Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Disney Trip December 2013

This is why I've always wanted to visit Disney World at Christmas. The castle is spectacular!

We took our fourth family trip to Disney last week and had an amazing time. We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside resort and enjoyed it immensely. We paid a little extra for a Royal Guest Room with a princess theme, and even my guys said they'd stay there again.

The resort offered boat transportation to Downtown Disney, which was a nice way to get around. We didn't take advantage of the extras, but the resort also had surrey bikes for rent and horse-drawn carriage rides. We've already decided we'll do those things the next time.

Even though historically the week after Thanksgiving has been a low-crowd week, we found the crowds to be higher than we expected. Thanksgiving was late this year, so that may be part of the reason. But the taping of the Disney Christmas parade took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of the choirs, dance troupes and bands along with their families and sponsors descended on the place and it was packed! Not as bad as summertime, but we waited a little longer for attractions, bus rides, even meals, than we were used to.

But we didn't let that stop us from having a blast! The weather was fantastic. We were thinking it might be in the 70's. Nope, it got up to 80+ degrees every day. We never even got our rain ponchos out the entire trip, which is a first for us.

We ate at some amazing restaurants, too. My favorite was Be Our Guest in the new Fantasyland. Since it's the newest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, it's pretty crowded. But it's based on the film Beauty and the Beast, my favorite Disney movie. I could have stayed in there all day.
Disney has been testing out a new feature called Magic Bands. You're given a plastic band embedded with an RFID chip to wear instead of being given tickets. If you make your trip reservations in advance, you can order them and choose what colors you'd like. They'll be delivered to you before your trip. If you don't order them in advance, you'll get gray bands upon your arrival. Your Magic Band is your ticket to the parks and it contains all of your reservation information, including meals and fast passes. You can also use them to charge purchases to your room. You can choose what members of your party have the authorization to make purchases.

We weren't sure if we'd like the bands. They were definitely more convenient than having to pull out four key cards every time we entered a park. And the bands were so comfortable that we hardly noticed we had to them on. The thing I liked most about them was that the kids could use them to get into our resort room, meaning we didn't have to be with them every second of the day. Every once in awhile there was a glitch - someone's band wouldn't work for park entrance or a fastpass - but the cast members were extremely helpful and solved each problem quickly.

 As much as we enjoyed being there during this time of year, we all decided we'd rather go back in February (not this coming February, of course) due to the low crowds. But I'm so, so happy that we got to experience Disney at Christmas.

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