Kramer and I pretty much hate going to restaurants with our toddlers. By the time we leave, food is thrown and not eaten, no one sits at the table, someone poops their pants, the straw is the wrong color, people are staring, etc. So the thought of taking Em (3.5) and Cam (1) to Disney World was really overwhelming, but Kramer's family is deeply rooted in Disney family trips and he had done his research. Fortunately we also had his parents and brother's family join us (along with all of their Disney wisdom) so that made things easier. Here are the top 5 things I learned about doing Disney with little kids...and a few photo highlights from our trip:
5. Two single strollers...and tooooons of snacks.
Instead of bringing a double stroller, we brought our single jogging stroller and borrowed a nice umbrella stroller (one that allows for one-handed steering). Having two separate strollers allowed us to split up so Cam, for example, could be walked around and nap in the stroller while Emery was off to another ride. We had also heard Disney allows you to bring your own snacks into the park, so we stocked up on $75+ worth of snacks beforehand and they held us through our park days and travel days without spending a fortune on food (although I'm not sure I can look at another hotdog). For the "momtogs" out there, I just brought my 50mm lens and Nikon D750 camera body. It fit easily in my backpack and was versatile enough for the entire trip.
4. A couple days in Magic Kingdom is plenty.
We tacked this trip onto the front of my family's annual reunion in Daytona and I was a little worried that with two travel days, we wouldn't have enough time to see all of Magic Kingdom. I was wrong...and in fact, I don't think I could have handled another sweaty day in the parks. ;) I was ready for an umbrella drink at the beach (p.s. unlike the other parks at Disney, there are no alcohol sales in Magic Kingdom...so there's that).
3. Leave the littles...or bring help.
As much as our 1-year old thinks she knows about princesses and purses, Magic Kingdom was nothing more than a hot and sweaty Chick-fil-A playground to her...and she certainly won't remember a thing from the trip. As I mentioned, we just would not have done it without the help of Kramer's parents until Cam was a good bit older. They took her for walks around the park to lull her to sleep and changed diapers all day while we ran around making memories with Emery. Bless them. Even though fast passes are a thing, there's still some waiting in lines and Cam was not having that.
2. Make plans early.
We booked our trip about a year out and were able to capitalize on some of the early reservation opportunities and fast passes. Kramer was logging into our account 6 months to the minute before our trip to make sure we got dining reservations and fast passes to all of the good spots. If that's not a hard-core girl dad, I'm not sure what is. We were also clued into this magical website where you can book a room at the Contemporary Resort for a reduced rate (renting from folks in the Disney Vacation Club). Check out https://www.dvcrequest.com/.
1. Breakfast at Cinderella's Castle!
Hands down our favorite part of the trip. This is a sweet and intimate meal inside the castle while all of the big Disney princesses visit each table (we left Cam with the grandparents for this one). I had no idea this was the case, but characters no longer float around the park these days...if you want to make sure your kid sees them, you have to make special reservations. And having reservations for this breakfast gets you access to the park before it's officially "open". Many of you have asked how I got these photos in the park without hoards of people in the background...well, this is it! As a photographer, it was worth the price of our breakfast ticket (about $50/person?). And because it was early in the morning, the lighting was nice and even...and the sky wasn't blowing out the detail of the castle.
Here are a few other photo highlights from our Disney adventure...it really is the happiest place on earth!