The week of Memorial Day I took my family to Walt Disney World for the third time. My boys are now 5 and 7 so we tried a different approach to this trip. Usually I try to cram as many days in the parks as possible but for a 6 night stay we only went to the park 4 days but this time with a park-hopper. We also tried new adventures on our “off day”.
Beach Club Resort
We stayed at the Beach Club Villas in a 1 bedroom villa which was the perfect accommodation for us.
Kitchen in Beach Club 1 bedroom villa
Master bedroom in Beach Club 1 bedroom villa
The kids had their own TV in the living room and slept on the pull-out sofa while my husband and I had the bedroom with a king bed and our own TV. The villa also came with a full kitchen and laundry facilities. I didn’t cook as much as I thought but I did at least 2 loads of laundry DAILY! Location was a very important factor this time and the Beach Club is located right next to Epcot (7 minute walk from our room to the International Gateway) and a 15 minute walk from Hollywood Studios or a 5 minute boat ride.
Pirate ship water slide at Beach and Yacht Club resort pool
Beach and Yacht Club Pool
The pool at the Beach Club which is shared with the Yacht club is so much fun! My boys loved the water slide that started from an old pirate ship, lazy river, zero-entry pool and the sandy bottom. The pool is so popular you have to prove you’re a guest of either resort to be allowed in (scan your Magic Band).
The restaurants are also very good here. We’ve been to Cape May Cafe for the character breakfast on a previous trip but tried the evening seafood buffet. Our favorite is Beaches and Cream because of the yummy burgers but mainly because of No Way Jose, the peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sundae.
Menu at Beaches and Cream
No Way Jose sundae at Beaches and Cream
The main difference on this trip was the use of Magic Bands. My husband and I are huge fans! We really groaned at having to use our car and house keys when we returned home. It’s so easy to just put your band up to the gate upon entry, scan it for meals and access to your room. Fast Pass + was also in full effect and although I was very skeptical at first I’ve really grown to appreciate it. I wish they would make some changes to the tiered systems at Hollywood Studios and Epcot so you can get a FP for both Soarin and Test Track instead of one or the other and the same for Toy Story Mania and either Rock’n Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror. Maybe they will make adjustments as time goes on. In the meantime it looks as though you still need to arrive at “rope drop” in order to maximize your time.
Magic Band scanning
We also tried a few new restaurants this time. I was able to get a reservation for Be Our Guest which ended up being my husband’s favorite meal of the entire trip! Don’t know if it was the “magic” of eating in Beast’s Castle or his steak.
Be Our Guest
The kids with the Beast
Steak and fries at Be Our Guest
At Animal Kingdom we ate at Yak and Yeti because we have a new love for fried green beans and I always love dim sum.
Yak and Yeti
Hollywood and Vine for the Disney Junior character breakfast was also a big hit even though the characters were so slow to move around that my kids never got to meet Jake. Maybe next time.
Hollywood and Vine
Disney Junior Character breakfast
We also tried Chef Mickey’s for dinner our first night which is a recommendation I make to all my clients. This is a good restaurant for the beginning of your trip because you’re immediately introduced to the characters and are able to take a loop around on the monorail and get a taste for the Magic Kingdom.
Goofy posing with the boys at Chef Mickey’s Character dinner
View of Chef Mickey’s from the monorail at the Contemporary resort
Monorail in front of the Magic Kingdom
Our first day in the Magic Kingdom was the day that Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train opened. Our plan was to be at the park before rope drop, which we did, and race that way to get in line to ride. Well, by the time we got inside the gate the line was already 90 minutes long. We decided to ride everything else in Fantasyland and try the ride on our next trip.
Kids riding Dumbo while everyone else was in line for Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
On our day off I booked our boys on a Pirate Adventure Cruise. They take place daily from 9:30 – 11:30 at either the Grand Floridian, Yacht and Beach Club, Caribbean Beach, or Port Orleans resorts. It’s kids only so be sure your kids can handle being without you for two hours. My kids loved it! They did the one at Port Orleans and they dressed up like pirates and learned the tale of a real pirate. The price isn’t very much and it’s worth the time to have a little time for you and your significant other.
My youngest dressed and ready for the pirate cruise.
Adventure pirate cruise at Port Orleans
Pirate Cruise booty
Afterwards we headed to Typhoon Lagoon for a little while. I always love a good water park and this one doesn’t disappoint! We didn’t stay long because we wanted to rest a bit that afternoon before our private boat cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon.
View of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our private boat cruise
We had planned on taking the Pirate and Pals voyage but after running the numbers it was almost the same price to rent a pontoon boat and private driver for 2 hours to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. We took this trip with another family with kids the same ages as ours so for 8 of us it was cheaper to take the specialty cruise. For an additional fee you can get the boat decorated for a birthday or anniversary. The cruise provided snacks and soft drinks but if you would like additional food or drinks you need to order this ahead of time. This was by far the highlight of our trip!
One other difference between this trip and others is that we focused more on character meet-and-greets. We didn’t really seek them out but took the opportunity when we came across them.
Cast member from Botswana who works at the Animal Kingdom Lodge
Boys with Dug
Meeting Goofy at the Epcot Character Spot
The Boys and Mr. Smee
Boys with the “Captain” at the
We really enjoyed this slower paced trip and are looking forward to our next one!
See ya real soon!