Doing Disney World with a Toddler

Strollers are a must for a young toddler at Disney.

I grew up an hour from Disney World and went to the parks far less than my husband did as a Rhode Islander.  His family made the trek to the parks every year and absolutely LOVE parks.  I am less excited about theme parks, but since it is important to my husband we decided to brave Disney World with our 16 month old son this year.

I’ve always thought 16 months was way too young for a park, but you know what? It isn’t. My son had the time of his life for the two and a half days we were in Orlando. The keys to our success were this: stay at a hotel at the Magic Kingdom, go to the park EARLY, plan which rides are suitable for a toddler before your trip and book a character breakfast.

Staying at the Magic Kingdom is more expensive, but you can save money by booking in the off season. If you only have a toddler, don’t go school vacation week: prices double at hotels during this time. The park also raises prices across the board for busy weeks. The main reason I loved staying at the Magic Kingdom (we chose Wilderness Lodge this year) was convenience and the fact if my little guy needed a nap I could get him home in minutes and the rest of our group could stay at the park.

I am not a morning person, but my son is up bright and early between 6 and 6:30 am every day. Another benefit of staying at a Disney hotel is the Extra Magic Hour you receive- you can get into all of their parks one hour before the rest of the park-goers! This is huge with a toddler because you can get to all of the popular rides for them with little to no wait. We made a bee-line to the Winnie the Pooh ride and had less than a 10 minute wait. My son’s favorite ride was the carousel, which he asked to go on “more please” repeatedly. If you’re a night owl, you can also stay later at the park with your hotel key– which could be fun if you have family to babysit or your child is old enough for Disney babysitting.

My husband had the trip thoroughly planned out with what rides were appropriate for our son and had a plan. You can download apps for ride wait times and other Disney tips for your smart phone to make your trip more efficient. We checked out the web site MouseSavers and learned some great Disney World tips and tricks.Micky waffle

My last suggestion for toddler Disney fans is to book a character breakfast. We booked a late morning breakfast at the Polynesian hotel and my little guy absolutely loved meeting Stitch, Mickey, Pluto & Lilo. He wasn’t scared a bit and wanted to chase the characters around the restaurant!

If you were considering taking your toddler to Disney, I say do it! This is coming from a non-park loving, “not a big Disney fan” Mom. Seeing the joy in my son’s face was priceless and he had a fantastic time! Disney might have finally won me over!

What are your tips for traveling with a toddler?

 

Raising your kids in a “sports family”

 

Sports are important in our family. One can tell how important by seeing our cars with our respective schools on the plates or the basement painted in my husband’s alma mater’s colors of maroon and gold, complete with Boston College logos on the wall.Of course, the other side of the basement is “my side” with Gator orange and blue accessories.

 

I was raised in a sports family and some of my fondest memories are summers spent in the pool for swim team or at Bollettieri tennis camp in Bradenton, FL. My parents always raised me to value being part of a team, whether it was the softball team in high school or the equestrian team for the University of Florida. My husband also has a sports background, having grown up running track and playing basketball.

You can find us on any given Saturday in the fall at a college football game, in the winter it’s basketball and during the summer we are on the golf course or tennis courts.

I believe sports instilled the principles of teamwork, hard work and dedication in our foundations. We are raising our son with these same values and hope he has a love of sports like we do. I can’t wait to see what he will love as an older child and adult. One of his first words was ball (pronounce ba-all) and he can spend hours throwing and chasing down the ball for himself. I am counting down the days until he can enroll in tee ball, tennis or golf. I can’t wait to be a true soccer mom! Until then, the weekly swim lessons will have to tide me over.

I hope that being involved in sports while growing up will teach him the importance of teamwork and give him the self-confidence he needs to reach his goals in life.Some people have asked us what we would do if our son hated sports and chose   another activity completely unrelated to sports. My answer is always “completely support him!” If it made my son happy to sing in the glee club or be a Thespian instead of quarterback, good for him! I can guarantee you my husband and I would be in the audience for every performance, you’ll be able to spot us wearing the BC and UF gear.

I’d love to hear what you do to help instill your family’s core values in your children, please leave a comment letting us and the other readers know!

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