Our week-long stay at Disney World (Trevor’s very first time at Disney!) was like most journeys: filled with highs and lows, peaks and valleys, light and dark times.
There were definitely some really sour moments.
But mostly really sweet, sweet memories.
How It All Started
On the day of our trip, we woke to one of those perfect New England October days – cool, crisp, a beautiful clear blue sky. It felt like a good omen.
We made it through the airport as easily as is possible while juggling a stroller, car seat, and portable crib.
And we were lucky and got through airport security without any lines or hold-ups.
With the help of Sesame Street episodes on our Kindle (plus a couple of new toy cars for the plane), Trevor was calm, quiet and well-behaved for the three-hour flight. (Miracle!)
Then things turned on us.
We touched down in Orlando and stepped out into the middle of ominous gray clouds and drizzling rain.
The air was heavy.
I guess the best word to describe the heat and humidity was oppressive.
That weather – cloudy, rain off and on, sometimes drizzling and sometimes pouring, and 80-90% oppressive humidity – remained with us for the full week.
We did get one amazing pay-off from all the rain.
A vivid double rainbow that arched right over the Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
It was tough to capture, I only happened to have my cell phone at the time, but this was the best shot I got.
What Disney With A Toddler Was Like
Chris and I had been to Disney as just the two of us, and it was definitely a very different experience with a toddler! For example, in the past, we liked to go to the parks later in the day and stay until closing. Usually, the weather was much cooler and the crowds much thinner. With Trevor, we were back in our hotel room each night by about 8 or 8:30 pm (and that was past his normal 7:30 bedtime). So we did feel like we were missing out on the best time at the parks.
I also remember the days when Chris and I would make our way gracefully around the parks at a rapid pace, unencumbered by backpacks. We definitely had backpacks this year! I wanted to make sure I had everything Tru might need: diapers, wipes, WetOnes, sunblock, sun hats, sippy cups, Kindle for games while at restaurants, on and on… (!)
Trevor was also going through a stage where he wanted nothing but to be held by Chris at all times. He often refused his stroller and cried when anyone but Chris tried to hold him. So Chris had an added 23 pounds to carry throughout each park each day!
Another funny thing: in the past, Chris and I viewed mealtimes as an opportunity for a relaxing break from the crowds and heat. Not so with a toddler! Trevor dislikes both eating as well as sitting still (!) So typically one of us was walking Tru outside while the other tried to quickly gobble down a few bites of food.
Here’s one example:
Trevor was on his worst behavior by the time we had dinner in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. Chris and I had to take turns walking him out of the restaurant and into the shopping area, where he dropped and nearly broke one of the ceramics. But then we walked outside and Tru caught site of “duuuuuh” (i.e. Donald Duck). He was fascinated, all smiles, and all was right with the world again…
Trevor was also, of course, much too tiny to go on any of our favorite rides. He was too small for even Soarin’ at Epcot or even the tiniest roller coaster, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom.
At the same time, it was a lot of fun to see him light up on the children’s rides. And to experience those rides again, through his eyes.
For example, we loved going on the new “Frozen Ever After” boat ride in Epcot with Trevor in our laps, eyes open wide.
And when we went on an old favorite, Spaceship Earth (also in Epcot), it was like seeing it fresh and new because Trevor was fascinated by the animatronics, the huge starry sky near the end of the ride, and (of course!) the animated touchscreen in each passenger car.
Chris and I also had the help of both of our sets of parents, which was key! They watched Trevor several times and allowed us to have some breaks from the craziness! For example, Chris and I watched the new Soarin’ show in The Land pavilion at Epcot (which became a new favorite ride!). While Chris’ parents watched Tru ride The Land escalator up and down, over and over again…
The One Thing I Regret From Our Disney Trip
The second day of our trip, we returned to our hotel in the early afternoon for Trevor to take a nap, and I started to feel a little queasy. And then really awful.
It was that thing every traveler dreads: food poisoning.
Probably not my smartest idea to eat scallops from a quick service cart at lunch. I do regret that particular choice in my day. (But they tasted fine at the time!)
I felt pretty awful for the afternoon but, luckily, it was over fast.
By that night, I was back to normal.
Just kind of on edge about eating anything for the rest of the trip, to be honest….
Trevor’s Favorite Parts of the Trip
Trevor loved so much about Disney. He loved splashing in the pool (complete with fountains and wading pools) each afternoon before his nap. He loved driving his toy cars around the hotel room. He loved It’s a Small World at the Magic Kingdom. He loved the free Mickey balloon he got from a nice stranger who was checking out of their hotel room.
And he loved the display convertible in front of the Sci-Fi-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant at Hollywood Studios.
After we were seated at our table in the restaurant, Tru wouldn’t eat anything, and he wouldn’t stop squirming and whining. So I finally walked outside with him.
Once he saw the “duh” (i.e. “truck”) right outside, he calmed down. We sat in the back seat for at least 20 minutes, and he refused to budge. Trevor was finally quiet and still, and I was just relieved that this convertible was providing me with a moment of peace!
People kept stopping to sit on the hood for photos with the convertible, with Trevor and I just hanging out in the backseat, hopefully not ending up in too many selfies…
But I loved that time with him. I kept thinking, how many more trips do I get, really, before Trevor no longer wants to be held in my arms?
The Toughest Part of Our Trip To Disney
The flight home was definitely pretty rough. Here’s how that went:
We had a morning flight so I said I’d go get in line at Starbucks for some milk for Tru and breakfast sandwiches for Chris and I.
Chris remained at the terminal with Trevor.
The line was long, very long, but I had at least half an hour and I assumed it would move quickly.
It did not.
In fact, the closer I got to the front, the slower the lined seemed to move. The line continued to grow, and they moved from two employees operating the register to just one. It was all really bizarre.
But I kept an eye on the time and got through the line, just in time to find out Starbucks didn’t have any milk. I grabbed our bagels and ran to the convenience store next to Starbucks.
Here, I searched in vain for milk. I finally settled on a chocolate milk drink, which was the closest they had. I grabbed some crackers and granola bars for Trevor in case he didn’t like the chocolate drink (parents of toddlers know these are survival items for longer flights!)
My hands full, I raced to the register to pay… and couldn’t find my credit card!
I asked the woman at the register if she’d set my things aside and retraced my steps around the convenience store, panicked.
I had only my credit card and no time to race back to the terminal to get cash from Chris.
I retraced my steps back to Starbucks, asked at the counter there. No credit card.
I went back to the convenience store and, lying on top of a stack of magazines – right in front of the register – was the card. It must have slipped out of my hands while I was juggling all of Trevor’s snacks.
It was right in front of me the whole time I’d panicked at the register.
Long story short, I was one of the last on the plane, with minutes to spare. I could finally breathe, and we made it through the flight pretty well.
Until the last 20 minutes.
That’s when the meltdown happened.
Tru wanted to play with his trucks on the floor, but he was required to sit in our laps for descent. Of course, he didn’t understand this rule and was exhausted from travel, so he lost it.
Kicking, squirming, trying to break free of our arms, screaming and yelling. He didn’t calm down until we got off the plane.
The lowest lows are a part of the journey too, traveling with toddlers!
I wrote separate posts on the sweetest experiences from Trevor’s first trip to Disney, and here they are,
Our Top Four Memories From Disney World:
Trevor’s First Haircut at Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street
Crystal Palace Character Breakfast with Winnie the Pooh
Our Experience at Pandora: The World of Avatar
Our Experience at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom