1. You never really know how your child will react to the surprise.
I’m not sure what I had expected. Maybe for her to run around screaming with excitement. I thought there would be a little bit of disbelief but she really didn’t believe us for a few minutes. Then once she did she asked us every 10 seconds when we were leaving. Good think we waited until the day of to tell her.
2. There are TONS of things for little ones to do.
A lot of people have been asking me my thoughts on bringing young ones to Disney World. Or question why I’d want to bring my son who is just a toddler. Sure, he won’t remember anything but you know what? He had a BLAST. He loved the rides, meeting the characters. Every day we were there he woke up excited to get the day going and get back to the parks. And the best part? He was FREE. Yea, kids under 3 are free at Disney World (and under 2 fly for free), so it’s not a big deal to me if he doesn’t remember it later.
Most of the rides are for people of all heights, and there are so many other shows and activities for the little ones to enjoy. My 1-year-old son loved the rides even more than my 4-year-old daughter. Overall it totally depends on your kid, but I knew my little guy would enjoy it.
3. “Squished Pennies” are just as good of souvenirs as any.
Before we left for Florida I got a couple rolls of quarters and a roll of pennies to make pressed pennies in the machines around the park. My husband was really annoyed at first but he started to get into it once he realized how easy it was to sidetrack our daughter from wanting a Tinkerbell doll and being satisfied with a Tinkerbell pressed penny. We made about a dozen while there and came home with a ton of change, I wish we had done more!
4. The Bippity Boppity Boutique is actually a sweet deal.
I followed advice from others and booked a reservation several months in advance. I was able to move my reservation from Downtown Disney to the Magic Kingdom location the night before our appointment. We brought our own dress to save oh, about $100. She loved getting her hair, nails and makeup done. I was a little worried they wouldn’t be able to handle her curly hair. There were a few snags, but after letting her fairy godmother in training know it was totally fine if her hair wasn’t slicked bone straight back into her bun, they did up her curls beautifully.
Yea, that pixie dust was fun to wash out! What made the deal even sweeter was the photoshoot they did after across the way in a studio at Castle Couture. They easily took 50 pictures and I got them all added to my memory maker package at no additional cost. Which brings me to…
5. Memory Maker is priceless
For $170 you can stop any Disney cast member with a camera and ask them to snap photos of you and your family. You’ll have them all automatically saved to your PhotoPass account and be able to download and print them after your trip. I don’t know how else I would have made it into so many photos. One thing to remember though is their photo style may not be like yours. I had to brighten quite a few of their photos after (the ones I didn’t came out super dark in prints). Overall though, it was nice to not have to worry about taking pictures at every encounter, and seeing fun ones I didn’t know they had taken of us on rides.
6. It is possible to meet every Disney Princess in just a few days.
A good way to get a head start is by booking a reservation at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. You’ll meet five princesses there, can get photos and autographs. It’s not a cheap meal but it pays off in memories. My daughter was so excited as each princess came to our table.
The rest we met at the parks. The popular ones we got fastpasses for (Anna, Elsa, Cinderella and Rapunzel). While we waited in line my daughter and I thought of questions to ask them. Like “How’s Abu” to Jasmine. Or “Do you prefer legs or fins?” to Ariel. It was so cute seeing the extra bit of interaction she got with them. I’ll probably post more about this later because I’m excited to share all those pictures.
7. First haircuts should be at Disney.
First haircuts can be such a doozy. So emotional. I was dreading cutting my son’s hair, and the waterworks poured even still, but if it’s going to happen what better place than Disney World?
We scheduled an appointment at the Harmony Barber Shop and walked in right after the parade. I was worried my son’s curls would be a challenge for his barber but she knew what she was doing. Unfortunately she cut it WAY shorter than we had asked, but he still looks freaking adorable. My husband loves our son’s “new style” and I keep telling myself it’ll grow back in a matter of months. Once I give him a proper photo shoot I’ll post more about that too, but here are these for now:
8. Tea Cups, Carousels and Choo Choos never get old.
The ride I was most looking forward to riding with my family at Disney World was the Mad Hatter Tea Cups. We all piled in a cup and spun and spun. The wait was never more than a few minutes so we rode it quite a few times.
My son has always loved trains so that was another favorite of his. I thought we’d all love Dumbo too but my daughter was a little freaked out by the heights.
9. Taking breaks isn’t so bad.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about taking a break to leave the park to head allllll the way back to our resort, but I also worried we’d be exhausted and ready for naps halfway through the day. What I didn’t realize was how quickly the day went by. Only our hunger was an indication to how much time had passed. We were good about stopping for breaks… We took a 40 minute ride around the park twice on the train. One day we brought our sack lunch over to Tom Sawyer Island and let the kids play on the playground while we relaxed in the shade. There are also lots of other quiet and dark places to take a snooze (Country Bear Jamboree anyone?).
We rented a nice double stroller while there (we used Orlando Stroller Rental) which was a huge help when it came to nap time. We’d just recline the kids and let them snooze for an hour or two, then enjoyed ourselves. When we had other family with us, that’s when we took the time to ride the bigger rides, or just catch up on uninterrupted conversation.
10. It’s so hard to say goodbye.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about our Disney World trip since we’ve been back. I already printed all our photos and put them in photobooks. I still need to edit all of our videos, which I’m sure will bring a whole other wave of nostalgia. Every day I think about how much I want to go back and think of ways I could swing another trip sometime before 2025. There’s SO much more I could say about this trip but a complete recap would take forever and I’m not sure how entertaining it would be. I’ll try to pick bits and pieces to share for the next couple months in posts that are hopefully insightful. I have a slew of cute photos I want to dump here too but I think I’ve done enough for one day.
Let me know if you have any specific questions! Have you been to Disney World? What was your favorite part?
Oh… And to the sweet lady who said hi at the Whispering Canyon Cafe… Thanks for making my night! I was dying to ask you what you thought of my son’s hair cut. I was still in shock at that moment.