With M-ito 8 years old these are some of the things we did right this time:
- We went for 6-nights and 7 days which was just enough time, not too much and not too little (though we’d rather have stayed on vacation another week). We left on a Tuesday, early so we could go to a park in the afternoon and evening. We left in the evening on Labor Day so we had the whole day to play before we loaded up and got to the airport. Mom-ita planned everything out and it was just about perfect.
- We slept in almost every day and didn’t get to the parks until 11 or 12 each day which was just fine with all of us. I got up and did my yoga practice as the sun rose, before Mom-ita and M-ito got up. We hit two parks almost every day but one in the afternoon and one in the evening. It didn’t feel rushed that way.
- We spent a lot of time in EPCOT exploring the countries, the attractions, and the fireworks. There’s still plenty more to explore on future trips. I am amazed at how much there is to explore there.
- We used fast passes only once but that was because it wasn’t too crowded and the most we waited for anything was maybe fifteen minutes. Mostly we walked on rides without a wait or a five-minute wait.
- We came the last week of August when kids in Florida are back in school. The parks were pretty empty (as empty as I’ve ever seen them) which meant there were minimal lines.
- We spent a lot of time at the hotel pool almost every day.
- We went to Wilderness lodge – a good choice even if the food choices are not the greatest (Animal Kingdom lodge had the best food as far as we’re concerned). It’s beautiful and the rooms were good size – the staff very nice and helpful.
- We found a ride we liked and went on it again and again. This trip it was Buzz Lightyear’s ride. M-ito loved it and going on the ride (with no line) meant we could actually get better and better at ray-gunning invading aliens so that by the time we finished with it all of us felt like we had some proficiency and M-ito’s confidence on rides in general was boosted.
- Half of our trip was with a friend of M-ito’s and his mom. M-ito and K-ito played well together and were good company for each other. We all got along and had a good time together. The second half of the trip we were on our own and had some good alone family time. It was a nice balance.
Some things that didn’t work out:
- As great as it was to have empty parks and few lines for most of the time we were there it is HOT HOT HOT in August. So we sweat alot and we found ourselves doing the it’s-ninety-plus-and-we’re-sweating-shuffle. It’s a slow walk from shade spot to shade spot, cooling station to cooling station. M-ito had a little trouble with the heat on our second to last day, needing to sit down, drink, and cool off. Mom-ita bought him a canvas hat. I soaked it in a vendors ice water and put it on his head. Then I had him put his hands up to his wrists into the water. Along with drinking lots of water these things brought him back to himself.
- The middle restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge was okay but not something we looked forward to eating at so that left us with the fast food area (crowded and an okay selection but again not something I looked forward to every day). Note, we did find the expensive restaurant to be excellent and had our last evening meal there – well worth it but not feasible for every day because of the price.
- Bus to Animal Kingdom took an hour each time – way too long.
- We never made it to Disney Studios – M-ito just didn’t feel like it so we skipped it this time.
- We never made it to Harry Potter at Universal – different park experience, and needs its own trip to do. Also we heard it was packed and the lines were too too long.
Some things we did that were either new or just fun:
- We took small two person motor boats out onto the lake for an hour. Very cool.
- We could take ferries to Magic Kingdom and back. Very cool.
- Pin trading again was a blast.
- We did two Kim Possibles (Japan and Mexico – both were excellent and lots of fun) at EPCOT.
- M-ito went on his first official roller coaster – Goofy’s Barnstorming – which looked very slow but once you got on was really a good ride and a good one for him to go on first. We went on once and that was all but M-ito said he really liked it. This was the same roller coaster we tried to get on in April and left after one look at the coaster roaring by. Good confidence builder for M-ito. Plus I had fun.
- We spent an hour in Dino Land at Animal Kingdom in the Boneyard playground playing hide and seek then digging for fossils. Some things never get old.
- We went on the Animal Safari at Animal Kingdom 2x and it was just as good as all the other times we’ve been on it over the years even if the “poacher” chatter is getting a little old.
- Pangani Jungle Walk was a great experience and the gorillas were awesome. This trip M-ito seemed to want to see all the animals in Animal Kingdom – which was great, if tiring for Mom-ita nd Dad-dito.
- Buzz Light Year at Magic Kingdom was a great surprise. A large shooting video game with a real skill factor that we all enjoyed about eight times (I think).
- We also went on Soaring at EPCOT which was great. M-ito loved it and it was also a great confidence builder as it dealt with heights (even if imaginary), movement, and the feeling of flying.
- We went on an hour guided tour with a naturalist/botanist behind the scenes at The Land in EPCOT that was really great. They showed us their hydroponics gardens and fishery. Great for ideas about future science projects even if it was hot in the hot-house.
School tomorrow. First day of Third Grade. So it goes. We’re all breathing big sighs and preparing ourselves for the fall. We’re going to pick up Spike today also! Dog in the house again!