Recently my wife and I took our two-year-old daughter to Disney World for the first time. It was a terrifying proposition, and though we were excited we were also both a little terrified. It was an experience we wanted her to have, and though at two she is a little young to remember it, we knew that when the opportunity to go presented itself it was a must do. Well, we survived it – and we even had a great time. It was a lot harder to go with a toddler than when we have gone just us in the past, but the reward of seeing her have the time of her life definitely made up for it all.
Our little girl is not one for sitting still and being docile. She is always on the go, looking for new things to do and exploring the world around her. Though we feel blessed to have such a curious and excited daughter, it is exhausting on its best day – and that is in the environment that we know inside and out. The prospect of picking up, leaving upstate New York and going on a plane to Florida was…intimidating to say the least. My wife had time off in-between jobs, and we had the funds to do so. Then there was the fact that there were deals to stay on property, which we had never done before, and we decided that we were destined to go.
The turn around time of the trip was short. From the time we decided to go and booked to when we were wheels down in Florida was two and a half weeks. In that time, we bought our daughter the short sleeve shirts and shorts she would need when we finally escaped from frozen Upstate New York for a week. The night before we left, we tried to keep our girl up, as the flight was leaving at 5:30 AM and we wanted to try and get her to sleep through it – just in case you are wondering, we failed. She was up and awake for our entire first flight to BWI where we had a layover…but she was excellent.
So we finally landed in Florida, took Mickey’s Magical Express and got to Disney. Staying on property was well worth it to us, between the accessibility to Disney transportation and the meal plans, it made life much easier. We stayed in All Star Music, and Riley loved it. It may be one of the more affordable resorts, but its still beautiful, and the hospitality staff was top notch. Out toddler loved the fact that she was surrounded by musical instruments and her favorite Disney characters. She loved the Piano shaped pool. Then Day two dawned, and we went into our first park.
Watching her face as we went into Hollywood Studios and she saw Daisy for the first time was the epitome of how parenthood feels. Her excitement as she got to give Daisy a high five – no closer was acceptable to her – was so intense I could feel her energy. She who hates to be confined under the best circumstances normally sat patiently in her stroller (yes, we gate checked) as we walked around, seeing the sights and going on the few toddler-friendly rides at that park. She went nuts for Toy Story Mania, and I can’t wait until she gets to go back once Toy Story Land is completed!
We went in later in the morning that first day walked around seeing the sights and characters before our character lunch at Hollywood and Vine, and then went on some rides, went to a show and met Doc McStuffins with our fast pass. Then, we went back to the hotel. Often with Disney, we try to fit in as much as we can in one day, park hopping here and there and exhausting ourselves. That isn’t a wise choice when you go with a two-year-old, and we were conscious that we did not want to ruin her for Magic Kingdom the next day. So we went back to the hotel. We chilled in the room, went to the pool and ordered in dinner that night.
Our girl slept like a log and woke up the next day ready to go. She got ready with no complaint and then went and put herself in the stroller, ready to go see what we were going to see. I have to say that out of all the parks in the Florida site, this is the one that is most toddler-friendly. Our girl loved it. From Toy Story to Dumbo to the Jungle Cruise – she did every inch of the park without a fit or a whine. We spent the day, left for a nap in the late afternoon and even went back in for the fireworks. It was a great day, and a day that though she won’t remember her mother and I will for the rest of our lives.
Going to Disney was something we always said would not happen until she was old enough to remember it. The opportunity came up, and since it has been a long hard winter, we took it. I am glad we did not hold to our initial feeling of waiting. Future trips will be for her to remember, and she will get those. However, my wife and I will always get to have this trip, a trip where we got to see the pure joy and innocence on the face of our baby girl, and knowing that maybe we were doing this parenting thing right.
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