When my sister first suggested that my husband and I, age 29 and newly married, plan to travel to Disney with them this year before Christmas, we jumped on the opportunity to spend some extra quality time with our nephew (age 6) and our niece (age 4). Patrick and I haven’t taken “the plunge” yet in terms of children, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect on a Disney trip with two adorable, but young children. To be perfectly honest, we both like our vacations to be busy but not jam packed, and my hubby was at first a little concerned about the early risings my sister had planned in order to get the best breakfast reservations. This was also going to be my first visit to Disney, so I really wanted to make the very most of the trip and I wasn’t sure we would be able to get to all the more exciting rides you read about online (i.e. the Tower of Terror).
Our budding concerns were really all for not…
While we did get to see and do a ton due to my sisters stellar understanding of the “Disney machine” (i.e. meal plan pre-bookings, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and pre-bookings for fast-passes etc.), she gave my husband and I a lot of flexibility in our afternoons to explore Disney on our own (in particular Epcot – which was awesome!) while she and her husband went back to the Pop Century hotel for naptime with the kidos. Most of the rides at Disney were also just fine for my nephew (with the exception of the Tower of Terror – which he found to be … well a little too terrifying). We just used extra fast passes/rider swaps for the rides my niece couldn’t yet meet the height requirements for (which were few and far between). The fast pass swap system was really great – especially when we took turns riding the Mount Everest ride in Animal Kingdom. It gave me time to fool around with my niece and explore the area around the ride with her. My husband had a blast watching us spiral down the mountain with her on the side lines during the next rider swap. The rider swap is really a great system because you never have to wait very long for the other members of your group to finish a ride.
My sister’s planning also meant that we never had to wait for a character show (i.e. story time with Bell) or any of the light shows (i.e. Fantasmic). I am usually the “planner” on group trips with friends, so it was such a breeze to be able to sit back and go with the flow and plans my sister had carefully laid out for us. Seeing as it was my first trip, she wanted me to get to see everything – but she was also careful about not over-planning (which we appreciated) so that we could take our time experiencing it all. We never felt rushed, though we would of gladly taken an extra day at Hollywood studios (we only had 5 days and there was a lot to see). My sister got us all tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom and this was a great plan because, aside from the front row seats to a great parade, fireworks and all the free cookies and hot coco I could want, we got to stay in the park after hours (along with others who had bought the Christmas Party tickets) to ride the rides without any line-ups.
My biggest take away from this trip was the goofy fun we had with my niece and nephew, who were incredibly jovial the entire time (probably due to those afternoon pre-supper naps!). They made the trip incredibly memorable for me (and my hubby). While I had never been to Disney before, my nephew and niece had been once before at age 4 and 2, so they were so excited to share everything with me (especially Magic Kingdom – where I rode the tea cups about three or four times with my niece and would of done it a fifth time!). Another really cool phenomenon was experiencing my Disney favourites from childhood (i.e. the Little mermaid and Peter Pan) on the same level as my nephew and niece – we sang all the songs together word for word. It felt like we were sharing something truly special and definitely memorable. Seeing Disney through their eyes made the magic all the more real for me. In fact, we loved this family trip so much that we plan on going back with my sister’s family and my parents in tow for my mom’s 60th! It will be my mom’s first time at Disney this time around – and I know her experience will be as special as mine was because of the kidos.
See yah real soon Disney!!! 🙂