20 things about going to Disney with a 4 year old, almost 3 year old, almost 2 year old and pregnant
These are the things we did that made our trip awesome. They might not work for you but maybe one or two tips will be helpful to someone. This was one of the better trips/vacations I have ever taken, and that’s saying a lot because I have kind of been all over the world J
GO-If you can
So many people tried to convince us not to go. Certain we’d have a miserable time because our kids are ‘too young to enjoy the experience’. FALSE! They are at the perfect age to be totally taken aback by the magic of the place. To them, it’s all real. It’s all so fun. I am so glad we went ahead despite people’s best intended suggestions not to. Thankful for all those people who encouraged us to DO IT!!!!
|US on the morning we left|
SAVE LONGER, STAY SHORTER AND MAKE IT EASY
I have read all the blogs on budget Disney. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do it that way. BUT, I will say, I am certain I can count this vacation as one of the best vacations I have ever been on (and it truly was a vacation) BECAUSE we made it as easy on ourselves as possible. But, as you’ll see in the rest of the 20 things, some of that easy came with a big ol’ price-tag.
We decided when we first put this trip on the table that we would be flying. Driving with all them babies and a pregnant mama would have really been a bummer. Getting on a plane and being in Orlando from Detroit In two hours and some change was awesome. The kids did great on the plane (air-high five to the person who suggested playdough) and we saved 4 days of travel (because let’s not lie, there is no way in hizzo we’d do that drive with the whole crew in one day). Yes, it was expensive to fly (though we used spirit and only brought one suitcase)- see #2 for thoughts on that.
STAY ON THE PROPERTY
Again, for us, we saved longer and stayed shorter to be able to stay on the property. It was so essential to our awesome time that we could roll back to the hotel when needed (to escape the heat, nap, take cranky mama home- more on that later). Next time we go we will be renting a condo, but staying on the property was so awesome.
STAY ON THE MONORAIL
This one is a tough one because it is very expensive. There are three hotels on the monorail and none of them are cheap. All of them are more than I have ever paid for a hotel in my life. BUT, the extra hundreds of dollars (yes, that expensive) were WELL worth it to us. We have an insanely big stroller and jumping on/off the bus was as much of a pain as people said it would be the few times we’d have to do it (even though I thought people were crazy #firstworldproblems when they said it). And yes, it is a crazy #firstworldproblem but being able to roll right on the monorail and show up at the door of magic kingdom was AWESOME.
|The Aarons on the Monorail|
The first morning I almost ruined our entire Disney trip. We entered Magic Kingdom and I had a plan. That plan was to see certain things. But it was hot, and there were crowds, and we have three small children, and I threw up (#pregnancy) so by noon I was PISSED OFF. Aaron was walking too slow, I didn't understand the map (I am slow on map reading), everyone was hungry and I became that crazy person. The crazy person screaming at her children in Magic Kingdom “YOU BETTER SMILE, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHILDREN WANT TO BE HERE?!?!?!” (and there may have been a bit of swearing at the ol’ husband). Thankfully after lunch and a rest at the hotel, Big Aaron gently pointed out my crazy, “Do you realize you yelled at me for walking too slow at Disney?”- Right then and there I decided to calm my crazy, I put Big Aaron in charge of all major decisions and decided to manage my expectations. The next 2 days were awesome, but it was because I let go of control
DISNEY MEAL PLAN
We decided once we knew we were staying on property that we would be choosing to participate in a meal plan. It was an awesome decision. We went for the deluxe version, which is an insane amount of food, but only lil’ A was covered under it. Each meal we’d get an appetizer, meal and dessert, plus 2 snacks a day (water bottles counted for snacks). We had to share off our plates with Joey and John Paul (who are both boys with hearty appetites). Though the ‘dessert’ part of the meal plan was too much, we often were able to substitute it for things like ‘fresh fruit’ or a snack to bring back to our hotel. The good thing about the meal plan was it had healthy/healthier options. We didn't want our boys eating like crud for three days because their attitudes would stink and they’d get sick. We were able to have fruit each meal and veggies lots of the time. The meal plan was SO convenient, we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
MAKE RESERVATIONS AS SOON AS YOU BOOK
If you are using the meal plan or plan on eating at restaurants it is so essential to book reservations right away. I thought this was crazy talk prior to going, it’s not crazy talk- it’s necessary. We got into every place we wanted to eat at- and were so thankful for the MYDISNEY app to switch things around last minute.
