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My Perfect Disney Day with a Toddler

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Picture it – it’s a rare chilly day in Florida, you throw on a Mickey sweatshirt, and head to Magic Kingdom to see the holiday decorations with your littlest sidekick. I have to admit, before becoming a mom, I would have always rope dropped the park, mapped out Lightning Lane reservations, a dining reservation, and stopped for a break only when the park became crowded. Now, my favorite park days are the ones when I can slow down just enough to enjoy the magic through my son, Owen’s eyes.

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 So what does our perfect day look like? We leisurely arrived at Magic Kingdom around 9:30 am and headed straight to Starbucks. A chilly day calls for festive coffee for me and a treat for Owen. We took our time strolling Main Street to soak in the holiday decorations – specifically the Christmas Carol window displays outside the Emporium. We enjoyed our Starbucks goodies at the infamous hub grass and I enjoyed watching Owen run and dance to the Main Street holiday music. After a festive performance by the Dapper Dans, we made our way to Fantasyland to ride whichever attractions had the lowest waits.

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We waited 15 minutes tops for each attraction including the Carrousel, Mad Tea Party, and Owen’s first ride on Goofy’s Barnstormer. I cannot believe my baby is now 35″ tall… time flies when you’re a parent! After a diaper change and a quick snack break, we hopped on the train in Storybook Circus and made the full loop of the park. Side note here – I would not recommend the Storybook Circus restrooms for diaper changes. There is one changing station that stays busy and the companion restroom does not have a changing table. Now back to the fun!

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To our luck – we stumbled upon the noon showing of Festival of Fantasy. Keeping a toddler entertained while waiting for a parade is sometimes a challenge so it was nice to see the characters without much of a time commitment. Owen sat on my shoulders and we stood in the back so we didn’t block anyone’s view and we had an easy exit strategy. On our way to Main Street, we placed a mobile order for Casey’s Corner and shared a hot dog while watching the Friendship Faire stage show at Cinderella Castle. We ended our time in Magic Kingdom with a walk through the Emporium and left in time for an afternoon nap.

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Could we have been more productive and experienced more attractions? Yes. However, we made special memories and captured pictures I will look back on for years to come. It was a busy day in the park but we did not purchase Genie+ and I enjoyed letting my toddler lead the way. We spent about $30 on food and snacked/ ate when convenient.

I do want to address the obvious here – I am local annual passholder and am grateful for it. I share this perspective with confidence because we have also followed a similar schedule on vacation at Disneyland and it was the best Disney trip we have ever taken (across 20 years and 40+ plus vacations). Long story short – let the small moments happen. The magic is still alive at Disney and you do not need to spend an exuberant amount of money or push yourself to wait in lines. Take the trip, take your time, and take all the pictures!

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Hannah Anderson is a Dreams Unlimited Travel Agent, DIS Contributor, former Disney Cast Member, and Orlando local. Mostly importantly, she is a mom and loves spending time in the Disney Parks each week with her family.
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