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Preschooling Through Walt Disney World

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Previous Disney Post: Starting the New Year with Disney

We had been keeping this big trip from the boys until arriving in Orlando. Chatty plane passengers pretty much gave it away for Jayden, but since both of the boys hadn’t been familiar with the epicness of Disney, they wouldn’t be able to comprehend until arriving at the resort, then hopping the parks. Walking through Orlando International, we passed Sorcerer Mickey to which Juicy exclaimed, “I hate Mickah Mouse!” “Sir, you what? After what we went through to get here (spending most of the day shuffling through and camping out at the airport), you betta worship that radiant rodent!”

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As a newly turned threenager, Juicy is the perfect age for a Disney vacation. He’s at an age where he is mature enough to appreciate the characters and innocent enough to be swept away in the enchanting fairytales. Despite his little outburst in the airport, he really is a Disney fan who regularly chatters about Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Elsa.

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We stayed at the Art of Animation Resort in a Cars Family Suite. Everything about this resort was live and on point. The outside was decked out in big, bold, and bright storybook landscapes from the movie classics; Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Our room was accented in cones, the furniture was workshop inspired, and our bathrooms (plural!) even had garage themed vanities.

Art of Animation Resort Pool

The main lobby area featured large sketches of classic Disney characters to be appreciated by my budding artist, Jayden. The pool area was massive and I wish we had more time to experience it all. We spent most of our time at the parks, so next time we visit Disney… and stay at a resort, I’d love to return back to Art of Animation. Lion King suite next time around.

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When thinking of Disney, the first thing that comes to mind is the Magic Kingdom, right? We spent quite a bit of time there since that’s where all of the iconic kiddie rides are. We hit Under the Sea, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, “it’s a small world”, Tomorrowland Speedway (x2) and Mad Tea Party which the boys rode back to back thanks to our Fast Passes. Juicy threw a fit when it was time to get off of the teacups, so riding again was an absolute must. We met Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Tinkerbell and stopped by the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station to play.

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Preschool play goes beyond the Magic Kingdom, though. There’s plenty of fun to be had in the other three parks as well. At Epcot, we attended a Character breakfast at Akershus. Snow White, Ariel, and Aurora were among several characters in the building.

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We spent a very relaxing few hours at Epcot after breakfast. It’s the second largest of the four parks so it was pretty quiet and airy. The boys played in fountains and we casually strolled to explore attractions. We enjoyed Journey Into Imagination With Figment, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and caught the interactive Turtle Talk With Crush. It was hilarious and innovative. It was SO impressive.

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At Hollywood Studios, we caught a show at Disney Junior – Live on Stage! for Minnie’s Surprise Birthday Bash. Juicy was all the way live during the show. Confetti, bubbles, and paper coins fell from above and tots hit the dance floor as Doc McStuffins and friends cured Lambie from “the rippies”.

The Disney Junior Live turnup. #JuicyJax #DisneyKids

A video posted by Sheena Tatum (@sheenatatum) on

At Animal Kingdom, we had a VIP viewing of Festival of the Lion King. This was my second VIP viewing and I loved it just as much as I did seven years ago. I can’t remember if it made me teary last time, but my eyes got a little moist and it wasn’t from the flames. The boys were mesmerized. Juicy started to doze off towards the end of the show; an indication that all of our park hopping adventures started to catch up with him.

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We stopped to meet Mickey and Minnie after the show. After going through all of our character photos, it seems that Jayden was more into the characters than Juicy. Tots seldom react in the ways we imagine, do they?

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I’d be lying if I pretended like our trip was effortless. When vacationing with a preschooler, you have to be ready for them to take flight, move erratically, and throw tantrums. Those cute matching outfits that the boys wore throughout the trip? Sure, I dressed them for photos, but their uniformed look made it easy to keep an eye on them especially during Juicy’s shenanigans.

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I swear Fast Passes were sent down from the heavens for impatient preschoolers. They don’t understand the concept of waiting, personal space, or line flow. And if they really enjoy a ride, they may become upset having to get off. Fast Passes were absolutely worth it for sure as they saved us from too much heck breaking loose.

If you’re apprehensive about taking your preschooler to Disney, I get it, but do it anyway. There will be meltdowns. There will be mess. But most importantly, there will be memories.

There will be meltdowns. There will be mess. But most importantly, there will be memories. #DisneyKids Click To Tweet

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Our Recap

Resort
Art of Animation, Cars Family Suite

Magic Kingdom
Under the Sea
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station
“it’s a small world”
Tomorrowland Speedway
Mad Tea Party
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party
Characters: Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Tinkerbell

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Epcot
Character breakfast at Akershus
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk With Crush
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Characters: Snow White, Ariel, and Aurora

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Hollywood Studios
Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, It’s a Surprise Birthday Bash

Animal Kingdom
Festival of the Lion King
Characters: Mickey & Minnie

… what we packed

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More Disney Reads

Starting the New Year with Disney
DIY Disney Autograph Books & Stroller Sign + Printables
Finding Dory at Walt Disney World – Here’s Where to Spot Her

This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World Resorts. They were gracious enough to host our family during our unforgettable experience.

