Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Disney World Vacation Day 1 - Disney Springs

We had an absolutely magical spring break week in Disney World, and when I say magical, I mean it.  Disney doesn’t do anything halfway, y’all!

If you’re a long-time reader, then you may remember that we had this trip planned for spring break in March 2020, and everything shut down the week before we were supposed to leave.  All of that planning down the drain.  To say we were sad and disappointed was an understatement. 

We rescheduled our trip for June 2020 thinking that the “curve might be flattened” by then – hahahaha – and of course, the trip ended up being canceled again.  At that point, Disney gave us a full refund.  We considered going again for spring break 2021, but at that point, Covid was raging, so we didn’t even bother booking the trip.  We also considered booking for October 2021, but then the Delta variant was raging, and our kiddos still weren’t eligible for vaccination, so we gave that one up, too.  Sigh.

We finally set our hearts on spring break 2022, and y’all, it finally worked out!!  We had the absolute PERFECT time, and I cannot tell you how special this trip was after having to wait so long to get there.

The first time we went in 2018 we literally knew nothing about how everything works at Disney, and therefore, we let our travel agent plan every single detail for us from the park days to the fast passes to the restaurant reservations.  However, for this trip, we knew exactly what we wanted to do, where we wanted to eat, etc. so we gave all of the information to our travel agent (the same one we used in 2018), and then she booked everything for us, so we didn’t have to stress, wake up early to get reservations, etc. 

She was able to book every single thing that we wanted except for one thing – Sci-Fi Drive-In Theater for dinner in Hollywood Studios.  She tried to no avail, and Brian and I both checked obsessively for a canceled reservation that we could snag in the 60 days leading up to our trip, but we had no luck either, and we ended up settling for something else instead.  Other than that, we were able to get reservations at every single restaurant that we wanted, and we were able to ride every single ride that we wanted. 

The kids’ spring break was Saturday, April 2 – Sunday, April 10, and we thought we’d have the best chance of the parks being the least busy if we went Sunday – Saturday.  That way, we’d be in all of the parks on weekdays rather than weekends.  Not sure our strategy actual made a difference, though, because it was PACKED the entire time we were there.  Lol.

Anyway, we woke up at 6:45 AM on Sunday, April 2 and departed bright and early.  We couldn’t check into our hotel until 3 PM, so we planned our drive accordingly, hoping to make it there just in time for check-in, also stopping to have lunch halfway.  The drive was uneventful, although, we did run into some traffic about an hour out from Orlando, but it wasn’t too bad.  Since we live in Georgia, there’s no reason for us to fly as Disney is very easily drive-able for us. 

On the way down, we stopped at Panera to have lunch.  We typically stop at Chick-Fil-A when we travel, but since it was Sunday, they were closed.  These sweet kiddos didn’t mind, though!  They were just excited to be on the way to DISNEY WORLD!

When we went to Disney back in 2018, we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, and we liked it a lot.  This year, just to try something different, we opted to stay at Port Orleans French Quarter, and we were SO glad we did, because we LOVED it.  It’s much more picturesque than Riverside and it is much less spread out, so the lobby, shops, pool, and arcade were much more accessible than those at Riverside.  French Quarter was only slightly more expensive than Riverside, and we thought that it was worth every single penny of the extra cost.  We’ll definitely be staying there again!

Disney allows you to check in on the app long before you arrive, and you just give them your ETA right there in the app.  We plugged in 3 PM for our ETA, and we ended up arriving just before 4 PM.  Before we ever arrived, they had already sent our hotel room number and digital key straight to our app.  That meant we were able to skip the check-in line in the hotel lobby and just go straight to our room.  SO NICE.

Our room was on the second floor of one of the three-story buildings, and we had the most beautiful view!  Seriously gorgeous!

After unloading all the things, taking a few pictures of the room, changing clothes, and transferring all of my important stuff to the ol’ belt bag, we all headed out to explore the grounds and find the boats to Disney Springs.  Yes, Port Orleans has boats that take you straight to Disney Springs… it’s one of our favorite things about staying there.  I believe they’re the only resort that offers the boat ride and it’s just so fun!

We, of course, had to take a peek at the hotel’s pool on the way out, and to say the kids were excited about it was an understatement!!  The last time we stayed at Disney, we made the mistake of not having a rest day in our trip, so we went to the parks four days in a row which left zero time for the pool.  This time, we sandwiched a day off right between the four parks so we could have some time to relax, recharge, and have pool time. 

