We woke Jane up on the morning before her 6th birthday with a BIG surprise. Early in the morning, we snuck in and told her to get up: we’re going to the most magical place on earth today! She was half-asleep still and excitedly stumbled into the car on the way to the airport to fly down to Disney World for a long weekend adventure. This was her first trip to the park, and something that had been in the works for a long time (we had originally planned for this trip during May 2020 but the pandemic had other plans for us!). Finally getting to bring her here after that long wait made the trip even more special.We started the first day at the Beach Club Resort where we basked in the warm sun and made use of the amazing pool there. Coming from snowy New England, it felt like such a treat to be floating around their lazy river and bobbing in and out of the various pools. After swimming in the pool until we were exhausted, we headed off to the Boardwalk Resort for some souvenir shopping and dinner and drinks with my family that lives nearby. We got to enjoy a night out with my Grandmother, and it’s always so special to see her with Jane. It was a long day between traveling and swimming and overall bursting excitement, Jane didn’t even make it to dessert and fell asleep in my arms at the dinner table. 

The next morning we woke up bright and early to visit Magic Kingdom, she was in jaw-dropping awe at just about every turn as we entered the park and started to see things up close. It was surprisingly not too crowded and we got to ride the majority of the rides we were interested in. I was delighted to revisit some of my childhood favorites (It’s a Small World!) and try some newer rides (we loved the Buzz Lightyear themed ride). We even got brave and took rides on Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad (the latter of which, Jane may never forgive us for, she has sworn off roller coaster since). I think the biggest highlight of the Magic Kingdom experience was the parade down Main Street. The music and the dancers and the characters completely memorized Jane and I spent the whole parade watching her face react to each new float full of princesses and characters as it rounded the corner.

We spent the second day at Hollywood Studios and it was so quiet when we first arrived that we got to ride a few of the Toy Story themed rides multiple times, which felt like a thrill in itself to not be waiting in lines! Our favorite ride at Hollywood Studios was the Mickey + Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, and I loved going to see the Muppets 3D show because that was one of my favorites from visiting when we were kids.  Another fun highlight of the Hollywood Studios day was getting to take the Skyliner back to the hotel, only in Disney is the transportation just as fun as the park. On both evenings after our park days we walked from the Beach Club Resort over the bridge to Epcot. It is well known that Jane is obsessed with the idea of traveling to Paris, so on her actual birthday we ate in Epcot France and gave her the Disney-Parisian experience. The 4D Ratatouille ride in France was such a hit with the whole family, we couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards, and will be one we remember for a long time! On the second Epcot night we had our best meal of the trip at the San Angel Inn in Mexico Epcot. Overall I’d say that Disney food was kind of meh and underwhelming, but the meals here were solid and the restaurant had a very cool ambiance and experience. We booked the Frozen Ever After ride for after dinner so we could keep Jane awake long enough to try and make it to the fireworks. This was the first time she’s ever seen real fireworks and she was enthralled. It was such a special way to cap off our parks experience.

Planning a Disney trip is no joke, there are so many ins and outs of finding the right resorts, securing reservations, understanding the genie+ system and maximizing your time while you’re in the parks. Not to mention the ever changing status of rides and transportation that a normal person likely doesn’t keep up on! We were very fortunate to work with our friend Sara who is a Disney travel expert and booking agent, who is incredibly well-versed in the intricacies of all things Disney. She helped us navigate the whole experience with such ease and thoughtfulness about how we could make it the best experience tailored to our family. If you’re ever planning a trip to any of the Disney properties, reach out Sara and give her a follow on instagram at @SaraSentMe !