This summer the Chocolate family is going to DisneyWorld! This will be the first time for both Drake, who will be 4 when we go, and Juliet, who will be 1. I will be writing a series of posts as we get ready for the road trip (yes I said road trip) from New Jersey to the happiest place on Earth. We are very fortunate as my mother works for ABC (which is owned by Disney), and thus we are going for a song. This trip is a gift from my mother who is retiring at the end of the year from ABC and wants to take the family one more time while the perks are still around. I plan on blogging about what we are packing, to how we are going to survive the road trip with 2 little ones, as well as Disney itself.
This trip was actually planned for last summer when Drake was going to be 3, but I found out I was pregnant with Juliet so the trip was pushed back a year. At four I think Drake might be at an ideal age for this trip as he is tall enough for most of the rides for his age set, and he is starting to remember moments in his life. I do hope this is one memory he will hang on to.
Drake’s exposure to Disney though has been quite limited. Though my mother, who works for Disney, has bought him Disney paraphernalia since he was born, Drake only really knows a handful of characters, Nemo and Squirt from Finding Nemo, Dumbo the elephant, Winnie the Poo, and Tinkerbell because she used to fly around right before his Baby Einstein videos would start. I feel a lot of Disney knowledge comes from the movies and Drake is still not able to sit through and watch an entire movie yet. Drake isn’t interested in the Disney channel shows either preferring Nick Jr’s Dora, Wallykazam, and Umizoomi to Mickey Mouse or Doc McStuffins.
Over the last few months I have been slowly trying to introduce more Disney into our lives to help Drake recognize more characters, as well as get excited about this trip. My mother bought him a series of Disney books a few Christmases ago so I have taken to reading a few stories to Drake and Juliet in the afternoon before Juliet’s nap. Most of the stories are animal related (Lady & the Tramp, Dumbo, 101 Dalmatians) so Drake has enjoyed them.
Then recently I went to the mall with Juliet while Drake was in pre-school and discovered that all the Disney stores do an opening ceremony when the store opens. There is a large keybox set up with ropes, and inside the store there is a clock that shows when the time is getting close. The first child who is outside the store is allowed to help unlock the doors to imagination with a large key that makes the ropes fall down to allow everyone into the store. As a token for their help, they also receive a small replica key. When I watched the ceremony that day with Juliet, I knew this was a way to show Drake how magical Disney could be.
After I got him I told him all about the key, the big key hole and the clock and asked him if he wanted to do it. Of course he said yes! Over the next few weeks, only on Mondays as that was the only day that worked for us, I would try to race Drake and Juliet up and out the door to make it to the mall in time to be the first child. For three weeks we didn’t make it, but Drake got to watch the ceremony which he enjoyed just as much it seemed. When Sunday night would roll around I would talk to him before bed about how the next morning we would have to get up and be quick to make it to the mall to try to unlock the doors.
Finally on our fourth attempt we made it! Oh the joy on Drake’s face when he found out he got to help and turn the big key was priceless.
His souvenir key
Afterwards to sweeten the day, Drake and Juliet got to pick out a stuffed pal to take home — a taste of magic to come hopefully. Drake choose Squirt from Nemo (one of the few Disney characters he knows) and helped Juliet pick out one of Thumper. Drake couldn’t wait to tell his daddy all about what he did that day when he came home. I am hoping that this will help build the excitement leading up to our big trip in August.
Have you taken your little one to Disney yet? How old were they?