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Disney for Preschoolers

To support my blogging efforts and site expenses, I do share relevant affiliate links in my posts. Thank you for your support.

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25 Comments

  • Reply Krystle Cook

    They look like they had such a great time. I would love to be able to bring my littles with me to the park.

    View Comment September 26, 2016 at 7:19 AM
  • Reply geanine

    I took my two to Disney age 4, and 8 last Spring and it was exhausting for everyone involved. The biggest game changer that kept tantrums at bay was a stroller rental. We want so badly to have our little ones experience all the magic, but sometimes it becomes to much.

    View Comment September 12, 2016 at 8:36 PM
  • Reply Michaela

    I’ve never been here before! I hope one day I can experience all the fun that you had :)

    View Comment September 12, 2016 at 6:48 PM
  • Reply Toughcookiemommy

    You are right, I think it is important to bring kids to go on vacations like this one when they are old enough to enjoy it. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time.

    View Comment September 10, 2016 at 9:56 PM
  • Reply Heather

    I love this! It looks like such an amazing time! I haven’t been to Disney in 7 years, and I can’t wait to get back!

    View Comment September 10, 2016 at 9:18 PM
  • Reply Christina Aliperti

    I love Disney and it’s awesome how much they have for all ages. My nieces haven’t been to Disney yet so I am looking forward to that trip.

    View Comment September 10, 2016 at 6:55 PM
  • Reply Casey

    This looks like you all had such a fun time! What’s even better is the great family memories you’ve created for the kids.

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 9:24 PM
  • Reply CourtneyLynne

    Awwwww how fun!!!!!! Disney is fun for all ages! My daughter is 4 and it’s so magical to see how excited she gets about the characters

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 7:36 PM
  • Reply Rachel

    We are going in two more weeks with our pre-schooler! I can’t wait to see how she reacts!

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 4:59 PM
  • Reply Brittany

    “Hey kids do you want to do school at Walt Disney World this week?” I can only imagine their response! I love the idea of naturally teaching kids through fun experiences like this!

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 2:18 PM
  • Reply Audrey

    I love that Disney is fun for kids of all ages!! All of my kids love going there and they are such a range of ages but everyone has a blast.

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 11:19 AM
  • Reply Lesley Carter

    Disney is amazing at any age but with a preschooler it’s even more magical. We’re into age four now and it’s still special but I’ll always remember her first trip at age two.

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 11:12 AM
  • Reply Mandy Carter

    Such a cute family. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. We love the Art of Animation hotel too.

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 10:12 AM
  • Reply Cass Bailey

    How amazing that you kept it a secret until the last minute !

    It looks like you had an amazing time and made some family memories that you’ll treasure x

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 9:03 AM
  • Reply Kim

    We take my toddler to WDW next week! I can’t wait! Love going this time of the year.

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 4:42 AM
  • Reply MyTeenGuide

    What a fun trip for the whole family. It was all worth it, isn’t it?

    View Comment September 8, 2016 at 3:02 AM
  • Reply Terri Steffes

    I love it that you all got to go! How fun. Our daughter still talks about this vacation!

    View Comment September 7, 2016 at 8:49 PM
  • Reply karen

    Must be so magical to introduce your children to Walt Disney World! Its magical in itself – but through your childs eyes is even better!

    View Comment September 7, 2016 at 7:15 PM
  • Reply Rebecca Bryant

    Disney is amazing at any age but with a preschooler it’s even more magical. So much fun to be had.

    View Comment September 7, 2016 at 2:36 PM
  • Reply Lashawn

    Yes to all of this! We took Pookah the first time when he was four, it’s the perfect age to introduce them! I was looking at the art of animation for our next trip( a year away but already planning) .

    View Comment February 27, 2016 at 11:02 AM
    • Reply Sheena Tatum

      Let me know which resort you go with next time around! I like to try new things, but I fell in love with Art of Animation- I don’t even want to look at any others! LOL

      View Comment February 27, 2016 at 10:09 PM
  • Reply Brittany

    Yes to all of this. I’ve got a 3-year old too and you just have to know that a meltdown will happen. It’s A LOT for them but you’re right. It’s all soooo worth it. I knew you guys would love the resort. We did Art of Music in October and if I wasn’t so pregnant, I would have been swinging from the quarter notes. So glad that you guys had such a memorable time!

    View Comment February 27, 2016 at 9:20 AM
  • Reply MJ

    I can’t not wait to introduce my kids to Disney. Disney is my absolute favorite vacation for fun, food and a never ending list of things to do. My first vacation with the hubs (when we were still dating) was a trip to Disney World. Needless to say, I fell in love. LOL.
    Great memories! I’m here for the 3 year old dramatics. Baby E will probably be 3 and Z will be 5 when we go. I can’t wait!

    View Comment February 26, 2016 at 7:15 PM
  • Reply 1stopmom

    I think it is so cool that you were able to go back with the entire family. I remember the first time I went several years ago and I was able to meet you and Jayden. It was magical then so I can’t even imagine how much better it is now. I am hoping to go back one day, maybe with my granddaughter!

    View Comment February 26, 2016 at 3:07 PM
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