It truly is hard to believe that my daughter is going to be 5 in August! Even before she was born my Mom was adamant that we would be taking her on a Walt Disney World Celebration Vacation her 5th birthday. Life has taken a few turns, but thankfully my Mom's wish for a special Disney Celebration for her grandchild is going to come true!
Let the planning begin, WAIT, what is our plan? First things first, my eldest daughter really isn't the princess type. She's actually more of the pirate type. Forget the crown, she wants a sword and really wants adventure at sea! My Mom has her heart set on enjoying the parks with all her girls. So how do I keep everyone happy?....Ok, we have a plan, a 3 night cruise on the Disney Magic for the birthday girl and a few days in the parks for Grandma.
Wait, we need to pick a resort for our park stay! Will we do a dining plan? What about dining reservations? Transportation? Birthday Cake? Pirates League? We have a lot to plan.
I have so much fun doing this every day with other families but I have to admit, its even more fun planning for my own girls. I'll have to sway Mom towards Disney's Art of Animation Resort. This way she can have her own separate bedroom if the girls get to be too much. Like I mentioned, my daughter isn't the princess type and because she spends so much time in her Grandpa's garage, my daughter opted for a Cars suites. As long as we spend a little time over at Ariel's pool, my youngest daughter will be thrilled. Great -Mom is happy and my girls are happy. The dining plan is an abolute must -now I'm happy. At least with a celebration vacation picking a date to travel is easy if you're planning your trip around the birthday of somebody special.
Mom and I picked our travel dates based on a 3 night cruise on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas over my daughter's birday. My next mission was to make sure I would have the proper permission to take my girls to Florida. I am going through a divorce and have a custody agreement. This will be my first time I will be vacationing with my girls alone and I wanted to be sure no last minute legal loopholes would spoil our fun. Once I received the go ahead it was time to book our trip, which I did!
Most of my clients who book a combo cruise & park package with me opt to do the parks first. After a few days of walking and excitement in Walt Disney World, it's really nice to have a few days on a cruise ship to look forward too. It gives you a chance to kick back , relax and recharge. Just like I needed to accomodate the vacation wishes of my mom & daughter, I also had to respect the visitation days and custody rights of their father. In order to make this trip work for everyone, we'll need to rest up on our cruise first so that we'll have plenty of energy to enjoy the parks.
I always tell my cruise clients to arrive in Orlando as least one day before you set sail. This way your family won't miss the boat due to delayed flights, etc. Besides, who needs worry and agnst on vacation. Ok, we'll need to arrive in Orlando the day before our ship leaves and plan on staying at an airport hotel for the night. AH, the fine art of compromise! Had we visited the parks first, we would have already been in Florida and could have simply taken a Disney Cruise bus from our resort to the port and saved a night at a hotel. Another reason we should have done the parks first, after our relaxing voyage we're going to spend some hot August days in the parks with the birthday girl and her 3 year old sister, this ought to be fun!
Ultimately, it's all about the Celebration. I am so very grateful that my Mom is willing to do this for and with us. I've already started working on our daily park plans so that we can avoid lines. There will be challenges, my Mom will get tired, the birthday girl will probably take off on us (she's a runner), and my younger daughter will be content with whatever is thrown her way. I am not sure who will be the most proud when my daughter pins on her birthday button when we arrive at the Magic Kingdom. Will it be my daughter, my mom or me? Technically this is a disney celebration vacation for my daughter to give her amazing memories that will last a lifetime. But I can't help but think this vacation also celebrates the accomplishments of our entire family.