Let me begin this post by saying that I’m ashamed at how long it took me to write something about Miles’ first visit to Walt Disney World. In my mind, there was no way I hadn’t already told you all about it…and yet I hadn’t.
Honestly, I’ve been thinking (dreaming) about this since before Miles was born. Disney was such a big part of my life growing up and into adulthood, and I couldn’t wait to share that with him. For at least a year prior (maybe sooner…), I was scouring websites for recommendations and requesting Disney gift cards instead of gifts for Christmas/my birthday/our anniversary/Mother’s Day. And in the end, I think my crazy obsessiveness paid off. Be sure to check out Part 2 of this post next week for some tips and a list of the best resources I found online.
After thinking about it way too much, we decided to limit this trip to a day at the Magic Kingdom and some fun at our hotel – Disney’s Pop Century Resort. At the time of the trip, Miles was not quite three and we didn’t want it to be too overwhelming. Yes, I was up at 6:00am to make a dining reservation exactly 180 days before we would be there. And yes, I booked our FastPasses 30 days in advance.
Here are some trip highlights…
Now when you plan a Walt Disney World vacation, the excitement begins long before you get to Florida. A few weeks before your trip, these babies arrive in the mail, and it’s like Christmas morning. We went super cliché – pink for mom, blue for dad, green for little man. I pretty much had to have them on lockdown to prevent Miles from wearing them from the instant he laid eyes on them. Considering these MagicBands serve as room keys, park tickets, EVERYTHING, I thought it best to keep them safe.
And then it was time!
We chose to stay at Pop Century for a couple of reasons. I really wanted to stay on Disney property. I’ve been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count, but I had never stayed at one of the resorts there – event when I worked for them! On the flip side, we didn’t want to spend tons of money for something that Miles wouldn’t really appreciate yet. So, after some research, we landed at one of the newer “value” resorts. (Side note: I find it so funny that when I lived in Florida, any hotel seemed expensive, but after so long in New York, Pop Century seemed like a bargain!)
It ended up being a great option for us. Miles loved pretty much everything about it. The bright colors and big letters, the playground, and most of all the pool. Even though our little man gets cold super easily, he just can’t get enough and wants to go swimming every chance he has. The hotel provides little life vests, and there are games run by staff throughout the day.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we still had the Magic Kingdom to attend to…and magic it was!
Another fun fact for you: I worked at Walt Disney World for a little over two years right after college (plus another summer a couple of years before that), and I had never been to the rope drop at the Magic Kingdom…and since my son rarely sleeps past 7:00am anyway, I figured there was no better time than now. I can check that off my to-do list, but it was probably the first and last time. There’s a cute show and a bunch of characters to build up the excitement for the day ahead, and I highly recommend you experience it at least once, but I’m just not enough of a morning person to spend the first part of my day so close to so many people.
Right after that, we hopped the monorail to the Contemporary Resort for a character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. Just yes. Miles had the time of his life, and I took about a million pictures of him meeting Mickey and the rest of the Fab Five for the first time.
The rest of the day was just as good. While I had booked a few FastPasses for us (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Peter Pan’s Flight…), we decided to leave most of the day up to Miles. This was his first visit and we didn’t want to feel any pressure to jam everything in. We still ended up doing quite a bit, but all at his pace. I get that people want to get their money’s worth when it costs over $100 per person just to get in, but isn’t it just as important to actually enjoy yourself?
The moral of the story is this: No, your child is not too young to take to Disney World. Just know that the trip will be about them and not you. It actually helped relieve quite a bit of stress when I accepted that, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.
Tune in again next week when I share some tips of trip planning from a former cast member (me!) and some of the best resources I found online while planning our own visit. Until then, HAVE A MAGICAL DAY!