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Child Bricker’s First Journey to Disney World: Planning & Pre-Report


It’s loopy how some issues in life can come full circle. The final time I wrote a pre-trip report for Walt Disney World, this weblog was not but even a twinkle in our eyes. Such a ‘publish’ would’ve come by way of Flickr and boards, to satiate our personal pleasure and solicit suggestions on Advance Eating Reservations and our each day itineraries for the parks.

Quick-forward over 15 years, and we’re again at it. Like these, this pre-trip report is generally a matter of getting an outlet for our pleasure and method to rely down the times. I can not categorical the feelings we’re feeling for Megatron’s first go to to Walt Disney World. It’s probably the most or second-most excited I’ve been for a Walt Disney World trip, proper up there with our honeymoon or November 2007 journey.

I had been anxiously-awaiting that Christmas 2007 journey for a number of months, because it’s once I deliberate on proposing to Sarah. I used to be a ball of nerves, figuring out that–for higher or worse–that journey was going to alter the trajectory of my life. (Spoiler: it turned out to be for higher!) Whereas I don’t have the identical nagging concern of rejection–even when there’s a lot driving on Megatron’s first Figment meet & greet–it’s a comparable flurry of emotions. However principally simply unbridled enthusiasm and pleasure, as we open the following chapter of our household holidays to Walt Disney World!

We haven’t actually shared any household updates since Christmas, save for just a few offhand mentions in different posts, however we’ve been having a incredible time visiting Disneyland within the final couple of months. After an unimaginable first go to for Christmas, Megatron’s subsequent half-dozen or so days at Disneyland have been pretty uneventful. Earlier than we acquired inside both park, she was at all times asleep. We’ve got rather a lot of images with characters pretending to sleep or doing the “shhh” sign. The one two occasions she was awake, she’s making (for lack of higher time period) a WTF face on the characters.

Then got here the go to that was like a revelation. Not solely did Megatron meet a personality whereas wakeful, however she had her thoughts blown (figuratively) by the expertise. She additionally debuted a brand new function that we’ve come to name “Dolphin Mode.” (Her greatest mode.) Throughout Dolphin Mode, her eyes get actually broad and stuffed with happiness as she flaps round her legs and arms. She makes a high-pitched chirping noise and tries to, I suppose, echolocate the character. It’s actually probably the most lovable factor I’ve ever seen, and watching the movies we’ve got of her doing this could immediately fill me with pleasure regardless of my temper. In the event that they have been VHS tapes, I might’ve worn them out by now.

It seems like we’re solely simply beginning to scratch the floor of watching her develop and alter with Disney, and we couldn’t presumably be extra excited. We’re very a lot trying ahead to taking her “house” to Walt Disney World, and experiencing these parks for the primary time via her eyes.

And whereas it wouldn’t sting fairly as a lot as a rejected proposal, there’s rather a lot driving on that first Figment meet & greet. Some lovable echolocation motion would most likely break me, whereas a WTF face wouldn’t. (I suppose we’d like her to satisfy Figment earlier than she rides Journey into Creativeness in its present state. To date she solely is aware of the character and journey via the wonderful Figment Little Golden E book, which is learn to her at the very least as soon as per day.)

Anyway, on with the pre-trip report and planning for Megatron’s first journey to Walt Disney World…

I’ll begin with the place we began, which was selecting dates. We deliberated lengthy and onerous over when to make Megatron’s first journey to Walt Disney World, and ended up altering our journey dates a few occasions. In an ideal world, we might’ve gone in January or February, throughout one of many ‘valleys’ between vacation lengthy weekends and sporting occasions. However we’ve been attempting to err on the facet of warning and mitigating danger by avoiding extended indoor actions through the peak of respiratory sicknesses season. In order that was by no means actually a severe contender. Subsequent 12 months, although!

As an alternative, our preliminary plan was to focus on the candy spot earlier than Spring Break kicked into excessive gear. The very first week of March would’ve been ideally suited, however that simply appeared too early as we have been nonetheless within the midst of midnight feedings and witching hour. Then got here a short window the place we felt like we have been on high of the world, Parenting Professionals who may journey anyplace. At this level, mid-March regarded like a very good choice.

