My first of many visits to Walt Disney World was with my grandparents. My granddaddy loved the parks and I am so thankful he passed that on to me. One of my fondest memories is the time this 6’2” man lost his hat on his favorite ride, Big Thunder Mountain. He thought it was tucked securely under him and then was lifted off of his seat with his hat flying through the air. The second I learned I would become a grandmother; I knew I had to recreate these magical moments.
Disney brings out so many emotions in people. You can be on such an emotional rollercoaster; laughing at one moment then crying at the very next. My family has made many trips to Disney starting when my kids were babies. Now that my kids are older their visits are very different; no more hugging Mickey or screaming when they see Daisy but everyone is magical. While at a visit to Epcot, I watched a little boy and his family as we rode Frozen Ever After. You could see the joy in his eyes as he was singing with Elsa and in awe of Olaf. This made me tear up with joy and then sadness at the thought those memories would never happen again for my family. My husband reminded me that one day we would have grandchildren.
That day came in October 2020 and in April of 2021, we took Evie to Walt Disney World for the first time at six months old. Since then, she has been many times more, after all, her entrance is free until she is three years old. Seeing Disney through her eyes, the eyes of a young child is why we keep going back. Her eyes sparkle in awe and amazement as they see her favorite characters come to life and the thrill of the wind in her hair on rides like Dumbo.
Of course, she is a toddler and that comes with challenges, but Disney makes overcoming these easy. Don’t have a stroller? You can rent one from the parks or an outside vendor and have it delivered. Don’t have a pack-n-play, Disney will provide one for your resort stay. Many times I have been at the park and was short on diaper bag supplies and have been saved by the Baby Care Centers in every park when I needed more wipes, replace a lost sippy cup, or even a cool place to rock her to sleep.
Another consideration for grandparents like me is the attractions. Am I able or rather is her Papa able to ride and not be motion sick. At Disney, there are so many attractions tailored to young children’s heights and their grandparents who feel the bumps and drops of a roller coaster more than before. Evie loves attractions from Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios. But there is more than attractions – from shows to park scavenger hunts to play areas where we can take a rest while she plays.
If you are a grandparent or future grandparent, I encourage you to plan for these memories with your grandchildren. Either to see the magic of Disney for the first time through a child’s eyes or to recapture the moments you made with their parents. It brings me so much joy to tell Evie about the trips with her daddy to Disney. How much he loved Goofy and his favorite snack Mickey-shaped Rice Krispy treat!
If you would like help planning your next Disney trip or if you are interested in learning more about joining the team at Magical Vacation Planner, please reach out to Jennifer Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.