Last month, my whole family packed up and headed to Disney World.
I always thought I had a fairly small family until we all rolled into the Art of Animation Resort’s lobby, pulling suitcases and kids behind us. It was the three of us plus my parents, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my brother, his wife and his three girls.
That’s 10 adults and 4 kids, in case you lost count. It’s a small family but a big group, you know?
We were there in honor of my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, which is so awesome and yet slightly unfair considering they were the ones funding most of the trip. (Hey, thanks and Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!)
Anyway, the trip. Was all kinds of amazing. Thus, I feel it my duty to offer you my very best advice on navigating such a trip with a young one/multiple young ones.
How to make the Magic Kingdom extra magical with littles
1. Stay someplace awesome. We stayed in the Nemo wing of the Art of Animation Resort, which was great because it was located front and center of the resort, putting it closest in proximity to the lobby, the gift shop, the cafeteria and the resort’s largest pool (i.e., the least amount of walking at the end of the day).
Also? Our whole room looked like this:
One cannot possibly dwell on the fact that one’s feet feel like they are about to fall off when one is sitting in a room room where the lights look like bubbles and the headboards are painted with fish. It’s psychologically impossible.
2. Get the cheesy group T-shirts. If you’re not sure how 10 independent, opinionated adults are going to mesh for days on end, just buy them all matching family T-shirts. The camaraderie we felt wearing shirts that proclaimed our family was “celebrating 35 magical years” – and the shouts of congratulations we got along the way – made us grin and pose for several (hundred) photos.
3. Decide what is really important to you. Let the rest go.
What was important for us was that Ryan had fun and made a couple of lasting memories.
Also? Mickey ice cream bars = very important.
And, of course, an epic group picture of the kids is a goal of any outing. We got a few good ones.
4. Don’t push it. We recognized that Ryan is a mere three-and-a-half years old. He’s not built to walk the Magic Kingdom/Epcot all day long for four straight days. We paced ourselves, we did half days at the park whenever possible and we got back to the hotel (see also: #1 Stay Someplace Awesome) with plenty of time left for this sort of stuff:
The whole trip was … well, magical. Naturally.