Leading up to our trip, after responding to the same question countless times – When are we going to Disney? I created a paper countdown chain – the same thing that you create around Christmas time – however each paper ring on the chain represented the number of days we had remaining til we departed. It did the trick – she tore off a ring every night and got really excited the closer we got.

I swear when I booked the flight it was at 9:30 AM arriving around 11. However, when I checked in for the flight the night before our trip – I realize it was at 7:40 AM, arriving around 9. I can’t figure out if I had it wrong or the time changed (the itinerary did indicate that something had changed).

The morning of, we had to get up around 4ish, the kids at 5 so we were setting ourselves up for a long day. Cailee thought it was still nighttime and was a little excited to see the sun come up. She didn’t really comprehend that the airplane was taking us to somewhere far away – at one point she thought Disney was up in the sky since she knew that’s where airplanes flew. Nevertheless, the trip was uneventful. Cailee didn’t appreciate all the things (bus, plane, tram, bus) we had to go through to get to Disney – but Mom and Dad certainly appreciated all the time and effort we saved having flown instead of driving. Connor napped the entire flight. Lucky for us.

We checked in online ahead of time, so upon arriving at Wilderness Lodge (which got an “oooh” from Cailee when we got there, and all week she compared it to the Great Wolf Lodge – of which there are a lot of similarities), we snagged our package/tickets/etc, dropped our bags in the room (thankfully it was ready well ahead of normal check in time) and then boarded the boat for Magic Kingdom.

I think I was a little shell shocked when we got there – even though I downloaded the iphone apps, had maps in hand and was armed with a lot of advice from a lot of folks – standing in the middle of a crowd of people all hurrying one way or another – we felt like the newbies we were.

So we hit the pavement just like the rest and found a few rides with manageable lines and found our groove. It wasn’t too long before Connor had about all he could handle. Having been up at 4ish, it had already been a long day by 2 for him so he and JJ headed back for a nap and Cailee and I went on a quest to find Ariel, her favorite princess. We rode the ride and found Ariel’s grotto. Mission accomplished.

We picked up our first souvenir of the the trip – an Ariel jewelry box that would come in handy as the week went on – because subsequent shopping trips brought lots of jewelry.

After meeting up with JJ and Connor once again, we headed to dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern, it was all you could eat, family style.

We hit a few more rides including the infamous Dumbo ride and giant Carousel. Cailee rode the Big Thunder mountain roller coaster with JJ, I’ve learned she has no fear. But then we opted for an early evening (if you call 8:30 early). It had already been a full, 18 hour day for some of us and we knew the week was going to zap every bit of energy we had.