Surviving Disney

We did it! We made it through the Magic Kingdom at Disney World with our three year old toddler in tow and survived with our sanity (somewhat) intact. Thanks to all the fabulous readers who submitted their Disney tips. It really helped me feel less anxious about the big journey. While I have no profound tips or advice to share with you all on conquering Disney World, I do want to share some little things I learned on my trip:

Holy moly it is hot in Florida in the summer! I know, this is not a newsflash, but I was unprepared for the strong sun and high humidity. I went to Disney when I was 9 and 19 years old and I swear I don’t remember it being so scorching. Maybe that’s because I’m OLD and now it really hit me. As soon as we got to the park, I purchased a sun hat and while I immediately felt better, it dawned on me that I have now become my mother who always warned me to wear a hat! We chose this time of year because my husband had a work conference, but if we had to do over again, we would probably go in the late fall/early winter.

Me and my sexy new hat
Me and my sexy new hat

Since we weren’t feeling very bold on this trip, we purchased a two day park pass. We only lasted three hours on day one before both the toddler and adults needed a nap. Wimps, I know. The next day we decided to hang out at the hotel pool and then journey back to the Magic Kingdom later in the evening so we could catch the Electrical Parade at 9:00 pm. This worked well for us because the temperature had dropped a great deal and the lines were much shorter for the rides. The parade followed by fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle were amazing! My daughter got to see all her favorite characters in the parade. She was SO excited and screamed and waved at all the characters. It was like she was at a rock concert! We also got a “Bonus” pass to a non-major park with our Magic Kingdom pass and spent our last day at the Typhoon Lagoon water park to beat the heat.

Tinkerbell live in person!
Tinkerbell live in person in the Electrical Parade!

The stroller is your best friend. I am so glad we brought ours because it was very handy to have it in the airport and around the park. When things got tough I didn’t hesitate to threaten, “If you don’t sit in this stroller right now you won’t get to see Tinker Bell!!!!”. Not my best parenting tactic, and it only worked about 50% of the time. But when my daughter was not in the stroller, it worked great for carrying all our bags of souvenirs and our carry-on luggage at the airport. Once we got to the park I took the advice of a very wise reader and bought a balloon and tied it to the stroller so we knew which one was ours when we left it to go on a ride. Only problem was I tied the balloon a little low and it kept bonking me and strangers in the head. Oh well! She also warned me ahead of time that park staff frequently move strollers around to keep them orderly, yet I still accosted one of the employees when he moved ours (I think the heat got to my head!)

ALWAYS keep your eyes on your child. Another no-brainer, I know, but my kid pulled a fast one on us on “It’s a Small World.” My daughter was sitting in between BOTH her parents on that little boat and still managed to throw an empty, plastic water bottle somewhere in South America. We had both spaced out for a second (Again, I think it was the heat stroke) and couldn’t stop the inevitable. So yep, we caused the ride to become “It’s a Small Polluted World”!

An unsuspecting us as we depart for "Operation Pollute It's a Small World"
An unsuspecting us as we depart for “Operation: Pollute It’s a Small World”

Go at your own pace. Walt Disney World is over 30,000 acres, with 24 themed resorts, four theme parks, two water parks, and countless entertainment and recreational venues. We had three days and one three-year-old in tow, so we did not plan on visiting every major park. We took our time and did our best to visit the spots our toddler would appreciate. When we were tired, we napped. When we were hungry, we ate. Most of all, we just wanted to appreciate the time we got to spend with each other because it is so rare. We will definitely go back in a few years when our daughter is older, but for now, we are happy with the trip we took as a family.


Ahhhh....precious memories!
Ahhhh….precious memories!

4 thoughts on “Surviving Disney

  1. It is possible, actually pretty easy, to actually enjoy Disney and not just Survive it. I think 3 is a little young because they do get overwhelmed easily and need naps still, so kudos to you for trying. Even my 5 YO was over stimulated and burst out crying (there was a witch involved) after 3 hours on the first day we went to the magic Kingdom. But once she got passed that she had a ball going on rides and meeting all the characters. We stayed up quite late almost every night.

    Going in the morning, heading back to the hotel for lunch and pool time and returning in the evening is a great strategy, which is why it’s worth it to stay on property with little ones if you can swing it. At several of the hotels the staff play games with the kids at the pool in the afternoon (from 1:00 or 2:00 to 4:00 or 5:00, which gives you a chance to chill out.

    Next time, when she is a little older, make a point of visiting and eating at Epcot, trying some of the different hotels’ restaurants and going to Animal Kingdom (more water rides!). Much of the food outside the MK is very good and animal kingdom is equally great for kids and adults. This way you feel like you are slipping some stuff for you in between all the princesses and kiddie rides and the visit feels more balanced.

  2. Looks like such fun! I’m so glad that you all enjoyed the trip…and the outrageously hot weather followed you back to CT! 🙂

  3. and, that’s the best tip of all, relax and enjoy the time with your family! Those who try to see/do/eat/visit everything are always the ones leaving disappointed in the happiest place on earth! Glad you had a great time. We went last week as well and the heat was awful and the rain torrential and sudden. Never again in the summer!

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