Yes, we did it. We took the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We heard everything from "Aren't they too young?" to "What a great idea!"
I won't kid you, it was stressful, but in my opinion totally worth it! We only went to Disney World for one day and Universal Studios for one day. Staff members at the parks thought we were kidding when we told them that! It WAS too short, but my four-year-old had the time of his life and so did his parents! The baby loved every minute too, but he also loves going to the grocery store. So, I don't know if his excitement is a good gauge!
Here's what we found:
- Pick a time when the parks are not crowded. Otherwise, you spend the entire day waiting in line. The first week of December was a good choice for us. I've also heard the week after Labor Day is a good option. We had great weather too. The kids went swimming twice, but it wasn't hot enough to sweat while at the parks.
- Disney's four All Star resorts are good options because they are inexpensive, but clean. Also, if you rent a car, your hotel parking pass gives you free parking at all the Disney locations.
- You have to take a monorail to get to and from Magic Kingdom. Tip: When leaving Magic Kingdom, the second stop on the RESORT monorail is the parking lot. It says this nowhere. The monorail that is labeled "to the parking lot" has super duper long lines.
- Sign up for a character breakfast as soon as you book your flight. The characters no longer walk around the parks taking pictures. You have to wait in long lines to get them. We went to a character breakfast buffet at Animal Kingdom and got photos with Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy. It cost $50 for three people.
- Get a meal plan ahead of time if you can. Everyone we talked to said they really save you money. We didn't qualify because we were only there for one day!
- We didn't have to wait more than 15 minutes for a ride, but my pediatrician gave a good tip in case you do have to wait awhile: bring flash cards so the kids have something to do.
- Universal Tip: My son got soaking wet on one of the rides. He was so upset that we went shopping for new clothes. A staff member heard our conversation and gave us a cute Spiderman t-shirt. Next time we will bring a change of clothes!
What was the best thing about Universal Studios?My son had the most fun playing at the Curious George water park. My husband and I liked the Shrek 4D movie. I can't see 3D images that well because I had eye surgery when I was little, but what I could see was amazing. My son did get a little scared when the spiders came at us and you get a little wet when Shrek sneezes!
Favorite Disney moment? The Buzz Lightyear ride. I think my husband was more into than my son (who was Buzz for Halloween.) You sit in a little boat and shoot at Zurg (Buzz's enemy.) And there is a score board. So you know my husband was getting competitive with a 4-year-old and me. At some point there's a camera that takes a picture of you in the ride. My sons and I are laughing and my husband is all serious aiming the gun at a wall. It was hilarious!
What age do you think is the best for a trip to Orlando? Do you have any good tips for families on a budget? Let me know by posting a comment.