So this is a trip report but not exactly a trip report. My wife and I took my turning 2 year old son to WDW for our first family trip with our DVC membership. We drove down from NJ to Florida on Friday the 13th and arrived Saturday afternoon after stopping in Florence, SC for the night.
We purchased our DVC membership last year during the time they were giving out bonus points so we used our bonus points at Saratoga Springs since Animal Kingdom Lodge isn't open yet for us. Let me tell you we were lucky to get a room that faced Downtown Disney right on the water.
My wife and I were a bit worried how the trip would go with our son being as young as he is and set very low expectations for ourselves. What happened was actually a wonderful vacation and a great introduction to Disney for our son and DVC for us.
We purchased a 6 day parkhopper for the two of us giving us the option of going to a park every day if we decided to be adventureous.(the 5 day ticket was $20 less)
Sunday we decided to make Magic Kingdom his first official park. Being that this was his first visit we chose to use Photopass to record our "Official Family Photo". While this is a good idea I also recommend asking them to take a picture with your camera as well.
It was actually more of a challenge to us than expected, we purchased a small stroller to bring that was light and easy to fold, but getting on and off the bus was more cumbersome than I imagined. Then there was the fact that my son saw everyone else walking and wanted to do the same thing as well even though its still not to sure on his feet. His tolerance level also was a bit surprising. I expected him to be able to last about 4-5 hours before needing a break but he seemed to hit his threshold after about 2-3 hours.
This is where I started thinking about how all those other parents must of felt when I was here before the "kid." Our next decision was actually one of the best and I understand that its not always an option, however. If you have a car or can get one and are staying on property and you have little kids it might be good for you to drive. We drove to parks after the second day and found it much easier to come and go when we wanted, especially with a tired toddler.
We left the park about 3 hours after we entered, not riding one ride, but happy because we were on vacation and my son did well. That night we walked to Downtown Disney from our room and started a new tradition of finishing the walk with a Wetzel Pretzel.
This is where I want to break from the trip report thing. If I told you what we did the rest of the trip it would be boring, but why I wanted to write this was to convey how wonderful it is to slow down at the parks. Our routine for the rest of the trip was to wake up and shower to leave about 9-10 to a park and come home about 1 for a nap (both us and our son). We would then eat and pack up to go to another park around 4-5 and come home again about 7-8 at night and then walk over to DTD for our Wetzel Pretzel. There were variations since the Spectromagic parade and all of its lights were a hit we caught it with friends a second night. We celebrated his second birthday with dinner at Chef Mickey's and with family around we met for lunch and dinner one night.
What surprised me the most about the trip is that I didn't feel bad about not going on Space Mountain, or Everest, or even Haunted Mansion. I felt good about what we did do: the parades, character dining, Finding Nemo ride , Turtle Talk and Monster's Inc. I know some people might think that it was a waste of money, but it was surprisingly enjoyable to just walk around and people watch.
I don't know what future trips will be like with my son, we plan to go back probably in 2011, but I hope that we can keep some of the things that we started this trip going. The most important thing I learned this time, after 5-6 times being at WDW before is to relax and enjoy myself.
Oh and that Wetzel Pretzels are a good way to cap off any night.