I’m usually an early riser on holiday. I like to get up, watch the sunrise and be ready to start the day. However, 4am is not my ideal wake up time, even when I am on holiday. The time difference meant that the girls started stirring around 3am, and after a bit of bed swapping and trying to convince them to shut their eyes ‘for just five more minutes’ we gave up! On the bright side this did mean we were dressed, packed up and down ready for breakfast at 7am. We had breakfast at the hotel which consisted of bowls of colourful cereal, pancakes, waffles and a LOT of syrup. There wasn’t a huge selection at breakfast and the breakfast room was quite small. They also didn’t have any English breakfast tea, so if you’re are a tea lover (like I am), then make sure you bring some teabags with you!
As we weren’t picking our RV up until late afternoon, the hotel allowed us to store our cases in a locked room for the day, which saved us having to pay for late checkout. The receptionist ordered us a taxi to take us to Disney Springs (around a 20-minute drive from the hotel).
We decided not to do any of the Disney parks whilst in Orlando, as we were limited on time and the cost for just one day was extortionate. Disney Springs (also known as Downtown Disney) is completely free to walk around, and has so much to see and do. I could’ve happily walked around all day just looking at the beautiful river, pretty streets and incredible shops. Arriving at 9am meant that it was really quiet, and didn’t get busy until around 1pm. So, if you want to beat the queues, aim to get there early! I made sure I packed some Minnie mouse headbands for the girls to wear, to give them a taste of Disney!
Our first stop was the Aerophile balloon ride. The world’s largest tethered helium balloon! The price was $20 per person (with Elsie getting to go on for free) for a 5-7minute ride. Unfortunately, due to high winds, the ride was not operating, and after looking on reviews this happens regularly, so make sure you check out the weather forecast to avoid disappointment. Next to the Aerophile balloon are the Amphicars. These cars can drive on land and float in the water! The cost was $120 for a car including your own car captain. The trip on the Amphicar lasts around 20 minutes and gives you a great view of Disney Springs from the river.
There are so many amazing shops to look around… The Disney store, the Lego shop and the T-Rex café! The girls were amazed at how incredible the T-Rex café was, with its life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, octopus bar and aquarium, it’s not like the cafes were used to back at home. After looking around the shop, we went into the outdoor sandpit to dig for dinosaur bones.
After a few hours of walking round, we were ready for more food! We let the girls choose where to eat and they decided on… The Rainforest Café! It felt as though we had just stepped foot into a real-life rainforest! The sound effects, the décor, the thunderstorms which makes the animals come to life… It’s a great experience that amazed us as well as the kids. Now, in Disney Springs, you can expect to pay above average prices for just about everything. So, The Rainforest Café was so exception. However, the food was great and they did have a reasonable priced kid’s menu. It was worth every penny to see the girls faces light up with excitement!
As I just mentioned, the price of food and drink at Disney Springs is pretty expensive ($5 for a bottle of water and $6 for a cupcake should give you an idea of the prices you will be paying). If you’re looking to make the day more affordable, we recommend taking a bag with some drinks and snacks with you.
Whilst planning our trip, Daisy would sit with me looking through photos on the laptop of where we were going and things we could do. Which is where she came across a photo of a Sprinkles cupcake ATM. Every time I asked what she was looking forward to doing on our road trip, the cupcake ATM was top of her list. So, when we walked around the corner at Disney Springs to see the pink sprinkles sign, her day was made! She selected her cupcake on the touch screen ATM, we paid the $6 with our bank card (yes $6 for a cupcake!!) and waited for her cupcake to ‘magically’ appear. She nearly cried with amazement and I nearly cried when she took one bite and said ‘I don’t like it’.
We left Disney Springs around 3pm to get a taxi to Cruise America in Kissimmee, to collect our RV, stopping off to grab our luggage on the way. After going over our paperwork, we were shown to our home for the next three weeks. It was huge! A 30ft RV that could sleep 7 people! We checked the RV over for any damage and were shown how to work everything (how to empty pipes, connect to electric etc). We were really impressed to see how immaculate everything was and the RV only had 25000 miles on the clock!
(Keep an eye out for a full blog post on our RV experience with Cruise America)
We stopped off to load up on supplies for the next few days and then drove five minutes down the road to our first campground. We were greeted at the gates of Lake Whippoorwill KOA and taken to our lakeside spot. We had a pitch with a picnic table, fire pit and BBQ, so we spent the evening eating outside by the campfire, enjoying the views of the lakes. (Whilst secretly panicking about how close we were to the ‘beware of the alligators’ sign). Then it was time for bed, ready for another action-packed day in the morning.