Mecca to the Mouse

We’d been discussing it for years, when would be the best time? Should we wait for Kate to be old enough, or just drag her along when Will has reached the right age? Maybe this spring, we said. Or, maybe next fall.

Then we realized that school was closed for all of Mardi Gras week.

And that Kate, not yet 3, would have free admission.

And Paul secretly called my friend, Alex, to see if she would cover our combined teaching responsibilities for the week. She would.

And so, sometime on Monday, we decided to do it. We drove to Mobile Monday night. Early Tuesday morning, I made hotel reservations and we left from my parents house to drive the remaining 500 miles. It was so spontaneous and so very last minute that we didn’t even tell the kids.

My grandparents worked for Disney for almost two decades. The summers of my formative years were spent with them, in their Kissimmee home, visiting Disney on free and reduced tickets, seeing background pieces of the park(s), swimming in their pool, and fishing with my Grandfather.  My brother and I knew the rides in the Magic Kingdom by heart (often recreating them in lavish imagination at home) and can still sing the theme songs to major attractions.  Even with the obnoxious branding and commercialization of the Disney product, I still love The Mouse.  It wasn’t a question of whether or not we would take the kids to The World, it was just a question of when.

I’ll post about the actual visit with more pictures in separate posts.  But here are some key factors that helped us have a fantastic visit:

— Paul and I had 2 unused, no expiration park days from our visit in 2001.

— We only went to the park 2 days and took a day off in-between.

— The only admission ticket we needed to buy was for Will.

— Our expectations were realistic and based on experience.

— We packed snacks and drinks and ate sparingly in the park.

— We made sure to get out of the park(s) for naptime.

— Each child had a stroller.

— We were there during the “value season” when park attendance is low(er).

— The weather was perfect.

— We stayed outside the park in a Quality Inn… free hot breakfast, free internet, heated pool, kids playground, 2 bedrooms and kitchenette… for a total of $388 during our 4 night stay.

— We chose our attractions wisely.

— We consulted The Unofficial Guide.

Details and photographs to follow!