Over the years, our family has vacationed at Disney dozens of times! We have taken our children and grandchildren from as young as twelve months to eighteen years old and enjoyed making wonderful memories with each of them.
My husband, Bobby, and I teased our baby duck for years saying that once she moved away, “Dad and I will go play at Disney World all by ourselves”. It was certainly interesting the first time we actually found ourselves at the ‘happiest place on earth’ without any children and we learned some fascinating aspects!
One of the many advantages of staying at a Disney resort is admission to the parks an hour before normal opening time. Bobby and I spent years getting up at dawn with the family to take advantage of the extra time and beat the crowds. On our own, we decided not to set the alarm and enjoy sleeping in. Surprise! Our eyes popped open at the usual time and needless to say, we were up and at it and ready for the rope drop each day. It was like our heart knew, the parking is opening early and you can beat the crowd.
The kiddos love when we spend the hottest part of our Disney day at the pool and then return to our rooms for naps. This gives everyone enough rest and energy to stay out late for the incredible fireworks and parades. As it turned out, Nana and Papa still needed a nap even though we were not chasing the children around!
Character meals are always splendid and a definite must when we are all together! Bobby and I also took the opportunity for a quiet dinner and discovered the wonderful African cuisine and atmosphere of the Boma restaurant. The evening was a Disney highlight for us.
Beautiful art and jewelry are waiting to be found throughout the Disney parks! Without children, our pace was much slower with plenty of time to explore items and details that would not interest small children. Well, maybe some of it would interest them.
Bobby and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together at Disney. Every step we took brought back precious memories of family adventures; playing on cars at Epcot with Smalls, one-year-old Agnes staring in the mouth of each furry character, Princess Ana meeting our Ana for the first time, Elizabeth curtsying to every cast member in her princess dress, Admiral watching the parade with strangers, or Parker kissing Drusilla on the carousel. Best of all, I love the memories of our big kids playing with their babies.
Traveling together gave us new perspective. Traveling alone or just with another adult encourages you to look at Disney in a different way. You travel through time to a childhood filled with memories like when ‘the rain came down down down’ on Pooh or when Ariel got her legs. Our entire trip alone we were planning our next family vacation to Disney. We calculated who would be how old and what rides they could ride and what different resort we should try.
Traveling as an entire family creates bonding time between siblings and cousins and these magical moments without work, television, or the doorbell are the perfect recipe for amazing memories. I’m glad Bobby and I got to go alone. It gave us time to dream up our next family adventure, where we can watch our children play with their children!
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Angie Roberts Harris has been Going Out The Door to Disney since 1974 when she was 11 years old. Today she travels to the ‘happiest place on earth’ with her husband and their crew of 5 children and their families.