I finally went through the almost 5,000 photos I took while we were on our long-awaited, much-deserved Walt Disney World vacation! Our nine-day trip wound up turning into a ten-day trip because of a little thing called Hurricane Matthew. Talk about a wild experience. I hope you enjoy following along! We also took a lot of video recording while we were down there...so we'll *someday* start that Youtube channel we always talk about.

Day One - Arriving at Walt Disney World!

We had to get up at about 4AM on Saturday, October 1st to catch the earliest flight possible out of Columbus. Whenever we vacation and if we're flying, I always try to book the earliest flight the day we leave, and the latest flight the day we come back so we can get the most out of our vacation. There’s always something thrilling about waking up and heading to the airport when you know an amazing trip is waiting for you. This was also the first time we’d be leaving our sweet Ellie girl, and we were so distraught the entire time we were away from her, worrying about how she was doing (please note: she was very well cared for and did amazing!).

We grabbed breakfast at the airport Starbucks and bought some water and snacks for the plane. We were out of Columbus by seven in the morning and in Orlando by 9AM. The flight was great, and we picked up our rental car and headed out. We stopped by a few locations on the way to our resort - including the Theme Park Connections store (which is just like a giant antique store focused on Disney), and the two different Disney Character Warehouse stores. One was way nicer than the other, but I was excited to find some really great Disney stuff marked down so much. I snagged the amazing Chip mug for 7$ when it is originally 22$! Woohoo. After that, we headed to the grocery to pick up a few things like water and muffins for our room, and finally checked into the Disney's All Star Movies Resort! Unfortunately, we got the one area that I did NOT want to be in - Mighty Ducks. But luckily it was more Donald and Daisy Duck theme than the actual movie theme. But we got our anniversary and birthday buttons and wore the entire trip. :)

After unpacking and getting our room set up for the next ten days, we took a nap before getting changed and heading out towards the Magic Kingdom area for our dinner. We rode the monorail loop and did some Disney shopping (where I found OSWALD AND ORTENSIA stuffies!?!?!?!), before our dinner at the California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort. We planned a late dinner so we could catch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom (one of the points of dining there). But unfortunately, it poured down rain, and there were lightning and thunder from before we sat down for dinner through the rest of the night...so there were no fireworks for us to watch. It's okay, though, because I wasn’t feeling very well that night (and wound up having a weird cold/not cold thing for the rest of the trip).

We had some of the most fantastic food ever at California Grill. It’s one of the nicer meals we’ve ever had and my top favorite meal I've had at a Disney resort. However, the cost of the meal was not worth the fact that at 7PM, we were sitting in a dining room that was full of screaming and yelling children. I was disappointed with the ambiance of it because the noise level itself was out of control. I am all for children - and I want my own someday - but for a restaurant that expensive, after a certain time of night would be nice to have an age limit. I know Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian as a 16 and over age limit. I feel like during the day it’s probably not a big deal at the California Grill, but that late in the evening would have been nice to have a quieter and calmer environment. When we ate at Narcoossees, on our honeymoon, I don’t remember that restaurant having the same issue (and it’s on the same level of “niceness” as California Grill).

Oh well...the food was amazing and that was the most important part. We ordered the artisan tacos for our appetizer, hubby got the seared scallops, and I got the combination sushi roll for our entrees. We each ordered a dessert of banana buzz and homemade fritters. Plus, we got a sweet little “Happy Anniversary” card from the restaurant as well. Since the fireworks were canceled for the night and I felt bad, we went back to our room and were asleep by 10PM!

Day Two - The Magic Kingdom and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Our second day at Disney but our first day in the parks, was spent at the Magic Kingdom with the Halloween celebrations that night. We started our day with a buffet breakfast with characters at The Crystal Palace. I always try to book us a breakfast inside the park before it opens because it’s just so fun to get in when there’s not all that many people around. The breakfast was yummy, we received birthday cards from Pooh and friends and had so much fun meeting the characters. I always get so excited and nervous when we do character interactions.

After breakfast, until it was time for the 3PM parade, we ran around doing all our favorite rides and grabbing snacks and meeting characters. We finally got to check out two new-to-us experiences: the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train...which was a beautiful and fun ride, but way too short! And the Enchanted Tales with Belle...which I was under the impression that everyone got to meet her, not just the kids that were picked on the story. Needless to say, I left broken hearted, especially because that day's Belle was LITERALLY the one from the movie. We also got to check out the Memento Mori gift shop, that was created specifically for the Haunted Mansion ride (my second favorite Disney ride ever). It was fantastic, and we even picked up our own changing portraits!

Three in the afternoon saw us grabbing seats along Main Street to catch the Festival of Fantasy parade - which we had never seen before. I also had a massive meltdown because it was so hot and we hadn’t had a proper meal since breakfast. I was freaking out because it was SO crowded, and the entire time we were watching the parade, I had a very large lady that was almost literally standing on top of me...she actually bent our umbrella that we were using for shade! The time of year and the specific week we chose to go had been reported to be one of the slowest weeks at Walt Disney World. But of course that turned out to not be true anymore, and the entire time we were there, it was almost nearly as busy as it had been during our July honeymoon in 2013. Anyway, hubby got us some food, and we picked up some coffee at the end of the parade. I made sure to apologize profusely to husband for my meltdown, because I was truly grateful to be on a Disney vacation, no matter what!

After the parade, we did a little shopping along Main Street before we had to change into our party costumes. We went as Oswald and Ortensia (because we love the rare Disney characters) and, surprisingly a few people knew who we were! Mostly cast members but it was still exciting nonetheless. I didn’t think anyone would know who we were - especially since Oswald is only a meetable character at Disneyland. We spent most of our night trick or treating and riding rides. The wait times for the special Halloween characters were ridiculous, and there wasn’t that much Halloween party merchandise, which was disappointing. I was looking forward to lots of merch! But a cast member did hook us up with some free tasty treats from the Big Top Souvenir Shoppe in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland. We also had a really delicious dinner (with more free treats) from Pinocchio's Village Haus in Fantasyland.

We really loved seeing all the awesome costumes people had. We caught the late showing of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular stage show, the special Hallowishes castle and fireworks show, and the Boo To You parade (it's my most favorite Disney parade ever!). Can we talk about the Captain Barbossa face character!? I was so excited about it. Afterward, we headed out to finally get some shut-eye (and realized for the first time of many times how grateful we were that we decided to rent a car this time around). We had spent FIFTEEN hours inside park and walked TEN miles!