Walt Disney World of Bust: Thanksgiving Disney Wedding Family Adventure! – Day 1

Our third week long trip to Walt Disney World of 2012 was planned for a family grand gathering of 50 in celebration of a family wedding.  The wedding would take place at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn with a reception to follow in EPCOT. 
Being that it was our third trip to WDW within a year and that we were traveling during high peak times and I’m cheap, we choose to drive down to Florida this trip. We are Disney Vacation Club owners (Boardwalk is our home resort), Annual Passholders, and Tables in Wonderland holders so the expense of this trip was “minimal.”  We planned to stay in Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa while family was spread out in the World at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside.
For every Disney trip (WDW or Disneyland) we sit down as a family and list the new or haven’t done in a while experiences we want to accomplish on the trip.  Below is our November list:
  1. Magic Kingdom – Fantasyland expansion
  2. Magic Kingdom – haircuts at Harmony Barber shop
  3. Magic Kingdom – Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
  4. Magic Kingdom – Celebrate the Magic Show
  5.  All Holiday decorations – Gingerbread Houses
  6. Hollywood Studios – Pirates of the Caribbean – Legion of Captain Jack Sparrow
  7. Hollywood Studios – Osborne Lights
  8. Epcot – new Test Track (if open)
  9. Epcot – Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure 
  10. All ride photos with the cousins
  11. Disney wedding
We set a PR of 18 hours and 10 minutes driving down from Connecticut.  The drive was uneventful – which is exactly how you want a long distance drive to be and we soon arrived at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort at 9:44am.
The resort was all decked out for the holidays and when we arrived the lobby smelled like hot apple cider!  We arranged for early check-in because having been in the car for 18+ hours we were unfit to be in public without showers and our teeth brushed.  We had requested a room near the new swimming area in the Paddock, but since all we wanted were showers and a ready room, we received a room in the Grandstand area of the resort – studio room 9701.  This was a nice corner room located on the 3rd floor (love the elevators & parking in Saratoga!) overlooking the Lake Buena Vista golf course with views of the Tree House Villas. 
After unpacking and showering, we were ready to hit the parks at high noon.  The only problem with that was we were in need of a meal and we were in no mood to fight the Magic Kingdom quick service crowds.  So instead we decided to grab lunch at Captain Cooks at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and take the boat from there over to the Magic Kingdom.
First stop in the Magic Kingdom – Town Hall Square Theater – to upgrade my Disney PhotoPass to a Disney PhotoPass+!  This was the second time we have used the PhotoPass+ (first time was in April 2012 a few weeks after the launch of the product).  I absolutely LOVE getting off Splash, Space and Everest and loading our ride photos on our PhotoPass!  TIP:  Remember to take a photo of the PhotoPass Number and the activation code.  You’ll need these numbers to easily replace your PhotoPass+ if you “misplace” it!
Awesome!
After getting our Fast Pass to Space Mountain we made our way over to Fantasyland.   I was pretty convinced that Under the Sea Journey of The Little Mermaid would be the same ride as in Disneyland’s California Adventure.  We had first ridden it during Disneyland’s Half Marathon Weekend in 2011 and were quite impressed with the “next generation” animatronics.  Yes, it was the same, however, the theming and attention to detail outside and in the pre-boarding queue was outstanding.   
Interesting taste….

We also visited Gaston’s Tavern to partake in LeFou’s Brew (Disney’s answer to Butterbeer) and view the Be My Guest Restaurant menu prior to eating there later in the week.

One of our last stops of the day was Harmony’s Barber Shop located between the Firehouse and the Emporium.   This is a true Disney gem that we have been enjoying since our baby’s first haircut.  Everyone can get their haircut here or just opt for some pixie dust! 
All in all we had a successful first full day with all three Magic Kingdom mountains ridden, new Fantasyland explored and haircuts completed for the Disney wedding later in the week!  We finished the night up with supper at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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