Some of these comments held true but most were oh so false. Our trip consisted of flying in on a Friday, spending the evening at Downtown Disney, going to
on Saturday and then boarding the cruise ship on Sunday. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Magic Kingdom
Thankfully our daughter is a great traveler. She has her share of frequent flier miles and is the kiddo telling other kids not to cry and not to be scared because the plane, train, boat, etc. are fun. Mom and dad are frequent travelers but I think her great attitude has a lot to do with her personality more than anything. We booked direct flights and brought snacks. We stocked up on all sorts of things to keep her busy and prepared for the worst but on the way over she played with mom’s iPhone almost the whole time. She sat in her own seat with her CARES on. (Keep reading for more info on CARES and other travel tips below.) On the way back she slept for two hours in her own seat. No crying, no freaking out, no kicking someone’s seat or trying to run up and down the aisle. Just a little conversation with us about the trip and a lot of resting… it had been a very busy week and she was exhausted.
So here is the quick recap of the true vs. false part of the comments we heard before our trip.
1.) Magic Kingdom can be overwhelming for a little one. TRUE.
Gaby is very tall (38 ½ ) so she could actually get on all of the kid rides however she had no patience for the long waits (best was 30 minutes and some had a wait over an hour long). She liked a few things so much she didn’t want to get off so that was a struggle because she cried and got mad at us for making her get off the ride and BACK in line. Also, at the park the characters are around so you can meet them BUT there is usually a long line and they only stay about half an hour so if you’re in line but it’s time for them to go they leave and your kid wants to know why there was no payoff for the waiting and why Pinocchio or Snow White or whoever left without greeting them.
2.) Too young, not worth it. FALSE.
We ran this by our pediatrician. We told her our plan and asked if she agreed and she surprised us by reminding us that we don’t WAIT to take them to the park until they are older because they can’t play on everything or won’t remember. She told us that experiences like these are just part of a child’s development so travel, parks, adventures; any new experience is just part of how they learn. Why would we delay or wait on that. The reality was just that. She loved so many things about the day at Magic Kingdom that she is still talking about it with us almost nine months later. Every time she sees the Disney Castle she says, “I went there. That was fun. Can we go again?” She remembers the rides, the parades, and mostly the time spent with us and her grandparents who came with us on the trip. Seeing her smile and hearing her ask to go back makes it that much more worth it for us. We may have only been on 4 rides (I don’t know how many times) and watched the two parades but that in itself was worth it.
On another note, I want to explain that she also loved downtown Disney but that her favorite and our most enjoyable part of the trip was the cruise. She was too young for the kid activities (3 and up) so there was little time for JUST adult fun but we had a blast regardless. She loved the schedule. She would ask to go back to the room for a nap. She looked forward to the shows and the diners and the movies and all the non-stop fun. She ate great and tried all sorts of foods.
Another great feature of the cruise was that ALL the characters were on board and you knew exactly when and where you could greet them. If you got in line you got to greet them no matter how long it would take. They would cut off the line so as long as you got there before they closed the line you would be able to have your picture taken with the characters including all the princesses, etc. Great payoff for our little one! She loved swimming and making sand castles with grandpa and again is still talking about it and asking to go back.
So in a nutshell… I would highly recommend this trip schedule to anyone. The cruise was especially nice and we think that the 3 or 4 night one is perfect for the little ones. Of course if your kids are a little older there are even more reasons to love it since they get to do kid activities and you get to enjoy adult time and this cruise is top notch in every aspect from great beds to excellent food. It was worth every penny. We hope to go again when she is a little older but we loved this trip and will forever remember her first time at Disney.
Quick tips for traveling with a toddler
Aside from all the usual prep with food, medicine, carry on clothes, games, and activities for travel here are a few other tips that work wonders for us. If you need a list of the other items you can review them here.
- Use a CARES air travel harness for kids between 1-4 yrs old and check or rent a car seat for when you arrive.
- Gate check an umbrella or other favorite travel stroller
- With any child older than one, discuss your upcoming trip with your children. Tell them about the modes of transportation, what order things will happen in, and what you will be doing when you get there. Start this discussion as soon as you can so you might spend a month talking about the trip before you go.
- Show them videos, read books, or review pictures of the places you will go and the forms of transportation you will use.
- Get them involved. Ask what they’d like to see or do when you get there. If they are very young give them two or three choices and let them pick then encourage them to share their “plans” with other family and friends.
- Let them pick items that are to be used specifically for the trip… whether it is a new jacket, a new book, or a new friend give them lots to look forward to.