Disney World – It’s Not For Everyone….

But it’s definitely for us 🙂

"I think I like it here!"

It’s a place where you have to put aside your feelings about commercialism, over-indulging and sheer excessive-ness for a week and just have fun.  This should be Disney World’s motto.  Is there anywhere else in the world that provides dessert after every meal?  How many places offer you pop for breakfast?  Or all-you-can-eat meals at any time of day?  Where else can you indulge your appetite for adventure, your appetite for incredible food, and your appetite for re-living your childhood fantasies…all in one day, at the same place??

"We could really get used to this, you know!"

There is no where else on earth like Disney World.  Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that clearly, these people are business geniuses.  It is a dream land, and you can easily get lost in their dark vortex of materialism.  You tell yourself you’re not going to let if affect you, but before you know it, you’re coming home with Mickey mugs, Mickey-shaped pasta, tongs in the shape of Mickey hands, and….gasp… a Mickey Mouse t-shirt that should never see the light of day here in the real world.  Think it can’t happen to you?  Well, it can.  It happens to good people of the world every day.  Let me tell you, I’ve been there about eight times now, and every single time I get home and unpack my suitcase, I look at the items I’ve purchased and wonder what the h*ll I was thinking.  Seriously.  This is the reason I love this place!

"I love it too!!"

This is the first time we’ve traveled to Disney with both kids, and we had a blast.  It’s not easy though, and it requires a LOT of advance planning.  This is hard for me because I’m generally not a good trip planner, I’m more of the “just show up and see what happens” kind of girl.  I’m not going to give you a bunch of travel tips here, but I will give you one important piece of advice – follow your kids’ lead.  Sound easy?  Not really.  When you have multiple people going in multiple directions, please… err on the side of your littles.  You’re there for them, right?!  Avoid meltdowns at all cost.  Although you’ll be in good company if a meltdown is inevitable.  No one will even glance your way.  They give you the side-eye while being grateful it’s you and not them.  Kind of like Wal-Mart.

Oh, one more bit of advice.  Plan your meals ahead of time.  You really can’t just show up at a cool restaurant and expect to actually eat there – you have to make reservations.  Unless of course you like eating french fries every day for dinner (which my kids would be totally fine with), because that’s all you’re going to find.

So where did we stay?  What did we eat?  What did we do?

This time, we stayed at the Old Key West Resort.  In the past, we’ve stayed at Caribbean Beach, The All-Star Resorts, a “Friends-of-Disney” resort, and completely off-site.  We chose Old Key West this because it was one of the only resorts that offered apartment-style rooms that suited the seven of us who were staying together (2 bed, 2 bath, kitchen, balcony etc…)  It was a great choice for young kids, and it’s going to be REALLY hard going back to a regular hotel room after that.  It was beyond fabulous.

We all get really excited about food, and there are some amazing restaurants at Disney.  We always try to book some great restaurants in advance, keeping in mind that our kids do better at buffets and “family-style” dining.  The last couple of times, we’ve gone with the Disney Dining Plan, which we totally love (we’re all about making things as easy as possible!)  We’ve had the pleasure of trying Moroccan, North African, Polynesian, German, Italian, Mexican and good old North American food at Disney.  The quality of the food is consistently awesome and the service is second to none – truly.  If you want some recommendations, fire me an email, I love talking food 🙂  For the record though, our favorite so far is the California Grill.

And what did we do this time?  Well, we did as much as we could without imploding.  We visited all the parks, minus the water parks.  Ken and Griff got to go to Legoland (a.k.a., the Mothership), and I got to go shopping.  I got the most incredible faux snake skin loafers…they are beyond fabulous!

And then it was time to come home – boo!  And even better, it was snowing in Halifax when we got off the plane – how gross is that?

It’s always nice to come home, sleep in your own bed and all that crap… but we’re already planning our next trip to Disney.  It’s the only place in the world where the tackier you dress, the cooler you are.  The best part about it though, is watching it through your children’s eyes.  It is truly magical to them when they see their favorite characters from TV or when they go on that “super big” ride that they thought they would be too scared to go on.  And to the haters who say, “your kids are too young, they’ll never remember it, what a waste of money!”  Sure, they may not remember it, but you will, and that counts for a lot.

Meeting Mickey with cousin, Caelan. Look at those eyes 🙂

Traveling with your children is a gift to both of you.  The time you spend together is priceless and it’s beyond anything they can learn from TV or in a book.  Instilling a love of travel and experiences outside where we live is a gift I vow to give our children.

So what are you waiting for?  Don’t wait until your kids are a certain age to take them Disney World, do it now, and then do it again in the future.  You won’t be disappointed – trust me.  This is coming from an anti-materialistic, simple and frugal Mama.  This is the stuff I live for 🙂

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