Here’s just a random round-up of some final thoughts on our week at Disney:
*The Big Sis’ favorite ride, by far, was It’s a Small World. And it was The Little Sis’ favorite ride, as well, come to think of it. I think that most of all, The Big Sis enjoyed meeting the characters, which was actually a surprise to me, as I figured she would NOT get near the ones in full, head-covering costumes. I wouldn’t say she was talkative with the characters, but she answered their questions and didn’t hesitate to go up to them, even The Beast, whose costume was huge and sort of scary for a five-year-old. Every time she’d run back to us after her picture was taken, she’d proclaim excitedly, “And I wasn’t even shy!” I know, baby, you did a great job! 🙂
*We made good use of the baby centers at nearly all the parks (not Hollywood Studios except for a quick diaper change), and I’m glad we did, as it gave me a good chance to nurse in semi-privacy and a chance to sort of decompress for a bit in my time away from the Disney magic/craziness. They also have a separate room for older siblings with a TV and books, and The Big Sis hung out there sometimes on our feeding breaks. (Other times I just went there alone while The Husband waited in line for a ride or character with The Big Sis.)
*We did just a few hours each at Animal Kingdom and Epcot, and I think next time I’d like to spend a little more time there so we can explore. But I’m glad we did just partial days on this trip since the other days were pretty packed and exhausting, but now we know better what to expect at those other parks. I can’t necessarily say I’d do Hollywood Studios again unless either girl feels like they need to see one of the shows there (The Big Sis really did enjoy those this time, so it wasn’t a waste of time or anything).
*I can definitely see the huge benefit of staying on-site, especially one of the monorail hotels, but we chose to stay off-site and really didn’t have any issues with it. Considering how little we were actually in the room, it was hard to stomach a much higher nightly cost, and our trip to the hotel each night really wasn’t that bad. The Magic Kingdom monorail had quite a line the two nights we were there, but the girls were content (or asleep) and so it was a non-issue to have to wait. Leaving the other three parks was a breeze and we were back at the hotel within probably 10 minutes. It would be a nice treat to stay on-site, but I have no problems with staying off-site again, as we were able to take the money we saved and put it toward other things.
*We rented a double stroller while down there, the CityMini double, and oh MY did I love that thing (well, as strollers go…I’m still not a fan of strollers in general). It wasn’t nearly as bulky as many double strollers I’ve seen, it turned on a dime, and I could steer it easily with one hand if needed. Storage space underneath wasn’t much, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I loved how far down the sunshade came, and I love that the seats reclined (easier for on-the-go diaper changes). We still won’t buy a double stroller, but if I did, that’s totally the one I would’ve gotten.
*Disney World with a baby was both easier and harder with a baby. The Little Sis is very portable and very agreeable to most things, and she’s so happy that she made friends everywhere she went. I did find a nook and plop down to nurse here and there, but for the most part I tried to use the Baby Care Centers, and sometimes that was a bit of a hike from where we were in the park. Also, The Little Sis had JUST learned to crawl right before leaving, so she didn’t have that much of a chance to practice since she was either held or in the Ergo most of the time. It was nice, though, because she could do nearly all of the rides and attractions with us (or we could take advantage of the baby swap when that wasn’t the case), and having to go at a pace that’s good for a baby forced us to slow down and not overdo it like we might have otherwise.
*I loved Disney’s PhotoPass — we have a ton of great pics of both The Big Sis with characters and of our family that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Love it!
*I am SO glad The Big Sis and I did the afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. It was a special time together that I’ll always remember. I wish I could’ve joined The Husband and The Big Sis for lunch at Cinderella’s castle, but I’m thrilled that the had their own bonding time during the trip, so I think it all worked out very well!
*In order to combat the inevitable “I wanna buy that! And that! And that!” syndrome at Disney World, we instituted the following system for spending money for The Big Sis. We gave her a spending limit for the entire week of $50. I went into her play money stash and got out 50 one-dollar bills so she could visually see how much money that was. If she was going to buy something, she would have to spend her money, giving me however much it took to cover the item. We would help her with the decision, but for the most part, it was up to her what she wanted to buy, as long as she had the money. (We did steer her away from the misting fans that we really didn’t want her to have for a variety of reasons.) She chose: some sour powder candy, a pink light-up princess wand, and a princess nightgown. The nightgown is funny because she’s a size 5 or 6 and she chose to buy a size 10 — so she can wear it for a LOOOOONG time, she says. It swallows her now (though she still wears it), but I have to admit that I like her forward thinking on the matter. She’ll certainly get her money’s worth out of that nightgown!
*I’m not sure how much The Big Sis bought into the whole “magic” of Disney. During one of the parades (those were probably my favorite thing!), Minnie Mouse was “talking” but it was just her voice on a loudspeaker. The Big Sis asked why Minnie’s mouth wasn’t actually moving if she was talking. But my favorite story involves the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. At the beginning, Tinkerbell “flies” on a zipline from a castle window to the ground to start the show — a really cool effect. The Big Sis said to me, “I know it looks like she’s flying, but she’s really on a wire. I can see it.” We tried to convince her that the wire was just telling Tinkerbell where to fly since you know how easily distracted she is. I don’t think she bought it, but we had to at least try.
Still, though it perhaps wasn’t a “magical” trip, I can say without a doubt that she had the time of her life and she would go back in a heartbeat. I can say without a doubt that we will not be going back anytime SOON (SO expensive!), but we had a great time and we’ll go again when The Little Sis is older and can enjoy it more fully.