By Mollie Swendrowski
Certainly it goes without saying if you’ve read any of my pieces that I love Disney. If you haven’t read my pieces: 1. Why?! and 2. I love Disney. Another thing that I love is my job as a nanny (although this potty training business we are currently involved in is for the birds). Recently, these two loves collided when I was granted the opportunity to accompany the family I nanny for on a vacation to Disney World.
Until that point I had never been to Disney with children (crazy, right?) and the extent of my travel with toddlers involved loading up the kids in the mini-van and taking them on day trips in the area. I knew it was going to be a task to shuttle these twin toddlers everywhere, but I was feeling confident about our odds seeing as it was three against two.
Anyone who has traveled with kids can tell you two things for certain: it closely resembles herding cats and children require STUFF. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. That they can’t carry. They need all of the things, and also want all of the things, but can carry virtually NONE of the things.
We left on a Sunday afternoon and returned that Friday afternoon. The plan was to spend three days at Disney with one “rest” day not spent at the park, but split between a fun character meal at Disney and our AirBnB. Keeping in mind that the twins were just shy of 3 on this trip, I think the plan of attack worked perfectly.
It is already exhausting and over stimulating to be at Disney for a full day for adults, so for small kids it can be double the amount we feel. We arrived at the parks around 9 am and ended up heading home between 5 and 6 the days we went. The kids were both a bit too excited to get good naps in to really stretch the days much longer than that.
All in all I was impressed with how Ruby and Dean handled the whirlwind trip. It’s a lot to ask of kids because it is so outside the lines of any normal routine they experience. At home, Ruby is the more outgoing and talkative of the two, whereas Dean likes to observe in a slightly more quiet manner. However, they switched roles at Disney, and Dean was in his ELEMENT. He much preferred to run and explore on his own than to be stuck in the stroller. Miss Ru LOVED the character meet and greets and would have spent all day holding Minnie Mouse’s hand, her brother on the other hand was not as impressed.
The collective sibling favorite was “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room”. Mr. Dean, who has a delay in his speech, can now ask for “Tiki ROOM!” by name, and it never fails to make me a little misty-eyed when he does because words are not easy for him. Yet he loved something at Disney so much that he was able to learn how to ask for it, and is now encouraged by his own success that his vocabulary is growing daily.
People keep asking me why we decided to take them since they are still so young, especially since I’ve been pretty outspoken on my thoughts about what is an appropriate age to take children. “Why spend the money when they aren’t going to remember anything about the trip?” While I still think it depends on the child, the idea that they won’t remember anything about the trip is now questionable to me.
There is not a day that goes by where Ruby doesn’t say to me, “Swenny, we go see Mickey and Minnie! Mama was there, Dada was there, ‘brudder’ was there, you were there! We meet Belle and Cinderella! We saw Tiki Room! Brudder LOVE Tiki Room!” While watching
Daniel Tiger (the new age Mr. Rogers for those who are not familiar) the other day, Daniel asked his audience where they could go if they could anywhere, and Miss Ru exclaimed excitedly, “Go see Mickey and Minnie!”
Their mom made a photo book with pictures from the trip and we look through it almost every single day. Dean loses his mind over the picture of him running across the bridge into Adventureland. Ruby particularly loves belly laughing over the photo of her “picking her nose” in front of the carousel. (The things that make toddlers laugh, am I right?)
A seed of serious Disney love was planted with the twins in Florida. And you know, maybe they won’t remember anything specific about this trip long term. But for now the magic is still alive with them, and I will personally always cherish the memories we made together as I lived out my true “Mollie Poppins” dream.
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