Disney Dreaming: Disney, One Child at a Time

I have had the unique experience of spending time in Walt Disney World without my children, with my husband and our children, and with my parents joining my nuclear family as well.  Each trip brought a unique perspective and had its own special moments.  I enjoyed explaining the history of the Spectro Magic Parade to Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom while we talked about what we’d buy for the kids we were missing.  Nothing can replace having my parents there the first time my children saw Cinderella’s Castle as we rounded the corner on the boat from Wilderness Lodge.  And one of my all time favorite Disney memories came on a care-free, warm summer night with just my husband and our two kids.

I have to wonder, though.  What would it be like to be at Walt Disney World with just one of my children?

When I posed this question on Twitter it was met with quite a few grumbles.  Why would anyone leave a child at home and not take them to Walt Disney World?  How would you ever make that up to your child?  The fact is that there are many reasons that one child may be traveling while the other(s) is not ranging from school and sports commitments to age to special occasions. While I still like to harass my parents for leaving me behind with my aunt while taking my brother to Atlanta, I’m sure they treasure that time with their first born that occurred just months after his world was turned upside-down upon my arrival.

Thankfully, I found Amy Clark of Mom Advice to share with us her unique story of taking just one of her children to Walt Disney World.  Here is what she had to say about her unique experience…

1.       Under what circumstances did you find yourself visiting a Walt Disney World park with just one of your two children?

I was invited by the Orlando Visitor’s Bureau to explore Orlando and they allowed me to bring one guest. The child did have to be seven or older to go, because of the nature of the tours and the events we were doing, so my son was the only child that was old enough to go.

2.       How did you handle explaining the trip to family?

We explained that my daughter would get to have fun with just daddy and that Ethan would be going with mommy on a trip for older children. I will be honest and say that we were very vague about where we were going and my daughter had never been to Orlando so she had no idea what she would be missing out on.

3.       What were you able to do at the park with your child that would have been more difficult with the whole family along?

We were able to ride a lot of the rides that my smaller child would not have been able to ride on, due to the height restriction. He was able to walk for longer distances, listen and be (sort of) attentive on the tours we went on, and be patient enough to wait in lines with me.

4.       How old was your child at the time?  And how old was your child who stayed home?

My son was seven and my daughter (who stayed home) was four.

5.       What were some of the special moments that you were able to have with your child during this time alone together?

I have so many special memories, but my favorite memory was after a long and wet day at the parks, we were both starving and ready to collapse. We ordered a pizza in our room and my son took a bath and wrapped himself in a giant hotel robe. After he ate, he wanted to watch golf on the television and I looked over and he had passed out…with the pizza box on his bed and his little mouth hanging wide open.

Everything about that time together alone was just precious. I forget how little I get to spend time with him separately. He is at school all day and there is rarely anytime where we are alone together. That trip was something we both needed and everything about that time together was special.

6.       Would you recommend that other parents visit Walt Disney World one on one with a child be it splitting up time in the parks one sib/one parent during a whole family trip or traveling alone with one child due to special circumstances?

Absolutely, it was a fantastic to get some solo time with my child. If you all go together and split up, that can also be a wonderful way to spend time alone and also get in that quality family time together.

7.       What was the most difficult part of going with just one child?

Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that was difficult except the aftermath of coming him and him being number one and suddenly sharing the spotlight with his sister again. That first week home was rough after being so spoiled by everyone and getting that special time alone with his mama.

During our most recent trip to the World, my husband and I each took one child and spent part of the afternoon alone doing exactly what that child wanted to do.  I saw a new side of my son when he, at the tender age of four, was suddenly the captain of the ship on a very fun ocean.  I could understand how Amy and her son Ethan would have had an amazing experience together, and I’m glad that we had just that little bit of time alone together in one of the most magical places on earth.

How about you?  Have you ever traveled to Walt Disney World with just one of your children?  Would you?

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  • Very cool, I think it makes sense to have quality time with each child you have.

  • I only have one child, so every time we go, it’s just with one. But it’s so magical, knowing that they get 100% of the attention!

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  • Janet

    I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve vacationed in Walt Disney World by myself, with my sister, with my best friend, with my entire family, with my family & extended family members, with a group of family & friends, and also with both of my children (husband stayed home) and then with just one of my children (husband & son stayed home). Each trip was wonderful and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The nice thing about the trips that were just me & my kid(s) is that each day was unique. We really didn’t plan what we were going to do until after we woke up. It made for a very free & easy trip (must less stressful since we didn’t “have” to be in a certain place at a certain time). I’d love to take one of those trips again, ~sigh.~

  • Michelle Hutto

    I would love to go with just one of my daughters at a time!! I must confess we go to WDW a good bit – but going with my oldest child (almost 7) would be amazing! Without husband or 3 yr old our trip would be so much different! Maybe one day….

  • luvmudderhood

    I am planning a trip with just my youngest who is an 11 year old girl. I do feel a little guilty about not taking my older children. That said my oldest has been to WDW 3 times. My second didn’t like WDW (I know. He’s an original.) My third has been once but he also has been to London. There is a 6 year gap between our boys and our girl.and she has never been to the parks. When we went last she stayed in the resort with grandmom. She was 1yr old. So I am looking forward to a princess type vacation and hubby would never miss out on escorting his princesses at WDW.