Let me start this post by saying that
we Jordan is a Disney fanatic. Jordan went several times throughout childhood and when we started dating and he found out that I had never been, he decided that I HAD to go. We went with 4 of our friends the spring break before we got married. Then I became a Disney fanatic.
When we discussed marriage, kids, etc. we always dreamt of the day we’ll take our 2-3 children to Disney, once they were all old enough to enjoy/remember it. We never thought we’d go when first child is 18 months old. We weren’t sure on how it would work with nap time , lugging around a stroller, and how we’d still enjoy the “big” rides.
We take a beach trip every year with Jordan’s family. We’ve always said it’d be fun to change it up and go somewhere different, like Disney World for instance. Let me add that in Jordan’s immediate family there are 15 people (8 adults & 7 children), so getting everyone to agree to Disney and actually getting reservations and fast passes for 15 people would be a challenge. But it happened! Everyone was on board.. and Jordan and Rachel (Jordan’s sister) were willing to take on the task of booking, making reservations and securing fast passes for everyone. Another thing I should add, there will be no hiring of a travel agent for Disney trips in this family. Nothing against travel agents (in fact, I think that’d be the perfect job for Jordan), it’s just that Jordan and Rachel enjoy researching and planning when it comes to Disney World.
Another thing that helped Jordan and I make our decision was that Anna Kate being under 2 made her FREE! No park admissions, dining plan, or plane ticket required for her.. so that sealed the deal!
So we booked a trip for March 2015 and we let the planning begin (for Jordan and Rachel, that is 😉 )!
Here’s our trip, in a longer than expected nutshell. I’m going to share our itinerary on a day-by-day basis and review some of the things we did. As well as share what made disney such a toddler friendly place and why we want to go back! Sorry my pictures aren’t that great. I decided to focus on experiencing everything more than taking quality photos (or maybe I just didn’t feel like carrying a 3lbs+ camera around?) but I took some iPhone photos and Jordan captured some video clips to make an awesome video (I’ll post it at the bottom).
1) Getting there – Orlando is 8 hours from where we live. Close enough to be drivable, yet far enough away to fly. We decided to fly to Orlando. Partly because Jordan and I had just driven to Orlando on an impromptu Anniversary road trip to Universal Studios 4 months prior and we weren’t ready for another road trip just yet. Another reason is Anna Kate isn’t the best car rider. Unless it’s nap time, she hates being stuck in the car seat for an extended period of time (who can blame her?). She’s still rear facing, and although she doesn’t know any different, it seems too uncomfortable for that long of a drive.
We looked up tips for flying with a toddler and we prepared ourselves with plenty of things to occupy Anna Kate on the plane.
Here are some of the things we carried along with us:
–Snacks, snacks and more snacks. And then maybe some more snacks. And not just the regular ones she gets at home. I’m talking things she’d never had before but we knew she’d love. Gummies, suckers (which also helped her ears during take off & landing), and, should I dare say it, GASP!, CANDY. Anything to keep the peace.
– Toys – Anna Kate is on a big drawing (or scribbling) kick, so we brought along a a Minnie Mouse notebook we found at Target that had colorful pens and Disney stickers. This kept her occupied for a while. Of course her Mickey Mouse was by her side the entire time.
– iPad – Anna Kate doesn’t have much experience with this because we try to avoid screen time (anyone who has accomplished ZERO screentime before 2, way to go you!), but we felt it was necessary to bring along as a reinforcement.
–The ultimate reinforcement – GRANDPARENTS. Enough said. Oh, and cousins that AK adores.
I’m not going to lie, this whole process was a little more stressful than expected. Anna Kate did a great job the entire time, no melt downs or anything, I guess I was just stressed because airports are stressful places. Flying is a little nerve wrecking (unless you’re Jordan) in general and I was just so worried about getting through it tear-free that I couldn’t relax. Nonetheless, we made it and we were ready for a week at Disney!
To read about the next part of our trip click the link: