Monday, May 25, 2015

The Truth About Taking Little Kids to Walt Disney World

While I'm cruising this week with my mom I wanted to revisit my family's spring break trip including our visit to Walt Disney World. I shared before that when Uka and I were dating and visited for the first time as adults we vowed not to take our future kids until they were old enough to remember it. 

Well, I completely ate my words!

Going as an excursion from a cruise ship was a perfect introduction for our young family. I think it's important to know the temperament of your kids AND temperature threshold. I was so nervous about the heat and humidity for them but with sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hats and water they fared pretty well, plus with it being just a day trip it was very manageable even with a 9 month old.

We arrived just after the park opened and while Uka and I followed the Unofficial Guide last time, this time I scanned the family e-version for tips, but knew I wanted to keep it pretty lax. Knowing Nia's obsession with princesses caused us to seek out a princess-focused visit which left me with fear of standing in 2-3 hour lines to see Elsa and Anna

As we strolled into Disney and made our way through the park, one thing became evident: there were quite a few miserable families. Left and right we saw sweaty kids being hurried along, tears, bickering and just plain sadness. I almost thought it was contagious and wanted to shield my kids, but as our visit continued and heard the arguments I figured out one of the most frequent culprits: parents projected their obsessive memory-making onto the kids. 

Mr. Lovebird and I seemed to mind-meld and essentially let our kids run the show. We turned to Nia and asked her what she wanted do to do and she grinned and answered loudly, "Ride the rides!" 


We breezed past the lines of guests waiting to see princesses and Uka and Nia went straight for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. That was only the beginning  She came off bouncing while Grayson and I finished his first Disney World ride, The Book of Pooh. From there we went on to ride:

I think that's a pretty impressive list! I was also surprised that Grayson could ride with me. This was his first time being on rides and I wasn't sure how he'd react but he took it in stride. 

We also managed to squeeze in lunch at Be Our Guest where we sat in the eery, but cool, West Wing (Nia originally said she wanted to sit there, decided against it after we found a table, so we left, found a table in the Grand Ballroom then she said she wanted to go back, so we did, then she wanted to leave it again!). This was our only meal in the park and given the daunting process for reservations and our last minute trip, this was the perfect compromise. Everything was delicious and the ambiance a lot of fun - I especially like the detailed statues!

If you're thinking of planning a trip to Disney with young kids and have trepidation like I had, definitely go the route of following the pace that your kids set. Harried, frantic, contrived moments lead to cranky kids. Disney is definitely the happiest place on earth, just look at their contentment eating their first Dole Whip:

How old were you when you went to Disney? Have you ever taken your little ones and how did they fare?

P.S. Disney magic continues for me as I just found out I'll be joining my first Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On-The-Road" New York