We decided that our first family vacation was going to be Disney World. A few days after W turned one. Yeah, we probably were a little crazy when we hatched that plan. But, we had our reasons.
The first of which was we had access to our family’s timeshare at the Bay Lake Towers. Full kitchen. Two bedrooms. Too many bathrooms. Washer. Dryer. Lake-view. Score. The second was that it would be a great place to acclimate to traveling with a tiny tot. I mean, if he was having a melt-down at Disney, the odds were that at least ten other kids around us were, too. So, we figured we would stress quite as much. (Leave a comment if a “tips” post would be helpful…I have lots of them!)
And we were pretty much right.
After being delayed (in the airport, mind you) for almost an entire day, we finally made it to our hotel an entire 24 hours late…having skipped ALL of our naps that day…taking two flights…and a bus ride. Keep in mind that we had just discovered W had an ear infection and was cutting his first-year molars. And, thanks to the Magical Express getting our luggage for us, we had to wait 6+ hours to get our stuff!? It’s not like we had a dinner reservation at a fancy place, or all of Wyatt’s night-time-necessities in there, or anything…WHY DIDN’T WE KNOW THAT IT WOULD TAKE SO LONG!? So, we ended up having to go to a fancy dinner in workout gear. Sweet.
Cue the melt-down, folks.
But oh wait, it was a mommy-melt-down…
The sheer terror and anxiety of trying to prevent a toddler tantrum for 12 hours…two 5am wake-ups in a row…in a confined space…without naps…and then be parted with our luggage…was enough to push me to the brink. The man sitting near us on the plane must have seen the look in my eye, and reassured me that (as a grandparent now) he knows that kids don’t bother anyone…but he remembered the days of sweating it out like I was. It was sweet. But 11 hours of travel and stress had already passed, so…
And W you’re wondering? Yeah, he was little tired and tinged with blueberry juice (my saving grace on the airplane) but altogether un-phased. To my utter amazement, he zonked out in the pack ‘n play in our hotel room and slept the entire night without a peep.
Here we are at dinner on the day of our arrival. Little W was so exhausted from the day that we ended up having our meal to-go, and my husband and I ate it back in the room while W slept.
Of course he would. He’s awesome. I don’t know why I doubt him.
So we woke up, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed for our breakfast with Chef Mickey! We were curious if W would love or hate the characters since we’d heard horror stories of toddlers and even big kids with major phobias of characters. (Of course I looked it up. It’s called masklophobia). He landed somewhere in the middle…as long as one of us was holding him, he was cautiously curious. So, we nibbled on an absurdly expensive breakfast. Sang. Danced. Waved our napkins in the sky, the whole shebang, and checked that off our list of must-dos.
What do you get when you combine singing, dancing, napkin-waving and food? A happy toddler. Oh, and Chef Mickey’s breakfast, of course!
He twirled that napkin like a true Mouseketeer!
Since he loves ducks, he was slightly less afraid of Donald…but he still wanted to be kept at a safe distance.
Next on the agenda? A day at Magic Kingdom. Granted it was only a few hours of fun in between naps, the sun was shining…it was actually hot. We loved the MagicBands and made good use of our FastPass online reservations, so we never had to wait in line for long. I can’t imagine visiting during the busy season AND having to wait in crazy lines. We went on It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.
If this isn’t the cutest picture ever, I don’t know what is. He spent all of It’s a Small World just staring out the boat in cautious wonder…
We escaped Magic Kingdom with only a small tantrum on the walk back to our room. Mostly because I insisted on waiting in line at Aloha Isle for the Dole Pineapple Whip that I remembered as a kid. A small tantrum was totally worth the cool, creamy, tart and sweet treat. So, I’d chalk that one up to a win.
We visited Epcot one afternoon, too…and boy was it FREEZING that day! We had a delicious lunch in Mexico and then proceeded to power walk the rest of the “world” because W was starting to get pretty fussy and we still had to make it back for dinner. Sigh. But, we managed to stop in front of lots of photo-op-spots and say cheese!
Photo-op spot #1…fresh off the monorail.
Photo-op spot #2…just a few feet away from the first one…
Photo-op spot #3…we found Pluto. Definitely W’s favorite character, as you can tell by the stuffed animal he picked out!
A little lunch in Mexico…que sabroso!
A pit-stop in Paris…
And finally it was time to head back to the condo.
A week is a long time to detail every moment, so for the sake of meeting my weekly posting goal and my desire to watch one of my shows tonight, I’ll make the rest brief.
We spent a little bit of time by our pool, but it was usually a bit too chilly to make a day of it. We spent an afternoon lounging on the lawn at the Grand Floridian and walking up and down the empty boardwalk before dinner. We rode busses to dinner. We rode busses home from dinner. We rode busses to the parks. Oh yeah, did I mention that a bunch of the monorails aren’t running due to construction? We added a night on at the end of our stay to make up for the night we lost on the front end, and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge (our family’s other favorite place to stay). We had a savannah view in this room, and W loved looking out at the zebra and birds. Each night we dined out at delicious restaurants and W, again, amazed us with how absolutely fantastic he was.
Riding the Magical Express to our hotel upon arrival…he was having so much fun already!
Stuffing his face at the airport. Happily, I might add…despite the fact we’d been there for like 6 hours already. Delayed.
Loving the LED ice-cube during dinner at Flying Fish Cafe.
Ready for the pool!
Strolling the boardwalk with Daddy.
Lounging on the lawn at the Grand Floridian.
Loving dinner at Daddy’s favorite place – Jiko.
Hanging happily in his stroller on the way to Jiko for dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Loving the window seat. The shade provided hours of entertainment. Even through what should have been his nap time.
And most importantly, each night, W slept the whole night through…in a pack ‘n play. Something I truly thought he wouldn’t do.
So, all in all, W was a the most terrific traveler I could have asked for. He happily stuffed his face with blueberries and other goods for the entirety of each flight we were on. He took each and every nap we put him down for – most times sleeping way longer than he did at home. He slept all night long, every night. And, he happily cruised around in his stroller just checking out the sights.
I’m definitely ready for another vacation. This time, maybe somewhere less, well, like Disney.
Let the planning begin.