EAT A BIG BREAKFAST
That bad morning I told you about, part of the problem is that all of us had something ‘quick’ for breakfast (bagel, croissant, ½ an apple) really early, so by 11:00 we were really hungry. In the heat and walking around, a big breakfast was key (as we discovered the next two days) to keeping our energy up in the heat! The buffet at 1900 Way right in our hotel was the best! We filled our tummies and it showed by the moods we were in the rest of the day.
Um- they are awesome. So cool how the characters came right up to the table. For my Joey, he just knew these guys were his best friend. He gave a Winnie the Pooh a hug that just would not stop. It was so magical. He still keeps talking about the mad hatter.
MAGIC KINGDOM RIDES
Quick rundown of what we rode (you will see we didn’t ride too many for two days, but again, we kept our expectations realistic). Merry Go Round, Small World, Aladdin’s Carpet, Buzz Lightyear, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousal of Progress (weirdly one of my favorites), Peter Pan, Dumbo (so freaking scary for me, kids loved it, waiting area was as awesome as they say) and the train. I think that’s it! Good stuff
|Dumbo, I still had a smile because I didn't realize how terrifying it would be|
MAGIC KINGDOM SHOWS
This part was so cool. We saw ladies with umbrellas dance, a huge dance party in the town square with all the main characters (total joy), the castle show during the day, Monsters Inc (Big Aaron got to be a character), and Mickey’s Musical Orchestra (none of us liked this). The show at the castle was awesome, but I’m not gonna lie, it was hard free standing in the sun on such a hot day. Would you believe we didn’t do any of the major parades or fireworks? As I said, we kept our expectations small. One night, I almost woke the boys up for the fireworks, but I realized we will be there in future years where it will make more sense to keep our kids up that late- so I resisted the temptation.
We saw VERY little of this park. It was our day to fly out to come back home. Man, though, the things we did see were awesome. We went on the safari. The boys and I love it, but full disclosure, it got Big Aaron a little sick. The jerking of the truck didn't work for the old man. Then, we saw the “Festival of the Lion King”- which was a highlight of the entire trip for me. SO awesome. Such wonder for our eyes. I cried. A lot.
Drink it- lots of it. Always. We ended up filling our meal plan cups with ice in the morning and just filling them with water throughout the day at the parks. Totally worked out.
I loved our afternoon breaks. Remember, we have very small children. We would go back to the hotel after lunch, nap and play in the pools during the hottest time of the day. Honestly, as much as I loved the parks, the resort was a huge part of our fun as well. The Grand Floridian was so beautiful and the pools were so fun. I am a secret fancy girl who loves fancy things, and the fanciness of this hotel was just awesome for my 35th birthday. It’s funny, the ol’ husband doesn't like swimming and I love it. As a birthday present, we got to do a family swim. Swoon….
TRAVEL OFF SEASON
It is so awesome to take advantage of not having to travel with school breaks. Awesome enough that we might do it anyway when kids are in school and just be THOSE parents.
Here’s where we went.
TREX- Good, scary, perfect for little boys
GRAND FLORIDIAN CAFE- awesome from breakfast and diner
TONY'S TOWN SQUARE- very much okay
1900 WAY- perfection in a restaurant
NARCOOSSEE- fancy and only happened because the meal plan, but the perfect birthday dinner
RAIN FOREST CAFE- don't judge, our kids ages dictated that one
We packed one suitcase, one carry on and four backpacks. It was perfect. We didn’t overpack but we left room for two puddle jumpers. Staying at the Disney Resort, you can check your bags off at your home airport (Detroit) and they get delivered right to your room. I KNOW RIGHT?!?!!?
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
I made sure to catch the awesome of what we were doing by being present in every moment. To me, this whole trip was such a cool thing, I couldn’t believe we were actually doing it. I tried to be present to the kids wonder and joy.
TAKE YOUR OWN PICTURES
TAKE YOUR OWN PICTURES
We took our own pictures. For us, this really worked out. We actually didn't see too many picture taking people. Yes, the bummer is we didn't get very many good family shots, but Aaron and I both said we were glad we didn't do the picture package when we saw the lack of Disney Photographers. We really didn't see any around. That would have been annoying after paying.
We are already planning for next year’s trip which will be totally different (staying in a condo with some friends off site). So apparently we have become ‘THOSE DISNEY PEOPLE’. It’s okay, I don’t mind J