Florida Trip Part II: Magic Kingdom!

If you read part I, you know that Jasper woke up with a terrible wet rattly cough Monday morning which was supposed to be our first “full day” at Disney. But let me back up a bit..

We  left Jay & Sarah’s before dinner on Sunday night and checked into the Best Western Lakeside.  We had reservations for a two night stay starting Tuesday night at the Disney Port Orleans French Quarter, but because we wanted to get to the parks early Monday morning we later decided it would make sense to drive from Jupiter to Orlando on Sunday night rather than Monday morning.  Instead of adding an additional night to our disney resort reservation ($200+ per night) we figured we could “slum” it at the Best Western for one night.

Turns out the Best Western was actually a great place to stay! The location was super close to the parks and unlike the Disney resorts it had free WiFi.  It even had a great pool.. but the best part was that it was only $50 a night.

Because we didn’t have park tickets for Sunday evening, we decided to head to Downtown Disney for dinner where we read there was a “T-Rex Cafe” owned by the same company that does the Rain Forrest Cafe.  We figured this would be right up Jasper’s alley because a) he loved the Rain Forrest cafe when we went in San Francisco and b) he’s obsessed with Dinosaurs!

It seems that the gigantic animatronic T-Rex was actually a bit TOO real because Jasper took one look at it and wanted nothing to do with the restaurant!  The extreme illness induced crankiness that was about to become the hallmark of our Disney experience had begun to set in and not much was making him happy at this point.

We couldn’t get a table anywhere else though, so we stuck it out and figured that as long as we stayed far enough away from the gigantic T-Rex he’d be OK.. I have to admit it was a little loud/overwhelming, which is too bad because he would have enjoyed it so much otherwise!


view of the Triceratops from our table

Every 20 minutes they had a “metor shower” when all the dinosaurs would come to life and roar, the colors would start flashing and there was a deep rumbling thunder like sound.. it was a bit much. Thankfully we had gotten Jasper some “baby dinos” at the gift shop to play with so he was mostly too distracted to get scared.


playing with the baby dinos

After dinner we headed back to the Best Western and woke up the next morning to Jasper being sick, cranky and out of sorts. It was at this point that we realized that the Best Western had even one more advantage, which is that it was next door to a Walgreens walk-in clinic and across the street from an Urgent care facility!

I’m going to give you the addresses of both, JUST IN CASE you are planning a trip to Disney and find yourself in a similarly unfortunate situation:

Take Care Health Services Walk-in Clinic (in Walgreens)
7767 West Irlo Bronson Drive
Kissimmee, FL

U.C. Florida Hospital (Urgent Care)
7848 West Irlo Bornson Drive
Kissimmee, FL

The clinic was fine, the only downside was that they spent quite a bit of time with each patient so the wait time can be long.. about 25 minutes for every person in front of you!  I think this is mostly due to the history and paperwork they have to gather being that it’s usually your first visit there.  She said his cough, fever and rash were most likely from a virus and that he also had an ear infection.  We got antibiotics for the EI which would also double in case anything in the lungs got infected and also a cough syrup/decongestant.   I normally don’t like to give antibiotics for EIs if they aren’t really bothering him, but in this case being that we had to fly home in 5 days I didn’t quibble. Our other reason for taking him in was that we just weren’t sure if he was too sick to go to the parks and wanted the advice of a medical professional!

Her advice was that he would set the tone, so we left there and headed to the Port Orleans French Quarter to drop off our bags, buy our tickets, pick up our rented stroller and hop on the bus to the Magic Kingdom!

We took Becky’s advice and rented a Baby Jogger City Mini from Magicstrollers.com.  Unlike our umbrella stroller, the BJCMs have a HUGE sun shade and are heavier duty (ours tips over if we hang things from the handle bars for example!) but most importantly they fold so easily, and you don’t even have to remove your items from the basket underneath OR the parent tray on top! This was key for getting on and off the various modes of transportation..

