Taking Grandkids to Disney World
Guest Author: Daphne Neubauer
From the minute I knew I was going to be a grandmother I was dreaming of the first time I could take my grandson to Disney World. I was so excited about it I made my son in law swear that no one would take him before me! I had taken my own children ten plus times but this would be different. It was the joy of introducing another child to the magic of Disney. No one gets the excitement of a visit to Disney World if they haven’t been. All of my friends said “he is too young he won’t remember anything”. I told them that we will remember the first time he is in Disney. It is about family memories and being together that makes it special.
As most people know a Disney vacation goes smoother with some planning. So with a toddler in mind we planned out ten day stay. We didn’t want it to be hot so we picked the fall. We had never done the Food and Wine Festival so we picked late October and the first week in November. We chose to split our stay between the Polynesian Resort and The Yacht Club. We thought we would go to the Magic Kingdom more in the beginning and Epcot at the end. We knew traveling to the parks would be easy on the monorail. At Yacht Club we could walk to Epcot and ride the boats to Disney Hollywood Studio. This way we never really had to struggle with the stroller on any Disney buses.
We had to plan our meals next. Our Grandson has food allergies and Disney restaurants are very accommodating. I also knew the key to a happy toddler was to have food in the room also. When he wakes up he wants to eat right away. At each hotel we asked for a microwave for our room. They supplied one for us after checking in. We also had rented a car at the airport so we could go to a nearby Target. We had water, juice, applesauce, waffles, soup, oatmeal, hotdogs etc. This allowed us to keep him fed and happy before during and after the parks.
Both resorts have wonderful pools for children. They both have zero entry pools which are perfect for a toddler. The Yacht Club pool has an area that has a sand bottom and beach area. This was his favorite area. We could have spent all day there playing in the sand. Both hotels offer activities by the pool. They had volley ball, kids dance parties, and games. Each resort offered a campfire and roasting marshmallows down by their beach, as well as movies under the stars. We did both and everyone enjoyed this. These small activities are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the parks and a chance for both generations to have some fun.
Our grandson wasn’t quite two yet so we were unsure how he would respond to the characters. He was familiar with Mickey from Mickey Mouse Club House but to see then in person might be scary. So we thought a character breakfast would be a good way to introduce him to them. We went to the Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian Resort and he loved it. The chef came out to discuss his food allergies and made him a special order breakfast. They made egg free Mickey Waffles and sent out a whole plate of fruit just for him. The attention to our needs and the special needs of our grandson ensured that we will recommend this breakfast to all of our friends.
Our favorite park to take him to is Magic Kingdom. He enjoys the same type of rides we do the slow ones! His favorite ride in all of Disney is the Monorail. We took him on it several times just to ride around. He also enjoys the train, the riverboat and the people mover. As he gets older we will have to brave some others but for now everyone is happy. He also enjoys just strolling around the park. The new Fantasy Land is beautiful and he and his grandfather enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful scenery. Some of the dark and loud rides didn’t appeal to him so we just stuck to the things we could do outside. We watched all the parades and he really enjoyed the fireworks.
`One of the best tips I ever got was to take breaks when you and your grandchild need to. Even though our grandson is small and he could take a nap in his stroller we needed to take a break! Sometimes it would be just a late lunch or early dinner. A lot of times the restaurants are less crowded around 3 or 4 so he could sleep on the bench in the booth or in his stroller if we were outside. The great thing about Epcot is you can exit out of the back of World Showcase and walk over to the Boardwalk. They have several restaurants your can grab a bite to eat outside and let your grandchild nap in there stroller. We feel staying on property is a must with young children and older adults. It makes it so much easier to return to your hotel. If your fought the traffic, the ticket counter, the turnstile etc you would feel obligated to stay in the park and grind it out.
Taking grandkids to the park is all about making memories for you and your family. Just go with the flow and remember you can always plan another trip to come back and do some of the things you missed.