Doing Disney with Three Kids Under Three: Hollywood Studios

Today started out like the last few days have, with Fakes and Phoenix barging into our bedroom and announcing they were awake: “I a-ay!” Of course poor Griffin still can’t get out of his crib, so I had to go get him.

A note about the crib the place provided for us: It’s a metal crib and looks like something out of a hospital in a horror film. So says Tristen at every opportunity, and she’s not wrong.

It was a bit cold again today, so we decided once again to make our trip to the Disney park du jour a little later in the day. That didn’t stop us from taking the boys to another playground in the resort we’re staying in. (The Sheraton Vistana, by the way, as I don’t think I’ve mentioned it by name yet.) This one was more sunny than the one closer to our suite and we warmed up decently well while there. It was close to 11 by the time I mentioned that we were pretty comfortable, but by then it would have been pushing it to go to a park without the boys, at least Griffin, napping at all.

The playground was a little older, but they had a lot of fun on it. They all impressed me with how courageously they climbed on these poles with disks on them and moved from one to the other. It was a little scary watching them do those and I hovered around them a good bit to make sure nobody fell.

We got back to the place and fed them lunch and put them all down for naps. I did some work for a bit, but we got them up after about an hour and a half or so. We wanted to get moving by around 2 and did well, getting into Hollywood Studios at about 2:15.

The Indiana Jones stunt show was closed, which wasn’t a surprise, but it was disappointing. I’ve enjoyed that every time I went to Hollywood Studios. The first place we went was Toy Story Land, which was really pretty amazing. It wasn’t open when we came a few years ago with Milly, although one ride, Toy Story Mania, was, and that was the first ride we went on. We barely had to wait at all, and then only just before we were getting on the ride. The shame of that is the interior decoration along the queue was amazing. All three boys loved taking it in and could have spent time just looking at it all. I decided that if I were a billionaire I’d get whoever designed that to do a playroom for my kids.

For the ride itself we had to do a 2-3 split and I ended up with the twins. The ride involves wearing 3D glasses and shooting at targets like you’re at a carnival. Phoenix kind of got it, Fawkes less so until the ride was over, so I took it upon myself to play the cannon on his side for him.

After that one we rode the Alien Spinning Saucers ride. We got through that one pretty fast too. Fawkes and Phoenix got to ride that one twice with Tristen because some people who were supposed to be part of a group split themselves up and took up one more car than they were supposed to, so Griffin and I had to wait it out, and to make it up to us the people manning the ride let the rest of our crew ride again. Tristen said Fawkes and Phoenix loved it. Griffin, whose height they checked twice to make sure he could ride, was so-so on it. He liked it at first, but he was also missing his Mama at that point. Not that he was overly cranky or anything.

From there we headed to the Star Wars section, which was also outstanding. The amount of detail the park designers put into everything, and this goes for all the Disney theme parks, but it’s really astounding when you sit back and think about it. Even the way they decorate the areas you go through while waiting in line, as I was sort of going on about already when talking about Toy Story Mania, it’s just really fun.

At any rate, Tristen and I both wanted to do the Millennium Falcon ride, but the kids were too small so they have this thing where one parent goes then the other parent, who has to have their park pass scanned ahead of time, gets to fast track to the front. We did that and Tristen let me go first. It was a pretty cool interactive ride, although perhaps “ride” isn’t the best word. Attraction? You sit with up to six people in the cockpit of the Falcon and have two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers. I got stuck being an engineer, which meant I had to mash buttons when they lit up. Not nearly as fun as piloting and gunning, I’m sure. Pretty cool experience though.

I got out and Tristen was about to go in when they cleared everybody out of the lines due to a fire alarm having gone off. She decided to move on instead of waiting around, so we headed for a Lightning McQueen thing and ended up at a Disney Junior Dance Party. The plaza that was in was pretty empty so we let the boys run around for a bit, but then decided we didn’t feel like waiting for the next show to begin so we went on to the Lightning McQueen thing.

By this time Griffin was getting pretty restless (and I got kicked in the forehead with his heel as I was putting him on my shoulders to try to contain him a bit), but fortunately we got into the show/presentation in one waiting period. The boys have only watched Cars a couple of times, but Phoenix and especially Fawkes got into it. There was a “live” Lightning McQueen talking to the audience and going on a virtual race against Chick Hicks. Our boys did a lot of cheering and Kachow-ing. (“Kachow” is Lightning McQueen’s catchphrase of sorts.)

We were deciding what to do after that. Griffin had a poop, so I changed him but we’d forgotten the wipes so I used wet paper towels, which aren’t nearly as good at getting that stuff, nor are they as comfortable, I’m sure. When we got out of there Fawkes and Phoenix were watching Zootopia on a tablet and Fawkes had broken his mask, so Tristen put another one on him, but I don’t think that one was kid-sized.

Speaking of masks, third time’s a charm, at least as it pertains to Fawkes being accepting of wearing a mask as we walk into a theme park. No fuss about it at all today.

The sun was waning so it was getting a little cooler, we hadn’t eaten a whole lot, and the boys were getting pretty restless, but we decided to go ahead and redeem Tristen’s Millennium Falcon pass, so we made our way back over there and she went on the ride while I watched the kids. Fawkes and Phoenix were decently occupied, but Griffin was a bit fussy the whole time. I finally let them get out and play in front of the life-sized Millennium Falcon that was there because it wasn’t very crowded at all.

We headed out after Tristen got out. Griffin, as he’d been doing a good bit of the day, was, as Tristen put it, acting like he was part of a parade. He was waving and saying hi to so many people, and when he wasn’t doing that he was just gibber-shouting about whatever he had in his head at anyone or no one.

Fawkes and Phoenix were going a little crazy. They weren’t being bad, but they were messing with each other a lot. It was a bit much after a bit as they were getting pretty physical in their play, including a bit of hitting and hair grabbing, plus I kept worrying they were going to fall out of the stroller. But we made it to the exit and didn’t have to wait long for Nonnie to show up.

It was getting close to 6:00, so we stopped and picked up some Chick-Fil-A for dinner. They got to bed a little later than usual, but were out pretty quick. Tristen and I considered going to Disney Springs to do some shopping, but figured we’ll do it tomorrow, when we don’t have anything in particular planned other than taking the boys to the pool since it’ll be warmer again tomorrow.

Giving a retrospective on our experience of taking three kids under the age of three years old to Disney World, I’d say it went much better than I expected. There were really no major meltdowns and there was plenty for them to do at the parks we went to. I think three days was good, although if I could I’d probably do one more day just to add in Epcot.

Tristen was talking to her mom about how her favorite day was Animal Kingdom. I mentally broke it down like this:

  • Best Overall Experience: Magic Kingdom
  • Best Park for the Kids: Hollywood Studios (mainly because of Toy Story Land)
  • Best Single Experience: Animal Kingdom (Safari)

I was admittedly skeptical about taking this trip, but I’m really glad we did. I hope the boys have at least some memory of it outside of the pictures and videos I took, but they for sure had a lot of fun and even if they don’t specifically remember it, I’m sure it will become what I refer to as a foudnational memory or experience.