It was one of most anticipated vacations ever. I had spent over 8 months researching and planning our Disney World vacaction down to last detail. My 3-year old daughter had already given up napping, was potty trained, extremely adventurous, and was used to spending occassional night away from home. All we needed was good weather and we were going to have a great time exploring Disney parks together…not!
She spent first 3 days of trip clinging to my leg and whining non-stop. She was afraid of many of tame attractions. And what did she want to do more than anything? Swim. We had flown 1,000 miles to swim!
After speaking to a lot of other parents, my story’s not unusual. So, what’s moral here? Well, it’s not “don’t take your toddler to Disney World.” Because despite a rocky start, we had a great time. And you can too, with a few helpful strageies:
Leave your expectations at home. Every child is going to react differently to a Disney World vacation. If your child has not traveled much, being away from their familiar surroundings is completely overwhelming, even in a child-friendly place like Disney World. Your hope of spending long days in parks hitting all rides won’t work with a child who is tired, hot, and out of sorts. Having a “go with flow” attitude will serve everyone in your group much better.
Move at a more leisurely pace. Disney World is one of those vacations where you can come home feeling more tired than when you left. You’re up early to go parks, walking all day, rushing to get to dinner reservations on time… This type of pace is more than most toddlers who are away from home can bear. Plan a morning or two to sleep in. And don’t try to see everything—choose top five attractions you’d like to see at each park and see them first. Anything else you get to experience in addition is gravy.