Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 5 Things I Can't Wait to Do With My Daughter at WDW....

Plus the Magic welcomes Guest Contributor Rebecca Kelly, sharing plans for her next visit...

Well, it's been a long time coming, but in October I'm taking a mother/daughter trip to Disney World with my 7-year-old daughter. I started planning this trip while we were on our way home from our last trip, in February 2011...  It was originally going to be late September 2012, but Things Happened, and here we are. :)

My daughter has been my Disney Buddy for as long as she can remember, and we had a fantastic time on our first family trip, but even then there were just so many things we didn't get to do. We just couldn't fit them in with the family as a whole.  But since our upcoming trip is a quickie - only 3 nights, one park per day - there will, by necessity, be a lot we don't we don't manage to do this time either.  So it's about stripping down to the bare bones and figuring out what is most important to her, most important to me, and most important to us together.  Like many Disney fiends, I am a compulsive planner - I love to know in advance what I'm doing and just what I'll have time to fit in, but this time I'm deliberately trying to step back from that and focus on the most important things, while letting the smaller ones happen as they do.

That said, I do have to have my big things picked out.  Which is why, at KJ's invitation, I provide to you now:

The Top 5 things I can't wait to do with my daughter at WDW:

5: Club Cool/Beverly

photo courtesy of thejcgerm, via flickr
Honestly, I really can't wait to do this, because I am that sadistic. :)  In case you aren't aware, at Epcot there is a small Coca-Cola shop called Club Cool, located near Innoventions West and across from the Fountain of Nations.  In addition to piles of Coke memorabilia, there is a beverage dispenser in the middle of the room where you can get free samples of various Coca-Cola products from other countries that are unique to that country.  No cola here - instead we've got watermelon soda from China, Lychee Mello from China, Mezzo Mix from Germany... and then there's Beverly.  Beverly is a bitter aperitif from Italy that is used to cleanse the palate, and it's a favourite thing for repeat visitors to trick their friends and loved ones into drinking it.  She will never trust me again.  I'll make it up to her by telling her she can give some to her younger brother on our next family trip.  All will be forgiven. :)

4: Dole Whip

photo via the amazing Tom Bricker,
If the promise of evil tricks on her brother doesn't buy my daughter's forgiveness, then that of special ice cream probably will.  Actually, funny story about Dole Whips: I've only had one, and it was underwhelming.  I had it in 2008 on my one and only solo visit.  Maybe that was why I didn't really care?  It was in no way bad, mind you.  Just... not amazing.  I guess I expected amazing.  Anyway, I have been told to get a citrus swirl instead and try again, and I'm going to do that.  And while I'm at it I'm going to get one or the other for my daughter and see how she likes them, with no hype at all in advance.  In this case, it's really less about "Everyone says this is so great!" and a lot more about having and sharing a new experience that we can only get at WDW.

3: The New Test Track

photo via
If there was one attraction that she would not stop talking about afterwards, yeah, it was Test Track.  I didn't expect that.  I had in mind other ones she would probably like best, but nope: fast car.  (She is also convinced, with the passage of 2 1/2 years since our trip, that we steered the car ourselves.)  She talks all the time about going on Test Track again and we've looked over the ride-thru on YouTube of the new version.  I think she'll like it - I hope she will anyway - but either way, we get to do it together.  When we have a place like Disney World, where I've been way more times than she has and I research it constantly, it's nice to get to experience things for the first time with someone else doing the same.

2: Camping, just the two of us

Campsite with trees screening one side and a picnic table and tent on the grounds
photo via
We've been camping as a family twice, though not Disney camping.  I've been Disney camping on a solo trip, back in '08 when my daughter was just 2.  (That was my first time; it was practice, I was such a noob. :D)  But other than the bugs, D is quite a fan of camping; she loves the outdoors, she is not addicted to technology yet, and she loves the excitement of nature.  She also loves cuddling in a tent.  This is a blessing and a curse, because I am a light sleeper and she is a flailer who has a tendency to sit up in the middle of the night and then throw herself onto the other end of the bed.  (One time on our last trip to WDW, I had a dream where I couldn't move my legs. I awoke in horror to discover that it was TRUE.  In a panic I came to and realized it was because 5-year-old D, who was sharing my bed, was sleeping perpendicular over my lower body.)  But I try to focus more on the blessing, because how much longer am I going to have an affectionate little girl who enjoys hugging her Mom at night?  As long as I can, I hope.  I also love tents.  They're like having your own little cave, where you're outside but you're safe from strangers.

1: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party

photo via
Well, this is the biggie. I first heard about this back in 2004, quite by accident - my husband and I were at the Magic Kingdom on a night when they closed early for a party.  Whoops.  Since then, the more I found out, the more I thought I might like to go.  Enter D, who loves Halloween almost as much as me; who has a crush on Jack Skellington; who thinks of candy like rain from heaven.  From within a week of our last trip to WDW, back in early 2011, I was planning this camping trip.  Camping, D and me, and staying up to do the Halloween party if I could afford it.  To be doing it?  MAN am I excited!  The only downside is I don't have a costume.  At all.  No ideas.  D is going to be a butterfly.  The only thing I really want to be is a Ghostbuster, and I'm not sure I can pull that one together cheaply in time for the party. ;)

Overall, I do keep having to remind myself that the most important thing is to go and have a good time doing what we want to do while we're there; go with the flow and enjoy spending time together in our favourite place, and it doesn't really matter what we do.  Because I want to do SO MUCH with her that it's easy to get overwhelmed.  When you can only get there every few years, you tend to want to do everything and feel like you're missing out if you don't... but I know we'll remember more if we slow down and do less.  Since D has trouble slowing down and taking things a bit at a time, I guess this is a lesson for both of us.  Here's hoping...! :)


Rebecca Kelly blogs with many a Top 5 (plus whatever else strikes her fancy) at Disney With Me; in addition to being a parent, wife, and publishing assistant, she is also a full-service travel agent with Fairytale Journeys, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, and loves all her jobs. Follow Fairytale Journeys by Rebecca Kelly on Facebook for travel tips & general Disney fun, or @rkellyWDW on Twitter for her personal account.


  1. I love tricking people into drinking Beverly. And when I don't have anyone around that doesn't know better, I simply enjoy watching poor unsuspecting strangers try it. I actually know one person who likes it and gets excited to go have some with every visit. Hard to believe, I know. Haha

    I haven't done the Halloween party, but I have done Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party, and it was awesome! I just know you guys will have a great time!

  2. This is a great list- and I'm really excited for you to be taking this great mother-daughter trip! I'll be interested to hear what you two think of new Test Track. I actually give old Test Track higher marks, but I think I may be in the minority. Regarding Dole Whip- when I first tried it, the weather was rather cool. I thought it was pretty good, but didn't quite get the cult-like status. Then....I tried it when it was hot out. Really hot out. It was the most delicious, refreshing, heavenly thing ever!

  3. Thanks Rebecca! Great post. I have LOVED experiencing Disney with my kids and most of the things on your list have been on my list over the years as well. The best part about Disney is that there is always something new you haven't experienced yet....and seeing "that look" of joy and wonder on your child's face is just....priceless. HAVE FUN!

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