This trip happened almost three months ago but with the craziness of November/December I never got around to blogging about it. Tagging along with Nathan on a business trip, we spent a full week in Orlando and had such a blast! Even though I went to Disney almost every year as a child we never really ventured outside of the parks so it’s been fun to explore Orlando these past couple of years. Today, I’m going to share some photos from the two days we spent at Disney and my three best tips for tackling Disney with your toddler. Next week I’ll share the other fun stuff we did!
Day One – Animal Kingdom
With Nathan’s work schedule we only had about two completely free days so those are the days we chose to go to Disney! After last year’s trip we knew right away that one of those wanted to go to Animal Kingdom. It’s hands down our favorite park! So much more laid back than Magic Kingdom. Last year they were still working on the Pandora area and their new night show, Rivers of Light, and we were so excited to experience those. Pandora is absolutely incredible and Rivers of Light was pretty good too which just solidified AK’s #1 spot in our hearts. Here are some pictures from our day:
Camden is just so excited to be here, guys. He can hardly contain himself. Oh wait, that was me.
Really not impressed with the ears I kept trying to make him wear. (And then this happened about 6 weeks later).
Camden was just under 18mo old on this trip and LOVED the rides! He was legit losing his mind with excitement while we were waiting to get on TriceraTop Spin. We used our Fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari, The Lion King, and the earlier showing of Rivers of Light and we used the My Disney Experience App to keep an eye on the wait times for the other rides we wanted to do. We quickly realized that trying to wait for anything that was more than 30 mins. was not a good situation.
The safari is always one of our favorite things! Best tip I read before our trip last year: Go twice. Once in the morning, once at nightfall. The animals just roam so each tour is different. Plus, a lot of animals sleep during the day and start to get more active as the sun is setting!
This guy napped like a champ in the stroller both days. We decided to bring our own jogging stroller instead of renting and it was a good decision for us. Who wants to drag a squiggly, 27lb, 18 mo old through an airport? Not this girl.
I snapped (and shared) this blurry picture of the night show, Rivers of Light, because I couldn’t find a lot about it online before our trip. Basically, the show starts late (maybe that was just us), then those flower looking things float around, spray water, and light up – all set to music of course. Disney’s night shows are some of my favorite experiences but I have to be honest, I probably wouldn’t do this again and I certainly wouldn’t use a Fast Pass for it. It was fine, but not great. Not anywhere close to Magic Kingdom’s fireworks.
Day Two – Magic Kingdom
Last year, we did Animal Kingdom and Universal Studios as our two park days. Camden was only 6 months old so taking him to Universal and baby swapping all over the place was no big deal. We knew that was not going to be the case this year (I tried to put him in the Ergo once on this trip and LOL) so we decided to do Magic Kingdom instead. Nathan and I went a few years ago but it was fun to experience it all with Camden.
They had just started to decorate for Christmas and it. was. magical.
Cam and I LOVED the teacups. Nathan was not as big of a fan. #weakstomachprobs
Love these boys of mine! By the end of the day we rode every ride that had no height restriction plus a couple (Space Mountain!) that we’re fun for Nathan and I. Camden seemed to love them all!
The pager system they have for the Dumbo ride line is pure genius. You get a pager, step out of line into an INDOOR playground area, and proceed to play until your pager goes off instead of waiting in line. All the mothers said AMEN.
Big fan of Dumbo!
This is a lot to take in, guys.
Other things to note: Thing One. Like I mentioned earlier, we didn’t even attempt a line longer than 30 minutes but a lot of the rides geared towards younger kids had activities to entertain them while they waited. We also loaded a backpack with snacks, M&Ms, bubbles, stickers, and other odds and ends to entertain the babe in line. Most of the time, he was fine! I can only think of a few instances that he started to melt down and it was usually because he was so excited to get on a ride and didn’t want to wait.
Thing Two. I packed snacks and lunch/dinner for Camden. Call me crazy but I’m not trying to spend $20+ per meal on a one-year-old. We stopped at Wal-Mart on our first day and picked up Uncrustables (freeze them then throw them in your bag and they will be thawed by lunch), apple sauce pouches, fruit cups, and veggie straws. Nathan and I ate lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue (really yummy) and had dinner at Yak and Yeti Cafe in Animal Kingdom then lunch at Harbor House and dinner at Pescos Bills in Magic Kingdom. All were yummy and quick service which worked for us on this trip.
Thing Three. I get asked a lot if Nathan and I think a Disney trip is “worth it” with young kids. I think it’s obvious that we do since we’ve been twice now, but I get what people are asking so here is why I think it works for us. Nathan and I like theme parks on our own so taking our kids along is a natural extension of that. We’ve also gone several times so we know the lay of the land, what to expect, and how to adjust our expectations (mostly lol). Lastly, we haven’t done the whole thing – as in staying on property, dining plans, and all that. That, frankly, seems exhausting (and expensive) and I’m not sure we would have as much fun with all that pressure. You know your family best but that’s just my two cents!
Have you been to Disney with your toddler? What are your best tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments!