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Old 02-11-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
Lyn-CA
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Toddler Takes on the World: * UPDATED 2/13/13 *

I think I got the title right. It can't very well be titled Toddler's Take On the World because our son's only two.

Dear Readers,

I am reliving our wondrous trip to the World. For those who prefer lots of detail, have I got a trip report for you! For those who prefer short and sweet, this ain’t your cup of tea.

Everybody neat and pretty? Now on with the show!

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Mommy Lyn - age: classified; afflicted with severe case of “Disneyitis”; trip planner extraordinaire; loves obsessing over all the little details and then relishing when the plans come to fruition seamlessly



Daddy Rob – age: classified plus 5 years; best Dad ever; great supporter and/or enabler of my “Disneyitis”



Ryan (henceforth referred to as Ry) – age 2; best son ever; super stinkin cute and knows it; our one and only recruit for “Project Disney Indoctrination”



PROLOGUE:

BBP (before becoming parents), Daddy Rob and I vacationed religiously every year, sometimes going on two trips in one year. This is how we rewarded ourselves for working hard the rest of the year. Our last vacation was to NYC in the fall of 2009. We became parents in August of 2010 and have since looked forward to resuming our vacations, which of course now includes our son.

We were planning to take Ry to Disneyland sometime in 2013 so I resumed scouring the DIS last fall. One day, someone posted that Southwest was having a 40% off sale. I priced out airfare and found a great deal to Orlando. I mentioned it to Rob and he spoke words that were music to my ears, “let’s go for it.” Like I said he’s my enabler. After picking out our travel dates, I booked our airfare. I then had exactly 109 days to plan the trip.

We chose to stay at AoA for several reasons. It was new. It had family suites. It had visual appeal. It had immersive appeal. Sometime in the planning stages, we ended up splitting our stay of 5 nights each between AoA and Wyndham Bonnet Creek just to help ease the budget. I never even heard of Bonnet Creek until I discovered it on the DIS. By the way, staying at these two resorts that are new to us helps toward my goal of staying at every WDW resort there is. Thankfully, as I mentioned above, Rob is supportive of my goal so he tolerates our having to do split stays.

As is my custom when planning out our vacations, I structured our daily itinerary based on where we wanted to eat. Dining out is a biggie for us even if it means taking up precious park time. To us, the different restaurants are attractions unto themselves. My other goal is to eat at all the restaurants in WDW so I chose a lot of new ones. Rob did specifically request that we cover two of his favorites-Brown Derby and Shula’s. Not a problem at all. We did have some repeats because we liked them and we had 12 days of dining to fill.

I based our park choices on wanting to take advantage of EMH mornings while we were at AoA and on Josh’s park recommendations on easywdw.com.

We used a rewards voucher for a weeklong rental car from National with the slight inconvenience of having to pick up and drop off only at the airport.

We bought 10 day base tickets from Undercover Tourist.

We saved 15% off Disney gift cards from Target through a friend’s employee discount.

Two new additions to the trip planning were the crib rental and the stroller rental. Ry loves his sleep and afternoon naps. He has never slept in a pack n play so I wanted him to have a comfortable and familiar sleeping area. We rented a stroller even though Ry barely uses one at home.

One good thing I found about Disney trips is how easy it is to decide what clothes to pack. At least for tops, I simply grabbed all of our Disney shirts (old and new ones for us and all new ones for Ry) and called it a day.

Despite having four previous trips to WDW under our belt, I was anxious about this one for the simple fact that it will be our first time traveling with our toddler. It will be his first ever: vacation, plane ride, hotel stay, character meet and greet, fireworks viewing, Kilimanjaro safari, Mickey bar—you get my drift. I was also anxious about covering new Fantasyland. It’s bad enough I have memory glitches of our last trip, being that it was over 5 years ago. Then, there’s Rob’s confusion over which attractions are in WDW versus DL, which he then passes on to me.

While I do enjoy obsessively planning out every detail I could think of, I did not enjoy having to deal with the switch over from the old website to the new My Disney Experience. There were some nights I was ready to throw in the towel and just wing the whole darn thing just so I didn’t have to deal with Disney’s website. I finally sent an email to guest communications which resulted in getting all our reservations sorted out, finally!

It was also during these frustrating moments when I wished I had someone like me, a clone perhaps, to do all the research, planning, booking, confirming, etc. I had to plan out our ADRs to keep in line with Ry’s regular mealtimes. I had to carefully choose which nights we were going to keep him up past his bedtime to watch fireworks and electrical parade. I had to strategize the order of attractions to minimize or eliminate wait times coz our toddler has a 2-second attention span (on a good day). Nevertheless, I had to do it if I wanted it done right.

Coming up next, travel day.
__________________
AFTER DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
AoA/Wyndham Bonnet Creek 1/13*POR/CBR/Swan/Contemporary 12/07*Disneyland Grand Californian b-day trip 9/06*Disneyland Hotel b-day trip 9/04*AKL 8/03*Disneyland 12/02*Beach Club & Magic 5/00* Disneyland b-day trip 9/99*Sports & WL 9/98
BEFORE DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
Disneyland 12/89*Disneyland 7/86

Last edited by Lyn-CA; 02-14-2013 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:38 PM   #2
danceintherain
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My son is only a few weeks older than your son, so I'm excited to read how he took it all!
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:45 AM   #3
Lyn-CA
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Toddler Takes On the World: 1/26 Travel Day

I’ve yet to meet someone who actually gets a good night sleep the night before leaving for WDW. As for me, I woke before the alarm and attended to some last minute packing. I made our breakfast and then woke up the boss. No, not Rob, Ry. We got him dressed and our good neighbor gave us a ride to the airport which is all of 10 minutes away from home. It was pretty quiet at the airport, given that it was early on a Saturday. We checked in our bags, and got through security within 5 minutes. We briefed Ry on the process through several books, including Mister Roger’s Going On An Airplane circa 1960. He was so cute in offering to help us take off our shoes. Once we got to our gate, we had to get Ry his favorite breakfast food-yogurt. Cost $43. Oh, ok, I exaggerate but it was way overpriced simply because it was at the airport. Same thing with our bottled waters. We had time to spare so Ry had time to explore around the gate area.



We took turns using the restroom then we boarded our flight. Having checked in at exactly 24 hours on the dot, our boarding passes were A60, B1, B2. We were able to get seats in row 14.




Rob volunteered to sit next to Ry for the first leg. Once we heard the engines revving up, we stuck an organic lollipop in Ry’s mouth. This was to help him in case his ears were affected by the change in pressure. I sat back and said to myself, here’s goes, Ry’s first plane ride. I crossed all my fingers and toes, hoping that he does well during the entire duration of the flight.

Rob started to take out the toys from our toddler’s first plane ride survival kit so I told him to slow it down, given the recommendation that we introduce one new toy every half hour. We had sticker books, color wonder, pipe cleaners, books, flash cards, etc. but we didn’t even break out half the stuff because he spent a good amount of time on things like going over the pictures in the safety brochure of all things.

We had to stop and pick up passengers in Houston which took a long time. We had to wait for passengers coming off a delayed flight. Ry used this waiting period to have his first poop on a plane. We were able to change him and chalk up that experience under the many joys of parenthood.

Thankfully, Ry napped for about an hour.



When I looked over and saw him asleep, I was relieved knowing that (a) he got his daily nap in, and (b) we should be touching down around the time he wakes up. This meant a good first flight experience for all of us. I give it a 7 out of 10.



We arrived later than scheduled. We took the faux monorail to the main terminal. As we were getting off the monorail, Rod saw our brand new digital camera on the floor by my backpack and I was able to pick it up and examine it. Somehow, the neck strap of the camera bag broke but the camera was intact. Major huge crisis averted.

Ry caught sight of the fountain and of course, wanted to stay and play. I thought, uh oh, if he’s this fascinated with the airport fountain, how in the world will he react when he sees the Epcot fountains? Will we get stuck and spend our entire time at the fountains?

Rob talked to him and convinced him that we should move on.



We steered him towards Mickey for a picture.



We got in line for the Magical Express bus.



We waited less than 10 minutes and then we were off to Art of Animation which was the first stop.

Rob stayed behind to collect our carryons and car seat while Ry and I headed to the lobby to check in. Rob joined us shortly and watched Ry while I finished checking in.



I had my notes with all my questions with me and ticked them off one by one. The CM showed me that our package of mostly diapers, wipes, and snacks had arrived. I asked him to please send it up with the rest of our luggage from DME.

We headed to our suite in Building 5. I had requested a quiet location away from the pool and elevators and we ended up with an end unit right by the stairs.



It was quiet for the most part except we still heard noises out in the hallway every night.

We checked out our suite and took pictures. I do this not just at Disney but wherever we travel. Rob knows the drill and makes sure to stash our stuff so they don’t show up in the pictures.

Here’s our suite and one of the towel animals that greeted us.









Next up on the agenda, dinner, and it’s was perfect timing too because it was Ry’s dinner time (Pacific Standard Time). We headed down to Landscape of Flavors. On the way there, it finally hit me that we were back in Disneyworld so I literally leaped for joy and threw both arms up in the air, saying “we’re at Disneyworld!” Rob told Ry to imitate me and he did. He threw his arms up in the air and repeated, “we’re at Disneywold.” This became our signature move whenever we came and went from our room. One time, Rob reminded Ry to put his arms up and do our chant but Ry was holding on to something in one hand so he had to tell his daddy, “I can only do one arm Daddy.” Too cute.

At the food court, I already knew I was going to order the surf and surf burger. I had hoped Rob would be interested in something else so I get to eat two different things but he chose the same thing. This one is his.



This one is mine. I had started eating while Rob got us our drinks.




Ry chose the kids burger which surprised us both as he usually orders off the ‘cheese’ menu--grilled cheese, cheese pizza, or mac & cheese.



For dessert, we got these babies. They’re the babycakes cupcake assortment which looked similar to the Disney mini cupcake pack. I had to look on the bottom to differentiate between the two.



We both enjoyed the surf and surf burgers but Ry barely ate his. I think he was still trying to sort out this whole vacationing thing in his 2 year old brain.



After dinner, we walked around the adjacent gift shop then I went in the line for the concierge. My turn came and I asked the CM to please put our Undercover Tourist tickets on our Keys to the World cards. At first, he mentioned that he could do no such thing if the tickets were complimentary. Huh? I said, oh no, they’re paid for alright. He crossed out our tickets and issued us new keys loaded with park passes. Oh yeah, RFID turnstiles, here we come.

Ry and I hung out by the waiting area and waited for Duffy the Bear good night video while Rob retrieved our rental crib and stroller from bell services. The three of us escorted the bellman with our loaded luggage cart up to the suite.

First order of business, break out the Clorox wipes and clean, starting with the tub so Ry can take his nightly bath. Rob got Ry ready for bed while I unpacked all our stuff as best I could. We arranged to have Ry sleep in the rented crib in the master bedroom while we slept on the Murphy bed since we wanted to be able to access the living room and kitchenette after Ry went sleep.

It’s funny too because we had watched youtube videos of the Finding Nemo suites and Ry saw the people pulling down the Murphy bed. At the time he said, “I’m gonna sleep there.” So, when we first got to the room, Ry was looking at the dining area and trying to figure out where the bed was that he had seen in the videos. Of course, we weren’t going to let him sleep there as he’s only ever slept in a crib so we never did show him the Murphy bed when it was down.

Rob put Ry to bed but when Rob closed the door behind him, Ry started to cry and understandably so. It was his first night in an entirely new environment. We did bring his crib toys, sheets, blankets, fan, and night light to provide some familiarity. Side note: BBP (before becoming parents), we packed efficiently and lightly. We usually had a carryon and backpack each. This time, we had a whole slew of stuff, 90% of which was for Ry. Go figure!

Rob went in and consoled him before saying good night again. Ry babbled awhile and the last thing I heard him say before he nodded off was “we’re at Disneyworld.” I silently repeated to myself, yes, my baby, we are at Disneyworld and a huge smile spread across from my one ear to the other.

I continued unpacking and then our bags from DME arrived. I just remembered that we had ordered 3 gallons of drinking water with our stroller rental so I asked the CM to please retrieve those as well. We prepped our bags for the park, practiced opening and folding the rented stroller (we struggled with not knowing where the latch was to open it), and packed our snacks and drinks.

I ended up sending Rob down to the gift shop to get me a contact lens case because the one I packed was in the master bedroom where Ry was fast asleep. He begrudgingly bought one for me and then we were both able to get ready for bed. We did had trouble falling asleep since our bodies were still on West Coast time but we did eventually drift off to sleep.

__________________
AFTER DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
AoA/Wyndham Bonnet Creek 1/13*POR/CBR/Swan/Contemporary 12/07*Disneyland Grand Californian b-day trip 9/06*Disneyland Hotel b-day trip 9/04*AKL 8/03*Disneyland 12/02*Beach Club & Magic 5/00* Disneyland b-day trip 9/99*Sports & WL 9/98
BEFORE DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
Disneyland 12/89*Disneyland 7/86
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:03 AM   #4
Lyn-CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danceintherain View Post
My son is only a few weeks older than your son, so I'm excited to read how he took it all!
Hi and welcome! Glad to have you as a reader.

I'm so proud I was able to complete another day and post it. I have to wait until Ry's nap or bed time to work on it, along with doing everything else. We've only been back a week though so not too bad.

Overall, I'd say Ry was a super trooper and took everything in stride. Thankfully, I can count on one hand only his major meltdowns.
__________________
AFTER DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
AoA/Wyndham Bonnet Creek 1/13*POR/CBR/Swan/Contemporary 12/07*Disneyland Grand Californian b-day trip 9/06*Disneyland Hotel b-day trip 9/04*AKL 8/03*Disneyland 12/02*Beach Club & Magic 5/00* Disneyland b-day trip 9/99*Sports & WL 9/98
BEFORE DISCOVERING TRUE DISNEY MAGIC:
Disneyland 12/89*Disneyland 7/86
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:43 AM   #5
happybelle
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I am in. I love lots of detail.
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