Proper as we started firming up plans, one thing referred to as “sleep regression” began. I had heard tall tales of this within the ‘Easy methods to Be Mother and father’ books we learn, and maybe underestimated it. Whenever you’re feeling like Ishmael after slaying Moby Dick (a bizarre method to phrase “getting just a few weeks of near-normal sleep,” however that was our white whale), you possibly develop a little bit of overconfidence? Suffice to say, sleep regression is a factor and it very a lot spooked us. Now not Parenting Professionals, we as an alternative felt like we would have liked to choose up Parenting for Dummies.

As the standard of the writing right here over the previous couple of months most likely demonstrates, I’m sleep disadvantaged and never utterly coherent. (Or possibly it’s at all times been that method.) No matter I’m, double or triple that for Sarah. I truthfully have no idea how she will get via the day. The concept of getting to navigate Walt Disney World as zombies, doubtlessly speaking to individuals and who is aware of what else–all without having the house court docket benefit and combating a 3-hour time change–was simply rather a lot. 

Not that we’re complaining. It’s been a wild journey up to now, however a tremendous one. We’ve by no means been so comfortable to be so drained. Every day, her character begins to crystalize slightly extra. She jogs my memory of Sarah when giving me a “sympathy smile” in response to a hilarious joke I inform her. She furrows her forehead after we introduce her to a brand new not-good meals. Conversely, her face lit up after we gave her avocado for the primary time final night time. We acquired so excited when she rolled over for the primary time that she acquired excited in response. She feeds off our vitality, we feed off hers–drained or not.

All a long-winded method of claiming that we delayed Megatron’s first journey to Walt Disney World by over a month. We’re now going within the second half of April, hopefully after Spring Break season totally finishes. Other than sleep, these dates have been additionally extra fascinating from the attitude of pricing on just about all the things (airfare, lodges, and so forth). In order that definitely made the choice simpler.

We thought-about ready till even later in shoulder season, pushing off till Might 2024 within the (unlikely) hope of previews for Tiana’s Bayou Journey. Dates we thought-about then additionally would’ve had even decrease costs–not as a lot as going from mid-March to mid-to-late April, however nonetheless higher. One other large level in favor of Might was that after we began making reservations, sleep regression was nonetheless in high-gear, so going sooner felt like a significant leap of religion. Nothing like a slight sense of dread earlier than a visit!

The case in opposition to Might was climate. We’ve developed divergent views on this, as I believe Sarah has been away from Florida for thus lengthy that she’s begun to overlook–or mentally block out–how scorching and humid it will get. In the meantime, I’m virtually scarred from the triple-digit ‘seems like’ temperatures of final summer season and early fall.

There’s additionally the truth that we’ve turn out to be avid babywearers. That works splendidly the place we stay and at Disneyland; it’s been chilly or at the very least snug since Megatron’s arrival. Walt Disney World looks as if it’s going to be an entire totally different babywearing ballgame. Even April is taking part in with hearth relating to WDW climate; Might is juggling incendiary grenades.

Talking of climate, it’s one purpose we’ve opted to lease a stroller slightly than carry our personal or rely solely on babywearing. Whereas we do it on a regular basis at Disneyland and at house, opting solely to babywear at Walt Disney World looks as if strolling a tightrope with out a security web. It’s presumably going to be hotter and can also be an extended timeframe. It’s one factor to babywear for 4-5 hours as soon as per week at Disneyland, one other fully to double that period of time for a full week.

As for renting a stroller, this truthfully wasn’t even on our radar till Sarah talked to a few of her pals. Lots of them lease strollers, versus taking their very own, as a result of rain and different elements. Clearly, rain covers exist. So we may simply use that. However I’ve funkified sufficient pairs of footwear within the Florida monsoons to know that doesn’t at all times work out as deliberate. To not examine our stroller to considered one of my nasty footwear, however I’d want to maintain our stroller good for so long as attainable–particularly since we’ve got different journeys on the horizon.

One other factor we (over)thought lengthy and onerous about was flight eventualities. Particularly, 3 vs. 2 seats and whether or not to do nonstop flights. These deliberations alone could possibly be a full publish–and possibly will in some unspecified time in the future, since we’ve got each “kind” of flight combo booked for future journeys.

After initially solely reserving 2 seats in bulkhead on nonstop routes, we spooked ourselves into shopping for a 3rd. Neither of us love this, however it’s a protracted flight and we’ve got plenty of concern of the unknown. Plus, the post-spring break airfare was much more manageable–to the purpose that 3 seats in late April value lower than 2 in mid-March. (As of proper now, a number of rows round us are empty…it’s going to be a bit bittersweet in the event that they keep that method and we may’ve gotten that further seat totally free.)

The following part was selecting lodges. We debated plenty of choices right here, with probably the most consideration given to the Crescent Lake and monorail resorts. We briefly considered doing a severe ‘TREAT YO SELF’ trip given all the financial savings final 12 months from cancelled journeys and me touring solo to Walt Disney World and virtually at all times reserving the most affordable choices. (Accordingly, the 2 resorts I dominated out have been All Star Sports activities and Coronado Springs. I’ve seen sufficient A.S.S. within the final 12 months for a lifetime.)

We priced out the Backyard Cottages at Boardwalk and Membership Stage at just a few resorts…and really rapidly dominated all of that out. After growing a style for the cheaper stuff over the 12 months, that was a bit a lot of a splurge. Positively wish to do each now that we’ve got a child, however we’ll wait till the speed charts are much more favorable through the low season.

Nonetheless, we landed on a cut up keep between a Royal Room at Port Orleans Riverside and the Backyard Wing on the Modern. Not precisely discount basement resorts! We’re a bit weary about this after all the current reader feedback in regards to the challenges of adjusting resorts with infants, however on the plus facet, it provides us an opportunity to area check our personal recommendation underneath modified life circumstances.

We’re actually trying ahead to that, and each resorts. It’s been some time since we’ve stayed at Riverside, so we’re due for a return. Sarah additionally identified it was the place we stayed after we acquired engaged, so it seems like a little bit of a full circle expertise. (Costs have gone up barely since then!)

Modern was our decide for a variety of causes, the at the start being that we needed breakfast at Chef Mickey’s to be Megatron’s first character eating expertise. These firsts are essential to us, and an enormous a part of that’s watching her develop up at Walt Disney World. So we are able to have recollections and photographs of her as a child, toddler, preschooler, and so forth., all in the identical place.

Consequently, we wish to select firsts which are significant, iconic and (hopefully) enduring. Whereas Chef Mickey’s will not be our favourite character meal at Walt Disney World, we truly do get pleasure from breakfast there (it’s dinner that was on our “by no means once more” record…however we might be doing it once more, so scratch that, I suppose).

Regardless, we figured Chef Mickey’s is extra more likely to be round in 20 years than the present incarnations of Cape Might Cafe, Topolino’s Terrace Crystal Palace, or (hopefully) 1900 Park Fare. The expertise at Chef Mickey’s is simply so iconic and memorable that it’s onerous to think about it ever altering. Then once more, I might’ve stated the identical factor in regards to the identify “FastPass” just a few years in the past, but right here we’re. So who is aware of. Perhaps the brand new “wishers” meal at 1900 Park Fare will outlast ’em all.

Talking of which, 1900 Park Fare was the following character meal we booked. No attention-grabbing rationalization for this one, it’s very a lot for the weblog. Whilst we’re taking Child Bricker’s first household trip, we won’t forsake our solemn obligation as Disney bloggers. We’ve already sat Megatron down and defined to her that the digital camera at all times eats first. To organize her to take over the household enterprise, her first excessive chair is definitely a trash can. (Probably not, however that does really feel like a missed alternative.)

It’s the opposite ADRs the place we’re struggling. We at present have Backyard Grill booked for the day of our resort change, however we’d want to do breakfast at Crystal Palace. The problem is that we waited too lengthy, later seatings weren’t accessible, and we’re uncertain about our skill to get out the door for an ADR earlier than 10 am. We’ve additionally seen plenty of Stroll-Up Waitlist availability for Crystal Palace within the final couple of months; we’re going when it’s even much less busy, so we expect winging it may be the pragmatic plan of action.

Story E book Eating at Artist Level is another choice about which we’re on the fence. ADRs at this level are a no-go, and we’re undecided that we’d need them, anyway. However I feel we are able to most likely rating day-before and even same-day reservations for Artist Level, ought to Megatron be recreation for it.

This lack of ADRs and ‘wait and see’ method is purposeful. Considered one of our targets has been to keep away from overplanning, as we don’t wish to set expectations at an unrealistic stage. We’ve already seen (many occasions) that the perfect laid plans typically go awry. That’s simply true normally, however particularly so with a child. There’s additionally the fact that we’ve carried out a grand complete of 4 sit-down meals within the Megatron period.

She’s carried out very properly, however all of these meals have additionally been outside with just about nobody round. (For no matter purpose, she loves being outside.) How she’ll react to consuming indoors in a crowded and chaotic eating room stays to be seen. Level being, we don’t wish to make and get excited a few half-dozen ADRs, solely to have the primary meal be a nuclear meltdown that annihilates the plan.

