Sunday, January 15, 2023

Our Trip to Disneyworld!

Happy New Year, friends! It feels like ages since I've actually written a blog post, and it has been (August '22 to be exact). It is one of my resolutions for 2023 to get back on here and utilize this space as a creative outlet and to also share more about what's going on.

Last month we spent the holidays vacationing in Siesta Key, Florida. We were there for the entire month of December, and if you count the three day drive to/from FL, we were gone for about five weeks. It was amazing. Can I go back? Once I knew we had firm plans to spend such a large chunk of time in Florida, I thought it would be fun to break up our trip with a little weekend getaway to Disneyworld.

When I mentioned to our family and friends that we were going to go, they thought we were crazy. Why on earth would we go with a toddler that wouldn't remember anything? Totally valid, but I knew we would remember and to me, that was worth it. Truth be told I am not a huge Disney fan and I hate crowds, but I was determined to make our trip fun an stress free. For that very reason, I only planned for us to visit Magic Kingdom on this visit. Magic Kingdom is the most iconic "Disney" park, but from what I've heard it also has the most for the little ones to do. Of course there's EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (which has a lot of height restrictions), but for this initial visit, we thought we'd keep it short and sweet and really enjoy this vacation from .... our vacation! ha!


After researching relentlessly like I do for every trip, we decided to stay at the Four Seasons Resort. I've stayed at their hotels since I was a kid, and have been lucky enough to partner with some of their properties in recent years. I knew that after a long day I would want somewhere to unwind and relax where I felt comfortable, and the Four Seasons was the right fit. Not only are they known for exceptional service and luxury, their resort in Orlando has everything you could want at your fingertips. They have a lazy river, waterslides, a kids club, adult only pool, spa, golf course, and several restaurants, including their Michelin starred steakhouse, Capa. Although they are not a Disney owned hotel, they do sit in the gated community of Golden Oaks, which still awards you beautiful views of the park while feeling like you're in your own little oasis. Due to the fact that they are on Disney property, you are able to get into the park 30 minutes before it opens (like you are with Disney affiliated hotels), which was a perk for us. They had free shuttles to/from all the parks, as well.

We stayed in one of their Park View Suites and it was wonderful. It had a huge patio that overlooked the resort. In the evenings we were able to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, which was incredible. The suite had two full baths, and when we arrived everything was outfitted for Wyatt. They had a full size crib, a Diaper Genie, child size hangers, and baby bath products and bathrobe. I can’t recommend the hotel enough, and can’t wait to go back  


Friday: After we got checked in we explored the hotel. There were so many places for Wyatt to run around, it was great. They had a basketball court, expansive kid's pool with a splash pad and tons of pathways around the property.  They also had their own playground - it was awesome! After we let him work out some energy, we got ready for dinner. We ate Ravello, the hotel's Italian restaurant - it was delicious. At 10pm that night we got to watch the gorgeous fireworks display from our balcony, all while Wyatt was fast asleep. It was certainly a treat. 

Saturday: Our day at Magic Kingdom. We started the morning with Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and Pals, a character breakfast at the hotel. I remember character meals fondly as a child, and I was elated when I saw that the hotel offered one. The breakfast included 'visits' by Mickey, Minnie and Goofy, of course. To be honest Wyatt didn't know what to think when they came around initially. We haven't really had him watch many Disney movies and don't really have any Disney toys. At first when Goofy and Micky came around he was really timid. The characters were so sweet and tried their best before moving on to the next table, but promised they'd be back. Low and behold, when Goofy returned 15 minutes later, you would have thought he and Wyatt were old friends. It was truly precious to see him light up and really interact. He even touched Minnie's nose and gave Micky a high-five. 

After we finished our delicious breakfast buffet with our Disney friends, we boarded the shuttle at 8am in order to get to the park by 8:30, 30 minutes prior to it's official opening. The shuttle drops you off at the main gates, and from there you can take the boat or the monorail over the the park. We took the monorail in the morning which was smooth and convenient. You also didn't need to collapse your stroller, which was convenient. The park was all decked out for Christmas, which was really fun, as were some of the rides. 

That morning we enjoyed leisurely strolling around the park and went on a few rides. We did Small World, Peter Pan Flight, Mickey's PhilarMagic, the Regal Carousel, Under the Sea - Little Mermaid, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Nap time was approaching and we also needed a break, so grabbed a hot dog and pretzel at Liberty Square Market, which was nothing to write home about. I didn't invest much time in booking meals at Disney because I didn't have high expectations. I stopped in the Emporium before we left to do a little shopping. I swear the store was a mile long and had everything you could think of.

