So, you know how at the end of the Super Bowl they ask the winning quarterback what he’s going to do now and his answer is always, “I’m going to Disney World!”? Well, that always makes me smile. I admit it – I love Disney World! Fortunately, so does my family. We take everyone in our immediate family every other year, but in the last few years, my husband, our youngest daughter, and son-in-law have gone once or twice every year.
Recently, we went together along with our two-year-old granddaughter. We have worked out a wonderful system for the traveling part. My husband and son-in-law take everything we will need and make the nine-plus hour drive to Orlando. Meanwhile, my daughter, two-year-old granddaughter and I catch a flight and arrive in Florida in an hour and a half. Yes, it’s a well-honed plan – at least for us. No having a toddler strapped in a car seat for what would seem to her to be endless hours; having to stop frequently for breaks; providing constant entertainment; or, knowing she needs and wants a nap, but not being able to fall asleep sitting up.
However, flying with a toddler, although better than being strapped in a car seat for a long, long drive, is not without issue. We discovered this the first time we flew with her last October. Not being two years old yet, she did not have to have her own seat. This saves money, but you also have a squirmy child for most of the duration of the flight. It is hard to explain to an 18-month old why she can’t get down and play in the aisle. My daughter and I both had aisle seats, so we passed her back and forth when she started to get bored. There was one minor incident involving a spilled drink, but fortunately, the passenger was an understanding mom heading to “the happiest place on earth” with her family.
This trip, since she was now two years old, meant she had to have her own ticket. It was nice for her to have a seat, and she sat in it most of the time. She did not like the take-off this time but was content to watch a movie on her mom’s phone for most of the flight. Many people might wonder how much time you really save by flying. It is true, by the time you leave home, get to the airport, wait to board, wait to take-off, fly, wait to de-plane, hike to the Magical Express bus to go to your resort hotel, wait for it to depart and finally arrive at your hotel, you probably could have driven from home in about the same time. Nevertheless, it is the changes and movement that, my granddaughter at least, happily dealt with.
This trip was, for us, different from most of the others we had taken to Disney World, but we had anticipated that. For one, we were with a toddler; it was much warmer and more crowded; having been so many times before, we didn’t feel pressured to do everything Disney World has to offer; or get in the minute a park opened or stay until it closed.
One of the best things about this trip was being able to experience all of Disney World daily through the eyes of our granddaughter. It was wonderful to see her reactions to the characters she loved from the movies. I wondered if she would love them or be afraid – it was love. She was a trooper the whole five days we were there. She got to sleep in after long days, go swimming, watch parades and fireworks, and go shopping – surprising us with what she chose, but still two months later, loving her choices.
Having just been, I am already looking forward to having our entire family, and what will then be seven grandchildren, going in January. My husband and I move around with each family during the day and hear about everyone’s day at dinner. It makes me smile knowing that my “happiest place on earth” is also their’s!