Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - Disney World 2013

Since it's #TBT and I never did a full run down of our WDW trip in October of 2013, I thought I would take the opportunity to share the deets AND give some tips and tricks to bringing a toddler (and/or any child deemed "too young to visit 'The World by the general population) to Disney.

When we went, Cy was 14 months old. I used to love telling people just to see what kind of reaction I would get out of them. With all of that being said, I would have never taken Cy if we didn't have my parents (Nana and Grandpa) with us to take over some of the responsibility. Cy was very active at that age and we needed all hands on deck to ensure that everyone had a good time. So that is my first tip, if at all possible, be sure to grossly out number any children you may bring. Cy got into the parks for free, so if he didn't go on any rides, there was no money lost there. The Mister and I on the other hand have to obviously pay for our park hoppers and wanted to get the most for our money. That's where Nana and Grandpa came in. They helped us be able to enjoy the parks.

The Deets - 

Magic Kingdom - MK is obviously the most kid friendly of the 4 gates. Most of the rides here (besides the Mountains) have no height requirement. Because Cy was too wiggly to wait in line, the only rides we went on with him was The Little Mermaid, Dumbo and It's A Small World. He mostly enjoyed frolicking around New Fantasyland. There is an awesome splash zone there that he loved. We never stayed for the parades because A- he was too young to care and B- You should ALWAYS take a mid day break. I don't want to be anywhere near any of the parks from the time of noon - 3/4. It's too hot and too crowded as that is when the late risers finally mosey on into the parks. My advice - Get there for rope drop, stay until about 11:30ish, head back to the hotel for a siesta and then head back for night time (4:00). And always watch Wishes (MK's fireworks show) it's a gorgeous show, very Disney!


Animal Kingdom - I have to say, AK is probably my least favorite park. Although the safari is awesome (Cy loved that) and Expedition Everest is also great, I just don't see this as a "full day" destination. I will also admit that I am not really a "sit and watch a show at an amusement park" type of person so if you enjoy that you will probably enjoy AK. The way I like to visit AK is to go for right when they open, head straight to the safari as the animals are most active during morning hours, get in a few more things before 11:30 and then park hop to another park after your siesta. AK must do's - Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King (now that it's open again), It's Tough to be a Bug, and Dinosaur. I have also heard of some great restaurants in AK (Yak & Yeti being one of them) but have never personally experienced them. They are definitely on the list for next time though! Also, the latest AK closes is 7pm during the busy season (6pm during the off season). I have heard rumors that this will change once Avatar Land opens up.

This photo really shows how close you can get to the animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari!

Hollywood Studios - HS is probably my favorite park of the 4. Tower of Terror is my favorite ride in 'The World, so walking in to HS and seeing the Hollywood Tower Hotel menacingly standing towards that back of the park always gives me goosebumps! I also love the Rock n' Roller coaster too. And, one of my favorite restaurants on the Disney World Resort is in Hollywood Studios, The 50's Prime Time Cafe, which is themed as a 1950's sitcom. The lobby/waiting area of this restaurant is "mom's living room" complete with bar, of course. All the waiters and waitresses act like they are your parents and really get into their roles. That means no elbows on the table, no hats on at dinner AND you have to eat all of your vegetables. Since I love to always be immersed in themeing, this is absolutely my kind of restaurant. When we visited in October we went with a large group and had an amazing time. My favorite dish is the pot roast, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Admittedly there is not a whole lot for the under 3 set to do at HS but that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities for wonderful pictures and great memories! I will say this though - Fantasmic (HS fireworks show) is a pretty great show for the little ones. Fantasmic actually started in Disneyland and was brought to HS in 1996. They have a huge amphitheater for the show which allows for great seating, something the fireworks shows in the other parks do not offer.

Posing in "Mom's Kitchen" at 50's Prime Time! *Grandpa not pictured

Epcot - Epcot is my second favorite park and that's because you can drink in copious amounts here. (#SorryNotSorry). As far as the little ones go, there are a few rides here that they can go on. With Cy, we took him on the Finding Nemo ride (which is actually a super cool ride) and we also took him on the Living with the Land ride which takes you behind the scenes of Disney's horticultural division. And, once you are done seeing where everything is grown, you can eat at the restaurant (Garden Grill) in The Land pavilion. This is where all the food that is grown is served. When we went, it was during Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival (IMO, the greatest time to visit WDW) so of course we had an amazing time tasting and sampling food from around the world. As far as the rides in Epcot - Soarin - Great ride! Disney brought this ride over from Disneyland and it has been a popular attraction ever since. Test Track - I personally only needed to go on this ride once in my life time because it's not super exciting to me. Although they have recently refurbished it with a new sponsor so it may be worth checking out if you are curious. Mission Space - puke. Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball) - great ride for a little break from the heat during the day and very educational! Maelstrom - This is a water ride in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase. It is an awesome ride and has a great drop in it. There are rumblings that this may be turned into a Frozen themed ride soon. My best advice - Head to Epcot in the morning, do all of Future World - take your midday break - and then head back in around 4 to drink and eat your way around the World Showcase for the rest of the night. And be sure to catch Illuminations (Epcot's firework show) it is amazing and one of the best shows on Disney property. It will mostly likely make you cry.

Just trollin' around the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow 

PS - Places like Disney's Boardwalk and Downtown Disney as well as both water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) are great for the under 3 set. The Boardwalk and DD are both free and both have areas for the little ones to run around. And, both water parks have extensive baby areas for the littlest of Mousejunkies.