When we arrived at the line for the boats, it was long, and we were a bit worried it was going to be a long wait, but we only ended up waiting about 25 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad… definitely worth the wait to not have to take our own vehicle and try to find a place to park.  I’ve heard that parking at Disney Springs is a nightmare. 

While we were in line waiting on the boat, Brian spotted a cell phone laying in a crevasse in a bunch of large rocks.  Yikes.  He picked it up and tried to open it, but it was locked, and just as we were trying to figure out what to do with it, the phone rang so I answered it.  Lol.  Sure enough, it turns out that the phone belonged to a young teenage girl, and her mom was calling trying to locate the phone.  She told us that her daughter and husband had just taken the boat over to Disney Springs, so we told her we would just bring it with us and give it to them when we got there.

Just four people, happy and grateful to finally be at Disney World after two long years…  

Sure enough, the dad, the daughter, and the daughter’s friend were waiting for us on the dock at Disney Springs and we were able to get her phone safely back into her hands.  They were all very grateful as you can probably imagine.

After the phone was returned to its rightful owner, job one was finding dinner.  The last time we were at Disney Springs in 2018, there was a great quick service pizza place that we loved, and we were hoping to eat there again, but sadly it was permanently closed.  I guess we should have done our research to make sure it was still there!  Haha.

We ended up walking the entire length of Disney Springs finally settling on Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy! for dinner.  Disney Springs was pure insanity and every restaurant had lines winding out of the building, but Chicken Guy! wasn’t so bad, although, we still had to wait a good 20 minutes before we could order. 

The “thing” at Chicken Guy! is that they make a bunch of homemade sauces to eat with your chicken fingers, and sauce is totally my thing, so we ordered an assortment of different ones – avocado crema, brown sugar BBQ, donkey sauce (a roasted garlic/lemony flavor), original (which is kind of similar to Zaxby’s sauce), and honey mustard for the kiddos.  All of them were delicious, especially the donkey sauce and avocado crema, but the avocado/cilantro flavor on chicken fingers was a little odd.

Chicken Guy! was completely sold out of beer (what?!), so I walked down to one of the pop-up bars to grab a couple of IPAs for B and me because – vacation.  We were miraculously able to snag a table in the restaurant, and then it was finally time to EAT!  Woo hoooo!

After dinner, we walked all the way back down to the other side of Disney Springs to hit up the Lego Store, but the line to get in there was insane, so we admired all of the Lego displays outside the store and then watched the volcano at Rainforest Café for a bit before hitting up the massive Disney Store. 

If you’ve been in the Disney Store at Disney Springs before then you know what I’m talking about… it. is. HUGE.  The kids were in heaven, bouncing from one room to the next, and they were already on the lookout for souvenirs to purchase and take home.  They both settled on little plush orange birds that have magnets on them that allow them to sit on your shoulder.  We had no idea who this little orange bird was, but one of the Disney employees told us that his name is, in fact, Orange Bird (LOL), and that he is a prominently featured character in the Enchanted Tiki Room in Magic Kingdom.  Apparently, he’s been around for decades. 

My parents had given me a Disney gift card as an early birthday gift, so I thought that I would treat myself to a souvenir other than a frame for our travel gallery wall, and when I spotted a gorgeous, very unique Belle mug, I was head over heels.  I teared up, y’all.  She is my favorite princess and I’ve loved her and that movie AND THAT SONG since I was a kid, and I also collect mugs, so I knew instantly that was the perfect souvenir for me.  I also picked up a pink and gold glitter oversized long-sleeve Disney tee that is so cute and soooo comfy. 

By the time we left the Disney Store, the sun was setting, so we headed back to the Lego Store to see how long the line was.  It was still pretty long, but it seemed to be moving quickly, so we went ahead and got in it.  While we waited, I snapped some cute pictures of the kids with their Orange Birds and one of the three of us as well… I had to document the fact that I was actually there, too.  I’m always the one behind the camera and I’m not often in pictures.  Haha.

