Our previous trips to the Magic Kingdom consisted of Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and mostly sitting on benches and people watching. This is not much fun for a 3 year old, so our day began in Fantasy Land taking in everything that would amuse a toddler. Papa rode the Merry-Go-Round with him and then we made our way through the throngs of people, under the hot sun, to the mecca of rides for little kids “It’s a Small World”. This ride has not changed at all throughout the years, and that’s a good thing. The simplicity is what makes the ride so enchanting for kids. All the dolls, movement and color; enough to capture the attention of a little boy.
Fast Pass for Peter Pan, and then over to Pooh Corner for some character time and to stand in line for the Pooh Ride. We have now been at the park over 4 hours and have not set foot out of Fantasy Land, and it’s already nap time. Back to the hotel for some R&R and to wait for my brother and sister-in-law to arrive.
A long nap later and it’s time for Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom. The plan is to ride the rides during the Electrical Parade, watch “Wishes” and then hope that everyone leaves the park after that, and the best laid plans were…the best laid plans. The park emptied out and we walked on Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear, and People Movers, and had enough left-over time to enjoy a Dole Whip. Hopped the midnight bus back to the Boardwalk, and got the little guy in bed with just enough energy for a nightcap on the veranda; Coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
My favorite time at the Magic Kingdom is “empty time”. I hate crowds and heat and waiting in line with an impatient toddler, and we did not have to endure too much of that with the “after dark” touring plan. I highly recommend this for anyone who truly wants to enjoy the Magic Kingdom at its best.
Tomorrow is looking like Hollywood Studios and the long awaited Food & Wine Festival at Epcot.
In a moment of..oh, I don’t know…temporary insanity-I’ve decided to take my 3-year-old grandson to Walt Disney World- sans his mother. I have traded in my adults only Food & Wine Festival, pool napping, margarita drinking, sleeping in vacation for a park hopping tour with a toddler. I’m happy about it! It’s been 20 years since I traveled with a three-year old, so this Grandma had to do some studying on travel do’s and dont’s with little ones.
GrowingupDisney.com has been an excellent source of information, as well as the Disney Mom’s panel. Here is what I have learned so far:
- Pack pipe cleaners- these quiet, soft little things will apparently keep a young one busy on the plane as well as waiting in line at the parks. I’m practicing trying to bend these things into animal shapes to amaze and amuse my grandson, as well as other passengers on the plane.
- CARES-Child Aviation Restraint System- a couple of straps and buckles that will keep your child in the airplane seat, shoulder harnessed, so he does not run screaming through the aisles. Much better than lugging a 50lb monstrosity of a car seat on board.
- Colorforms-these magical stickers can be peeled and re-used again and are perfect for pasting to airplane windows. I’ve bought 3 packages of them. I just have to hope we get a window seat.
- iPad-Kid’s movies- need I say more?
- Diaper bag- did not have one, now I do. Will need something other than my mini-shoulder purse to carry- pull-ups, hand sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, Wet Ones, sippy cup, lighted key chain for the dark rides, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse playing cards, Matchbox cars, portable snacks, change of clothes, sunscreen and whatever else I can fit in that thing. It’s like a Mary Poppins carpet-bag.
- Tabletoppers- plastic place mats with the “Cars” characters on them. I’m hoping between that and the Matchbox cars,it will buy me enough time to gulp down a quick-service meal before the native gets restless.
Disney has a whole page dedicated to Traveling with Little Ones and lists attractions best suited for..little ones. I was not even aware that some of these existed, especially at Animal Kingdom, since we never go to that park. I, apparently, will be spending lots of time there.
I have not seen a parade in years, but I’m already scoping out the best places to sit on a hard curb for 2 hours so that we have premium viewing, until some inconsiderate family plops down in front of us at the last-minute to block our view.
Out of all the advice, blogs, board postings that I have read, the most important thing I have to bring is patience. Working on that now, and looking forward to watching my grandson experience all the magic that Disney has to offer. If you see a tired, haggard, Grandmother pushing a stroller with a 3-year-old boy, that will be me. I will also have the biggest smile on my face because I am sharing my love for Disney with the next generation.
When our girls had grown up, we made the decision to save quite a few of their toys and stuffed animals. The other day, it finally came time to dust them off and bring them out for my grandson.
The little guy really loved the bean-bag Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl and Eeyore, and that’s because I read a Pooh Golden Book to him when he sleeps over. (a remnant from my girls’ library) I began to wonder at the generational appeal of Disney.
Pooh is not really Disney (A.A. Milne if we’re being picky), but Disney has perpetuated the Pooh stories and characters. Same with the main characters of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. My girls grew up with them, and now my grandson will, also.
I remember some of Mickey Mouse when I was growing up. I do have a vague memory of my Dad having an 8mm movie of Steamboat Willie, (which was probably worth a lot of money, but no one knows what happened to it, and my Mom has since moved from that house). I watched the Mickey Mouse Club with Annette Funicello and Bobby Burgess and Cubby, and when we got a color TV, I was glued to the set on Sunday nights to watch “The Wonderful World of Color” hosted by Walt Disney. My favorite episodes were those that were filmed in Disneyland and I remember always wishing that I could go there.
The enduring message of the characters and Disney is one of good-versus-evil and the childlike innocence in all of us, which is why there is such a generational appeal. My grandson recognizes Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the other characters, and that makes me smile. I wish for him the joy that I have experienced with all things Disney, and hope that I am alive long enough to see him pass it on to his children.