Lessons That Change At Disney With A Child (When You Least Expect It To) by Guest Blogger Judi Sifuentes
We just returned from our third visit to Walt Disney World with my 3 year old son. This certainly isn’t my third time more like my THIRTY-third but every trip we learn something new.
Lesson #1 – Views don’t mean anything to a Three year old unless there is a bunk bed involved.
When we planned our trip in March we had “Disney Fever” and decided to go for it and book another trip for October. Our March trip was to celebrate dear husband and dear son’s birthdays. We thought why not splurge and get a park view at the Contemporary. For our October vacation we are staying at the Wilderness Lodge (Mommy’s bucket list) and we got my son (and husband) bunk beds. That’s all Daddy has been talking about since we don’t have them at home. When we walked into our room at the Contemporary Mommy was over the moon and a little tearful when she stepped out onto the balcony and saw “the view” Daddy was excited he got what he paid for. My dear son cried and kept asking where is my bunk bed? .
Lesson #2 – Traveling with a one and half year old is smoother than with a three year old.
My son was one and a half the first time we took him to Walt Disney World. At one and a half he slept the entire plane ride from NJ to Orlando and back again. At age three on our flight from NJ to Orlando my son kicked the seats of the only couple on the plane without children NOT going to Disney. At one and a half he was an early riser so first seating at Character Breakfasts were never an issue. At 3, he’s already sleeping in and would prefer cartoons over eating. At one and a half if we stood in line to ride “X” or scope out a spot on Main Street for a parade he didn’t care. Give him a sippy cup with juice and a handful of Goldfish he was happy. At three, they don’t want to sit or wait and are always asking WHY? Why are we sitting/standing here? Why can’t he run around? Finally at one and a half you can order anything for them and they’ll eat it. Age three, you order him a hamburger and suddenly he hates hamburgers and wants chicken nuggets (something he’s never had) but the girl next him has them so now he wants them too!
Lesson #3 – Don’t overdo it…the more you do, the more you lose.
Many of you may remember my post to the Fan Nation group website that my son woke up sick our second day at the parks. I was so quick to blame ourselves as parents he ate too much junk food or experimented with eating too many things I didn’t realize we did too much in 24 hours after arriving at the parks. Yes he had the upset stomach so food was involved, but he didn’t want to go anywhere those one and a half days he was in our hotel room. The bottom line we let him get burned out.
My husband and I know this certainly wasn’t our last trip and yet we let ourselves get caught up in the Disney energy and just kept trying squeeze every minute out of our trip. I made the huge mistake of making ADR for 11 am at Hollywood Studios the first day of our vacation. Me being me, I told my husband book the first flight out of New Jersey so we can maximize our time at the park the day we arrive. To catch our flight at 6 AM, we had to be out the door at 3:30 AM. By the time we arrived to Orlando at 8:30 am we all looked like we had been up since 2:00 AM which we had. The reality was we had no time to sit back and take in the fact we were back at Disney. Instead we were tired and stressed and we wouldn’t make it to Hollywood Studios in time for my son’s character lunch at Hollywood & Vine. I don’t think any of us enjoyed our first day. I’m putting together my ADR “Wish List” now that we’re nearing the 180 day mark for our October visit. This time I hope I get it right!
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