If you haven't taken your grandchildren to Walt Disney World in Florida, you need to start planning a trip. Here's why.
1. You are going to have as much fun as your grandkids.
We made two trips to Disney World in Orlando with our five children, and while we enjoyed those vacations, they were stressful. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and now I'm "Nana" to six grandchildren. Recently my husband and I took our two oldest grandchildren and our daughter to Disney World, and the experience was incredible. Going to Disney as a grandparent is very different from going as a parent. I could concentrate more on enjoying the moment because I was sharing responsibility for the two children with my husband and daughter. It was like reliving the magic of taking our own children through our grandchildren, minus the stress of keeping up with five kids.
2. It's not the same Disney World you took your children to visit.
Disney is constantly changing each park and adding new attractions. One of the newest and biggest additions opens May 27, when the Animal Kingdom rolls out "Pandora — the World of Avatar." I'm hoping to take a boat ride through the bioluminescent rain forest with my grandchildren there this fall.
3. It's educational.
You don't have to tell your grandchildren that going to Disney World is a learning experience if you don't want to, but it's the truth. There are so many things you can do before your trip to increase your grandchildren's excitement and awareness of what they are about to experience. If your grandchildren are young, talk to them about the different cultures of the world and then take them to Magic Kingdom (a favorite for young children) and float with them through the "It's a Small World" attraction. They will love the boat ride, music and dancing figurines, and you will love looking at their enchanted faces.
Your older grandchildren (age 8 and up) will love Mission: Space, which looks and feels like you really are in a spaceship on your way to Mars.
After you have worked up an appetite, you can all feast on cuisine from one of 11 different countries. You will probably end up eating pizza in Italy, but that's OK because it's a favorite of young and old alike.
4. It has the best photo opportunities.
Let's face it: No one is more adorable than our own grandchildren. If you are going to make memories, you want to have pictures, right? You can make your own photos, or Disney will make them for you. We did both, and I love reliving the magic with my granddaughters. They look at the pictures over and over, and never tire of talking about their trip. If you want Disney to take your photos (the program is called Memory Makers), be sure to sign up in advance on the Disney website before your trip. Magic happens even in the photos: Your grandchildren will love seeing Tinker Bell flying over their heads.
5. Disney World has something for all ages.
There is a difference of five years between our two granddaughters, but it didn't seem to matter. They both loved the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique salon (a must for little girls) and were mesmerized by the outdoor performance of Beauty and the Beast.
There are so many choices at all the parks that you won't have any trouble finding age-appropriate activities for everyone.
Besides the parks, don't forget Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Your grandkids will love these kid-themed water parks, and every Disney resort has a pool. We stayed at the Yacht Club resort, which has access to Stormalong Bay and three leisure pools (one has a sand bottom), plus a Lazy River to float down after a long day at the parks.
To find discounts for Disney travel, check out the following:
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