There are only two downsides to the Magic Stollers program in my opinion:

1) The strollers are black. I totally get this from their point of view (keeping them clean!) but black is just not a good choice for the heat factor.

2) The hours of same day rental are pretty ridiculous.. they drop off at 10 am and you need to return them by 2pm. That pretty much guarantees that for one day of usage you will be paying for THREE days because you will have to rent it the day before if you want to leave for the parks by 10am and one day after if you want to leave the parks after 2pm.. which most people do. Fortunately it’s only $8 each additional day, but I feel like at least their drop off time should be much later.

Overall though, I loved the stroller and wouldn’t have done it any other way. The only thing that would have made it even more perfect was if Jasper actually would agree to RIDE in the stroller!!

To this day he still hates strollers, he prefers to get out and walk by himself, which means we have to chase him around.  It also meant that he was exposed to the hot sun much more than I would have liked for a boy who’s fever was only being kept at bay by motrin!

One more word about the sun/weather: it was HOT. Monday it was 90+ degrees and not a cloud or Breeze in sight.  Most of y’all know that we lived in Florida for a while, and I do not remember it EVER being that damn hot in early April, but well, you also know by now  that we have pretty bad luck.  I honestly don’t think I’d ever book another Disney trip in April, it’s too late/hot in the season and the off seasons savings don’t start until May, so there’s no reason to chance the hot weather!

Ok, wow, that is a lot of text, and I have tons of pictures to post so I’d better get started.. here we just arrived at the magic Kingdom:


First picture at Disney - the Castle!

We headed straight to Fantasyland and got a fast pass for Peter Pan because it had the longest wait time.  Then we got on line for Small world, which had always been one of my favorites and it did not dissapoint.. Jasper loved it!




By this time it was lunchtime and we were already overheated and cranky so we began looking for ANYPLACE that had AC and a place to sit down inside. We stumbled on the Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square.  At first glance it seemed that there was nothing but deeply fried and battered fish and chips, but they did offer two somewhat healthy options. One was a vegetarian Hummus sandwich and the other was a surprisingly delicious tuna fish sandwhich on honey wheat.  Best of all, it was COOL and Jasper had fallen asleep on the way there, so we rested our feet and let him sleep for a bit before braving the heat again.

After lunch we managed to hit pretty much all of the toddler friendly rides..but I have to say, small world was the highlight. The others he just didn’t enjoy ALL that much. Dumbo was too bright for him being outdoors in the sun, plus the lever that makes the elephant go up and down was broken so he got annoyed. I have a lot of images of Jasper with this unhappy face!

Dumbo was not a big hit!

Whinnie the Pooh had the best “in line” entertainment, but of course we’d gotten a fast pass for that one and so missed most of them anyway.  The ride itself was really disappointing,  it just went way too fast for no reason and it just seemed to lack focus.

Actually, I was rather surprised that the two rides with the longest wait times (Pooh and Peter Pan) were actually our least favorite!

At least Jasper got to meet Pooh and Tigger, his first character meetings this trip.  When we took him to Universal in September he was too scared to hug Curious George and has regretted it ever since, so this time he wasn’t taking any chances.. though you will see that “I’m shy and covering my eyes” move more than once in these pictures!



Predictably, Jasper loved the Buzz Lightyear Ride in Tomorrowland.



Personally, I thought that it was kind of lame that the only time you actually see buzz is online at the beginning, the rest of the time you are shooting at robots, which don’t really have anything to do with Toy Story!  I was actually really surprised at the LACK of good use to which Disney put the cash cow Toy Story franchise.. if the buzz lightyear ride is the best they can come up with, somone needs to get more creative!

After tomorrowland we headed towards Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise. The jungle cruise was actually pretty funny/entertaining, and gave us another chance to get out of the direct sun!

After the cruise we made our way to the Swiss Family Treehouse, which seemed like a good idea but it was a LOT of stairs to be climbing in that kind of heat.. and of course Jasper wanted to walk himself which was holding up the whole line..


At least the view was nice from the top!


And the wildlife at the beginning was pretty cool too:



After the tree house we took him on the Pirates of the Carribbean, which he found both terrifying (the beginning) and exhilarating, because he asked to go back repeatedly the next day! In all honesty though, the ride is definitely too scary for a two year old in my opinion.. I didn’t remember that the whole beginning is this super dark eerie sequence with skeletons etc.  I wouldn’t bring him on it again if I had to do it over.

The sun began to finally get less intense and which seemed to perk Jasper up a bit..



But, by this point we were all tired, hot and cranky and decided NOT to stay at the park for our Dinner reservation that evening.  We couldn’t get a table before 8:30, and there was no way Jasper could handle being out that late and we honestly weren’t sure he wouldn’t be terrified of the Fireworks anyway.

So we headed back to our hotel to check in and I made a reservation at “Boatwright” which was the only restaurant that our Resort offered.

As it turns out, Boatwright is actually at the adjacent Port Orleans RIVERSIDE resort, not at French Quarter, which we didnt’ know when we made the reservations. But when we got to the hotel a nice guest told us to hop on the little river boat to get to Riverside. .

This was actually one of the highlights of our trip! The boat meandered down the little (manmade) river, under wooden walking bridges with lantern light. It was dark by then, so the effect was quite charming.   Dinner was nice too, nothing fancy but my seafood pasty was yummy, and they provided crayons for Jasper so it was a pretty enjoyable meal.  Then we took the boat back to the French Quarter and fell asleep pretty much as soon as our heads hit the pillow!

One more quick word about the French Quarter resort:  I was really happy with our choice! Considering we went into it pretty much blind (Jeff picked it based on the dragon water slide at the pool!)

I think it was a great resort.  True, it’s not much more than a glorified motel on the inside and the lack of free WiFi kind of pissed me off. But it seemed much more fun for kids than the more “formal” looking Riverside because of the pool area and I LOVE the little boat system that will also take you to downtown Disney. I would definitely recommend it as a good resort option.  It was close enough to the Magic Kingdom, SUPER close to Epcot but it did take a while to get to Animal Kingdom, in part because it makes a stop at Blizzard Beach first.

Ok, if you’ve made it this far, you must be planning a trip to Dinsey in the near future :)  Feel free to post any questions…tomorrow I will post about the Animal Kingdom!

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pam says:

I can’t wait to take my boys! (i took one to Disneyland, but he was only 15 months.) Anyway, I really just wanted to say that first dino picture is incredible! I don’t know if it’s my phone or my painkiller, but it looks 3-D! Crazy!

Lourdes says:

Btw, for those of you asking about Disney with a toddler, if I may, I would say that if you live close by, then it’s not such a big deal to take such a young kid, or if you have other business in Florida (for us, it’s a 3 hour drive). But, if this is like your really special trip (it’s so expensive!) and/or you would be traveling from far away, I would certainly recommend waiting for the child(ren) to be older, imho.

Lourdes says:

Oh these mad Disney trips and our Florida weather…they can be such fun and also such a hot mess, right?

We’re taking Wesley next month, which is already too hot in my opinion, but it’s when I’m off from the college, so not much choice, unfortunately. You’re right that at least in May, you get a slightly better deal. But the heat is pretty much intolerable. That’s why we always hide out in the baby centers, lol.

I LOVE that hummus sammie at the Columbia Harbor House!

I’m sorry though that you had to deal with so much. Sounds like he really enjoyed Buzz and Small World. You’re making me think about whether we should go on Pirates…I’ve always loved Peter Pan, but it does always have the longest lines in the entire park, and I can see how it might be a little scary for a little kid actually.

As to the French Quarter, I love it and the Riverside, though it’s a little annoying getting things done on either side (one has the bicycles, one has the restaurant, etc.). We’re trying out the Caribbean for the first time this year. Here’s hoping for the best!

mia says:

Great recap and photos. I’m not planning a trip to Disney, but still very interesting to read the recap, hopefully one day!

