Oh Disney, the happiest place on earth 🙂 When we traveled down to Orlando last year I was ADAMANT we would NOT go to Disney, that was until I was sitting on a pool lounge chair during my naptime relaxation, downloaded the Disney App, re-read my good friend’s tips and tricks and the next day AWAY we went. It was my first time at Disney World although I had gone to Disneyland in CA every other year since I was a baby; and it was Bob, Parker, and Dawson’s first time. It was every bit as Magical as we had hoped especially when you take the time to view the adventure through the eyes of a 3.5yr old.Fast forward one year, and while I don’t want you to get the false impression that we are “Disney People,” we went back again in celebration of my mom’s 70th birthday; still no Mickey Mouse ears and still every-bit as magical. While my husband and I would much rather be exploring a beach, hiking a mountain or skiing, for this phase of life and travel we are focused on making our trips fun for the kids which inevitably makes it fun for EVERYONE, happy kids, happy parents! Here are the ways we made our ‘lil adventure that much more magical, some of these ideas are totally “Vermont” of us.We brought our own lunch, snacks and water. I honestly thought they were going to confiscate our PB&Js the first year at the bag check, but there is no policy against bringing food or water into the parks so JUST DO IT. By having food along you save yourself waiting in line for terrible food, you allow yourself to eat anywhere, and you obviously save a ton of $$. I will never forget people staring at my son as he chomped on an Apple in line, they probably thought we were nuts but it made me happy that he could still have a healthy snack. I also highly recommend bringing lots of water, we brought one water bottle but the water from the bubbler to refill was terrible so we ended up buying their overpriced water.You may be wondering where we put put said water/food, etc. A good stroller with a storage compartment is key. We LOVE our single Bob Jogger and find it to be very functional for both boys to ride in. Dawson rides in the actual seat and Parker sits on the footrest in front of him. My mom had a tracker for steps and we did over 10,000 steps in a day so ‘lil legs need the stroller to help get around. Every ride has stroller parking so it makes it very easy. My final tips is to use that Painter’s tape from my last TRAVELING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. post to mark your stroller and make it easy to distinguish one black stroller from another 🙂Fastpasses are a MUST. The first step is to download the Disney App when you buy your ticket to the park. You get 3 Fastpasses which you can use to “book” an appointment to your favorite rides. Show up anytime within that hour window and it allows you to bop up to the front of a much shorter line. Pick your first three rides at least a day or two in advance so you don’t have to wait in lonnngg lines. Once you use up those three passes they automatically post new ones to your account so be sure to book your first three early in the day. It sounds confusing so I am happy to answer questions for people who want more details.
We are religious about our kids napping and will keep them going as long as we can. This year after our homemade lunches Bob grabbed an ice coffee and took Dawson for a stroller ride and managed an hour nap while we rode my favorite ride from childhood Splash Mountain!! Last year I had Dawson in the BabyBjorn and just let him sleep in there for two hours. Word to the wise, if your kids need sleep like ours and you can’t get them to nap at the park be realistic on the amount of time you will spend there because when kids get tired and fussy the crowds and noise will wear on EVERYONE…always quit while you are ahead!When I ask Parker (4.5yr) his favorite ride he goes with Splash Mountain likely influenced by it being my favorite; word to the wise you must be 40in, like us Lanky Liljedahls. His other close favorite was the Tomorrowland Speedway (32in), Dawson also loved it, what is better than driving a car when you are only 20mo old?!
My personal favorite rides this trip were Dumbo and Under the Sea ~Journey of The Little Mermaid. Neither of these rides had height requirements so we all rode them together which was ALOT of fun. We knew nothing about the Little Mermaid going into the ride, you are seated in a clam shell that takes you on a journey complete with the full Little Mermaid sound track. To me there is nothing better then singing along to the sound track for the Little Mermaid in the AC because by mid day it was HOT!
Many rides end with a lovely giftshop, my tactic is to race through there at the speed of light jabbering on about the ride we just went on to avoid the meltdown. My husband (the softy) often indulges in one trinket a trip, Mickey Mouse bubble wand anyone?!
The one thing we did that I don’t highly recommend, likely because none of us are into the characters, was to meet Minnie Mouse. If you like the Disney characters it is a good break from the heat and rides but I was that terrible parent who screamed in terror when Minnie came up over my shoulder unannounced!Have you been to Disney? If you haven’t been, are you pro/con…I find this to be a very dividing topic here in Vermont so I would be interested to hear your thoughts!