Anna June, suffering from exhaustion, really made this morning tough for us.
As I reported yesterday, I have lots to say about our big Florida vacation. I'll try to break it down into a series so there's not too much to read at once.
For a little background on our trip, we were excited to go to the Happiest Place on Earth. But we waited until AJ was six because of a few critical things:
- No strollers
- No diapers
- No naps
- Tall enough to ride all the rides
- Old enough to ride scary rides
- Young enough to ride tamer rides
- Literacy, general - it's helpful to be able to read signs and follow directions
- Literacy, Disney - we wanted her to see some of the feature films and get to know some characters first
When I was a kid, I took 2 trips to Disney. First, I went to Epcot (then called EPCOT Center) with my Grandma Hazel, Granddaddy Elwyn, Uncle Scott and Aunt Heidi. We went down to Jacksonville to visit Heidi in her (then) new surroundings and I was very lucky I got to go - none of the other grandchildren did. I was about ten years old. I loved everything about that trip, especially seeing the "world" and spending time with my grandparents. We did it as a day trip from Aunt Heidi's apartment or condo (they are the same thing to a ten-year-old).
My second trip was also a day trip from a relative's house. We went to visit Dad's cousin Deborah in Cocoa Beach, FL where she worked for NASA. We went to Magic Kingdom as a family: Mom, Dad, Drew, Patrick, Rusty, and me. Rusty remembers being too short to ride the good rides.
Of course, it has been more than two decades since both of those trips. The whole place has grown by leaps and bounds since then, adding theme parks and hotels. I remembered It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear Jamboree, but I didn't recall anything else - a lot has changed!
I interviewed my friends who had recently gone to get tips and tricks. I pinned a bunch of articles about the Disney Experience. I didn't do nearly as much as Ben did - he's an excellent researcher and invested a lot into making our trip the best possible. We decided to stay for three days - I have heard that more than that is just too exhausting. I wanted 2 days at Magic Kingdom and 1 at Epcot. I was hoping AJ would love the 2 parks as much as I did on my first visit.
Neither Ben nor I had ever been to a theme park for more than one day at a time. It's grueling. I had not trained for this scenario.
We decided on a "value" resort, as our goal was to spend as much time as possible in the parks and not very much time at the hotel - just to sleep. We chose Pop Century, which features pop culture icons throughout the property from the decades of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. It was a fun choice.
The dates we selected, although not ideal, came with an included "quick service" dining plan. We each got 2 meals and 1 snack per day on our Magic Bands, something they didn't have technology for when I was a true first time visitor.
This is part of what went into the planning. This kind of picture is what we were hoping for.
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