October 28, 2019
In honor of our second (& maybe final) annual ladies trip to Disney.. I’m reminiscing on photos from last years trip and how we pulled it off on such a low budget. (Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn into a Disney blogger.. although that’d be fun)
It was partially our lack of concern for certain things and partially God’s hilarious and specific favor that made the trip that much more fun for us.
This section you only need to read if you’re curious about how to do Disney cheap.. if you’re just here for the stories, skip to the next section!
Our first trip, we stayed at the All-Star Movies hotel.. this is one of Disney lower end hotels. In our opinion, this hotel was still nice, clean & had lots of Disney-themed fun in each room and around the hotel grounds. You do have to pay $13/night for parking even though your a hotel guest. I’m pretty sure the wifi didn’t really work (if that’s important for anyone!) The rooms didn’t have a coffee pot (I brought my french press stuff from home.. but for coffee lovers.. this is a big deal!!)
This upcoming trip, all of the All-Star Hotels were booked so we’re staying at The Radisson Hotel.. I’m sure I’ll do a follow up post to tell you our experience here! However, we chose this hotel because it’s one of the few near Disney that offers free parking, free wifi & and free shuttle to Disney. The shuttle runs from 7am-11pm which is plenty of time for us since we won’t have extra Magic Hours. The shuttle only runs to Hollywood Studios, so we’ll be traveling there & then to the park from Hollywood Studios.
(tbh, we may end up taking an Uber! I’ll let you know how that goes!)
Last year, we really wanted to watch a movie & tried connecting to our phones but the Disney hotel TVs are completely locked down from that. We’re trying to by-pass that this year by bringing a laptop – cause who doesn’t wanna prep for the parks with snuggling in & watching a Disney movie?!
In preparation, we each bought Disney halloween shirts from Etsy (here’s where I got mine)!
+ There are hidden Starbucks in every park (Magic Kingdom’s just says “coffee” until you get up close; the drinks are the normal Starbucks price and you can use your app. If you go to another coffee shop, it’ll likely be twice the price.
+ If you hate that Florida water taste & can’t handle refilling water bottles, you can also order a Venti Water at Starbucks & it’s a filtered cup of water for free. (The lines are usually really long, so if you don’t order anything else, you may get a death stare…lol)
+ This is probably newbie stuff.. but you can bring in your own snacks in a bag. We brought in some heavy-duty, tastes like garbage protein bars to keep us from needing full meals throughout the day. We felt like we could splurge more on dinner since we saved some on lunches.
Our first trip has SO many “favor” stories from God. It became almost funny.. like an inside joke with God.
Last year began when, kind of on a whim.. we went from a joking conversation of “what if we went to Disney?!” to actually purchasing the tickets for Fall Break.
Our first park day started at Hollywood Studios & it was EMPTY! (At least by Disney standards “empty”). There were new kiddie rides whose lines filled up asap, leaving empty lines for us at some of the big rides! This was our first moment of thinking.. wow.. okay thanks God.
One of the funniest memories I have of that day was when we went to the Little Mermaid show for old time sake.. and.. you know when you remember something from childhood that you thought was amazing.. but then as an adult it’s nothing like you remembered?! We couldn’t stop laughing at how outdated the show was.. I’m pretty sure Ariel even got stuck at one point because of how old the stage equipment is (lololol)
Mid-day, it was time for Epcot! We decided the boat ride would be most fun for traveling to Epcot. Apparently it takes 45 minutes in between boat rides (that’s a lot in valuable Disney park time).. they started filling up the boat & stopped us saying the boat was full. Buttttt…. somehow Katie’s Georgia Bulldawg shirt swayed the line attendant & they allowed us to hop on!
(More favor from the Lord because.. what other person loves the Georgia bulldawgs in Florida on GA/FL weekend?!)
Epcot was awesome!! I had never been but it’s officially my favorite now. This part of the day was pretty easy going because nothing was too crowded. We had a “rule” among us three that we wouldn’t stand in line for more than an hour for any ride.. But we broke our rule (just once) for Test Track.
One of our favorite memories was actually standing in line for Test Track. Just like children who appreciate the box more than the toy, we had the BEST time playing Heads Up Charades on our phone. Other people in line around us started joining in to help us guess & pass the time!
Originally, we only had Cassie and I listed as the guests staying in our hotel room.. when we tried to add Katie later, it tried to bump us out of our room (even though we had plenty of space for three?!). We chose to just leave it.. but we didn’t realize that if you aren’t a listed guest at a Disney resort.. you don’t get Extra Magic Hours (bonus hours when the park is open only for Disney resort guests!)
Buttttt…. on our second day, we started at Animal Kingdom. We arrived at the park in time for extra Magic Hours (just in case). You typically have to scan your Magic Band & see a green circle saying “you’re good to go in!”
For whatever reason (the Lord), we got put into a line where the attendant only asked for one person’s Magic Band to scan.. they scanned Cassie’s and BOOM.. we got our Extra Magic Hours after all!
Again, we got to ride everything we wanted with short lines. We even randomly had an attendant tell us to go into the Fast Pass line even though we didn’t have one?!
Maybe all the little “favor” moments seem trivial.. but it made the entire trip more fun because it felt like God was having fun with us. It made it go from a Disney trip (already great) to watching our Father bless us in the smallest-this-doesn’t-even-matter-but-I-love-you kind of ways!!
Then we headed over to ***Magic Kingdommmmm***
I’ll admit.. we were TIRED at this point. And so was every child who was currently missing their nap time and screaming around us.
One of our favorite memories from Magic Kingdom was getting to ride Splash Mountain about a dozen times because it was November & night time and no one wanted to get wet. Somehow we kept talking people into letting us just stay on the ride (and squeeze all three of us into a two person seat). We laughed until we cried at all of our weird faces when the camera went off on the drop!
We ended our trip by sitting on the sidewalk at Magic Kingdom, eating our Mickey-shaped desserts and watching all the pretty fall decorations & lights.
This Thursday, we’re going again! Sadly, it’ll be our last “ladies only” trip because my girl, Cass will have a baby come February!! At that point, we’ll enter a new era of “ladies + husbands + family” trip.. which I’m sure we’ll never trade for the world!
But for this last one.. it’s going to be good! As I look forward to it, almost nothing specific about the parks stand out to me as the “most exciting” thing. I’m more excited about the friendships that get strengthened and the memories that get made with my people on a trip.
I think there’s something that goes deeper than “deep conversations” when you’re on a trip together. Knowing you can talk to each other about anything is a must, but being able to talk about nothing when you’re both tired & trusting each other with the silence is different.
OKAY THAT’S ALL CAN’T WAIT!! If you want to live vicariously through our Disney trip.. follow @michelehoustonphotography on Instagram and watch stories starting on Thursday!!