I know I have written previously about how much fun a Walt Disney World vacation can be for young kids. Despite what some people may think, there is a lot to see and do in Disney World for a toddler, and not just in the Magic Kingdom. When my family does Disney, we go to every park and bring the kids on every ride and show that their ages/heights will permit!
That being said, now that we are Disney Vacation Club members, we vacation at Disney World quite often. This means that if we don't fit in every single ride into a trip, we're not too worried... we will get to it next time. Instead, we are now exploring different ways to do Disney so we can have a different vacation each time! Also, because the kids are at different stages in their toddlerhood each time we go, their interests and abilities are a little different each trip, too.
On the two most recent Disney trips we've taken, we've really taken the time to smell the roses, so to speak. Especially if you are lucky enough to stay at a Disney resort, there is so much to see and do at the resort that you can really spend an entire vacation in the resort alone! While a Walt Disney World vacation spend entirely in the resort may seem like a waste for those who may not be back for years, for frequent visitors, a laid-back resort vacation may just be the thing you need to keep your Disney vacations spicy!
Contrary to our usually strict park touring regimens (which really do serve a purpose to get in all the attractions you want!), my kids really enjoyed the unstructured time that we spent at the resort this past trip. Rather than waking up early to make it to the Parks for rope drop, we slept in and hit the pool. The unseasonal January warmth also made it hard for us to bypass the pool this trip! Some days, when the kids woke up early on their own, we would do rope drop, do a few rides then head back to our resort for around 11am. We would quickly put on our swim suits and proceed to swim for the next couple of hours until lunch.
After a relaxing day, most days we still went into the Parks to eat dinner. That was nice because it still gave us the Park atmosphere that we missed while being at the resort. However, there were days that we chose to eat dinner at the quick service restaurant at our resort for a more relaxed dinner with our toddlers (we all know how table service meals can end up, don't we?!). Those dinners were condusive to more resort exploration because we still had the whole evening ahead of us. The kids really liked watching the movies by the pool. We'd bring their grapes (dessert from their meals) and they'd eat them in their strollers like they were at a drive-in. We all also really enjoyed sitting by the campfire. And, as any mother of a newly walking toddler knows, just giving them time to WALK around is a major source of fun for them. Well, an evening at the resort gives them plenty of time for that, rather than being chauffered around in their stroller in the crowded Park.
While we will absolutely never stop going to the Disney Parks, I think we will also continue to spend more time at the resorts. The resorts have so much to offer, and as the kids get older, they will be able to participate in the resort activites more and more. I look forward to our unique and changing Disney vacations to come!