Cathy Mahoney says:

Wow Sounds interesting and i wonder: do you think Disney is a good idea with toddlers,or what Age would you think is the Best to take the Kids? As we don’t get to Florida (or the states)that often i want to take them at an Age When it really makes sense-2 Years ago Dylan was 4 and i thought He was to Young Even then…but i would definately want to take them Next Time ( wurmende that may Be) how much Time do you Need for the highlights? About4-5 days? As you Know its quite a drive from Marco so we would have to Plan it properly.. Please Keep your Blogs Coming its always Great reading them!

CJ says:

I kept reading only to further justify my decision not to take my 2 year old twin boys to Disney World until they are atleast 6! I can now relax, save my money until then. Thanks!!!

ariana says:

Your welcome CJ! I think you owe me ;)

Michelle says:


What lens did you use at Disney? The color and clarity is awesome.


ariana says:

Michelle, indoors I used my 50mm 1.4, all the outdoor shots are with the Tamron 28-75 2.8. I have links to both of these lenses in the “in my camera bag” section of my right sidebar! The colors I did boost in post processing though :)

Cole says:

You take such beautiful photos – I love the color. That first one at Disney in front of the castle is such a great shot! I’m sorry Jasper wasn’t feeling his best…

ariana says:

@Gayle, yay- fun! (well, assuming he doesn’t get sick LOL!) The animal kindgom was a real highlight, so definitely check back tomorrow for my recommendations on that.

Ava, they don’t enforce any height regulations because they are always with the parents. So that’s good news! :) Jasper used to like Dinosaur train, lately he’s totally stopped watching TV (in favor of movies!)

@Anne Marie – I was freaked out the the rainforrest cafe.. well, the gorillas when they started pounding their chests anyway LOL. I kept saying the same thing… I wish I had a stroller crazy kid! Jasper, predictably, was miraculously cured the second we got home (so about 6 days total?)

@Erika, If you want to take pics indoors, definitely need a fast prime. I brought my 50mm, but I would have preferred a wider ange, I just don’t have one! Outdoors I always like zooms, I brought my Tamron because it’s SOOOOO much lighter than my Canon L, but I did pay the price in focus a bit. I’ll probably blog more about the camera stuff in another part! :)

Erika says:

Fun, we are going to Disneyland next month. Any advice on which lenses to bring? Love the rental stroller idea.

anne laney says:

that’s so sad he was sick! bless his heart!

ashton HATES rainforest too. it freaks him out. we tried going there for his 2nd bday and he wanted NO PART OF IT. it is kind of loud and obnoxious. i just never noticed it before until i realized it was freaking my toddler out. lol. but that is neat about the dinosaur version.
ashton also HATES HATES HATE strollers. i mean he will ride in it for a short while but mostly he walks. i take him to the zoo and museums just to train him to stay close to us so he doesn’t run off. it’s paid off, we went to the arts festival (super duper crowded) and he walked the entire time and behaved. i wish it wasn’t taboo for normal adults to sit in a stroller. kids don’t know what they are missing out on LMAO!

how long did it take for jasper to get better?!

Ava says:

Wow! Full day!!!
We’re doing Disney too this year for G’s 3rd b-day. I just don’t feel like planning birthday parties in one year so the boys will just have to switch off. And of course we’re heading to Disneyland, not Disneyworld (for cost and travel sanity reasons).
I’m only hoping that G will be tall enough by then to enjoy most of the toddler rides. He’s still an inch too short for the local toddler amusement park :-/

BTW, if Jasper is at all into Dinosaur Train (like G is), ping me. I might be able to make your car rides a lot more tolerable.

GayleV says:

I am glad that you actually got to spend some time in Disney even though you had such a sick little boy. You were smart to let him set the tone. We are headed to Disneyland in a few weeks with a 2 year old and I have been wondering how he will do with some of the rides. I appreciate some of your recommendations. Any others that we should avoid or “definitely not miss?” Your pictures are lovely (as usual!)