Three years ago we planned a visit to Disney World, excited to share Epcot with E and V. But then the pandemic hit, and those plans, though so close, had to be put on hold. Well, we are finally able to make Disney happen and, once again, we are so excited.

I shared our plans and how we were going to deal with certain aspects of Disney that we didn’t want to expose E and V to here. Since sharing that post things have changed. From 0-3 years of age, the child is an unconscious absorber. We wanted to be especially cautious of what we were exposing them to, particularly when it came to fantasy. At 3.5, E and V are about to enter into conscious absorbers. We should always be mindful of what we expose our children to, but now with a foundation of reality, we aren’t so concerned about a little fantasy they may see. While I say that I wish to be clear that we will not be going out of our way to search out fantasy.

We are planning on visiting Epcot. It makes the most sense for our family and what we generally enjoy. This will be a great way to experience countries that we’ve studied about (here and here, for example) a little bit differently. Epcot has Kidcot Fun Stops in each country which allows for hands-on opportunities. While it’s mostly colouring, some stops taught them a few words in another language (France) or even spelled their names out (Japan). Epcot’s primary focus isn’t rides, although there were a few we went on. While rides are thoroughly enjoyed by half of our family, the other half has a few different needs that find many rides to be challenging.

E and V are familiar with the Disney princesses, particularly a fondness for the Frozen sisters after being introduced to them via a bandage at the doctor’s office. They have never seen any of the Disney movies, although we do enjoy the soundtracks, they have seen a few books so are familiar with the others. This was another reason for choosing Epcot, the only characters I have ever seen there are the princesses, real people rather than full-costumed characters.

Well, things have slightly changed and there were a few fully costumed characters when we visited. We had prepared E and V, just in case this might be the case. They are familiar with costumes, such as what they would wear at Halloween, and similar to puppets. We never pretended they were really creatures, they were always aware there were people wearing costumes, as they would. When meeting Daisy Duck we laughed and said how silly it was that a duck was wearing shoes and clothing, so silly.

It’s not uncommon for children to dress up when going to Disney. We forgot to bring some outfits we already owned, so we made a stop at Target to get them something, this, that would work then as well as give them room to grow into as there were going through a growth spurt. We lucked out and found something that could work for ballet, too.

Along with the tutu dress, we found wings at Dollar Tree that could go over their outfit, helping to prevent sensory overload, and easy to remove.

Epcot is more than just rides and while we did ride a few there were some we knew would be too much.

-Living with the land. It’s dark at the beginning, rumbling noises (we had noise cancellers on, them, mine), but after that, it tends to be calmer as it shares about food and what they are doing now. We always leave eager to begin a new round of hydroponic lettuce.

-The seas with Nemo and friends. This was an accidental ride and thought it was the live aquarium. It pretty much just plays portions of the Finding Nemo movie and has the characteristics of a traditional Disney rides with animatronics and such. E and V both seemed to enjoy it, me reminding them that fish don’t really talk, isn’t that so silly?

-Ratatouille. This was a big mistake. A 3D ride with 4D effects. The concept is cute, but the water spray was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

-Frozen ever after. I’m very familiar with the previous troll ride that this once was, and it was really only the characters that have changed, so I was able to prepare the girls when there was a slight drop or going down a drop backward. E and V immediately requested we ride it again after it was finished. Again, another traditional Disney ride; animatronics, singing, and all the childhood happiness.

Just a general tip.

One of the things I’m always sure to do, since T’s first Disney trip, is to bring our own souvenirs. That seems silly, but it’s natural to want a trinket or two when seeing others enjoying some. Prior to leaving on our trip I took a trip to the local Dollar Tree and got a few little figurines as well as some glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces. This is a perfect price point, I can choose what options are best, and I have it all prepared and ready. I also found a princess activity pack at Target’s “dollar” spot.

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