So, no one warned me not to make early breakfast reservations. And of course, I accidentally made all of our dining reservations for the wrong week (how does that even happen?!). So about 6 weeks ago when I somehow noticed, I had to take what I could get. I figured an 8:30 am reservation at Chef Mickey’s was no big deal. Well, turns out you need to allow at least an hour to get there from Riverside because there’s no resort-to-resort transportation.
Well, at 7:15 am, all three of my kids were still sleeping. So Josh and I had the ‘do we wake them up?’ debate. This was our only chance at getting into Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, so we opted for waking them up. We rushed and ran to the bus stop. We got there just in time to catch the 7:40 bus. BUT, it turns out that Disney’s Princess Half Marathon was today. SO, our bus ride took a lot longer. Then we got dropped off at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) instead of Magic Kingdom. Everybody and their brother was headed to Epcot, so it was a madhouse at TTC.
We finally found the monorail to the hotels and eventually made it to Chef Mickey’s about 20 minutes late. We opted out of the family picture opportunity… SO glad we did! I saw them later going around to tables trying to sell people the photos. I overheard “only $29.95 for the whole package”. My kids would have been super bummed when I turned down the opportunity to buy such an amazing family portrait, but I have better plans for my $29.95. So fifteen minutes later, we finally got seated at our table.
Chef Mickey’s was fun and the food wasn’t bad. It wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough, especially since we were starving by this point. The kids were enamored of the Mickey shaped waffles. And the fresh fruit was great too! We ended up leaving with 2 apples, a banana, an extra apple juice box, and a few jelly packets (for pb&j’s of course!). The food was okay, but the real reason we went to Chef Mickey’s was of course for the company. The kids got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. And they loved it! So, it was worth it. (And of course, we ate free because of our dining plan). P.S. This breakfast buffet WOULD have cost us $96 plus tip if we weren’t on the dining plan (yikes!).
We finally rolled out of Chef Mickey’s around 10:30 am and hopped on the shuttle to Animal Kingdom. I have been researching Disney World for quite a while and had heard great things about the Kilimanjaro Safaris. So we booked it all the way across the park to grab FastPasses. Since the wait was over 40 minutes, we decided that was our best bet. While we were waiting, we wandered through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. This must be a good time of year to see the animals (even though it was in the high 80’s today!) because we saws a lot of animals. The highlight of course was the gorillas. They were fairly lazy, but they were at least around and that thrilled the kids.
Once our FastPass time for the Safaris rolled around, we hurried over there. We breezed through the line in less than 15 minutes. I looked back and saw TONS of people behind us. They probably waited well over an hour. I’m not sure why you would wait in a line that long when FastPasses were available, but whatever. Let me tell you, the Kilimanjaro Safari did not disappoint! I’m pretty sure we saw EVERY animal they had. (I actually just went and looked at the website. We did not see cheetahs, but that’s it). The kids thought the whole thing was just awesome!
After the Safari, we grabbed some lunch. We ended up with pizza again (this time from Pizzafari), mostly because it was the closest thing to us. The kids opted for macaroni and cheese, though they didn’t eat much. After lunch, we headed directly to the Festival of the Lion King. I had heard great things about this show and IT WAS AWESOME! The kids really enjoyed it. I think if they had ever actually seen The Lion King movie, they might have really loved it! Of course, I grew up with The Lion King, so I was thrilled! All the music was of course from the movie and they had a giant animatronic Simba and Pumbaa. Timon was a live person and then there were other performers. It was very entertaining!
Next we headed to Discovery Island and the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is amazing! It’s pretty much a giant tree with tons of animals carved into it. We decided to hit up the ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug‘ show while we were there. I read that it was a little scary, but failed to heed that warning. Lia flipped out about half way through and I had to go running out of the theater with her screaming. Take that as a warning! It’s not ideal for sensitive little ones!
From there, we headed to DinoLand. They were prepping for Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade, so we decided to hang out and watch it. The kids thought it was great, but I was totally regretting our choice of location, directly in the hot sun. Our next stop was Finding Nemo: The Musical. Lia wasn’t having it, as she was still scared from the Bug show. I had to take her out of the theater. She finally decided she did want to go in and watch, but we had bad timing and came in right at the part where Marlin is being chased by the fish-friendly shark. So, out we went again!
While Josh watched the Nemo show with Max and Ava (which they loved, by the way!), I took Lia to ride the Triceratop Spin. She loved it so much, we rode it three times while we waited for everyone else. Once we met back up, we all rode Triceratop Spin together.
Then we headed to The Boneyard. I was certain that I had read that there was a bone-digging area here, but we could not find it right away. We did find it about 10 minutes before the park closed, so the kids go to play there for a little bit. The Boneyard is definitely not a good place to go if you’re playing zone defense with your kids. You definitely need to have man-to-man coverage AND you need to be willing to go down the slides. Otherwise, you will probably lose your kid(s).
Since the park was closing, we headed to the resort shuttles. Of course, Ava decided she had to go potty right before our shuttle go there. It was a long run back to the main gate area to find the bathroom. But, we eventually made it onto a shuttle to the hotel. Once we got back, we headed straight to the general store to buy a loaf of bread. Josh and I grabbed some dinner at the Riverside Mill Food Court again and I whipped up some PBJ’s for the kids. Max loved his, and no one else ate any. Lia ended up sharing Josh’s chicken nugget meal and Ava went vegetarian on me for the evening, eating pretty much only fruit for dinner. P.S. The make your own pasta was amazing!!
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for baths, bed jumping, and finally, sleep. Oh, and Lia is apparently asleep under the bed instead of on the trundle. Nice!
Things I learned today:
1. 8 hours of sleep is not enough if you’re trying to catch up from 2 weeks of 4-hours-of-sleep nights.
2. iPhone apps for Disney World work better if you actually use them.
3. All macaroni and cheese is not created equal.
4. 8:30 am is way too early for breakfast reservations.
5. You should check to see when Disney’s marathon and half marathon are before booking your trip!
6. If your kid is sensitive, you should totally pay closer attention to the warnings about scary rides and shows.
7. If you make breakfast reservations, you should probably still eat something before you leave in the morning. It will take a long time to get there and then you will still have a short wait.
8. If you stake out a seat for the parade, you should take note of whether you are in the sun or the shade. It gets really hot in the sun!
9. Animal Kingdom is a really cool park, but there aren’t really very many rides. It’s more of a zoo with shows. You should make sure your kids know that ahead of time!
Family posing with Minnie Mouse at Chef Mickey's in Orlando, Florida.Mom and kids posing with Mickey Mouse at Disney World.Family with Donald Duck at Disney World.Donald Duck hugging a little girl.Tired girl at Disney World.Father and son playing at Chef Mickey's.Funny faces.Sisters playing.Funny face through a Mickey Mouse chair.Family posing with Pluto.Pluto playing peek a boo with a girl.Pluto playing peek a boo with a girl.Cool Chef Mickey's picture.Kids looking at fish at Disney's Animal Kingdom.Fun times at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.Girl playing with a leaf.Cool tree at Disney's Animal Kingdom.Planning the next Disney move.Cute picture of a four year old girl.Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.Girl tickling her older brother.Mom tickling son.Sweet tree of life.Animal Kingdom parade at Disney World Orlando.Finding Nemo show in Orlando, Florida.Digging for dino bones at Disney's Animal Kingdom.Playing in the sand at Animal Kingdom in Orlando.Girl playing in sand at Disney's Animal Kingdom.One shoe on, one shoe off.Girl pretending to be a dino.Mom tickling daughter.Mom tickling son.


  • I thought I was the only one who had a kid who rolled around on the floor in the middle of a restaurant. And I’m sure you could guess that the kid that does that is my spirited child.
    I love the one of Ava (I think it is Ava) peeking through the Mickey shaped hole in the chair. That could be on their promo material! So cute!
    I have that same bag that you do! Isn’t it awesome? You can shove so much stuff in there. I’ve used it as a diaper bag/purse, and drink holder. It is awesome and cheap too!

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