To celebrate Judah’s 10th birthday, we surprised him with a mother/son trip to Disney World! I’m sharing a few details and photos of our Disney World Vacation today.
First, to take a Disney vacation with one kid was such a priceless opportunity. If you ever have the chance, do it! You learn so much about your child and build memories of a lifetime. Of course, Simon wasn’t too thrilled that big brother was going and not him. But, we hopefully plan to do the same with him when he turns 10 years old in 3+ years. That’s enough time to save up again, right? 🙂
This was Judah’s first time flying (that he remembers, at least). He flew numerous times with me and Ben from the year he was born until he turned two years old and could no longer fly for free. But, of course, none of that is in his memory so this was an exciting time for him!
In order to keep the trip affordable, I booked the cheapest rooms I could find — Disney’s All Star Sports Resort. Judah is very much into sports, especially football and basketball, so this resort had his name written all over it! There are a few different themed buildings of rooms, like the football one pictured below. Those rooms come at a premium price, though, and we needed to save all the money we could so we were in a standard room in the tennis buildings.
It was just a standard room, no thrills whatsoever. At first, we were both a little disappointed because last year we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge, so comparing these is like comparing apples and bananas. But, by the end of the trip we decided we were comfortable and it was worth saving the money.
We did, however, have to ask for more blankets — for some reason the bedding in these rooms is VERY minimal and THIN. The first night we were FREEZING.
Our trip was short, just two days at the parks. We arrived Friday evening and left Monday evening, so we planned to be at the parks Saturday and Sunday. Another way we saved money was by using a one-day park hopper for Saturday and then just the Very Merry Christmas Party tickets for Sunday. So, we spent the entire day hopping around the parks on Saturday. I let Judah pick where he wanted to go, and he wanted Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. He’s not yet very interested in Epcot and we knew we had the next day at Magic Kingdom.
Saturday, we headed out early to Hollywood Studios for our chance at a boarding pass for the new Rise of the Resistance ride. We got one! We were assigned boarding group 103, and were called to board just after 7:00PM. We were eating dinner at our hotel cafeteria when we received the notice. As exhausted as we were from spending the day at the parks, we decided to head back to Hollywood and board the ride. I’m so glad we did, because it was a ride like none other!
BUT, before we talk about Rise of the Resistance, I have to mention how we were able to ride Slinky Dog FOUR times that day! We managed to get a last minute fastpass, then we were given a fastpass by guest relations because there was an issue with our magic band, then we rope-dropped the ride, and the fourth time we rode after Rise of the Resistance right before the park closed. Judah was so excited to ride that many times! We rode in the very last seat, the very front seat, the very middle and then a random. Too fun!
The first purchase we made at the parks was this Christmas tree popcorn bucket at Hollywood Studios. It lights up! During the trip, we bought TWO popcorn buckets because we saw this adorable Mickey elf popcorn bucket at Animal Kingdom. Everyone kept asking us where we got it. Apparently, the Mickey elf popcorn bucket could only be found at Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs. It was larger than the Christmas tree popcorn bucket, yet much cheaper! We carried both popcorn buckets the entire time and kept refilling with our $2 popcorn! The popcorn buckets also serve great as souvenirs — I’ll get them out every Christmas to decorate my home!
Ok, Rise of the Resistance. You MUST try for your chance to get on this ride. You have to get there before the park even opens, so plan accordingly! The good thing is, once you get into a boarding group, you can go ahead and go wherever you want for the rest of the day while waiting for the notice that your group is boarding. You’ll receive a notification on your phone and then have 2 hours to get back to Hollywood Studios to ride the ride. Ben won’t let me show him our videos and photos from this ride because he doesn’t want it spoiled. So, because he reads my blog, I’m sharing only one photo and not spoiling anything more!
Sunday, since we didn’t have a park pass and only Very Merry Christmas Party tickets, we headed to Disney Springs to go bowling. This was Judah’s request. We were one of only three other families there, and I noticed they were all mother son duos, too! We bowled for an hour, then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our afternoon/evening at Magic Kingdom.
When you have a ticket for the Very Merry Christmas Party, they will let you into the park as early as 4PM even though the party doesn’t start until 7PM. So, arrive early! We luckily knew this tip. So, we entered in and started riding the rides! You can even book fast passes, so I had passes for Buzz Lightyear and Winnie the Pooh (although Judah made me cancel those for Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor.)
Once the party started, we expected the crowds to die down, but strangely enough they seemed larger! We still had a great time and didn’t have to wait long in line for rides. We rode Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Splash Mountain (Judah’s first time!), Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Astro Orbiter, and the Barnstormer.
During the party, they offer unlimited cookies, soft pretzels, and drinks like hot cocoa and Fanta. So, we spent a little time grabbing our snacks. We really liked the soft pretzels!
Monday, since our flight didn’t leave until evening, we headed back to Disney Springs and shopped around a little. Judah is really into pin trading, so the whole weekend he was trading pins and shopping for them. He also loves Goofy’s Candy Shop at Disney Springs. We stopped into the LEGO store and Judah custom built a minifigure for Simon for a Christmas gift. It was so sweet!
We ate lunch at T-Rex, then walked around a little more before hopping on the Magical Express to the airport. Here’s a tip: We were able to leave our luggage at the hotel for no extra fee while we spent the day at Disney Springs!
I had such a fun Disney World Vacation with my sweet 10 year old! Cannot wait to do it again with Simon! (Although, I think it’ll be Ben’s turn.) 😉
Other helpful Disney posts:
- How to Ride Flight of Passage without a Fastpass
- 10 Tips from our Disney World Trip
- Tips to Visit Magic Kingdom in One Day