When I was planning my son's first birthday my immediate thought was Disney. How could you not want to?! But given his age it was quickly crossed off our list. Shortly after I came across an article that touched on vacationing with young children. It went on to say to not let age hinder reaching you're pleasured destination. It's about the parents too! Instant regret. A year later I wasn't going to pass the opportunity up again. I decided to go for it. The boys first trip, my second, an early birthday celebration, and our last who-rah before baby number two gets here, we couldn't have had a better time! My husband was so apprehensive about this trip. As he explains he thought it was going to be "characters running around in costumes singing madly". Little did he know it's so much more than that. I mean, they don't call it the happiest place on earth for nothing!
I packed anything and everything I thought we would need: toys, crayons, coloring books, an endless supply of dvd's to watch, snacks, deli meat, etc. The complete inventory for the least amount of stops as possible for our long eleven hour drive. Although it never seems to work out that way. It was nothing less than shameless bribery of junk food and candy every two hours. Oh and the road tolls. Never going as far deep into Florida as we had, I was completely unaware you had to pay to continue driving. Literally. If you're planning on going DO NOT forget to bring cash or else you'll be requesting a money order for a dollar fifty to mail off, while crossing your fingers it's not late, so you don't receive a hundred dollar fine!
Nevertheless we made it. We finally made it! Maybe it was just the pregnancy hormones but I wanted to cry. All I could think about was seeing the joy in my sons eyes meeting characters and watching the parades roll by. Day one was most certainly the hardest. Tackling Disney with a toddler was new territory for us all. The exhaustion from our trip and the overwhelming sensation of the crowds definitely got to our son. The most difficult transition was the bus. Waiting for our ride, being crammed in like sardines, and seeing those who couldn't sit, stand, he didn't understand. The different accents, new faces, not being able to bounce back and forth between mom and dad, I can see how he could become easily flustered. By the end of it, we finally discovered giving him his own chair actually made everyone's experience enjoyable.
The parks are SO big. One simply cannot complete these in a single day or even a week for what I'm concerned! Having fast passes and a list and the rides was a life saver. Not to mention the lines were a breeze with little to no wait time, which is ideal with a toddler! Magic Kingdom took some extra elbow grease keeping our son occupied though. Between each fast pass is an hour interval. So depending how quickly you use your cut-in-line free card, you're stuck. Like much in our case, wandering aimlessly trying to find something to do. I would not doubt how effortless it would be to spend your life savings here. While trying to stay in the rhythm of things I found myself buying those novelty items that are most commonly associated with the Disney involvement such as the infamous Mickey ears hat! I kept telling my husband "it's part of the experience". That and ice cream of course!
Animal Kingdom was by far my favorite! There was so much to see and do for the whole family, time flew by. We started our adventure with a very special breakfast with Mickey and his pals in a safari themed restaurant. It only made sense! While we drank our jungle juice and munched on some delicious fruit we were able to see everyone. After our first day we learned A LOT. A stroller was a huge mistake. All our son wanted to do was ram it into the backs of everyones heels. I was smart enough to bring our carrier along just in case. We were even able to sport our ponchos while wearing it since it rained if not most, all of our second day. Luckily everything he was able to participate in, due to his height, were indoors. By our last event we were ready to head back to the hotel. But not all was lost due to the weather. We decided to finish out our vacation with some arcade fun!
Although seeing these photos gives me a huge case of withdraws, I cannot wait return as a family of four and spread the fun even further! My husband may have came home a little more obsessed than the rest of us. Even with his doubts he undeniably had the best time. He has NOT stopped talking about it. All I can say is "I told you so". Until next time Disney!