We just got back from a week at Disney World with a 2.5 year old, and lived to tell the tale. Conor was sick the week before the trip and spent the first few days still recovering, so we tried to take it easy. We rented a big comfy stroller (Baby Jogger City Elite from Orlando Stroller Rentals) so he could ride as much as he wanted to (which was a lot). These are some of the highlights from each day – we spent lots of time walking around and looking at all the sights in between the rides and shows.
Day 1 – Animal Kingdom
We headed straight for the Kilimanjaro Safari and were able to basically walk right on. Conor loved it – the rest of the week he kept asking to go back to the “zoo” and ride on the truck.
Then we hit up the Camp Minnie-Mickey Character Greeting Trails. We timed it perfectly and arrived just as a “Festival of the Lion King” show was starting nearby, so the lines were really short. I thought it would be a great chance to check all the big characters off our list – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc.
FAIL. At least cousin Madeline enjoyed it!
We almost got him to take a picture with Mickey but he bailed last minute.
Conor and cousin Clara weren’t feeling great so we headed out for lunch and a nap.
We did go back later in the afternoon. We rode Primeval Whirl while Mimi watched Conor, and then we were able to see the Lion King show. He loved the show, so much in fact that he fell asleep. A good end to Day 1.
Day 2 – Epcot
We arrived right at “rope drop”, and it was crazy busy. First we went to “The Seas” and did the Nemo & Friends ride. Conor was a little hesitant about the moving clams but seemed to enjoy it. Then we headed over to see “Turtle Talk with Crush.” It was a super cute show that any 2 year old would love – except my kid, who wanted to leave halfway through. We walked around the aquarium a bit, then proceeded outside for a major meltdown and snack throwing tantrum. We decided to head back for some quiet time and lunch. (This was really his only mega tantrum all week.)
After lunch we went back and walked through Innoventions. We could tell he wasn’t feeling 100% because there was a life sized fire truck that he wasn’t at all interested in. We also did the The Great Piggy Bank Adventure.
Then we walked all the way thru World Showcase while Conor napped. He woke up just as we were passing thru Mexico. We watched the fountains for a bit, then walked all the way back thru World Showcase so Conor could see the sights. We stopped for a bit to watch the World Showcase Players in the UK Pavilion. Back in Future World, Mimi watched Conor while we rode Soarin’ with Uncle Jason, Madeline and Grampy.
Day 3 – Hollywood Studios
Conor and I ate breakfast at the 3rd & Fairfax Farmer’s Market while Dada and Grampy rode Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Then we headed over to the Disney Jr. show, which he liked but didn’t want to dance.
We walked around for a while, thru Pixar Place and Streets of America. We ate lunch at Pizza Planet while Conor napped. When he woke up, we waited in line to see Buzz Lightyear and Woody. He was excited to see them thru the window but when we made it to the end of the line, he freaked.
Grampy watched Conor while we rode Toy Story Mania, then we saw the Disney Jr. show again with Madeline and Clara. We went thru The Magic of Disney Animation show and exhibit, then rode Star Tours while Mimi watched Conor and Clara. We called it a day after that.
Day 4 – Magic Kingdom
We rode the monorail and then started the day with a Princess Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. We met Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Belle. Conor wasn’t nearly as scared of the princesses as he was the characters in full costumes. He had a really good time playing with the sword and wishing star and looking around at the castle.
After breakfast, we headed towards Adventurland and rode the Jungle Cruise, which he loved. It was probably his favorite ride. Then we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, which he also really liked. We headed thru to Frontierland and Liberty Square, where we saw Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz. Conor fell asleep so we walked to Tomorrowland and ate lunch, then rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin while Grampy watched Conor.
When Conor woke up, we headed to Fantasyland and rode It’s a Small World and then to Liberty Square and rode The Haunted Mansion. He really liked both of those. There were a few moments of “I’m all done.” in the beginning of THM, but once we got on the ride he was okay.
We headed back over to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountian while Grampy and Conor danced to the DJ on the terrace. Then we rode the Jungle Cruise one more time before the end of the day. We got caught in a rain shower on the way out but managed to get on the monorail before it really started pouring.
Day 5 – Epcot
We arrived an hour or so after rope drop but the crowds were much lighter than earlier in the week. It was also about 20 degrees warmer. We headed straight for “The Land” and rode Living with the Land, then saw “The Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable”. Conor really liked both of those.
We went to the Mexico Pavilion and rode the Gran Fiesta Tour right as it opened, then watched a mariachi band. We walked thru the World Showcase and Conor fell asleep for his nap somewhere between China and Germany.
I love the first food stand in the American Aventure Pavilion – nothing says “America” like funnel cakes.
We stopped to eat in the Morocco Pavilion and had a fabulous lunch at the Tangierine Cafe.
As we strolled thru France, we noticed a really short line for (blue-dress) Belle, so we wheeled Conor up and got a picture with her while he snoozed. We did the same for Marie (the cat from Aristocats.)
Back in Future World, we stopped at Club Cool and tried the different flavors of Coke from around the world. (Krest Ginger Ale from Mozambique was my fav.)
Conor woke up and ate, then we we on Spaceship Earth. He loved it and still likes watching his video from the ride.
We went by Downtown Disney on the way back to find the Mr. Potato Head parts bar, and also stopped in at the Lego store.
That night, Mimi and Grampy babysat so we could go out for dinner. We had a fantastic meal at Jiko, at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Lodge was amazing – after dinner we walked out to the back terrace and could see giraffes, hogs, zebras, pelicans and other animals all around. Someday we’ll have to go back and stay there – Conor would love it!
Day 6 – Magic Kingdom
The monorail lines were pretty long so we rode the ferry boat across the lagoon, which was fast and convenient, and less crowded than the monorail. We started off in Adventureland and rode the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and went to the Tiki Room (my favorite), then saw the “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party” parade. We picked a good spot for the parade because Woody’s float stopped right in front of us when the characters all got down to dance.
Then we walked down Main Street to check out the Main Street Confectionery and meet Uncle Jason and Aunt Kelly for a family picture.
We headed back to use fast passes for our 3rd time on the Jungle Cruise, then rode Pirates of the Caribbean again. We ate lunch at Tortuga Tavern, then Conor took a nap while we walked thru the shops on Main Street and in Tomorrowland.
It was getting pretty hot so we decided we’d seen everything we wanted to see and headed out. We stopped by Downtown Disney one more time for some souvenirs then went back to the house to swim.
I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised at how well Conor handled everything and how much we were able to do. Certainly we did less than we would have with an older child (or no child) but quickly realized he could and would go on lots of rides I wasn’t sure he’d tolerate. By far his favorites were the Kilimanjaro Safari and the Jungle Cruise, which is no surprise knowing how much he loves animals and bad jokes. He hated the characters, but I supposed that probably saved us lots of time standing in line.
I was also surprised at how well he slept the entire trip. He napped like a champ, knocking out every day for an hour or two in the stroller. By the last day, he actually asked for us to lay the seat back so he could go to sleep. He did equally well at night, considering how horribly he’s been sleeping at home.
Staying off property is, in my opinion, the way to go. The kids (5, 2.5 and almost 2) loved the pool and the movie room, and each had their own bedroom. The full kitchen was great, we had space to spread out and be comfortable, and the commute was quick and easy.
Thank you Mimi and Grampy for a wonderful trip, and Kelly, Jason, Madeline and Clara for making our Disney vacation so special! We miss you all already but won’t forget it any time soon.