On our last trip to Disney World, I was a little worried about the age differences of our kids and finding the right balance on our trip for everyone to have fun. We have a 15, 10, and 4 year old...quite the age span, and trying to make sure everyone is included in the fun is sometimes a challenge. One of the great things about staying at a Walt Disney World Resort is that once you are on property, you can get anywhere with their transportation.
This means that older kids can have freedom to travel back and forth to the hotel and parks on their own. Also, once in the parks, I feel there is a sense of safety to let older kids go off and explore on their own.
I told Carolyn (and Evan, if they stayed together) she could go off on her own to explore, ride, and do what she wanted to. We just set up a time for her to check in with us, and a location to meet back up at. With their Magic Bands and Disney Dining Plan, if the kids got hungry and wanted to get a snack or quick service meal without us, they were able to do just that, without having to track Rob and I down for money.
|A little Sibling Love before riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.|
|And a little fun and Sibling Rivalry...|
One of the biggest advantages to staying on property became very apparent on this vacation! Carolyn had the freedom to come and go to the resort and parks when she wanted to, without having to worry about whether or not she would get lost or feel unsafe. On our Hollywood Studios day, I could tell she had reached her limit with our early morning wake up calls. Carolyn was so relieved when I told her she could go back to bed for a few hours and meet up with us later when she was ready to. This gave us a chance to do all things Star Wars with the boys, without my daughter feeling like she HAD to be there. It was a win for the entire family!
This also worked out to my advantage one day at the Magic Kingdom. Rob had already taken our youngest back to the resort.When he was leaving, I told the older two that if they stayed with me, we were not leaving until after the Festival of Fantasy Parade. (If you haven’t seen this yet, make it a priority!) About an hour before it was set to begin, both kids were done with Magic Kingdom, and ready to get some pool time in. I decided to walk them to the exit, point out the monorail, and send them on their way. Then, it was quiet time for me to enjoy the parade! I wandered along Main Street, grabbed an ice cream sandwich, and settled in to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade. (This alone time in the park may have been one of the highlights of the trip for me!)
Even with going off on her own, we had a lot of great family time! Fortunately, Carolyn didn't think she was too old to meet some of the characters, and I got some great photo ops.
|Baymax was Carolyn's favorite to meet!|
|The whole family taking a break on the People Mover.|