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If you want a Disney World expert … you should probably ask the Disney Moms Panel.
If you want the opinion of a crazy mom who trekked around Disney World in the raging June heat with a 2-year-old who is scared of birds and a nursing 6-month-old … you’ve come to the right place!
My first disclaimer and tip: BRING HELP! Yes, we had two small children. But we also had five adults (me, my husband, my sister, and my parents). Several days, some of the adults took the kids home early for naps/down time.
Which brings us to number two: be flexible. This is not going to be the Disney trip you took when you were a teen and could go from 8 a.m. to midnight without batting an eye. Don’t kill your kids trying to see everything. Have fun, make memories, and allow for rest.
That said, here’s what we did on day 1 of our trip.
The Magic Kingdom with a (FEARFUL) Toddler and a Baby
I was horrified of going to Disney with Libbie (32 months at the time of our trip). A few days before we left I took her to the Creative Discovery Museum and she would not leave my arms for fear of a Bob the Builder exhibit. A few weeks before that, we went to Chick-Fil-A and they had people dressed as the cows. She climbed on my husband’s head, in hysterics, trying to distance herself from them.
Libbie did 3,000 times better than I thought she would at Disney World. She didn’t love the characters, but she didn’t freak out over them. She didn’t always want to go on every ride, but once she did she would usually proclaim that she loved it. Never did we have to drag her on anything with her crying or hysterical.
I think we can attribute part of this to several weeks of her obsessing over Disney World for Kids, a book that let her see pictures of many of the rides. We also watched YouTube videos of some of the rides. This seriously helped her comfort level.
Dumbo: We headed to Dumbo first thing since it’s a slow and busy attraction. Libbie adored it. We had to wait about 25 minutes, but it was worth it to see her in awe of the ride! David (6 months) sat this one out.
Peter Pan’s Flight: Libbie’s never seen the Disney version of Peter Pan, but she seemed to like the flying boats. Just the other day she was telling me about the crocodile that had a person in its mouth! It’s a little dark but did not seem to bother her. David rode in a lap and loved looking at everything (his general state of being).
Mickey’s PhilHarmagic: This is a newer attraction. It’s a 3D movie featuring Donald Duck chasing Mickey’s hat through many of the Disney films. The adults loved it: it was cool in the theater, the music and animations were fun, and it was a perfect place to nurse the baby. Libbie hated it; she was scared by the 3D effects and the ultimate travesty was performed when Donald Duck “splashed her.” (They spray you with water at one point during the show.) I think she will be forever prejudiced against Donald Duck. If you ask her about it, she will tell you she told him, “WE ARE ALL DONE, DONALD DUCK!” (Which, of course, she didn’t. She just cried.)
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Libbie loves Pooh, and she had a grand old time seeing all the Pooh characters. She liked bouncing with Tigger. The Heffalumps and Woozles part may be slightly scary, but it didn’t seem to bother her. She really enjoyed visiting Pooh’s house and the little play area they have there as well.
It’s a Small World: Libbie definitely liked this one. She wanted to go on it again, but we didn’t make it back there. David slept through it in his aunt’s arms.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: Libbie is too young for this kind of arcade ride, but she didn’t mind tagging along to see her beloved Toy Story characters. She had a very nice score of “0.” David enjoyed a spin in the stroller with his Nana while the rest of us rode. The adults enjoyed the ride, although it pales in comparison to the newer Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.
Carousel: Libbie got her princess vibe on by riding a pony around the carousel with her grandparents (while mom, dad, and auntie took David to Hall of Presidents to nurse and cool off). I wasn’t there, but from her huge grin in the pictures I would say she enjoyed it immensely.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Well, hm. I hadn’t been on this ride since they changed it to go along with the movies. It was a lot scarier than I recalled. Libbie didn’t make a peep; I think she was so scared that she didn’t cry! (Also, it was toward the middle of the afternoon and she was very tired.) She cuddled up pretty close to me, though. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids as young as she is.
We ate lunch at Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrrowland. I think Libbie had chicken nuggets, which she has little interest in, apple juice, and carrot sticks. (The kids’ side choices are carrot sticks and grapes, neither of which Madame Pickypants will eat. But Daddy ate her carrots.)
I had the turkey bacon wrap with french fries, which could easily feed at least two people.
For the Big Kids
My mom and dad took Libbie and David back to our rental house to nap and play in the pool, and my sister, husband, and I stayed to do some of the big-kid things. We rode Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which Libbie was not tall enough to ride, nor would she probably want to. We went to the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor show, which I think Libbie would have liked just fine.
We also went on the Haunted Mansion. This is one of the rides I had been saying, “Oh, Libbie has no concept of ghosts, it wouldn’t be scary to her.” But I am SO GLAD she didn’t ride it. First of all, when they are leading you to the ride they show a “corpse” hanging from the ceiling. Then we got stuck for a good 10 minutes in one of the rooms. I don’t know that she would have minded the rest of the ride too too much, but being stuck would have made her insane. But especially because of the first scene, I would NOT recommend this for young children at all.
I am going to do a round-up of the best places to nurse a baby in Disney World on a separate post, but for now, here’s where I nursed David in the Magic Kingdom:
PhilHarmagic – dark, cool
Hall of Presidents – dark, cool