Disney and Universal Studios Recap 2024 – Days 1, 2 and 3

We arrived home from our trip to Florida a few weeks ago and I’m feeling like I’m finally unpacked and able to document and share our Disney and Universal recap!

We headed over to the Detroit airport on Thursday, February 8th. We found an easy parking spot and headed into the hotel located inside the airport, The Westin. It was our first time staying at the airport and boy was it gorgeous and suuuuper convenient the next morning, especially considering we were up around 5:30 a.m.

After checking in, going to our room and a moment of thinking Henry had lost his luggage, he had left it in the lobby of the hotel (never a dull moment), we settled in and our view from our room was really cool. We kept the shades open for quite a while before everyone fell asleep. The kids loved this!

Upon waking up, the kids ripped off their last chain link countdown that I had made for them. We gathered our things and headed downstairs and around the corner and not long after we had arrived at our terminal.

We had a very excited 4 year old…and a very excited 40 year old! 😉

Jane took over the window seat since the monitor she was using wasn’t working. I don’t like to watch anything while traveling, so I opted to read and it all worked out…

These three were nice and comfortable, too.

I took the “cookie” that was given to Jane as a complimentary snack – we weren’t about to let her have anything unusual while flying due to her sesame allergy, it’s become a rule of ours now and a whole new way of thinking for us. Luckily I packed lots of fruit snacks for her.

We arrived in Orlando and this little one was exhausted.

Our driver celebrated as we entered Disney World and I appreciated the enthusiasm!! His go-to motto was, “It’s tough to be a bug…!” We loved it!

We stayed at The Grand Floridian. This has been our third stay at this location. Jon has CE courses he attends and we receive a discounted rate, hence the three times and why we opt to stay at this spot. I won’t ever argue staying here though! We love, love, love it so much!

Upon arriving a Disney Cast Member was creating art with water and a broomstick and asked Henry to join in. The magic had begun!

We unpacked for the week – hung up clothes, put clothes in drawers and organized items for a relaxing stay. I had also ordered groceries and they had been waiting for us since the day before – simply amazing – we used, Vacation Grocery Delivery. My mom was also arriving, so we made sure she was able to get a ride from the airport to the resort and then once she was secure and on the way, we headed to the pool(s) to take in a lovely Florida day!

Jane was ready to pool it up!

….and this Mommy was ready to relax after all the hustle and bustle of packing and traveling.

But Jon and I did what we had to do and enjoyed our poolside mommy and daddy drinks!

I will say, after not much sleep and without much food all day I had a little liquid courage in me to sport a swimsuit without a cover-up! I’m wild!

We took Jane over to an area just for her size. She, of course, had made a friend within seconds. She makes friends wherever she goes!

My mom had arrived and after letting her rest for about an hour, we then hit the ground running to our first Disney dinner reservation; Ohana over at the Polynesian! Normally we could walk over, but there’s currently construction occurring so we took the monorail, which was fine because we were able to go past Magic Kingdom and show my mom around while traveling on the resort monorail!

Dinner was amazing! The last time we ate at Ohana was way back in 2016 and the kids were so very little and we were with Jon’s parents – great memories! We paced ourselves and stuffed ourselves silly. Ohana is no joke with the amount of food that is brought out! I will say though, we were all utterly exhausted and I sipped on coffee just to stay alert during the entire meal. My mom was running on zero sleep, too.

We headed back to our rooms, but first we took pictures…

Oh the personality differences with these kids…

We were all in bed by 8:30 and I’m pretty sure my mom was, too. We all slept hard and woke up bright and early to an Uber awaiting us at 7:15 so that we could get over to Universal Studios!

I took a selfie in this mirror every morning to ensure that I slow down and take a moment to enjoy being in this exact spot!

Our little Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor were ready to go! The lobby was so quiet this early in the morning…

Jane had woken up with little red spots all over her face and we’re assuming it was from dinner from the night before. Disney is fantastic concerning all things allergies and we’ve always felt completely safe with Jane’s sesame allergy while visiting Disney. However, some of our food the night before did have sesame oil and we’re thinking we kissed her without first rinsing our mouths or brushing our teeth. It was a very good reminder that although she has gone through OIT, that she is still very much allergic to sesame. Ugh. A constant fear we’ll always carry with us. Luckily, she didn’t require anything to be done about. We kept a watch on her and continued on with our day.

Some pictures while waiting to enter the park…

My beautiful Eliza.

Woohoo! We were in!

During 2020, I read Henry and Eliza all of the Harry Potter books – those books brought on conversation and hope and it was an adventure for us during a very difficult time, so this is more than just a picture, it means soooo much to me/us anytime we’re here!!!! I’ll be reading Jane all of the books when she gets a little older and I can’t wait!

We purchased the Express Passes which made for the most amazing day and we were able to go on sooooo many rides!

