A couple of months ago, on a random Monday, my Mom & I went to Disney. I dropped Bug off at school in the morning, met up with my Momma and we were in Magic Kingdom by 11am. This post is not about our trip to Disney. This post is about why I’m glad that I didn’t take my toddler to Disney.
See, I got a lot of looks from people when I said that just my Mom & I were going to Disney World. Without my son. While he was stuck in preschool. Several of my coworkers were positively miffed that I didn’t **gasp** take my child to Disney. I went into the day feeling a tiny bit guilty that Bug wasn’t with us, but by then end of the day I was pretty darn that he wasn’t there. In short, it’d have been fairly miserable toting an almost-2-year-old around all day. Here’s why:
1. Holy strollers, Batman… a.k.a. It’s a stroller world, after all. We went during maybe one of the worst months of the year. March = spring break = super busy = a million strollers. That picture up there? That’s the stroller parking lot outside of It’s a Small World. This was an unpleasant reminder that you can’t bring strollers in line, and that your toddler will have to either a) stand or b) be held for the entire hour long wait that is to be endured before getting on said ride. Have you tried to get a toddler to hang out in a confined area for more than 30 seconds? Because it’s impossible. Also? Super busy public places make it hard for you to do anything but hold the small boy, because he doesn’t pay enough attention when he’s walking to not walk into other people. And benches. And walls. There was a similar stroller parking lot outside of every ride that was suitable for small children… which brings me to my next point.
2. The rides. Part of why you go to Disney is to ride the rides. And, let’s be honest here… the little kid rides are not that awesome. I mean, sure, the little kids like them, but they’re not that awesome for us. We went on a couple just to check them out, and I don’t actually think that Bug would have enjoyed them. The Winnie the Pooh ride actually gets a little scary, plus it kept stopping. Most importantly, though (and most selfishly), is that we wouldn’t have been able to go on any of the good rides with Bug. Our favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion. Seriously. Love. Bug probably wouldn’t have liked it, which means I wouldn’t have enjoyed it either. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (our other favorite) happened to be closed that day, but Bug is certainly not big enough for roller coasters… though when he is I am sure he will love them.
3. Our own schedule. It is tough to do Disney in a day, and having a toddler that needs to adhere (even if loosely) to a schedule makes it pretty much impossible. When going to Disney with a small child, you really need to be able to take 2 or 3 days to enjoy it. Stay on the property so that you can go back to the hotel for nap time. Mom & I only had 1 day, and we used that entire day to see everything we wanted to see. We were there from 11am until like 7pm. Bug would have never made it that long. Also tied into this point is the fact that we hoofed it back and forth across the park all day in order to hit every attraction that we really wanted to see. When the line for a ride is super long, you can get a Fast Pass… which is basically a little piece of paper that assigns you a time to come back and ride the ride. You don’t have to wait more than 15 minutes or so at that point. So, we hopped between all of the parts of the park, waiting in line in Liberty Square for the Haunted Mansion while holding a Fast Pass for the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland. We walk fast, so we had no problem going back & forth all day. With a toddler, I think the best way to do the park is to cover everything in each section.
4. Big girl bonding time. There aren’t many opportunities for my Mom & I to do things together anymore without a baby. I mean, we love doing things together with a Bug, but it was so nice to have a day with just the two of us… after all, my Mom is one of my best friends (awwwww). We used to go to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot every few years, just the two of us. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that, even though I now have a little guy of my own, my Mommy & I can still do our thing.
5. Appreciating the details. I love the magic of Disney just as much as anybody else, but my favorite thing about Disney is the art of it all. When Walt Disney built his kingdom, I doubt that he imagined it would become what it has… what with the obsession with princesses and whatnot. The detail that he put into his creation is incredible to me, and I love taking the time to appreciate those details. I love the mosaics on Cinderella’s castle. I love the flowers. I love looking at the details on every building. I love watching the glass maker manipulate glass with fire in the crystal shop. I must have spent an hour just soaking in all of the artistry that lies in this magical place. That would not have happened with rambunctious little boy by my side.
6. Food. Apparently the entire park wanted to eat lunch at the same time as us. For just the two of us, this was fine. The line wasn’t particularly long, and the food choices were fantastic. The problem lay in where to eat. Every table was full in the restaurant we chose, so we ended up sitting outside on some steps. Again, would have been difficult with Bug. He does ok in picnic type situations, but not super fantastic.
7. Lugging stuff around. Mom brought a small shoulder purse that fit her wallet, her phone, my camera & my sunscreen. I put my credit card in one pocket of my shorts and my phone in the other. That’s all we brought. With Bug, there would have been a backpack involved with diapers, changes of clothes, sippy cups, wipes, etc. It was nice to not have to lug stuff around in almost 90 degree Florida weather.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things about the Magic Kingdom that Bug would have loved. He would have loved the music & the parades. He would have loved the carousel and the monorail. In reality, though, those things aren’t enough to make me want to bring him just yet. I want to take him to Disney when we can really get into it. When he’s 5 or 6 and can go on Splash Mountain and will get the jokes in the Laugh Factory. When he can go all day without a nap.
I doubt that we will go that long without bringing him to Disney. I foresee taking him when my twin nephews go for the first time. They are 6 and live up north, so they’ll make a special trip down to Florida for Disney. But, then, we’ll stay on property and take it easy. We won’t stuff the whole park into one day.
How old was your kiddo their first time at Disney? Did they enjoy it? Did YOU?