Disney with a Toddler Part 1

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OK, so before I begin a recap of what we did day-to-day, I have a few general trips:

1.  If traveling with family outside of your immediate (aka grandparents) bring/rent another car if you can. Or for a better bargain, make use of your hotel shuttle PLUS a car so that people can be free to do what they need to do.  Confession:  I am a nap nutso.  It isn’t even funny.  This tip was helpful for me.

2.  You don’t NEED to stay in Disney. Yes, it is definitely nice, but it is not the end all be all.  I have stayed at the Swan (as in the Swan and Dolphin) and it was lovely PLUS nearly on the park grounds of Epcot.  IT is NOT a Disney resort, rather a Westin and a Sheraton.  Or, stay in a nearby hotel or timeshare.  That is the route we took.  My parents had bought one YEARS ago and had some weeks banked so we used two weeks to get two two-bedroom condos.  Score.  We stayed at WestGate Resorts.

3.  Park Hopper passes are kind of ambitious with a young child, so I would recommend the single-day tickets based on both that fact and the price difference.  I mean, if you think about it, even if you plan on leaving for naptime and coming back, you will probably double back to the same park you visited in the am as you won’t get that much done each stretch.

4.  What age is best for children?  I would honestly say that it just depends on the parents and the child.  Disney tickets are free for children under three so that is definitely something to consider and was for us (I originally thought it was only free for those under 2).  BUT I will say that MANY people told us, “why would you take him so young to Disney, he will never remember?!”  Guess what, WE WILL.  And it was SO worth it.

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I mean seriously, look at this face! NOTHING will beat this memory!

5. I would recommend not going to the park too many days in a row.  For us, we were there for four days. IT worked best for us to do things not in the park day one, in the park day two, not in the park day 3 and then in the park day 4.  With that, here is a daily recap!

DAY #1:  No parks

We were exhausted from traveling.  So we hung around the condo in the am, walked around the condo grounds a bit (they have a ton of land), had breakfast, and before we knew it, nap time!  After naptime, we went out to the pool to sit for a bit and had a snack.

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We did a lot of much needed “hanging out” as we had travelled from my grandmother’s the day before.  I also took Z to a little Disney movie in the theater at our resort.  He did so well but I don’t think he is quite ready for a full-lentgh film.  He lasted almost an hour through Mulan.

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Then, some serious bath time (with a dog) happened. LOL.

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DAY # 2: Hollywood Studios

The getting into the park thing” took a LOT longer than expected.  Not the driving., That was fast.  So was the tram.

On the tram.

On the tram.

But we were waiting for my cousin who worked at Disney and was joining us while debating what tickets to get.  Bad idea.  Decide what you want BEFORE you get there.  And stick to it.

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Zachy entertained himself while waiting. Don’t you love that stroller? 20 bucks on Amazon!

Anyway once we got in, we actually had a great time and got a lot done.  We first went to the Honey I Shrunk the Audience playground.  Zach played and played and played!  I don’t have any pictures.  Just trust me.  Then we headed over the the Muppet 3-D movie.  My mom and dad stayed with him while husb, my sister and I went on Rock N Roller Coaster via Fast pass.  IT was awesomeeeee!  We walked around a bit and then decided we should take Z back to the condo to nap.  After nap time and a snack, we headed right back to Hollywood studios (as we had a fast pass for Tower of Terror…whatevs don’s judge, Z kept telling us to go on ;)).  We walked around for a bit and then it started raining so we hung out in a store.  All of the sudden it was time for our dinner reservations! We ate that night at the Sci-Fi Diner.  Everyone slept well that night 😉

Here are some more rides I would recommend for your little one in Hollywood studios:

-The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

-Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

-Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

-Disney Junior- Live on Stage!

-Voyage of the Little Mermaid

FYI:  The park is only open until 7pm during the off season (right now).  OK, Part 2 coming soon!

Woppy-Wop: Your Toddler Eating Guide to Disney

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My friends, meet the woppy-wop.photo-10

Also known as a lollipop, Zach was introduced to these sugary gems in Disney and instantly fell in love.  IN fact it inspired me to do a post on our eats in Disney.  So here is the thing:  my son, like myself, is a slave to routine, especially when it comes to eating.  Read: I have eaten cereal for breakfast and a pb and j sandwich for lunch for the past year at least.  Zach has some favorites and he rarely veers from these when dining 🙂  His current favorites are: FRUIT (blueberries, strawberries, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapple), Grilled Cheese, Mac N Cheese (he calls it bunny mah-oney because the Annie’s mac n cheese I make him was bunny shaped the first time), pb and jelly on toast, waffle with nutella, eggs (scrambled, deviled or salad; loves mayo), Chicken nuggets and a few others.  Holy run-on sentence.

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Anyway it was MORE than easy to find many of these things in Disney.  And being so Disney-like, each restaurant had a kid’s menu that came with crayons (score) and some healthy options too.

