Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Walt Disney World ~ Part Two : Magic Kingdom with Toddlers

Before we left for Florida, I had made up a tentative itinerary as to what parks we should go to on what days. I had scoured the Walt Disney World website for detailed info on all of the attractions at each park, and made a list (surprise surprise) of which attractions were a MUST, and which were OFF-LIMITS (one's not appropriate for toddler's). Since there is SO MUCH to talk about when it comes to Magic Kingdom, I am devoting THIS post solely to that park. Tomorrow's post will wrap up the other 3 parks we also visited; Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.

MUST'S of Magic Kingdom (in no particular order)

~Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party! : SO much fun, and if you happen to be right at the front of the circle, you will get a chance to be a mere 5 feet from Mickey Mouse. Not to mention, the dancers are super awesome and make sure the little kids get to be up in the front to dance with them. Both kids had a ball!

~It's a Small World : We had been selling Jonah on this ride for months. It is the one ride at Disney World that I can remember SO vividly and something I was so excited to share with the kids. They both loved it. The colors. The music. The dancing. The kicking of their foots (as Jonah called it). He even now calls it the "Kicks Their Foots" ride.

~The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh : This was a great ride for both kids as well. It was interactive and colorful and super cute. It lasts only a few minutes, so it kept the kids attention from beginning to end. Even Grandma and Papa went on the ride!

~ Dumbo : This was the only ride we WAITED a long time for (see below for tips on how we avoided long waits in line). And long for me was about 30 minutes. Jonah was all about it, but did grow weary by the time we got to the front of the line. Luckily, not too weary, because he still enjoyed this special alone time with mommy, not to mention, he got to drive the elephant!

~ Minnie's Country House : Was cute, fast to get in to and was a nice respite from the stifling sun. Everything in Minnie's house was larger than life, colorful and hands-on. Even a couch to sit on, which I did, for a few minutes.

~ Mickey's Country House : Another cute place to visit, even more Mickey related stuff. You can't actually sit on the furniture in Mickey's house, but EVERYTHING was Mickey shaped and made Jonah feel really special for getting a chance to visit. (Tip: The entrance to the Judge's Tent is through the EXIT of Mickey's House. The Judge's Tent is where you get to meet Mickey and take a picture with him. If the wait is less than an hour and you can manage a little kid in line that long, DO IT. Because we NEVER saw Mickey anywhere else where he was accessible. We didn't wait in line either, thinking we'd come back another time, but didn't get a chance to.)

~Donald's Boat : This was great on the hot day we had, although about 1/2 of the water spouts weren't working and there was a 6 or 7 year old girl running around in her underwear (and it clearly states you can't do that). Yes, it was hot...super hot, but that wasn't really appropriate. Not to mention, the rubber matting is really hot on bare feet, so hot it kinda made it not worth it.

Everything listed below were things I WANTED to take the kids to, but we didn't get a chance to visit.

~Judge's Tent (you get to meet Mickey!)

OFF LIMIT'S of Magic Kingdom
(either too scary, not big enough, or not interesting enough)
now I know some other parent's (even my husband) would disagree with
my choice to not take the kid's to some of the attractions listed below

~Peter Pan's Flight ~ Captain Hook is scary
~ The Haunted Mansion
~ Space Mountain
~Splash Mountain
~ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
~ Pirates of the Caribbean ~ pirates are scary
~Snow White's Scary Adventure ~ the witch is scary and who ever thought that having something called "SCARY" at Disney World, THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH, makes any sense?!?!
~Wishes Night Time Spectacular ~ We were unsure how Lily would react to fireworks, but we were positive that would make Jonah FREAK OUT. We avoided fireworks at all costs.

My advice ~

1. Prioritize the attractions you don't want to miss and hit those at times when the kids are well-rested and energetic. Taking a screaming, tired toddler on any ride, or particularly on any ride that requires a wait in line, is certainly not advised!
2. Keep diaper bags well stocked and bring AMPLE amounts of hydration for the kids (and yourself). Drinks, Food, and Toys are over-priced at Disney, so bringing a few extra bottles of water and storing them in the stroller basket is a good idea.
3. We brought TWO separate strollers for each kid instead of our big bulky double stroller. This was a phenomenal idea of my Mother-in-Law's. Two toddlers, weighing about 30 pounds each (yup, mu 1yo and my 3yo weigh almost the same!) would be quite a load to push around by one person. This way we were able to divide up the weight and the manpower required to push the kids. I also DO NOT advise renting the Disney strollers. They are expensive and clunky and don't look very comfortable (hard plastic, no reclining, and VERY small baskets to store things). We were able to get the kids to sleep in their strollers, lean them back comfortably, and keep them shaded by the canopies. Also, we had TWO storage baskets to put stuff.

4. Being a babywearer occasionally, I also brought my Ergo carrier. Lily will pretty much fall asleep in that thing 90% of the time if she is tired and cranky. And sometimes, she just likes to be close to me. It worked, but I will say, it was HOT and SWEATY having her right on me. Not to mention, it is black. But I WAS able to get her to sleep on me, and then transfer her to the fully reclined stroller. She actually napped 2 times while we were at the parks, and Jonah napped once (which is huge).
5. Talking about strollers. Strollers are not allowed in ANY line we came across, meaning we were exceptionally limited to what we could go on. Jonah was okay and didn't mind standing in line for the most part, but Lily is a mover and shaker and one that will not be tied down to waiting in ANY line. We took advantage of MANY Fast Passes (see below for more info on Fast Passes) and had to skip out on stuff where the wait was too long.
6. If you are going in the HOT months, but one of the spray bottle fans BEFORE you get there. Walgreens sells them, but at the Disney Parks, are like three times as much. The kids loved playing with them (the blades are super soft and don't hurt to the touch), and were even life saver's for us adult's suffering from the deadly heat.
7. Sunscreen. Those of you that know me know that I try to avoid sunscreen if I can. I hate the stuff and I hate putting that garbage on the kids skin (particularly Jonah). But that Florida sun is HOT and if it is between the hours on 10am-2pm especially, slather those kids up. They can get their Vitamin D and good stuffs from the sun at other times of the day.
8. Fast Passes. These things make life a little easier at the Disney Parks with impatient little ones. I advise doing the rounds at the start of your day, picking up Fast Passes for those rides that offer them. They give you a 2 hour time frame for a little later in the day, when you can come back and pretty much jump to the head of the line. SO SO SO worth it. Check them out.

Be sure to stop back each day this week for more tips and info on traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers.


Sara said...

The parent swap is great also. Say you and your partner want to ride a non kid friendly ride. You tell the line person and they take you round back. Then after you come through they do the same for your partner.

We took our oldest to WDW at 16 months. He liked Peter pan and Alice an wonderland. He also loved the Jungle cruise.

Debbie said...

Jen, I just fell across your blog and I am super excited to read through your Disney with toddlers posts. We're planning a trip for the beginning of September and so I'm seeking all of the information I can get for traveling with two little ones.