This time last weekend, we were at Disney World for a short weekend! Today, I’m looking out the window at a gloomy, rainy Atlanta “winter” day… but that’s neither here nor there. We decided to take the two oldest kids to Disney World on a short weekend in February for a few reasons. One, we love the weather there in February, and also it’s USUALLY less crowded. (Not this time, but I’ll get to that.) This trip to Disney would be Charlie’s very first and I was SO excited about her reaction. As expected, she was totally stoked and couldn’t wait to get on the road. With that, we loaded up our 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.4 S-AWC and set out on our seven hour road trip to Florida.
What did we drive?
We borrowed a 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.4 S-AWC for this trip and it was AMAZING. It has a small third row, which was perfect for Grayson (who prefers to NOT be smushed between car seats). We also adored everything else about this car and were so sad to give it back! The gas mileage was a huge plus, there was plenty of room for all our luggage, and all of the other luxurious features were an added bonus.
Where did we stay?
I have to rave about our lodging accommodations. Growing up within driving distance, I’ve been to Disney more than a few times and stayed everywhere from hotels to vacation rentals to with family. This time, we stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. This is actually a timeshare property owned by Wyndham- the brand you already know and love.
Um, what? A timeshare?! Listen. Timeshare does NOT any longer mean visiting the same beach resort, the same week every year, and staying in the exact same room. Wyndham evolved from that type of vacation years ago. They now have a flexible points system that allows you to book stays at 220 Wyndham vacation club resorts or exchange at 4,300 affiliated resorts in 110 countries with the RCI exchange network. Timeshare owners aren’t buying fixed weeks in one location, but rather points that allow them to travel the world. Cool, huh? It’s also a myth that timeshare ownership is cost-prohibitive. The actual cost to buy a timeshare (and a lifetime of vacations), can be as low as a latte a day.
We stayed in a very spacious suit with two separate bedrooms, kitchen, living & dining areas WHILE having access to resort-style amenities and service. There were activities on property going on around the clock, a mini golf course, pools, and more. Our suite overlooked the lake and pool and was the PERFECT option for a family vacation to Disney. We will only ever stay at Bonnet Creek, I think. I truly wished we had a longer vacation so that we could spend one whole day at Bonnet Creek.
What parks did we do?
So, we actually had one day park-hopper tickets and had intended to do Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. I had never been to Hollywood Studios, and didn’t realize that it’s pretty limited for someone Charlie’s size. We quickly realized this and made the executive decision to head over to the Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. We knew there would be plenty to do for Charlie, AND I am WAY more familiar with that park and getting around. In retrospect, we would have just done Magic Kingdom and done the one day / one park passes. This was my first time taking more than one kid to Disney, so it was a learning experience for sure. We got to Magic Kingdom at about 11 after our trial and error at Hollywood Studios.
The first thing to note, is that this was NOT a typical February weekend. It was President’s Day weekend and also Winter Break for New England. As it turned out, it was one of the busiest weekends for Disney. (Oops.) Nevertheless, we took full advantage of all we could. Since we had room in the car and we have a stroller that’s easily collapsible etc., we brought our own. (The Britax B-Agile, for anyone wondering.) Luckily, Charlie took a long afternoon nap in it, which kept her ready to rally for round two that evening.
Another key thing we did is reserve our fast passes 30 days in advance. We used them for a few of the rides that usually have the longest waits. (I will say, though, that as busy as the park was that day- ALL the rides had insane waits.) Fast passes definitely helped us plan the day and do more rides- even on a busy day like it was. We also took advantage of Rider Switch for a couple of the rides that Charlie was too small for. This allows one parent to wait and one parent to ride and then switch without much of a wait. It’s a great option. I also highly recommend using the Disney Experience app. It’s great for fast passes, dining reservations, checking wait times and more.
What did we eat?
Throughout the day, we ate some yummy food (our favorite places to stop were Columbia Harbour House for a lobster roll, and Aloha Isle for Dole Whip). We also learned that two good times to get on rides are during the parades and the fireworks. Also, a lot of people leave after fireworks and things die down some.
We had reservations for 9pm at Be Our Guest, which is very hard to get reservations for- so we were determined to make it til then. Fireworks were at 8, so between those two- there was a bit of a lull in the park and we were able to get on a few more rides! Be Our Guest was an amazing experience. It wasn’t cheap, but worth every penny. It’s a three course meal (which was INCREDIBLE) and the experience of being a guest in the ballroom of the Beast’s mansion. The Beast is even there to meet everyone and thank us for coming. It was so fun!
What did we ride?
As busy as the day was, we were still able to ride: Space Mountain, People Mover, Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie The Pooh, Dumbo, and Haunted Mansion. Charlie was able to do all of them except for Space Mountain. We also got to meet a few characters. I felt like this was pretty good considering we got to the park late, it was insanely busy, and we had a three year old with us. We also watched a couple parades and experienced all the other magic that arose around us throughout the day.
What did we pack for the park?
I thought about making this a whole other post, but I’m just going to lay it out here. So, I am humbly admitting that I didn’t pack our “park backpack” for Disney in a short weekend as well as I could have. If I could go back, here’s what I would pack. (Keep in mind we had two adults, a 9 year old and a 3 year old.)
- Light Jackets
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet Wipes
- Water Bottles
- A Few Small Snacks
- Portable Backup Phone Charger (Ankr is my fave)
- Peppermint Oil
Overall, I felt like it was very successful, even with a quick turnaround of attempting Disney World in a short weekend. We were there less than 48 hours and really had a great time! Check out our vlog here: