After Jackson’s first birthday, I made the decision to celebrate his day with a trip somewhere every year and his second and third birthday were celebrated at Disney World, the happiest place for a toddler!
Our first trip we stayed with family in Orlando, managed to squeeze two parks in one day and thankfully I had my teenage nephew and cousins with me to help out and enjoy our time out there with. Jackson loved every second of being there. We got on every ride at Hollywood Studios and all the best ones at Magic Kingdom before the fireworks. I really wanted to be present, so I think I took a total of like five photos. I knew we had to be back the next year!
For his third birthday I wanted something a little more special, so I planned our whole Disney Experience in advance and booked our stay at Disney’s AllStar Sports because staying within the parks was important to me and staying on a single mama budget was also crucial. It was super convenient, the hotel was so cool and I love that the shuttle buses were frequent and took us everywhere we needed to go on our stay.
Our first day in we just relaxed and explored the hotel. The next day was a long one at Magic Kingdom, we got lucky that they had Trick or Treat at the Park that night and got tickets to stay late and enjoy Halloween, Disney World style. We got on every ride, some twice and three times because people left after the monsoon and also not many stayed for the Trick or Treat event so it was perfect! Jackson was the happiest kid in the world, no one can tell me two and three year olds are too young to enjoy the parks because they won’t remember, those reactions mean everything! I stood online for every character, he met Mickey dressed as a Vampire and couldn’t believe he knew his name! We got to see a Hocus Pocus show at the castle that was all dressed up in cobwebs for Halloween in August.
Con about going to Disney World Orlando in late August: it’s super hot, you will sweat!
The next day we made our way to Hollywood Studios bright and early, we had reservations set for a brunch with the Disney Junior family and let me tell you, Jackson thought they whole celebration was for him. All his “friends” kept coming around to say hi and give him hugs he has such a blast! It really was such a nice experience, I encourage everyone to do character dining with their kids and it isn’t expensive at all.
After brunch we got on rides and of course went to meet every Star Wars and Toy Story character and we saw the Storm Trooper march twice.
I recommend Hollywood Studios for toddlers because it’s the smallest park so easy to get to everything and not spend a full day and Pixar and Disney Junior rides/characters.
So here’s the deal… traveling with a toddler is awesome but it is hard especially when you’re alone. I cried a few times because I was that mom carrying 20 bags, snacks and a stroller in one hand and a sleeping or screaming toddler in the other. Jackson had a few tantrums when it was time to go or he wasn’t allowed on a ride again after getting off so there are challenges, believe me! But it is all worth it, I promise.
- Download the My Disney Experience app
- Plan out everything! Make reservations for dining in advance
- Book your stay at a Disney resort for convenience, there’s one for every budget
- Bring your comfiest sneakers and clothes, you’re going to be walking and waiting a lot
- Wear sunscreen! And bring some to reapply while there
- Bring your stroller if you don’t have help, the park one’s are super convenient if you don’t need a stroller for getting to the shuttles (you have to return them before leaving the park)
- Book your favorite rides with FastPass to minimize your wait times
- Find a shady spot for nap-time, grab a coffee and book while they rest and recharge
I’m planning a longer trip for September this time and will share all of it with ya’ll in real time!