Another Disney Trip


January 29, 2023

January Disney Trip


George met Mickey for the first time and loved him!

EPCOT was our first stop after setting into the AirBnB on Saturday. The hot water was out, which was obnoxious, but the rental has fun themes in the bedrooms and is spacious. We had a good half-day with George in the parks and Kayla at the conference. George was very excited to see her when he woke up from his nap.

His favorite “ride” was the playground, but he enjoyed Living with the Land, The Seas, and Spaceship Earth. The trains in Germany were a bit hit, too.


Juliana could only stay until Tuesday, so we added an extra day of parks to go to Magic Kingdom. George shouted his version of “Mickey” at the stage show in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Flailing his arms in a bit of a dance and a bit of overwhelming excitement, he couldn’t believe Mickey was on the stage! Next was Buzz. George isn’t ready for lines quite yet, so we rode People Mover while we waited for our Lightning Lane. George was nearing his nap, but he woke up right away when we went into Space Ranger Spin. Sitting on my lap, George earned Galactic Hero shouting “Buzz” and “no” as we got off the ride.

Exiting the gift shop, we spotted Buzz on stage some 150 yards away. Recognizing him from afar, George shouted BUZZ, BUZZ, BUUUZZZZZ!!! holding his brand new Buzz Light year toy. That might be the most excited he’s ever been.

The rest of the day went well, but nothing could match the excitement of Buzz. Kayla joined us at Wine Bar George for dinner. A distant second for the day was George’s obsession with my waffle cone of cookie dough ice cream. He wouldn’t let it go.


This was a calmer day. George went to the playground, and Juliana had her best time yet with him playing hide and seek. This was a work day for me.


Done with the conference, Kayla joined us all day at Hollywood Studios. George was about as well behaved as we could have hoped leading up to the day. Nevertheless, I was happy to have her help with him in the parks. George only tolerated his stroller for about half the time, so my back was getting quite the workout as we wandered through the parks.

That morning, we took it easy since there wasn’t all that much George could do outside of Toy Story land. Of course, Woody and Buzz were our top targets for the day. We headed straight to the back of the park. George spotted Woody as we turned the corner, and you could see the excitement on his face. Wooooodyyyy! he shouted. George is nowhere near patient enough to wait in all but the shortest of lines. Pops treated him (and us) to Genie+ to skip the line for Midway Mania. George fussed as we took him away from Woody and Jessie, but he was soon shouting with excitement at the theming in (short) Lightning Lane line.

George loved the ride and fussed yet again as we tried to take him way. Buzz, Woody, and Jessie meet-and-greets were going on just outside Midway Mania. Only the giant Buzz outside of Spaceranger Spin could pull him away. Too short to go on that ride, we strolled George though Galaxy’s Edge and then onto the Disney Junior Dance Party. Nearing his nap time, George fought through his tiredness to dance a bit here and there, and he really perked up when Mickey came on stage.

For our last ride in Hollywood Studios, we had a Lightning Lane for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This is where trouble began. The ride was loud and a bit scary for George. Breaking halfway through for several minutes only made George more upset. He made it through the ride without a meltdown. That he safed for the walk from Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk.

The meltdown was long and exhausting for Kayla, George, and me. We eventually got him to fall asleep but it took almost an hour. We made it into EPCOT, but the George maintained a bit of fussiness throughout the rest of the day. We eventually figured out that the boy was hungry but only by shoving a pouch into his mouth (he had been offered food many times before this).


Today was the big day. Haircut time! We set off for Magic Kingdom before 8 even though the park didn’t open until 9. Eager to be at the front of the line for same-day appointments at the Harmony Barbershop, we were through the gates by 8:15. And good thing, too. Shortly after we arrived, a few families showed up to get in line behind us. Not one to patiently wait, George explored Main St alternating between running around in the open area by the shop and me carrying him through the fire station with a firetruck from at least a century ago.

We documented the haircut with videos and photos, but I’m not sure they fully capture the experience. George was not a fan of our barber or the haircut, but he tolerated both well enough to get the job done. Free of his mullet, George briefly donned his Mickey hat to commemorate the occasion, and we left the barbershop to head to - where else - Space Ranger Spin. This time, we waiting in line to George could see animatronic Buzz give us our orders for the mission. He enjoyed his second time on the ride even more than the first. From there we were onto the Carousel and Dumbo. George loved the playground area in line for Dumbo. I’m sure he’s wasn’t the only kid reluctant to actually get on the ride after being allowed in the play area.

Eager to avoid a repeat of yesterday’s meltdowns, we were sure to stuff as much food in George’s mouth as he would tolerate. That may have contributed to an early nap, and it was only shopping on Main Street while Lulu and Pops caught up with us. We ate mediocre chili dogs, veggie dogs, and fries at Caseys before heading off to a whirlwind of Splash Mountain, Small World, and Peter Pan.

We ended the day a bit earlier than planned since Lulu had to get back to North Augusta earlier than planned. But our final “ride” was George meeting Mickey. He was a bit unsure at first. Mickey was a bit imposing up close. George’s uncertainty was mixed with amazement and a big smile. When I handed him his newly purchase Mickey, he hugged and kissed it unlike any stuffed character before. Suffice it to say he loves Mickey.

We cut the Magic Kingdom day a bit short. We had planned on going to Crystal Palace for a character dinner, but Mom learned that Nana was back in the hospital that afternoon. Rather than stress from afar, they headed back to Seabrook that night before heading to Augusta in the morning.


It was a dreary winter day for Florida - misty though not especially cold. We didn’t mind given we were about to head back to a Michigan winter. Our suitcases stuffed with our new souvenirs, we packed the rental car to the top. Though this was a dangerous decision given a long day ahead of us, Kayla, George, and I headed to Animal Kingdom early Friday morning.

Our flight wasn’t until 6 pm, so we had plenty of time to show George his mom’s favorite park. He did not exactly cooperate. Our first stop was the Safari. Only a 20 minute wait, we figured George would be able to handle the line. What we did not account for was him falling asleep 5 minutes into our wait. We awkwardly bumped our way upstream to get out of line and wandered through the park for an unexpected 2.5 h nap. George slept so long that we nearly missed the Lightning Lane we booked for Safari knowing the now 50 minute line was not a wait George would tolerate.

Barely awake from his nap climbing into the Safari truck, George was overwhelmed by the stimulation and a bit fussy until we got going. He loves looking at most animals, and the Safari was no exception. He especially loved the elephants and signed for “more” as our vehicle drove away from them.

Next on our list to do was to attend the Feathered Friends in Flight show. George loves birds, and the show is all about birds and bird behavior. We booked a Lightling Lane for an afternoon showing and took George to the dinosaur playgroudn while we waited for the show. Little did we know that George would discover a sand pit (really more of a gravel pit) and decide that’s where he wanted to spend the rest of his life.

After three attempts to persuade George to leave the sand pit without a meltdown, we gave up and let him play. Only once he began flinging sand and wanting to disrupt other kid’s sand creations did we take him out and head to the exit for the day. There was no avoiding tears, but we mostly avoided a tantrum.

The rest of the day was full of travel. We drove to the airport, went though security (this time with a stroller), rode the train to the gate, and entertained George until it was time to board the plane. We finally made it home around 11 pm. In stereotypical fashion, George cried just after the Zilwaukee bridge until we pulled into the driveway. A long day for sure, we were still glad to have gone to Animal Kingdom. Only a few more weeks until we’re back!