We found a 4 bedroom condo about 30 minutes from the parks for about $350 for the week (they added a "resort fee" so I can't remember the exact amount, but it was right around there). That price can't be beat! All the adults got a room, resulting in the kids calling us "bed hogs," even though auntie amy and auntie Alli decided to share a room so the 5 kids could have their own.
I had gone shopping before we left so that we had a hot breakfast each morning, packed snacks and lunch, and then had planned for one meal in the parks. It was a little more work to pack each morning, but so worth it for the cost! We each pitched in every morning to make breakfast and pack. Our first morning, as first mornings go, wasn't as smooth as we would have liked. We still managed to get to Hollywood Studos before they opened. And off we went!!!
The team - our first ride!!! In all seriousness, this is about Laney's speed. 😂
This parking attendant was hilarious and so fun! He was dancing and helped to make parking in the second largest parking lot in the world (still don't know the largest) a little less stressful. And we all could totally see Smilin' Jack doing this.
Uncle Frey and Taylor are pin collectors/traders, so Frankie helped them peruse some pins.
Our first real ride, The Great Movie Ride! We waited way too long in this line, but it was our first day and we were kind of being dumb rookies.
The kids went underneath the rope to watch the little pre-ride movie.
All the kids got along really well! They got rowdy in lines, but with 5 of them and lots of line waiting over our 6 park days, that's to be expected. They were all happy to ride with whatever grownup or kid was available. Maybe except for the two littles, they were pretty partial to their parents.
Tough to see, but this was Frankie after she freaked because our car had gotten hijacked by a gun wielding gangster. Or maybe it was after the alien came down and tried to get us. Both of those things freaked out the little peeps in our crew. And Laney still talks about how the gangster took over and looked at her and said "what are you looking at?!" and how he turned into a skeleton, but not really because it was just a trick revolving door. It made a big impression on her!
We had bought the kids these giant Disney Encyclopedias to get autographs on each of the character pages. Super cute, and I'm glad we did it, but those books were huge and heavy and lugging around and getting them out at each character was challenging. We finally did figure out a system, we had them in a bag and kept it on the stroller hook, but it was still a pain.
The kids were very cute with the characters. They'd hug them and ask questions and tell them little stories.
Max didn't want to be in the Sofia picture.
Under the Sea was up next. We snacked while we enjoyed the very old, very cheesy show. I was pretty surprised that it wasn't done better. Compared to the shows we saw at Christmastown at Busch Gardens, it was kinda lame. Definitely time to revamp and improve! And snacking with a party of 11 is very fulfilling to me because we'd get out a bag of veggie straws, everyone would have a few handfuls, and then we'd throw away an empty bag. There's something I love about finishing things off.
Since we were still near the Disney Jr. peeps, we grabbed Jake too! We got better at getting the autographs too. At first we tried letting each kid hold their book to get their autographs, but that took forever and the workers and characters didn't seem to love it. So then we let the kids just focus on visiting with the character and one adult would hold the stack, handing the books to another adult to be put away after signed. Sounds silly, but with 11 people and 5 of those. Wing kids, we really did have to work through some procedures.
Our home teacher Brother Erickson said we just had to see the Beauty and the Beast show. We probably would have anyway, but with that kind of recommendation we couldn't miss it. It was fun and cute.
Hollywood studios is pretty cute. Franks checked out some handprints and signatures ala Walk of Fame.
The crew! Taylor, Frey, me, matt, amy holding a disgruntled max, Alli holding a disgruntled lanes, Addie, Frankie, and Quinn.
This gets us to about mid-day and our first fastpass - the Tower of Terror!