We Survived Disney World With Two Preschoolers

I am not into parks or characters, so doing a Disney World vacation with my two and four year old is a big departure from our family’s norm.  I have a friend who lives nearby that I’ve been wanting to see.  We, finally, pulled the trigger and planned a Disney trip.

I knew that planning for Disney World was a whole other level from other vacations we have done.  I Googled “Disney hotels” and was inundated with options.  I pretty much immediately wanted to rescind the Disney vacation idea, but I found out there are Disney travel agents.

I reached out to a friend who loves going to Disney and she connected me with an agent.  If you haven’t done Disney with your kids, I highly recommend working through an authorized Disney agent.  I gave the agent an idea of what my kids liked and she sent a few hotel options with pricing that included meal plans and park tickets.  They will book everything for you.  I’m talking hotel, restaurants, fast passes, even strollers.

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We stayed at the Contemporary because it’s super close to Magic Kingdom, it’s on the monorail, and we always stayed there when I was little so I felt nostalgic.  We were there a week and did 3 park days and 2 resting days.  It was perfect for us. The parks are exhausting.  Our arrival day we relaxed in the hotel room and by the pool and had dinner at The Wave, which was one of our best meals and conveniently located in our hotel.

Animal Kingdom

My friend met us at the hotel before heading over.  It was a good thing because I had a 3/4 length sleeve shirt and leggings.  I was promptly informed AK is one of the hottest parks in Disney so I changed into jean shorts and a black tank which I was still uncomfortable from the heat most of the day.  **Tip: Check the weather and add 5-10 degrees for AK**

We had a fast pass for the Pandora ride and it was worth it.  I skipped the ride because I get motion sick easily, but for everyone else, get the fast pass because it’s pretty cool.  Our other fast passes were for the Safari – which is a must do at AK – and the Lion King show.  Lion King is pretty impressive, even more impressive is that the actors do the show probably close to a dozen times a day.  I would have needed a nap performing just half a show.  **Tip: If you can only get one fast pass, use it for the Pandora ride, Flight of Passage, unless you have issues with motion sickness, then get to the park early for the safari ride.**

My last tip for AK is to glance at the lunch options before you go.  We wasted a lot of time flip flopping, then had to leave right after lunch because the kids were so tired and it was pretty hot at that point.

Animal Kingdom in front of the Tree of Life
Reece didn’t want to take a picture in front of the Tree of Life at AK
Reece keeping a beat, hitting the drums at Animal Kingdom
Reece keeping a beat

That night, Rich and I had a date night at the Polynesian’s ‘Ohana. We went early while the kids and my in-laws hung out at the splash pad.  The only people that can put our kids to bed are mom and dad sadly.  ‘Ohana was more food than you can possibly eat and super yummy.  Disney is also very allergy conscious. Even though it’s a prefix meal, Disney will make adjustments.

Epcot

The highlight of the entire trip, in my eyes, was the kids getting to meet Anna and Elsa.  I didn’t think much of meeting characters, but seeing the wonder in Kat and Reece’s eyes was so special.  They believed they met Elsa and Anna, and they love them so much. Their joy and amazement couldn’t be contained.

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Kat did not want to let go of Elsa’s hand during pictures.

Reece, Kat and Elsa

Reece and Kat meet Anna from Frozen. WOW!
“Can you believe Anna is holding my hand?! OMG!!”

Afterwards we went on the Frozen ride which was fun except one part at the end which scared Kat and made her cry for ten minutes after we got off the ride.  The morning was pretty busy.  Luckily, my friend, Jackii, is very park savvy being an annual passholder so we never needed to bother with the maps. We went for a three mile walk trying to get Kat to nap.  She napped for about half an hour, sigh, then we had dinner at Tutto Italia.

Kat napping in stroller at Epcot
A quick snooze that was spent with more time walking than sleeping.

After a lot of back and forth of sleeping arrangements Rich and Kat took one bed, Reece and I another.  Isn’t vacation fun like that?  Only took the kids an hour of lying down to fall asleep.

Free Days

We took the next two days “off” from the parks so we could rest and prepare for the big finale: Magic Kingdom.  We spent a lot of time at the hotel’s splash pad and had breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. I wouldn’t say Chef Mickey’s is a must as far as food, it’s good for buffet standards, but you will meet all the classic Disney characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donal, and Pluto. We also did Mickey’s Backyard BBQ which was a lot of fun but we left early because the kids were super tired.

The only bummer about our days off happened towards the end of the second day when Reece got stung by a wasp at the splash pad.  The rest of the trip we had to drape a sweatshirt over his legs anytime he was in the stroller, in 90 degree heat, for “protection.”

Magic Kingdom

This was the only day we arrived at rope drop and it benefitted us, but it is a little stressful since it’s a little crowded for not being open yet.  We did a few rides with no wait, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Barnstormer, and Little Mermaid’s Under the Sea. All great for preschool aged children, The Barnstormer was a little too much for me, but I persevered.  We had a fast pass for Seven Dwarves Mine, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Peter Pan’s Flight.  All three were great and a good pick for a fast pass.  **Tip: Arrive at rope drop to get in a few rides before the park really fills up then use fast passes 10:30AM and after. If you are going to make the effort to arrive right when the park opens, this is the one to do so**

Reece and Kat with Ariel
Reece and Kat with Ariel, and yes this was the best picture Reece took with Ariel…

Rich and I split up from the kids again for a second date night with dinner at Be Our Guest while the kids and inlaws had dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Castle.  As other guests have raved, try the Grey Stuff, it IS delicious. Yum! My meal was a little dry, but Rich’s was great.

If you want to do Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique make a reservation as soon as possible. Times fill up fast.  Do yourself a favor and buy a dress before your trip to save money.  The dress at the boutique costs $100 vs. $25 online.

Some other fun, silly, cute, out-take moments are below. If you have any questions about traveling with two children under 5 at Disney let me know! I’m not an expert but a week there makes you, sort of, savvy.

Kat wanted nothing to do with me most of the trip because of all the Dad time. She was very angry when I tried to carry her after Rich had been carrying her for about an hour.

Reading a book on the plane
The book I brought from the trip managed to take a bath on the plane when I opened my water bottle which exploded all over myself and said book.
Grouchy toddler in stroller holding one shoe
Kat was constantly insisting she didn’t need one or both her shoes.

Reece's ice cream popsicle

Reece with Elsa ears
This face makes my heart melt. Reece begged for a picture with Elsa ears.

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