Disney with four small children.
Oh where do I begin?
First let me say, we had a great time. We live in South Florida, so going to Disney is more of like an annual visit for a day or two (or three) instead of a ONCE IN A LIFETIME, pull out all the stops, trip.
This wasn’t our first time and so we are used to the crowds and lines. We always expect at least one melt down from each kid each day. It helps to have our expectations in reality and not the holding hands, skipping in front of the castle, perfection that you see on a Disney World commercial.
Even with all of that however, going to the parks is stressful. I truly enjoyed them, but I also really love the days of rest. The days when we are just on the monorail riding around looking at decorations in the resorts, going on scavenger hunts for hidden Mickey’s, making gingerbread cookies in our condo and strolling through Disney Springs.
I even noticed the kids did better on the days when we weren’t “ON A MISSION”. It’s crazy how OUR energy transfers to them!
Vacations are challenging though. I know about halfway through I was feeling pretty discouraged. My kids were acting up more, fighting more, I was feeling like I needed a BREAK from them, but my husband had to leave half way through so no time for that! I felt bad that here we were on this awesome vacation and I was struggling with thoughts of not be a very good mom. Turns out you can’t take a vacation from mom guilt!
Thankfully MY mom was with us for the very last few days and she provided some much needed perspective. She encouraged me when I was in tears and reminded me that kids off their schedule, not napping, eating way more sugar than normal and in a stressful crowded park are going to have their moments.
She also reminded me that the memories that will endure are the good ones – and we had a lot of good ones! Here are just a few:
- The drive up: we made it fun, high energy music and dance parties, lots of snacks and silly audio books. Anything by Mo Willems is a big hit for my kids.
- The new Soarin’ ride at Epcot – gave me goosebumps and made me want to travel the world!
- Turtle Talk with Crush: One of those rare activities at Disney where the littles love it and the adults are laughing along as well! Also the aquarium is super impressive and captivating.
- Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom: we saw it twice and the kids were in awe each and every time! It also helps that this is our customary Mickey Ice Cream time.
- Unlimited popcorn: Our very first purchase was to get the holiday souvenir tub of popcorn and then we were able to enjoy $1.50 refills for the remainder of our trip – at all the other parks on all the other days and we used that puppy, because we are incapable of walking past that fresh popcorn smell without getting some.
- Hunting for hidden Mickey’s at the Wildnerness Lodge: You can actually get a sheet of paper with clues that take you all over the resort from the front desk and if you find them all you get a special prize!
- Going to see Moana: We spent a day at Disney Springs and saw Moana in the movie theater – something we NEVER usually do as a family. It was perfect because the very next day we were surprised to see we could meet Moana and the kids were really excited!
- Frozen Sing-a-long: I never heard of this show, but it’s at Hollywood Studios and we did it for my daughter. It ended up being the MOST hilarious show! A comedic re-telling of the Frozen story interspersed with opportunities to sing the most popular Frozen songs at the top of your lungs. Even though I have been over “Let It Go” for months now, I had such a fun time, and the kids LOVED it.
Well, there you have it, the highs and the lows. Fernando and I have already decided the next time we hit up Disney it will be just him and me – Flower and Garden Festival – yea baby.