I went on my first Disney Adventure during the Summer after my 4th grade year. My parents surprised me and my two younger sisters a few weeks before (it was totally not on our radar), and we spent the remaining time before the trip SO COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED OFF-THE-WALL EXCITED. That first trip was a dream - everything a kid could imagine from visiting Walt Disney World and more.
We flew from Philly to Florida (on a 6:30am flight - although we had NO problem jumping out of bed several hours earlier!) on my first ever plane ride. I remember arriving at the Orlando airport and couldn't get over that there were actual real palm trees outside the windows! We had the privilege of staying at the Grand Floridian Hotel inside the park, one of the few locations actually on the monorail. We dropped off our bags (after ogling at the amazing concierge lobby inside the GF!) and immediately hit the park. We hopped from land to land, riding every ride imaginable. My dad insisted we go on Space Mountain, which was my first time on a roller coaster.
This may have been poorly-considered, as it was immediately after dinner.
You can imagine the result.
That night, after the skies darkened and the park illuminated under various lights, we staked out a spot to watch the light parade. It felt like an eternity, but eventually the buzzing crowd quieted and music took over the speakers. And right down Main Street came the most amazing, electrical, dazzling parade I'd ever seen. I distinctly remember being so overcome with emotion, even as a ten-year old, I cried.
We spent the rest of that week visiting Epcot, M&M Studios, paddle boating around the Seven Seas Lagoon, enjoying our magnificent hotel, getting autographs from our favorite Disney characters, and making memories that would last a life time. It was a week of firsts: first plane ride, first roller coaster, first trip to Disney. And it was my first experience getting in touch with my Disney Side. It's an experience that changes you for ever!
Once we had kids, Hubby and I knew that we would make the pilgrimage to Walt Disney World. Probably several times. Because we both knew the amazement, wonder and joy of our Disney Side, and we couldn't let our girls miss out on such an awesome experience. To be honest, I also know it will bring me joy as I watch my girls experience Disney for the first time. I can't wait to live through it with them vicariously!
Until recently, a trip to Disney hasn't been in the cards. Finances and life circumstances have kept us from even thinking about planning. I've watched my friends take their trips, and it only made me more decided that we would some day make it possible for our girls. We've finally come to a place in life that we can begin planning (we hope to go in the next year or two!) - and it's a simultaneously exciting and terrifying prospect.
Luckily, I had the chance to host a #DisneyKids playdate, where I got together with a few of my favorite gal pals and their kids. We were provided fun snacks, decorations, games and more for the kids. Which, clearly, they loved!
As the kids played, I sat around with my friends and chatted all things Disney, as most of them have taken the trip several times. We talked about going economically versus splurging, transportation, lodging, and what each park had to offer. Disney provided one of the best resources: their Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD. Suffice it to say, we watched and took copious notes!
I was happy to be able to give each kid a small goodie bag and the moms left with a fun parting gift - Disney luggage tags! We're so ready for our next Disney trip!
I Need Your Recommendations!As we'll be planning our trip in the near future (even though it may be 1-2 years away, we apparently need to start planning and booking NOW), I'd LOVE to hear about YOUR experiences and recommendations! Where did you stay? How did you get the most bang for your buck? What are the MUST-SEE experiences and attractions?
Leave a comment - I will be bookmarking this as one of my planning resources!
Disclosure: I have received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate from Disney Social Media Moms. I have not been compensated for this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.