Disney has been my little piece of heaven on earth for as long as I can remember. I generally get teary-eyed when I arrive and teary-eyed when I leave. I love seeing families having fun together and grown adults dancing down Main Street.
Last December, my pal Amy and I hit the road for a girls trip with her adorable two year old daughter, Sailor. This would be Sailor’s first trip to Disney World and I had a very specific vision of what it I thought it would be like. This would be my first trip with a toddler.
As a loving auntie, I had pre-purchased her ears, bought her a Minnie Mouse bigger than she is, and her mom had prepared the most adorable outfits ever – all with red polka dots to celebrate her Minnie Mouse obsession.
I am so glad I had this experience because it truly made me realize the extreme difference in going with and without kids which has assisted in planning more realistic itineraries for clients!
A few things I learned along the way:
1. You are on toddler time – not your time. They need to nap – and you will need to rest periodically as well! We found an adorable and quiet place tucked away on Main Street across from the Emporium so Sailor could nap before we started our very long, fun-filled day (she fell asleep in the security line because she had a blast at Chef Mickey’s).
2. You will ride their favorite attractions multiple times – and it will break your heart when you have to tear them away from it and they cry. Sailor could have stayed on Goofy’s Barnstormer all day and been content.
3. Slow down. Let the kiddos be kids, take in all the sights and go at their own speed. They will be fascinated with things you would probably miss if you weren’t with a kid. See through their eyes and enjoy!
4. Think ahead. I was extremely impressed with Amy’s packing skills. She thought of everything. When we stopped for ice cream, she let Sailor enjoy and get messy because she was prepared with a change of clothes.
5. Character Dining is where it’s at… for our two park days, we had three character dining meals. We did buffets each time to get the most out of our money and Sailor LOVED these experiences – probably more than the parks! We did Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, and a Polynesian breakfast. The characters come to your table so you don’t have to fight the crowds. It’s a win-win. The dining experiences are where I got emotional with the kiddo… she shrieked with joy and was smiling, dancing, and having the time of her life. It truly was a precious sight to see.
6. Don’t underestimate the beauty of the memory maker. We ended up with around 100 pics from our couple of park days. This is perfect for actual family photos – I know so many moms who get left out of pics because they are usually the ones taking the pictures. 😉 This trip was the first time I had ever experienced the memory maker first hand and I don’t believe I will ever visit without the memory maker again.
7. Take too many pictures and videos. I took around 3,000 pics on my phone during our time at the parks. Videos of Sailor dancing, her face when she first saw her favorite characters… these are times you won’t get back with kids – enjoy and capture these memories.
All in all – the vision I had of the trip was absolutely nothing as I expected. I have never been to Disney and not rode Space Mountain. I have never been and not opened and closed down the park. I was more exhausted the first day in the park than I’ve probably ever been in my life… but it was such a fun, heart warming experience. I’m so thankful I have friends who let me in on these sweet moments of their kids lives… and allow me to pass on the Disney obsession with the younger generation. Such a great trip and a lot of fun to see the parks through the eyes of a child again!
We are ready to help you plan your own magical getaway. Contact a DDT agent to get started. We will find something that will fit your budget so you can make memories you’ll treasure forever!