Our 2020 Disney World Vacation in a Nutshell
We have just returned from our January 2020 Disney World vacation. My husband and I brought our three children, 6, 4 and 11 months, down to Walt Disney World, Florida for a 10 day vacation. During the course of our vacation my husband’s family met us down there. This was our 8th Disney World vacation together as a couple. Our daughter’s 4th vacation, our son’s 3rd vacation, and our youngest’s 1st vacation. Needless to say we love us our Disney.
Due to weather our vacation was cut down by one day. Our flight was cancelled out of Halifax, Nova Scotia and rescheduled for the following day. Good thing we had nothing planned for that first day. Our non-park day was scratched, I cancelled our reservations at Chef Mickey’s and got our DVC points back for our first night stay.
We arrived at our resort, Old Key West, a day later than expected. This resort is a Disney Springs’ resort and we stayed in a Deluxe Studio on Old Turtle Pond. Arriving late in the evening, we checked in and got settled in time to start the next day running to Epcot.
Our day at Epcot started with a fun, for most, breakfast at Garden Grill. This restaurant is a character meal with Mickey, Pluto, Chip’n’Dale. Our older two loved the food and the interactions with the characters. Our youngest was terrified. This was the only restaurant that acknowledged our son’s birthday celebration. They gave him a card signed by all the characters. He was thrilled. By eating our breakfast here, we got into the park before it opened, which got us onto many rides before most people even got into the park. We rode Soarin’, Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, A Journey into Imagination and Spaceship Earth all before lunch time.
The remainder of the day was spent exploring a few of the World Showcase pavilions. We had intended to catch the Epcot Forever nighttime show but with plans to get to Hollywood Studios by the 7am park open the following day we checked out of Epcot shortly after supper.
Hollywood Studios opened the following day at 7am. We were up at 5:30am and at the bus stop by 6:15am. The purpose of this early arrival was to get on the popular Galaxy’s Edge ride: Rise of the Resistance. We were in the park by 6:50am and were able to get into a boarding group. By this time we were all hungry for a proper breakfast so we made our way over to Toy Story Land and ate at Woody’s Lunch Box.
We had no plans for the morning, with hopes of exploring Galaxy’s Edge. I went on Smuggler’s Run using the single rider line and Jeff went on with our daughter taking advantage of the rider switch pass. The afternoon began with my daughter and I getting on Rise of the Resistance. My husband and son got on it but then the ride proceeded to break down a couple of times, which prohibited them from experiencing the attraction the whole way through. The rest of the day we watched Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage and For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long. After a dinner at Mama Melrose we were all exhausted and ready to call it a day. Looking forward to a break from the parks the following day.
The next day was a Thursday, our day to head to the runDisney Marathon Weekend race expo. It’s here that we were able to pick up our race kits for each of our races. The expo was at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, transportation was provided from Old Key West. We spent close to an hour picking up our bibs in one location, getting our race shirts from another location and then perusing the runDisney event merchandise. Much to my surprise, we didn’t end up making any runDisney purchases.
I was starting to not feel the best which I think contributed to me not wanting to stay at the expo anymore than necessary. We made our way back to the resort and then to Disney Springs to meet up with the rest of our family who had just arrived on property. It’s here where the wheels fell off for me. I felt nauseous. Once I had a decent lunch, which I had to force feed myself, I felt much better. It’s so important that you are taking care of yourself during the course of your vacation. You can very easily get distracted by caring for your small people and then forget to stay hydrated and nourished. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the Lego store, heading back to Old Key West, swimming at the pool and dining at Olivia’s for dinner. That night Jeff and I headed out to celebrate our anniversary after having put the kids to bed. A major pro for having grandparents along with you is the ability to enjoy some couple time. We’ve been fortunate enough to do this the last few vacations. We proceeded to go on our own mini monorail crawl stopping at the Contemporary Resort and Grand Floridian resort. We loved celebrating our 10 year anniversary where our whole journey began.
Friday was our first park day as a whole family at Animal Kingdom. It was truly special to share many of the day’s events with my husband’s brother, wife, their kids and my mother-in-law. We all watched the Festival of the Lion King together, rode Expedition Everest together, dined at Rainforest Cafe and journeyed through the Na’Vi River. We also grabbed a memorable photo of the kids with Mickey and Minnie. Our kids favourite part of the day was watching the Finding Nemo musical and playing at The Boneyard. We finished this third park day early because the following day was race day for myself and the kids.