After some R&R at the hotel, we did an outfit change (I had some many ears for myself and outfits for Wyatt it was a must) and headed back to Magic Kingdom. We really hadn't explored the storefronts at the beginning of the park, so we spent some time walking up and down Main Street. We then went over to Splash Mountain which we didn't ride because Wyatt wasn't tall enough, but enjoyed seeing the people get soaked. We saw a few of the parades, went on the Mad Tea Party (Teacups) ride, and then saw the fireworks display before we left right before 6pm.  

We took the Ferryboat when we departed and loved seeing Magic Kingdom all lit up. It was also fun to see the properties along the water, like the Grand Floridian (which I've heard great things about) and the Polynesian. Once we got back to the hotel we enjoyed gelato from Lickety Split and then had room service and watched the fireworks. We had walked nearly 10 miles that day. 

Sunday: The only plans for today were to rest and relax before going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party back at Magic Kingdom that evening. For Halloween and Christmas, they have special evenings dedicated to celebrating the holidays where only so many tickets are sold and the characters are dressed up in special clothes, a visit from Santa, etc. 

We started the day at Ravello and enjoyed their delicious breakfast buffet again. After that we headed outside and went to the playground, played with the water guns over at the teen club (which was so cool), and kicked the soccer ball by the volleyball court. When it was time for Wyatt's nap, I read my book out on our patio and enjoyed relaxing listening to the fountains beneath our room. They were also setting up and taking wedding photos! 

The day had started off chilly which was a little disappointing as we really wanted to enjoy the pools, but luckily it warmed up in the afternoon and we took a trip down the lazy river and ordered food to our lounge chair from PB&G (the Southwest salad was excellent). They had life vests for the little ones (another well thought through amenity), so we had Wyatt floating in the pool and had him go on the kiddie waterslide.


Pack lots of snacks. Wyatt is a picky eater, so I always have the things he likes on hand. Magic Kingdom has an abundance of places to grab a bite, but most everything was fried or honestly sounded unappetizing to us. There weren't a lot of healthy options (hence our hot dog and pretzel lunch) and the prices were high for what you got. Disney is pretty easy going about what you can bring in, so take advantage. 

Since you will be leaving stroller whenever you get on a ride, consider adding something to your stroller so it stands out. We got a cute little personalized tag for our stroller so that it was easy to spot when we got off rides. A lot of families had something similar or had some sort of decoration on their stroller. 

Use a crossbody bag. As mentioned above, you have to leave your stroller unattended often. For that reason, I highly suggest carrying anything of value in a crossbody bag. I'm sure you can take a larger bag on rides with you, but I think it would be a hassle. I did have a backpack that had our diaper bag, snacks, water and additional layers in it, but didn't mind leaving that behind. 

Under 3 is free at Disney! Take advantage as tickets are $$$. 

Download the app. I'm not sure this is exactly a tip because I think you have to download the app to access the park, but I found the app user friendly and incredibly helpful. You could pull up the park map, see current wait times for rides and you could order food ahead of time, among other things. 

Get Genie +. Genie+ is basically Disney's fast pass. For about $15-20 per person, per day you can get to the front of lines quicker and have less waiting time. You can also book things in advance, as well. It's very confusing to use, so definitely watch a YouTube video or some sort of tutorial for additional help. 


Yes, I definitely thought it was worth it. If we hadn't been vacationing in Florida would we have made the dedicated trip to Disney? No, but I truly feel like we accomplished more than enough and didn't put pressure on ourselves to see and do everything. We lowered our expectations, knew there would be a lot of people, knew there would be things we would miss and wouldn't get a chance to do but we were OK with that. I also wanted to be cognizant of Wyatt. Of course he's been out and about, but Disney was crowded, and overwhelming. Taking things at a slower pace and going back to the hotel for naps was the perfect 'speed' for a trip with a toddler. 

Overall I'd say the average age of the kids there was around five, which is probably when we'll be returning next. There certainly were a lot of children Wyatt's age (he was almost 23 months at the time), and of course older children. The rides we did were fun, and there were definitely more we could have done, even at this age, if we had wanted to.  

There you have it! Our first family trip to Disney!


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