No Disney No Cry: Enjoying Florida Without The Mouse

dinner with cinderella, 1900 Park Fare, Character Dining

A Waltz With Prince Charming

Almost exactly a year ago we blew our not-quite-3 year-old daughter’s mind with a trip to Florida that included Walt Disney World.

We had dinner with Cinderella, we stayed up late and watched the fireworks, we went on “It’s A Small World” five times. Even cynical ol’ me shed a sentimental tear or two on the trip (and so did my dad when I asked him about our trips to WDW when I was small – weird).  Anyhoo – she remembers that experience with almost alarmingly vivid detail, so we were a little concerned about possible pouting due to this year’s theme park-free trip to Florida.

This year we had neither the time nor the money to trek out to Walt Disney World, or any other theme park in the area for that matter.  At not-quite four years-old, initially she expected that this trip would be a carbon copy of the last, and was planning what she would wear for dinner with Cinderella, and what she would say to Drizella this time around.  We just very matter-of-factly explained that we wouldn’t be going to Disney this year, but we’d try to go again some other time.

clearwater beach, clearwater beach with kids, baby on the beach, girl on the beach, clearwater florida

Clearwater Beach

She didn’t react. And she didn’t mention it once while we were there.

A bucket, shovel, and a strange pink plastic floaty were our big expenses for the week.  The Gulf was a little cool, but nothing would keep her out of it.

When we weren’t at Clearwater Beach, there’s a beautiful park down the road from my brother-in-law’s house called John Chesnut Sr. Park where we had a cookout one night, and brought Chinese take-out on another. It was wonderful to watch her run around with her cousins while her baby brother enjoyed the breeze off Lake Tarpon, and how it made the drippy trees dance and sway. (Funnily enough, it’s the shelter and playground we used that are on their site’s virtual tour.)

This was a wonderful break for all of us.  I felt a tad guilty taking her out of school for the week, but I think the quality family time was far more valuable for her than 5 days of JK.

Currently my head is a jumble of posts and articles. It’ll take a bit to sort them all out, but it’s amazing to see how a few days away can inspire and relax, all at the same time…

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3 Responses to No Disney No Cry: Enjoying Florida Without The Mouse

  1. darcy fedorchuk at #

    You are a great writer…

  2. I have a one day pass to Sea World burning a hole in my pocket as I try to convince my husband that our just-short-of-two-year-old grandson is ready for his first visit there. I can’t imagine what it would take to convince him a trip to Disney World wouldn’t be out of the question, but your post gave me a lot of good points to make with him. You certainly have the child-like spirit it takes to make this work.

  3. Corinne at #

    Hi Pat – thanks for your kind words!
    Take it slow and try to plot out your day in advance. We’ve never been to Sea World but if they have big aquariums there your grandson will love it. My daughter has always been fascinated by fish and we can spend hours at the undersea exhibit at the zoo.
    Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!