Saturday at 3:15am, I boarded a bus to the runDisney Half Marathon starting line. It was early but I was really excited to be running my first half marathon in 4 years. After disembarking the bus I made my way to the starting line stopping at all the portapotty stops on the way. I made it to my coral with 30 minutes to spare. And wouldn’t you believe it, I run into friends from our home town! Crazy right. The horn blew and away we ran. I stopped at each mile marker, took pictures with characters along the route, FaceTimed hubby and the kids as I ran through the Magic Kingdom. The early morning wake up was well worth it.
By 9:30am I was already back at Old Key West getting us all ready to hit up ESPN Wide World of Sports for the kids race. Our older two ran in the 200m kids race and our youngest waddled in the Diaper Dash. The older kids finished in 2nd and 3rd whereas our youngest had an unfair advantage, winning by walking when all other competitors were crawling. It was momentous. That evening we celebrated with a dinner at Artist Point. This is a character dinner with a prix fixed menu and I’ll be honest it was a bit of a flop with our clan. The adult meals were delicious but for the price of the meal we expected more out of our appetizers and desserts. The kids didn’t care for their meals at all. They did like seeing Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and the Evil Queen but it didn’t make up for the meal left untouched.
Marathon Day for my hubby was up next. The marathon runs through each of the four theme parks and finishes in Epcot. Myself, my mother in law and the three kids headed to Epcot to cheer my hubby in during his final miles of the race. We staked out a corner in the United Kingdom pavilion and cheered for close to an hour as we waited for him. Lincoln was so concerned that we had missed him already. But eventually Jeff came running around the corner thrilled to see us there cheering him on. After his race we met up with the rest of our family for a little while before grabbing a great meal at the Season’s in The Land. The kids asked to take another ride on Living with the Land before we headed to World Showcase to finish their Kidcot postcard collection.
The day was completed with a meal at Biergarten in the Germany pavilion. This is a buffet style meal with a live band performance. It was the perfect cuisine and entertainment for our family.
The second last day of our trip was spent at the Magic Kingdom. With a breakfast reservation at Be Our Guest, we were into the park at 8:15am, along with what felt like a couple hundred other guests. The place was packed. This was another meal we got to enjoy as the whole family. All of our clan together for one meal, the kids at one side of the table and the adults at the other side. A really fun way to start the day. We conquered Fantasyland at the beginning of the day, enjoying rides all three of our kids could go on.
Our older two’s first visit to Space Mountain came next. We strategically placed each child in front of a parent to be able to place our hands on their shoulders to dilute their fear. MacKenzie kept saying, “Is it over yet?” and then at the end “I LOVED IT!” Our youngest had his first haircut at Harmony’s Barber Shop on Main St USA before we had a flexible chunk of time before our FastPasses at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Jungle Cruise. We opted for a quick service dinner that night, not wanting to experience a similar tale from our Artist Point dinner. We finished the day with Enchanted Tales with Belle, where each of our kids were featured in the retelling of Belle and the Beast’s love story, and the capturing of Emporer Zurg. This was the one nighttime entertainment we made it to. The Happily Ever After fireworks never disappoint.
Our final day we were at Hollywood Studios to have our kids participate in the Jedi Training. They were scheduled for noon time so we filled the morning with the new Lightning McQueen attraction, getting Lincoln’s face painted, Star Tours and lunch at PizzeRizzo’s. The kids conquered their fears and learned how to use the force at the Jedi Training.
The afternoon we headed to Toy Story Land and got on Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. Before dining at Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre, Jeff pleaded his case and got him and Lincoln on Rise of the Resistance. This time it did not break down! The day ended with the whole family having a quiet meal at Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre.
Our travel home, was in my opinion, the best we’ve ever had. We had just enough time at the Orlando Airport to have a big breakfast, have our one year old have a massive blow out, throw up on my shirt and board the plane. Better at the airport than in the plane I say. We landed in Halifax, ate some dinner then drove home, which is a couple hours. All in all, we left Old Key West at 7:30am and got home at 7:00pm. This was really good for us. We have had much longer travel days in the past. I would definitely go for the direct flight again, despite the arrival fiasco.
We had an incredible vacation. Running the runDisney events added a whole new element that we haven’t done in a long time. It ate into to our down time and time at the resort but I’m so very glad we did it. I love running races and the opportunity to participate in these events is few and far between so you’ve got to seize it when it comes. We already have our next trip booked for December. I can tell you it will be shorter and less park filled. Stay tuned for reviews on the restaurants we ate at, the half marathon and our resort. Happy Planning, Friends.