This Jurassic Park ride was Jane’s favorite, she called it her, “danger ride!” LOL!

That ride had us all soaked and laughing really hard. Luckily we were able to pay seven dollars to dry off a bit – oh my gosh it was a blast!

After going on a bunch of rides over at the Islands of Adventure we took the Hogwart’s Express over to the Universal Studios side of the park.

We brought the kids’ wands from two years ago and they were able to make magic happen through the windows! Our wands were purchased from Ollivander’s.

Jon and I want to open a bookstore and coffee shop and I want it to look like Flourish and Blotts… 🙂

I got pooped on… so that was fun.

Jane hugged Gabby…


I’m not entirely sure what ride this was, but I appreciated the snuggles!

We also finally say down to eat after a day of non-stop movement. We ended up eating at The Leaky Cauldron.

We decided to ride Hagrid’s at night. The Express Passes don’t cover Hagrid’s or Velocicoaster, so we waited in line for longer than usual, however the line moved extremely fast. We love riding that ride at night AND with the Child Swap option Jon and the kids were able to ride it twice!

The park was closing but we had about ten minutes and decided to hop on one last ride for the night and it was a perfect one – The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!

These kids were getting excited, but we just kept pushing and decided to get a little snack before leaving. VooDoo Donuts had a huge line, so we opted for Cinnabon…

This then happened. Bahahaha! They could’ve slept here all night. Hahahaha!

The next morning, Sunday, Jon headed off to his CE course and the kids and I slept in…and by “slept in,” I mean until about 7:30. I couldn’t sleep in much longer…I mean, we were in DISNEY!!!! The kids did have a slow morning of getting around, which was nice and needed. I made myself some coffee and took in the view.

The weather was gorgeous and I knew we needed to take it all in because it was our only rest day AND it was the nicest and warmest day of our trip so we were out to the pools around 10ish! When in Disney….

This swimsuit was Eliza’s from back in 2018. My heart.

We went to the, “party pool/loud pool,” as we like to call it! Hahaha! It has a waterslide and fun music and it’s a super fun vibe. The monorail passes through this part, too! I went down the waterslide five times and oh my gosh, I loved every minute!

Jon was able to join us after CE and then my mom joined us later, too. She looked super cute and had me cracking up when she started to clean something out of the pool!!! She does this at her pool in Michigan, too, so it had us both laughing!

We all swam and played games and laughed and had some drinks. I loved that we were all in the pool playing together – so. much. fun. I went back to the room and grabbed some sandwiches and snacks so that we could keep playing poolside.

After about five hours at the pools, we headed to another reservation – Storybook Dining at Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge!

My mom and I were cracking up about matching colors and she said she usually matches with my sister, too! LOL!

Apparently we thought it was really comical so we took two pictures! Bahahaha!

Before heading out I snapped this picture of the pianist. Can I just live here?!

We took the monorail over to Magic Kingdom and then took a boat over to Wilderness Lodge – a new adventure! We love Wilderness Lodge and I’d love to stay in one of their cabins someday! Not sure how, but I’d love to do it! Hahaha!

This picture of Jane is of her looking at the castle!!!! We weren’t inside Magic Kingdom, but it was easily seen as we exited the monorail and headed to the boat dock! Her excitement is EVERYTHING!

Jane received her allergy safe appetizer and it looked scrumptious!

Dopey made an appearance!

Our meals arrived. This is my plate of gnocchi and it’s one of my favorite meals ever!

Eliza’s meal…

Jane was told she could get anything and as much of it as she wanted…so she did.

Snow White was pleasant to see!

Our desserts… drool… So yummy!

Grumpy was the star of the evening for us! He messed with Jon and was asking about each kid…and he ultimately put a halo made out of his hands over Jane’s head. We were cracking up. My mom had also said something about him reminding her of my dad…we lost my dad in 2022…. the way she told Grumpy and the way Grumpy reacted was perfect and I swear I could hear my dad laughing. I told my mom, “Mom! You broke Grumpy!”

It was a moment I will NEVER forget. It was really sad, but funny, but I could feel my dad with us in that moment…

The kids posed with the Evil Queen….

Dopey and Jane had another moment together. Dopey hugged Jane for a full minute or so. It was truly special.

We visited the gift shop and let me tell you, it’s the best gift shop I’ve ever visited at Disney!

The lobby of Wilderness Lodge is gorgeous and a must-see!

We hopped on the boat after our dinner and everyone hopped into bed after a successful day of rest and good food.

The kids were being so cute and singing songs – they’re my magic.

Everyone was in bed nice and early – our pool day was a success and we were all super sleepy. Lunches were packed, snacks were packed and outfits were laid out for the next day when we’d be heading to Magic Kingdom…

Stay tuned for our day at Magic Kingdom. It’s packed with so much goodness!

Marie 🙂

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