No, not Disney.  Perhaps I’m a bad parent, but I’ve never wanted to visit Disney World.  The few times my wife has open the topic of taking our three boys I’ve been less than enthused.  To be clear, my lack of enthusiasm has been driven by expense, the faux-ness of the experience and the fact that my kids are not Disney oriented (except Star Wars).

I’m going to Disney

This time around, it was the best opportunity to get all three boys wanting to go.  After a truckload of research, mostly conducted by my wife, we got the trip on the books.


The logistics of the trip were worked on almost up to the day of the trip.  Early on we agreed on a moderate hotel on Disney property versus off property.  This proved to be a good decision.

Because it was cheaper, including a rental car we flew into Tampa and made the hour drive to Disney.  It was nice having a car at our disposal.  Having a car delinked is from the slower Disney transport system and allowed us to get around a little faster.

We decided on staying at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.  The cabins are well appointed (actually had a corkscrew), spacious and comfy.  I would recommend having a car if you stay here.  The cabins are pretty far away from the parks which makes transport to/from the Cabins slow.

Magic Kingdom

We planned three days in parks and a day at a Cocoa Beach.  Day one of the parks was Magic Kingdom as it coordinated with the Not So Scary Halloween that same night.

Before hitting the park, we had breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge’s Whispering Canyon Cafe.  First, the Lodge itself is worth exploring and enjoying with its huge open expanse and small exhibits.  Breakfast in the cafe is fun with great service and food.  After a short boat ride from the Lodge, we were ready to start the day.

The park was pretty crowded with an extraordinary amount of people riding scooters (the whole topic of its own).  By far, most of our time was spent moving between the roller coasters.  We sprinkled on the People Mover, Astro Orbiter, It’s a Small World and a few other low key rides. This trip marked a first for Chase and Griff taking a whack at riding coasters.

After a dinner break back in our cabin, we returned at night for the Halloween party.  We got a few rides in and the kids loaded up their trick or treat bags.  Most importantly we enjoyed an awesome fireworks show and the stage performance at the castle.  Day one was in the bag.

Hollywood Studios

By far, this is the park the boys and I were stoked about.  This was a really hot day. – we are talking 92 degrees and bright sun.  As soon as we walked in the park the March of the First Order was coming straight at us.

March of the first order
Our own first order of business (no pun) was the Indiana Jones Spectacular.  Everyone loved the action-packed show.  Reflecting on the day at Hollywood, our day was mostly Star Wars driven.  But, hands down everyone’s favorite “ride” was the Toy Story Mania shorting arcade.

The Star Tours Star Wars 3D ride was off the hook fun and left the boys speechless.  Tracy and Braden stood in the beating sun holding a spot for the 3:00pm March of the First Order.  The whole show was great and we got to stand toe to toe with First Order troopers.  To cool off, we spent a good deal of time in the Star Wars Launch Bay meeting Chewie, Kylon, Ren, and BB8.

Our Hollywood studios evening started with a dessert/dinner in the Launch Bay with First Order troopers. This was followed by an awesome laser light and fireworks show.

First order interview

Cocoa Beach

We made the hour trek over to the beach to simply see the ocean and get a Disney crowd break.  Another hot sunny day was perfect for splashing around in the ocean.  We rented some body boards, chairs, and an umbrella and set up camp.  The beach had a good bit of seaweed on the shore and a ton of shells.  There were so many shells that there were 10-yard stretches of beach that or souls hardly walk.  All of us got scratched up while board surfing onto these stretches of shells.  In the end, the shells were a blessing as the pounding surf gave Griffin pause.  Having been to Cocoa Beach many times, we were treated to some of the biggest swells I’ve seen at a Florida beach. Griff and I enjoyed combing through the receding surf to find some nice shells.

Animal Kingdom

Our day at Animal Kingdom was met with clouds and forecasted rain.  We did not get much in on the day but did get the Safari ride completed.  As well, thanks to meeting Tracy’s uncle and his family at the park, Braden had some takers for riding the Everest coaster.  After a character lunch at Tusker House, the heavens opened and thus our day wound to an end.

Me and mickey

The last day was clean up the cabin and head back to Tampa for our flight out.  There has already been talk about coming back after the new Star Wars area opens.  Not sure about that.  There are way more places in the world I would rather see.  Alas, I’m only one vote of five.

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