Monday, August 31, 2015

I'm Going to Disney World!

countdown to Walt Disney World

The whole Growing Up Disney family is preparing for another trip to Walt Disney World this October.  While Old Key West will always be our home away from home, I am really excited to stay at Kidani Village this time.  I always love Animal Kingdom Lodge when we visit for dining.  Speaking of dining, we have reservations at all of the Animal Kingdom Lodge/Kidani Village restaurants—a welcome lunch at Sanaa, both a dinner and a breakfast at Boma, and a date night for my husband and me at Jiko.  

family at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Waiting for lunch at Sanaa in November 2012 and wearing my ever-present camera bag (see below)

I cannot wait to have my morning coffee on our savanna view balcony.  A Disney vacation is filled with so much activity that those quiet moments are extra special.  Tink and Minnie are really looking forward to seeing the animals from our room and checking out the children’s water play area.  At least one night, we plan to enjoy the campfire and some toasted marshmallows.  We did this at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort but they were much younger then.  I expect the campfire to be a bigger hit this time around.  
children enjoying campfire at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort
Tink with her Daddy and Minnie with mine at the campfire at DVC Hilton Head

My girls are now 6 and 4.  This will be Tink’s ninth WDW visit and Minnie’s seventh.  Tink’s first trip was to celebrate her first birthday and Minnie’s was at 11 months old.  We have been through all sorts of stages during our Disney travels.  I am so thrilled to finally have a trip with no diapers or pull-ups!  My babies are now kids and we are ready to have fun. 

toddler's first trip to Walt Disney World
Tink (with DisneyDad) on her first WDW vacation

toddler and preschooler with grandfather at Disney World
Minnie's first WDW vacation (with DisneyDad and Tink)

My loves in the summer of 2015

I have posted here in the past about what I have carried in our Disney diaper bag/backpack for infant and toddler stages.  Now that I have a preschooler and a first grader (gasp!) I will be able to carry a lot less.  Using my previous list as a starting point, here is what I plan to take with us in the parks.

   Sippy cups (I use them mostly for water.  I got burned once when a cup of milk opened in my bag and leaked.  Try cleaning up a moving's not fun.)
   Hand wipes
   Clorox wipes (A must for cleaning tables.)
   Band aids (Just a couple. No need for a first aid kit.  That's what the first aid centers are for.)  
   Ponytail holders
   Small snacks
   Notebooks, stickers and multi-color pens
   Light up toys (maybe)
   Candy (small packs of M&Ms or Smarties can buy time and aren't messy)
   Wallet (smaller than I use at home)
   Poncho (dollar store variety)
   Clif bag (This is a small bag that packs into its own pocket.  It's great to be able to throw all those extra things you accumulate into before hopping on the bus. Mine just happens to have a Clif logo on it.)
   Phone charger
   Lip gloss
   Camera battery
   Business cards
   Thin towel
   Changes of clothes (I have carried these every time, 8 trips with kids, and have never used them.  But I want to let them play in the splash areas if they want so extra clothes go under the stroller.  This is also the thing most likely to be cut from my list.)
   Visor/hat for me 
   Light up toys
   Large thin blanket (great for covering the stroller during naptime)

As for the bag itself, I most often carry a LoweproPassport Sling to Walt Disney World.  It's convenient for my DSLR camera and has plenty of room for other gear.  I've had this bag for over three years and find it to be comfortable to wear.  There are several variations on the bag now, with more options in size and color.  I have tried backpacks both in camera and non-camera styles, but I go back to the sling for both the ease of accessing my stuff and due to the fact it's cooler than having a bag on your back on a hot day.  Since the girls are older, I won’t carry everything on this list around all day.  Some of it will go in a cheap drawstring backpack and stay under the stroller unless needed.  Nothing of real value should ever be left unattended with the stroller. 

As for the stroller, I am pleased to say that I’ll be using a stroller from Amusement Park Rentals.  They rent single and double City Mini GTs and Bob Revolution strollers, as well as cribs, highchairs, and practically anything else you could need for baby.  Amusement Park Rentals also rents scooters and wheelchairs so don’t let a mobility issue keep you from getting out and having fun.  They have a great deal for August on the City Mini Double with a $50 flat rate.  I’ll do a full review post when we return from vacation giving you the scoop on how easy the company is to work with, condition of the stroller, ease of pick-up and return, etc.  Amusement Park Rentals promises excellent service and clean, convenient strollers.  (BTW, I know my 6-year-old is too old for a stroller at home but not at Walt Disney World.  Especially for longer days or larger parks, it will be worth it to have a seat for both kids.)

I bought tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party but I am keeping that a surprise from the girls.  Airline tickets have been purchased and Disney's Magical Express reserved.  Dining reservations have been mostly made and some FastPasses as well.  I think we are in great shape for our upcoming trip, other than actually getting in shape.  I'll be walking/jogging regularly leading up to the vacation.  

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