It’s no surprise to my long-time readers that I just got home from Disney World (again!).  But this trip was unlike any other in many ways.  First, was that we went as a family of only four this time, since Grant and Abby are away at college.  And although we missed them terribly, we focused on having some quality time with Lily and Lola…and we did have a great time!

We chose to stay at the Yacht Club for the first time, and it might just be our new favorite!








It was absolutely beautiful, and we spent our first day relaxing by the sand bottom pool.  (This is a great pool with a lazy river, pirate ship water slide, and a sandy shore edge where you can build sand castles!)







Even as we relaxed, we began to get hurricane warning notifications on our phones, which seemed hard to believe with the gorgeous skies above us at the time!




That night, we headed to Disney Springs for dinner and shopping.




It has changed so much from what it used to be and it is gorgeous! So many more shops and restaurants and things to do.








We had dinner at the Boathouse and it was super-cute and delicious.  A great place for seafood!  (And right beside it are the cutest car boats that you can ride into the water!)









With storm warnings still looming, we headed out the next morning to the parks and hit our favorite highlights at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot.











That afternoon, they began to announce that the parks would close early to prepare for the coming storms, and would remain closed the next day (this was a bit of a surprise since Disney literally never closes!) So we headed back to the resort to settle in.

Some of our long-time friends were staying at the same resort we were, so we met up together and found a nice spot to just hang out and spend some time together.

In true Disney style, the cast members were prepared for fun, even when things don’t go as planned.  Before we knew it, we had lifeguards bringing in board games, and by the end of the night, we had made several new friends!








Overnight, the storms came in, but thankfully, the hurricane wasn’t as strong as first feared, so there was really no damage to the properties that we heard of.





However, the parks did remain closed because of the previous precautionary measures, so we just had to change our plans from having a day by the pool with our friends to having a day inside with even more friends…



There were characters all around, meeting, greeting, and playing with the kids, activities scheduled on the hour for scavenger hunts, dance parties, movies, and crafts.






And by the next morning, everything opened back up and all was right with Disney World again…


It was an absolutely gorgeous day to spend at our favorite park, and we had a great time making more memories to add to our collection.






For a new great restaurant recommendation, you must try the Skipper’s Canteen near the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland.  I ate here on my last trip with Abby, and the mac and cheese was so delicious, I could not get it out of my head.  This time I arrived to find out they had changed the dish a little, and now it’s in a penne pasta form, but it is still amazing!  It’s called Skip’s Beefy Baked Pasta, and it’s a dreamy combination of creamy cheeses, pasta, beef, spices, and even cinnamon!  Crazy delicious!



And when you go, request this butterfly banquette table.  It’s just gorgeous!



So, yes!  It was another great trip with some of my favorite people.  Next time we plan to go with all six of us again (right, Grant and Abby?).


We even got to see the next-to-last Electrical Parade ever.  And Main Street at night was as magical as ever.



So, even with all the interruptions and schedule changes and weather that was less-than-ideal, we had still had a magical time.  We’ve planned many trips to Disney over the years, and I’ve even given you some lists of my favorite places to stay and some of our most memorable places to eat.  We’ve now been with our young kids, our older kids, with no kids, and with friends.  And through all this, I’ve learned some tips.  But here’s the very best one…


Don’t let your expectations of perfection make you miss the magic.  Trust me!  I’ve had to stop and remind myself of this one and I’ve witnessed it many times while at the parks.  There’s something about Disney that has us all dreaming of perfect photos with the kids in their crisp new Disney shirts and Mickey and Minnie leading us down Main Street with balloons in hand while we sip a Dole Whip under a cloudless blue sky.  (Anyone else have dreams like this?)  And as much as we all love to ditch reality while at Disney World, the truth is, things don’t always go like we envision.  Sometimes the lines are long.  And sometimes they’re really long. And sometimes we can’t get the perfect pic in front of the castle like we wanted (yep, guilty!), and then there are the family meltdowns I’ve witnessed that really break my heart because all I can think about is how long that mom and dad must have saved and planned to make this trip just perfect and now they’re starting to resemble two Disney villains.  But seriously, remind yourself before you go (and even throughout your trip) that the most important thing is that you’re together.  Some of our best memories are the ones when things didn’t go right.  Like my all-girls’ trip when it rained every. single. day.  And then there was that hurricane.  (We’ll remember that forever!)  But I’m telling you– even when things don’t turn out like you thought, there will be unexpected blessings and plenty of fun to go around. Disney is very good at trying to make your vacation the best it can be.  They will accommodate you when they can and do their best to make things go well. But occasionally, inconveniences happen.  So make your plans, but stay flexible.  Expect to have fun, but keep some room in the schedule for the unexpected.  Imagine the possibilities, but leave room for the unimaginable, too.  That’s the best Disney advice I can give you, friends! (And by the way, it’s good advice for everyday life as well!)

{I also want to add that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Matthew who were not as fortunate as we were and lost homes and even lives.  I understand that being inconvenienced on vacation is trivial compared to the loss that some experienced.  Please accept our genuine sympathies.}