If you follow me on Instagram, you already know we went to Walt Disney World the week after Mother’s Day. We went with family, so we had a big group to keep Emerson entertained. Dallas and his family had been before, but this was my first time. I didn’t really know what to expect, much less with a teething one-year-old, but YOLO, right?
I’m finally sharing our photos from the trip (the good, the bad, and the cranky), as well as including some of my favorite Disney gear and life-saving toddler products we packed.
We flew nonstop from Austin to Orlando on Monday and stayed at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort. Our flight was during Emerson’s nap time, but of course he was too excited to sleep. He flew with us to Colorado last summer when he was five months old and happily nursed himself to sleep for most of the flight, but now he’s a demanding little toddler and didn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to run up and down the aisle. We survived by playing “pass the toddler” (perks of traveling with a big group) and keeping him happy with plenty of snacks. We arrived late afternoon, so we spent the rest of our day getting settled into our room and exploring our resort.
TRAVEL TIPS: We were able to request a Pack N’ Play from our resort for Emerson, which was in our room shortly after check-in. A couple people from our group also took an Uber to Walmart and picked up diapers, wipes, and snacks. Any time we’re traveling for more than a few days, we only pack enough diapers for our travel days and then purchase a pack at our destination to save space in our suitcase. Because Emerson has so many allergies, we opted to pick him up snacks from Walmart so we always had something for him to eat, although Disney was very accommodating and would often make us special allergy-friendly plates so we could still use our meal plan. They also had a special section with cookies, chips, and other allergy-friendly snacks that were included as part of our meal plan.
This was our one and only day at Universal Studios! It also felt like the longest day, because we wanted to see as many things as possible. Dallas and I were nervous about E’s nap (especially because he didn’t nap on the plane the day before) because he’s never been great at napping on the go. I did a lot of research before our trip and decided to buy a travel stroller rather than rent one at Disney because it was more cost effective. I was also able to look at reviews and monitor sales. We ultimately went with this one because it reclines all the way back (and because the yellow was on sale), which I thought would increase the likelihood of him napping (which it did!). It also has very positive reviews. We also purchased a portable sound machine since we use one at home that always puts him to sleep. I bought extra batteries but still haven’t needed to replace them, even after a week of using it all night and during naps.
I only wish we could have spent more time at Universal. If we ever go back, Dallas and I agree we would ideally like to spend two days here. Hands down, my favorite ride of the day was Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. We did child-swap for a lot of rides, but Emerson really enjoyed Suess Landing. We also saw Barney live, but Emerson was a little freaked out.
In case you can’t tell from the photos, it rained at least once every day we were in Florida, so I’m so glad we packed rain jackets. Mine can be found here and Emerson’s was from the Hunter x Target collection, but I’ll link a similar one here. Dallas insisted he didn’t need one when packing and later regretted it when he had to spend $10 on a plastic poncho at Epcot that later ripped really easily. I’m also glad I packed extra shoes that we could rotate so they had time to dry. If I could do it again, I’d probably pack a rain cover for our stroller. We ended up using a plastic poncho, but it wasn’t very effective.
This was our first day at Magic Kingdom! This was also the day I realized Emerson is definitely teething. We tried to get to the park early to take photos before our first Fast Pass, but none of us slept well and Emerson’s mood was already off to a rocky start, as you can see. We kept him happy with Tylonol and crunchy snacks. He’s obsessed with Rice Chex, so we bought a box at Walmart and loaded some in a cup before we left our room for the day. Of course, he’s always much more content with Dallas, which made for some cute photos of the two of them and full-tantrum-mode for photos with mama. We ended up coming back later in the week to try again for castle photos. My favorite ride of the day was definitely Space Mountain. I highly recommend sitting in the front if you can!
P.S. I purchased my rose gold ears from Etsy before our trip and was so glad I did because I didn’t see this color available anywhere at the parks. They did have millennial pink, but I personally like rose gold better.
Epcot! I’m so glad we made it in time for Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. Even with the cloudy skies, it was beautiful. It also rained quite a bit. We spent a lot of time eating and walking around the different countries, but also rode a few rides. Emerson’s favorite rides were the Seas with Nemo & Friends and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, which is a boat ride in the Mexico Pavilion. He also managed to fall asleep in my arms on the bus ride back to our resort, which was the cutest.
The next day was Hollywood Studios. We did a lot of child-swap this day. We rode the Rock N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, the Tower of Terror, and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. We did find a Muppet Vision 3D show that we took Emerson to. He liked it okay, but was a little nervous about the 3D effects.
Animal Kingdom! We really only had time for the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride in the morning, but it was one of my favorites of the whole trip. Emerson loved seeing all the animals up close and I would 100% take him again. Around lunch/nap time, Emerson refused to nap in his stroller and had a full meltdown because he was tired, so Dallas and I took him back to our room, where he took a 3 hour nap. Later that evening, we went back to Hollywood Studios for a bit and saw the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, where we got soaked by another storm.
Magic Kingdom take two! We managed to get much better photos this time around, although Emerson was still cranky. The highlight of Emerson’s day was following ducks around near the castle. We did some more shopping and rode a few more rides. My favorite souvenir is a silhouette portrait of Emerson. Dallas has one from when he visited Disney Land when he was a toddler and it’s cool to compare the two.
Our flight was in the evening, so we spent the morning shopping around at Disney Springs to kill some time before we needed to head to the airport. Emerson took a nap in Build-A-Bear while grandpa picked him out a stuffed dinosaur to take home. Once we got to the airport, Emerson would start immediately crying anytime he saw me because at this point he was teething pretty hard and all he wanted to do was nurse. His grandparents took him shopping to distract him, but he was in tears every time he spotted me. By the time we got in line to go through security, he wanted to run around the airport and was not happy that he couldn’t. He threw a fit all the way through security until I could sit down and nurse him by the gate. It was probably the hardest part of the whole trip.
Luckily, the flight home went a lot smoother. We had the whole row to ourselves and he fell asleep and woke up refreshed just as we landed. Overall, we had a really good time and definitely made a lot of fun family memories. Dallas and I already can’t wait to go back when Emerson is older! Dallas and I both love to travel and have always been in agreement that we’ll do everything we can to show our kids the world. We both want Emerson to be open to new experiences, meet new people, and learn important life skills through travel.
If you enjoyed this post, leave me a comment and tell me where we should travel next!
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