Which ends up in one other level. We’d love to do an precise journey report for Child Bricker’s first go to to Walt Disney World, however that won’t occur or might happen in condensed ‘highlights’ kind. As we’ve talked about just a few occasions earlier than (and possibly will once more since not everybody reads each publish and that is understandably an space of confusion), we wish to be conscientious about her privateness and even handed about what we share. That’s why we’re calling her Megatron (not her actual identify, sadly) or posting full-on photographs of her face.

Meaning not writing something that Megatron can be mortified to learn later in life. I keep in mind being embarrassed when my mother informed sure tales about once I was a child…and that was simply to shut pals, not immortalized on the web. We maintain studying horror tales about ‘social media children’ rising up and hating their dad and mom. We clearly don’t wish to do this, or something even approaching it. We love her so, a lot and are petrified of doing something that might jeopardize our relationship together with her later in life.

It’s additionally simple to see the way it occurs. You are taking an lovable video of your daughter in Dolphin Mode when assembly Goofy, and there’s a pull to share that with the world! However then I feel again to these horror tales–and I additionally imagine that there’s going to be a “correction” relating to privateness, and younger individuals valuing it extra sooner or later. Everybody has to find out what’s the proper stage of sharing their household’s lives (we aren’t judging anybody else), however the line we’ve drawn is privateness and embarrassment.

Then there’s additionally a rigidity if I write a visit report, however omit main chunks of the day or play free with issues to remain on the proper facet of these strains. We delight ourselves in not pulling punches with the great, unhealthy and ugly of Walt Disney World–so I don’t wish to current a ‘fastidiously curated’ journey that omits the unhealthy/ugly and pretends we’re excellent. We don’t wish to misrepresent our lives that method, because it’s nobody’s actuality.

Given all of that, it may be higher to take what we be taught from this (and different) journeys and, slightly than writing about it in narrative kind, to distill it into ideas & tips and proposals of that nature. Simply type of pondering aloud, and giving a little bit of context into our thought course of.

Clearly, this doesn’t cowl the whole lot of Child Bricker’s first journey to Walt Disney World. There truly continues to be rather a lot we haven’t decided, each so we are able to savor spontaneity–not all the things must be scripted–and since we’re nonetheless uncertain of some issues.

Talking of scripted, that brings us to the ultimate level of this publish, which is to flip the script and solicit reader suggestions. Normally we share our planning recommendation with you, however this time, we wish you to share your experience and expertise with us. Not essentially for first journey or park or that kind of factor. I don’t wish to fake that is up for a ‘vote’ when that basically isn’t the case. (C’mon, does anybody actually imagine that EPCOT and Journey into Creativeness aren’t going to win out for first park/attraction? Particularly with Nation Bear Jamboree at present closed?!?!)

Honestly, I don’t know what kind of recommendation we’re hoping to obtain. What I do know is that there’s rather a lot that we don’t even know that we don’t know about visiting Walt Disney World with children. The quantity of random data gaps we’ve already found at Disneyland have been stunning, and it’s normally the case you can multiply by 5 for the complexities of Walt Disney World. The recommendation to lease a stroller as a result of climate, for instance, was one thing that by no means crossed my thoughts. One other occurred when readers informed us in regards to the delay in receiving a pack ‘n’ play when doing cut up stays.

Suffice to say, we’re extremely excited (and a tad bit anxious, if we’re being trustworthy) about Megatron’s first journey to Walt Disney World. This seems like our first journey another time, which is a ‘magic’ that I by no means thought we’d have the ability to recapture. We all know it’s not all going to go in keeping with plan, which is why we’re incorporating going off-script into the plan itself. It doesn’t matter what occurs or doesn’t, we’re overjoyed on the expertise we’re about to have…and hope to share components of it with you!

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study lodges on our Walt Disney World Resorts Opinions web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Opinions. To economize on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Ideas for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets publish. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys publish takes a novel have a look at intelligent gadgets to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Journey Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the perfect place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for all the things you must know!


Any random suggestions for Child Bricker’s first journey to Walt Disney World? Ideas on selections for character meals or anything? Anything you’re desirous about studying about with regard to Megatron, infants within the parks, and so forth? Anecdotes of your personal about first visits to the Disney parks? Every other questions? Listening to your suggestions is at all times appreciated, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!