Our Guest“. Our dinner reservations were for 9:10pm (crazy, I know… but that’s whatcha get if you don’t make reservations 6 months ahead). We arrived about 20 minutes early, but didn’t get seated until after 10:00pm… and when you’ve been in the heat sweating all day and dodging storms on and off for over 12 hours, things can get a little crazy!
Magic Kingdom
Baby Jack fell asleep so I balanced my food over his head and it only fell on him once.
Gracie had a meltdown when the Beast walked through the dinning room, but didn’t say.
And Mike.
We have no excuse for him.
The dinning room was so beautiful. Just as beautiful as in the movie.
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest was really our favorite place to visit. It felt real. With Beast walking around, it felt like you could go upstairs and find Belle. It felt like you could walk around the corner and find Misses Teapots and Chip walking down the hallway. We really loved it.
Mike really loved meeting Beast and Gracie had another meltdown when we tried to leave.
We had to lie and tell her that he was going to bed and needed us to leave.
It was great though.
Especially when she balled her eyes out for the next hour while we walked around in a thunderstorm.
Another benefit to having dinner at 11pm.
Magic Kingdom
The Choas Starts
Or should I say… gets worse.
Of course we missed the parade. You know, that night-time parade with all of the lights and characters? We missed it because #1 it was thunder storming outside and #2 the parade was at 11pm and we were not finished with our dinner just yet. If our reservations were on time, there would not have been an issue. That disappointed me. We planned on having dinner at 9-ish so we could make it to the 11pm parade. IF it was not storming out – we would have still missed this parade. I understand reservations being late. It happens. But over an hour late?
Our day had not been the easiest to manage through, mostly due to the rain… but nobody can help that. Besides the rain, we had a great day and saw  so so much considering we fit two Disney parks into one day.
I would’ve really loved to have left the Magic Kingdom with that magical feeling. But the end of our night got completely ruined. While waiting for our reservation, we asked three different staff members about the late park hours and the parking and shuttling services. We were told all three times that the park stays open until 1am and the transportation services do also.
This is not true.
The staff at the restaurant made us leave. In the thunder storm. With no ponchos because we lost our backpacks. We managed to make it to the very first shop we could find and purchased 2 ponchos only to walk out of the park at midnight.
We made it to the front, the staff found our backpack. We walked out the gates and confirmed once again we would have transportation. Then we wondered if we could skip the monorail and take a bus directly to Hollywood Studios. So we asked another staff member. The answer was, “yes, but the busses are way over there”. So we walked and walked and found the busses… just to find out that no, we could not take the busses over. We had to take the monorail or the ferry. But now we were so far away from the monorail… and what kind of dummy would take a ferry in a thunderstorm?!?
Us. That’s who.
So we took the ferry back. Then tried to find a bus back to Hollywood Studios. A very nice staff member happily said, “Oh yes, there is one bus that can take you back to Hollywood Studios. It just left and it should be back in about 20 minutes.”  Oh how wonderful. Now we have to wait 20 minutes, it’s past midnight. I have two sleeping kids soaking wet. One in a baby carrier on me (while I am pushing his empty stroller) and one in the other stroller and we just have to sit here and wait 20 minutes. Now, it’s going on 1am.
Our bus arrived, but of course the driver would not let us in unless we collapse the strollers. Oh could this get any better? So now I have to wake up my 4 year old who just-so-happens to be Oscar the Grouch when she wakes up. Lovely.
We take the bus ride back to Hollywood Studios and he parks. We ask where the shuttle is. He said the shuttle doesn’t run this late. IT DOESN’T?!? THREE STAFF MEMEBERS TOLD US IT DID!! So we then ask where the Goofy parking lot is. Bus driver says it’s straight ahead… which happens to be about a block away or two.
We walk to the parking lot. Now I have some kind of rug burn on my arms because my baby carrier is sopping wet and so uncomfortable carrying a 20 lbs. sleeping baby. We look up. We do not see Goofy. We see Minnie. We are in the wrong parking lot. In the dark. At 1am. And the lot is practically empty. Now, excuse my language… but what in the hell are we supposed to do now?!? We are lost. Very, very lost.
So we walk to the nearest building.
Thank God people were coming out, even though it looked dark and empty.
It’s STAFF! I wasn’t sure if I should ask for help once again and go on yet another wild goose chase. But we didn’t have a choice.
We explain all that happened and they helped. One staff member took Mike in her car and they drove to the Goofy lot… and then she showed him how to get back to me. I was sitting on a bench under another awning trying not to get anymore wet. The staff who stayed with me – didn’t have to stay with me. But they did because they were the nicest people EVER! They even offered Gracie cotton candy and then helped us load our car with the strollers. I LOVED THEM! They fixed all that had gone wrong. We found our car, and we finally were on our way home.
Of course the kids slept all the way home. We were miserable though. I swear I have never been so exhausted my whole entire life.
When I woke up the next day, I was not happy. The chaos we went through at the end of our day was not necessary. It could have been avoided. And we left Disney with a sour taste in our mouths. The staff should not answer questions if they do not know the answer. I’ve always been a huge fan of, “I DON’T KNOW” – that answer is OKAY! PLEASE, tell me you do not know and I will find someone who does! But please do not tell me that I will make it back to my car because the shuttle is up and running when it is not.
So that’s our story.
I hope you’ve had better luck at Disney than we did haha.


  1. Sorry that it ended on a sour note. Maybe a note to mgmt. would get a meeting going so everyone is better made aware of schedule times. Couldn’t hurt to try, for sure.

  2. Sorry about your trip, but it really wasn’t the staffs fault. Magic Kingdom stays open til 1am, Hollywood Studios does not, sounds like they thought you were asking about Magic Kingdom’s hours and shuttling services. All the parks have different hours everyday. We are avid Disney goers [more than once a year] and know we have to look up park hours and plan our trip out beforehand and park our car accordingly. I’m sorry your trip ended on a sour note, hope next time it goes better.

  3. Oh my gosh. I am sorry to hear your trip slid down hill so fast. I would suggest linking this to management at Disney. Perhaps training or little notes for the workers with the correct times would help. I would prefer to hear, “I don’t know the answer to that.” Then the wrong answer.


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