Once we were in the Lego Store, the kiddos discovered an interactive computer that was the coolest thing ever!  You can take the box of any Lego set over to that computer and hold it up in front of the screen, flat side facing up, and it builds the whole Lego set virtually right there on top of the box you’re holding to give you a 365 degree view of what it looks like when it’s built.  The Lego mini-figs come alive and it looks like they’re walking around on the box you’re holding… it is CRAZY COOL.  If you want to see the video that I took, check out my Instagram story highlight titled “Disney ’22.”  Seriously the coolest.

After they had their fun with that, they browsed some more, and of course, we had to take pictures with Baby Yoda and also The Hulk. 

By the time we left the store, it was nearing 9 o’clock and we had a suuuuper early wake-up call the next morning, so we knew it was about time to wrap things up.  We had promised the kids they could ride the carousel, and we also wanted dessert – DUH – so we headed toward the carousel. 

On the way, we came upon this display in another souvenir shop, and of course, we had to take a picture of that!!!! 

Both kids rode the carousel and they seemed to enjoy it, although Jacob’s facial expressions looked a bit sarcastic at first.  Lol.  He’s nearing the age where stuff like that will be dumb soon, so I was happy that he still wanted to ride it.  Are you ever even too old to ride the carousel at Disney?  The answer is no.  No, you’re not.  ;o)

After the carousel ride, we stopped in a little candy shop and grabbed Mickey ice cream bars and a Mickey ice cream sandwich for Jacob, and we found a place to sit outside and enjoy them.  By the time we were done with those it was laaaate and we needed to get back to the hotel.  The line for the boats was insane, so we opted to walk all the way back down through Disney Springs and take a bus instead as those run faster/more often than the boats.

When we arrived at our hotel, I swung by the front desk because I wanted to grab a birthday pin for myself to wear in the parks on Tuesday, my actual birthday.  If you’re not familiar with Disney, they will give you a free pin to wear on your birthday, and then when you’re in the parks wearing it, all of the cast members will tell you happy birthday and make your day extra special!

By the time we made it back to the room and got ready for bed it was 10 PM – YIKES – so we all got in the bed way later than we wanted to, but YOLOOOO, right?!?!

And that was day one of our trip!  I’ll be back Friday with a Five on Friday post, and then the Disney recaps will resume on Monday with… our day in Hollywood Studios!

Happy Wednesday, y’all! 



  1. All the lines sound difficult! I hate when it's so crowded there...but still fun! We walked around the resort you stayed at last time we were there. I love exploring the different resorts. Love Disney Springs too - but it's so huge now!

  2. Fourth time is a charm!! I am so glad you guys finally made it!! And I think the kids probably enjoyed it more being older! We might be going next year so I am going to refer back to this post!

  3. Looks like a magical day that was well worth the wait! You can't beat Disney for the best family vacation in my opinion. I want to see the Belle mug. :)

    1. It was definitely worth the wait! I'll have to remember to share the Belle mug... I need to put it in my Five on Friday!

  4. You're absolutely right - one is NEVER too old for Disney. :) Your resort was beautiful and how amazing you were able to return the phone to its owner! I'm so thrilled you guys finally made Disney happen after two years of crazy - I can't wait to see and read more. :)

    1. We were thrilled, too, and we're already ready to go baaaack!

  5. SO glad you guys finally got to go on your Disney trip! Parking at Disney Springs has been SOOOO much better since they put in a few parking garages. Before that it was definitely a nightmare, but now we drive up to a garage and it tells you how many spots are available on each floor and it's surprisingly super accurate! And yay for birthday pins!

  6. That lego store IS insane! My kids have never been there, but when Brian and I did a solo weekend trip to Disney AGES ago for me to run the Wine & Dine half, we went in it. I remember we got them Lego Snow Globe ornaments! Your hotel looks really nice, we have never stayed at that one (there are just SO many!). That SciFi restaurant is neat, we ate there last time. I'm sorry you didn't get a reservation for it, but at least you got everything else!


  7. I think this is similar to our Disney boardwalk. It has a name to it, but it isn't Disney Springs. Looks like a great start to your vacation.

  8. We love the French Quarter and have stayed there a few times now; the boat ride to Disney Springs is one of my favorites. Your recaps are really making me want to try and coordinate schedules to use up our 2020 credits from our canceled trip but I can not get over how hard it is to coordinate between high school and college schedules! What a fabulous start to your vacation!!

    1. I bet! It's hard when your kiddos get older and everyone is going in different directions!

  9. love love. Makes me so excited for our upcoming trip

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