You’ve seen them. The ones with no kids roaming around the park free as can be. They get to use the no bag line because they can make it with just their MagicBands and what they can fit in their pockets. The hubby and I used to be that couple. We always saw the families who looked miserable, lugging the huge diaper bags, struggling to get the stroller folded and though the door, and doing all they could to keep the kids from screaming bloody murder on the bus. We never made fun of them, because we knew that would be us someday. But not yet! We roamed the parks freely doing as we pleased. We changed our plans on the fly. We ate when we were ready. We opened the parks every morning and closed them every night. Sleep? We could sleep when we got home! This was Disney! The trip usually ended in us crashing at the gate waiting for our flight home.
But almost 2 years ago all of that changed, when we had our beautiful little girl, MaryAli. She has made our lives so much more fun and now our travels better too. When it’s all said and done, she will have been to Disney 5 times before her 2nd birthday (look for a later article on why I think it’s a good idea to take little ones to Disney). Has that affected how we do Disney? Um…of course it has!
First, we take more into the parks. We now have a tiny human who is much more demanding than we are, which means snacks, extra clothes, and diapers…lots of diapers. So, no more no bag line for us. We make sure to have our bags open and ready so we save as much time as possible. And of course, there’s the stroller. Great for lugging all your crap, not so great for getting through crowds. Or the inevitable group of people that insist on walking shoulder to shoulder at about half snail speed so there is no way for you to pass. But I digress. Having received numerous ankle bruises from overzealous moms trying to make sure Little Junior gets to the front, I do try to be very considerate and not run over people. But if you see me coming and basically jump in front of me and immediately slow down? Well, that’s on you and you deserve it.
Second, we are on her schedule. When she needs a snack, we stop for a snack. When she needs a dry diaper, to the bathroom we go. When it’s time for lunch, we stop. When it’s time for a nap, she takes one in the stroller. This means only one of us can do a ride. So, mostly we stroll around looking at things and deciding what to do next.
Third, we’ve HAD to slow down. When it was just us, we could have a run, run mentality. But her little body and mind cannot hold up to all that stimulation. We have to schedule in time when we go back to the room and let her nap in the quiet or play with her toys.
So we hate going to Disney now, right? Wrong! We still love going even though it’s different. It’s a good different. It’s made us as adults slow down and notice things we’ve never seen before. But most importantly, we get to relive our first experiences with Disney World all over again but through her eyes. And that is something very special.
The moral of the story: Enjoy Disney as a no-kid couple! Run everywhere. See everything. Make your own schedule. It’s Magic! But know that the Magic won’t end when you have kids. It’ll just be a different Magic. One you get to enjoy through little eyes. And believe me, experience their first time seeing that Cinderella Castle will be a memory you will never forget. I get emotional when I think about these experiences, so much so that I even wrote a poem about it!
Through the Eyes of My Child
There was a time, not long ago, when a Disney trip was easy.
Just hopped on a plane caught Magical Express, the logistics were just so breezy.
But then she came, that little girl, bringing happiness in her wake.
So when we travel to and fro, there’s so much more to take!
We think back now on all those trips, when freedom was the key.
Now just getting out the door creates many a headache for me.
So let’s sit back and compare our trips before and after.
And look forward to the many more, we’ll fill with love and laughter.
A jaunt to Magic Kingdom, could be done on a whim.
Now a trip to Magic Kingdom, is more like moving in.
My 5-foot frame could maneuver through any crowd or throw.
Now I push through with a stroller saying excuse me as I go.
A MagicBand and sunblock, could get us through the day.
Now it’s sippy cups and goldfish, and watching what you say.
My husband is the pack mule getting the stroller on the bus.
And I tote the little hoping she won’t make a fuss.
But even with all this packing and lumbering through the parks,
I just can’t help but watch her and see that little spark.
That spark that comes from magic that’s deep within our hearts.
It’s ignited by this pace and gives us all our start.
Through little eyes that sparkle and little feet that dance.
And watching all the princesses that have her in a trance.
I won’t complain about the trouble it took to get us to this place.
All the payment I’ll ever need is written on her face.
So I will pull an Elsa, and “Let It Go” and just smile.
For Disney World’s true magic is seen through the eyes of my child.