Friday, June 28, 2013

Disney World 2013

I’ve been dying to comb through our 200+ pictures and sort out the wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) adventures we took on our Disney trip so I could  post them up for you all to see in one comprehensive, lucid blog post.  The reality?  The Homiller house is in summer survival mode—barely able to keep up with the laundry (seriously?  How much laundry can two tiny people create??), the organizing (ha!), the cleaning (ha!ha!) and maybe able to hold on to a thread of sanity while I’m at it.  That  being said, I am going to start this post without a clue as to whether I will actually finish writing it before the kids' “nap time” is over and my second shift begins.

My first picture of the trip – waiting at the airport gate for our plane to begin boarding.  And now is the time to tell you that the tall, thin, and devilishly handsome man checking email on his iPhone is the entire reason our Disney trip was so successful.  Will researched all-things Disney for months before we left; he had memorized the park’s layout; and, in what would turn out to be his best decision perhaps of his life (I exaggerate, but only a little), he booked our trip through AAA.  This was key because Disney contacted AAA looking for individuals traveling to their park during the exact dates we would be there willing to test out their pilot program:

The Disney magic bands!

These babies allowed us to skip every single line at the park.  We waltzed onto the most popular attractions ahead of everyone else (similar to “Fast Passes” for those of you who know Disney-speak; except the bands use “Fast Pass Plus.”  Thereby ends my knowledge of Fast Pass anything).  We had our picture taken many times by park officials because we were the first family to test out the program (keep your eye out for sweaty Homillers in future Disney literature : )).  In short, it was incredible.

And even with these magical bands, it was still a grueling, hot, exhausting and sometimes nauseating (George!) trip in the June Florida heat.  But it was completely and totally worth it.

My little sweatball

We stayed at the Contemporary Hotel (another brilliant decision by Will), allowing us to walk to the Magic Kingdom or take a quick monorail ride to our doorstep.  This was particularly helpful our last night when we stayed late to watch the fireworks show and could beat the crowd heading for the buses, boats and train and just walk right to the hotel.

The view from our room!  George still talks about the "Mickey pool."

I know, I know – enough about the boring logistics of the trip, right?  Let’s get on to the attractions!

[Warning: this part is very picture-heavy!]

We met some friends:

Our first big sighting - Princess Jasmine and Aladdin rode the Magic Carpet ride right in front of us.


Lightning McQueen and Mater (George was in shock)

One of the green army men from "Toy Story."  (Gotta love those shoes!)

Jake signing George's autograph book.

Handy Manny

The ant from "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."

Mickey!!  We never did get to take a picture with him, but we still got pretty close.  And just so you know, even a thirty-six-year-old mother of two tears up when you see this guy - there's just something special about him.

Chip and Dale


Rode some rides:

Frances in 11 years.  Be afraid - she was a terrible driver!
Ready for Mickey's Philharmagic, an impressive 3D movie.

Frances and me on the Ariel ride.  It was amazing!

Daddy and George on the classic Dumbo ride.

The Jungle Cruise

George's latest fascination is maps, so he helped Will navigate the park (very well, I might add).

George and I had a private showing at the Tiki Room.

And this is what Will and Frances (back row) were doing while George and I were listening to the macaws sing.  This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it.
Disney World really does bring out the kid in all of us.

Snacked a bit:

And if there was any question, our princess met some other princesses:

Snow White.

Sleeping Beauty

The stunning and sweet Ariel, Frances's favorite (again, I definitely cried at this one!)


Belle in her beautiful gown.
We also met and took a picture with Cinderella, but I haven't yet scanned in that picture (it was taken by Disney).  

George was not as impressed.

Although he fell head-over-heels in love with Belle.  Smart, literate, a wee-bit older--I think he picked a good one!

It was a truly spectacular trip.  Disney doesn’t just do a good job; they do the best job—the rides are realistic, the special effects are breathtaking, the park employees are all (ALL) friendly, helpful, and called Frances “princess” at every turn.  Yeah, she didn’t like that at all.

Coloring books saved the day when we had to wait for the park to open.

We had a few temper tantrums (it was about 1,000 degrees in the shade) and George threw up after the teacup ride (can you blame him?).  It’s also never ideal to have four bodies in one hotel room.  But those few things aside, our trip could not have gone any better.

Thank you for the memories, Disney World!  See you soon.  But not too soon.


  1. I've been to WDW about 12 times, and I can't tell you how jealous I am about those bands! What amazing luck! I am so glad you had a great time. It is a very magical place!!

    Also, that poor Tiki Room has been giving private performances since the 80s. At least you didn't do the Hall of Presidents! (Which I think is still there.)

    1. Susan - that is hilarious. The "Hall of Presidents" (which is definitely still there) was always our standby attraction when we were between rides ... we never did make it thankfully : ) The Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree were two I swear I'd never visit again (I've been one other time when I was 6-years-old) - and sure enough we went to both. The things you will do for your kids.

      The magic bands were indeed magical. I think they'll be in full use very soon for everyone to use!

  2. Such a great trip! The Disney geek in me is totally jealous that you got to try out the new Fastpass system with those wristbands. I've been reading all about it the past few months -- it will come to Disney World first then Disneyland next, so we will be much later here in California. Super-cool! And I'm totally impressed by your logistics. Go Will!

    1. No doubt, we totally lucked out! I had NO CLUE what the bands would do until we got there and started using them. I kid you not that every single employee (sorry, 'cast member' : )) who saw us wearing them got very excited, too. You are not alone : )

      And yes, Will is a superstar. I would very likely still be in line at the Toy Story ride but for his planning.

  3. Thanks for the info. We were chosen and are going next Friday. This sounds awesome.

    1. Cissie - how exciting!! You are going to have a blast (and the weather will probably be much kinder to your family than mid-June!). I didn't go into much details about the magic bands, but you will love those, too. My husband found the iPhone app to be the most helpful for signing up for the Fast Pass Pluses (and while they still have regular Fast Passes, you can double-up and use both to get onto more rides). Be Our Guest restaurant had a special the weekend we visited that allowed us to preorder our food and make reservations for our meal - they may have something similar when you go (or another restaurant in the park). I would highly recommend that if you can swing it.

      Have fun! As exhausting as it was, I would go back tomorrow if I could.