This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World and Disney Parks. I was provided a complimentary resort stay, tickets, and food. All thoughts are my own.
Last week my biggest dream ever came true! Walt Disney World invited my family and me to stay a few nights and experience everything they offer (including Genie+). We had the most incredible time, and I can’t wait to share what we experienced, how to utilize Genie+, and tips and tricks for traveling to Disney World with a three-year-old.
I won’t lie, when I got the email from Disney inviting Kalib, Brooklyn, and me to this event, I cried. A stay at Gran Destino Tower, park tickets with Genie+, food, and precious time with my husband and daughter? What more could I ask for? We checked into our hotel room at Gran Destino Tower on Monday and were immediately blown away. This hotel is SPECTACULAR, from the lobby to the food, pool, and hotel room. If you are looking for a Deluxe Resort stay without the price, Gran Destino Tower is your hotel. I am a self-proclaimed Disney hotel snob, and I was so impressed with Gran Destino Tower from the moment we walked in and can’t wait to stay here again.
After checking in, we enjoyed a special dinner in the Coronado Springs Convention Center, where we learned all about Genie+ and a new Photopass Experience. Genie+ is Disney’s new alternative to their old Fastpass system. The service itself is called Genie+, and the reservations you make are called Lightning Lanes. There are regular Lightning Lane Attractions (included with Genie+) and Individual Lightning Lane Attractions (separate purchase, you can buy these with our without Genie+ service). You can make your first Lightning Lane selection at 7:00 am and the following selection 2 hours after the park opens. You can then continue to make these selections throughout the day, one at a time (use the Disney Genie service Tip Board or My Day itinerary to see when you’re eligible to make another selection). You can add Genie+ to your park ticket for $15 per person per day and Lightning Lane selections are made through the Disney World app. While the system sounds complicated, we got the hang of it quickly and found it very easy to use.
After dinner, we boarded a bus and set off for Magic Kingdom, where we were able to try Individual Lightning Lane at Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train is a highly demanded attraction, and Lightning Lane entrance access is available to purchase individually for this ride. This ride is one of Brooklyn’s favorites, and she was so excited to ride it! We spent the rest of the evening at Magic Kingdom, riding rides and eating popcorn. When we got back to Gran Destino Tower, we took Brooklyn outside for the Movie Under The Stars, and she ended up staying up VERY late playing hide and seek on the lawn.
I felt Brooklyn would be sleeping in late on Tuesday, so even though I woke up at 7:00 am to make our first Lightning Lane selection, I chose to wait a bit to get a ride time later in the morning. I made us a 10:00 am breakfast reservation at Grand Floridian Cafe, and at 7:40 am, I made our first Lightning Lane pass for 11:00 am at Pirates of the Caribbean. Once Brooklyn got up, we took the bus from Gran Destino Tower to Magic Kingdom and then walked to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort for breakfast. We enjoyed our favorite breakfast at Grand Floridian Cafe, and at 11:00 am, I grabbed our second Lightning Lane for us to meet (and hug!) Mickey Mouse.
We finished our breakfast, walked back to Magic Kingdom, and stumbled right into a parade. We watched the parade and then went to Pirates of the Caribbean, our first Lightning Lane ride. The wait for this ride was 45 minutes, but with our Lightning Lane, we didn’t wait at all! After riding Pirates of the Caribbean, we enjoyed the Peoplemover, Teacups, and a coffee break before our Lightning Lane to meet Mickey Mouse. Meeting Mickey Mouse was pure magic, and we were all so happy to be able to hug him again. We also were able to try Cinderella Castle Mural of Memories, Disney Photopass’ newest feature. Using the Disney World app, you can “pin” one of your favorite Photopass Memories to the Castle! When you return to Magic Kingdom for years to come, your memories will be there waiting for you. I grabbed one more Lightning Lane for Dumbo, and once we rode that, we went back to Gran Destino Tower for naptime.
I have learned that nap time or rest time is critical when traveling with a little one. During every Disney trip we take, we prioritize heading back to our room in the afternoon to take a break. After our nap, we spent a couple of hours at the Coronado Springs pool and had the best time. This pool is arguably one of the most iconic pools on Disney property and one of our favorites; I had to drag Brooklyn out of the pool area when it was time for dinner. I love Disney pools because they have plenty of lifeguards on duty and complimentary life jackets for little ones. Although Brooklyn is attached to my husband or me in the pool, the life jacket gives us more peace of mind.
For dinner, we tried Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort! We had never eaten there before, and I was so impressed with the food and the service. Brooklyn got the cutest (and most delicious) Mickey-shaped Pizza! After dinner, we walked over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort and got some Ice Cream from the Beaches and Cream walk-up window.
Around this time, we were exhausted. It had been such a long day, and we knew we had to wake up very, very early on Wednesday. We went back to Gran Destino Tower and crawled into bed for a good night’s sleep before a big day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I will be sharing all about our Animal Kingdom Adventure tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Sending love and magic.