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With that being said, I brought a LOT of his own food to supplement throughout the day, to cut down cost and because well, my kid is growing and loves to snack.  When we would go out each time, I would replenish my purse with a pouch, a container of pretzels or goldfish, a juice box (I don’t love giving him juice but I wanted to keep him hydrated), water bottle, box of raisins and cereal bar.  Some of these items I brought from home and some I purchased at a grocery store down in FL.  When we first arrived we went to the grocery store for essentials for breakfast and lunch which we mostly tended to eat at home.  Here are some places that I HIGHLY recommend you bring your tot for a meal:

1.  Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast and Buffet.

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Coloring on the made-to-color-on tablecloth

This was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE thing we did in Disney, hands down.  I cried when we left the restaurant and thanked the manager 20 times.  The wait staff was insanely awesome and the food was AMAZING.  So many choices for toddlers, including scrambled eggs, cereal, toast, and the best part: MICKEY SHAPED WAFFLES (I might’ve had ten one of them.  The characters were SOOOO friendly and phenominal with the kids.  Here are some pics of Zach meeting the three characters that were present:

IMG_7729High fives tens with goofy.
IMG_7700This Donald was incredible; he followed Zachy to the wall when he decided to sit down (?) and kidded/interacted with him sitting against the wall.  SO cute.

IMG_7687Hugs from Donald.

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Kisses on the nose from Minnie.  I know.  I die.

So the great thing about this place too is that is is outside of the park, located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort (which is super adorable btw.), close to the Boardwalk (also adorable).  But make reservations ahead of time; like a lot of ahead of time.  So convenient, so lovely, best time.

Zach’s choice:  blueberries, strawberries, scrambled eggs with ketchup (mhm) and a mickey shaped waffle with syrup (YUM), juice

OK, so moving on…

2.  Sci-Fi Diner- This restaurant is inside the Hollywood studios, previously known as MGM studios.  Again, you should make a reservation ahead of time.  Here is a description from the website with a picture too.  It was hard to get pictures in there; so dark.

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Anyway I was nervous that it would freak Zach out; the restaurant is SO cool; but so dark, with stars in the sky and under a big dome.  You sit and eat in a car that is a table!!  So it is like you are at a drive in movie, and the waiters are serving you “at your car.”  Speaking of the wait staff, I believe they used to roller skate?  Feel free to chime in.  Anyway, then, there are MOVIES (old ones like black and white and primitive animation).  So here is where I got concerned; these movie clips could be kinda scary (ex: “the ten foot woman” or something).  So, at first Zach was a little confused (“out, out, mama out?”)  but then once he settled in (and got his ketchup french fries drowned with ketchup), he liked it (see about picture). Oh, and we made reservations for 530 and here easily home for bath time at 730.  I highly recommend.  The turkey sandwich is bomb.com.

Zach’s choice: mac n cheese (amazing, btw) with french fries (I know, mom of the year here.) and ketchup (yup, that happened a lot), juice

3.  Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Tomorrow Land) in the Magic Kingdom.  This restaurant was a quick and easy cafeteria-style lunch spot with great choices for kids.  It was enormous, tons of seating but it was crowded and my one gripe about this place wa sthe that tables were only for three; and bolted to the floor.  We all had to separate big time (like so big time that I have NO idea where the others were).

Zach’s choice: an Uncrustable (he wasn’t a fan, I was), french fries and ketchup, grapes, juice

4.  Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios

Now, understand that I have not personally gone there since I was in high school I believe, so my opinions are based on what I remember because my family went without us due to Zachy nap time (oh, I’ll address naps later).  The whole ambience is very 60s, like you are eating in your mom’s kitchen…only 55 years ago.  They serve comfort food and the waitresses yell at you to “eat your food” and the like while you are dining.  Charming, I know.  As I describe it, yes, I feel it seems strange but it is so kitchy and adorable!  I would definitely recommend you take your toddler to this lively cute spot.

Zach’s choice:  Didn’t go (snooze) but would get a milkshake.  Trust my mom.  

5.  Eat some meals either at home or places outside the Disney parks.  We went to the supermarket the day we got there and got essentials for breakfast and lunches: bread, pb&j, snacks, cereal, milk, coffee, creamer, ice cream (duh), fruit, water and soda.

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Snack of Strawberries Poolside

This saved a ton of money and time.  So, for all meals (and I’m going to do a full recap of our days; I’m sure you cant wait lol) you don’t have to or even want to eat at Disney.  Try the good old Waffle House, a nearby diner or deli.

Picture for show, but his was at my Grandma's clubhouse

Picture for show, but his was at my Grandma’s clubhouse

Zach’s choice: pizza

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AAAANYWAY, I hope that was helpful!  Stay tuned for more Disney-related posts, including a day-by-day breakdown of activities.