The first vacation as we took as a blended family. Trying to find things to do that accommodate a 13-year-old, 11-year-old and a 5-year-old was not easy, but at Disney it can be done.
We also had concerns about flying with kids that had different last names than ours. This was our first time doing this. I did some research and got very mixed opinions on this. This is what we experienced…Kids under 16 do not need ID for security. The TSA agents aren’t monsters and know how to do their job in a kid-friendly way. They asked our little one where she was going and she happily replied, “Disney!”, then they asked who these people are with her. She answered and they told her to have a great time seeing Mickey Mouse. Effortless.
We flew to Orlando, got our luggage and followed the instructions to get to the Magic Express. This is a little confusing and may start an argument between you and your spouse, just be warned. I think we landed at the furthest point from where they are located and it took us a while to navigate. Once we made it to the Magic Express area the process was seamless. We gave them our passes and we were put on a bus. We lucked out and were the only ones on the bus.
We stayed at the Port Orleans-Riverside resort. It’s a moderately priced resort that accommodates families of 5. We opted for this over a luxury resort, because we planned on never being in the room. The resort has a cool New Orleans feel to it, laid back and fun for the kids.
We were immediately greeted and welcomed. Everyone we saw greeted us, no avoiding our eyes or appearing to be too busy. They quickly checked us in. They noticed that my son’s birthday had been the week before and made a huge deal out of it. They sang to him and gave him a birthday pin to wear for the week. The magic of Disney already! We were walked the short distance to our room and given a room tour. They explained how to use our room keys, gave us our refillable cups and we were sent free.
The rooms are spread out pretty far across the resort, but we lucked out and got a room close to the pool, restaurant, and main entrance. There was also a bus stop for the parks right near our building. My absolute favorite thing about this resort was that you can take a boat to Downtown Disney. It was relaxing, less crowded than the bus and fun for the kids.
The room had 2 queen beds and 1 bed that pulls down from the wall. It was plenty of space for the 5 of us with lots of great amenities. The room kept in theme with the resort.
Our room before the mess 😉 Plenty of room for 5 people. The pull out was big enough for all three kids to sleep on, though it was mostly the youngest.
The pool was amazing! There are 2 at the resort and we never made it to the second. The main pool was huge and fun. There is a water feature in the center and a dragon water slide. We took a day off from the parks in the middle of the week and spent the day in the pool.
We had reservations in Downtown Disney for dinner, so we explored for a while, hopped on the boat and went downtown.
Downtown Disney was a perfect first night. The kids got to explore and eat entirely too much candy and just relax. There are tons of candy shops, our favorite was Goofy’s Candy Shop by The Rainforest Cafe. There is s MASSIVE gift shop there. The biggest perk is that you ca have your items shipped to your resort free of charge. This makes it nice so you aren’t lugging around your things all day.
We ate at the Rainforest Cafe. It had great food, but it was SO busy. Our reservations were at 8, we checked in at 7:15 and weren’t seated until almost 9:30 (hence the overload of candy to the starving kids). They were very apologetic about it and we did get a coupon for the gift shop.
All in all, it was a great first day and the kids were beyond happy. We loved Downtown Disney!