Adventures in Family Photography (AKA HERDING CATS UPSTREAM BOTH WAYS)
In Which I Spend an Awful Lot of Time Talking About Dishes

My Two Disneys

Ahoy there! This post is sponsored by Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two the video game.

So don't tell my children, but the Discussions Have Begun around here. The "okay, when do we bite the bullet and take this crew to Disney World" discussions. Do we wait until all three of them have hit the minimum height requirement for most of the rides? Or go sooner, while they're all younger and we might get more OMG AMAZEBALLS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OMG bang for our bucks? 


Is Cinderella's castle still listing to the left like that? Where are my legs? What's with all the shrubbery in the photo? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MY PARENTS' PHOTO FRAMING DECISIONS.

My family took two trips to Disney World: Once when I was an adorable little five year old. 


FACT: I loved Robin Hood because there was a song in the movie that mentioned the word "underwear."

And then again when I was a tragically awkward 12 year old:


Oh dear God.

So...yeah. I actually remember each trip pretty equally. When I was five, the highlight was the Character Breakfast. 


I met Snow White and my brain melted out my ears. I think I may have even cried. 



When I was 12, I spent a lot of the trip fantasizing that I was actually there with Joey McIntyre from New Kids On The Block, and that everywhere I walked the crowds were so jealous of us and our love, which was pure. And real. 


Expectation, meet reality. And my fanny pack. 

Meeting the characters as a five year old:


Bubbly adorable joy! With pigtails!

Meeting the characters as a 12 year old:


I feel like it loses a little something once you're THE SAME HEIGHT AS THEM.


Wearing a 'MICKEY' t-shirt to Disney World = Totally being That Guy. 

I loved both trips, though, in different ways. When I was little, it was magic. When I was on the cusp of 13, it was...well, it was fun to still be a kid and at least pretend that I still believed in that magic (and that my autograph book would be worth millions someday, because I mean like PINOCCHIO SIGNED IT).

I kind of can't wait to go back and see what kind of Disney my boys get to experience. 


And to be fair, judging from the background crowds, I think 1990 was simply an EPICALLY AWKWARD TIME for all of us as a nation, across the board. 

This post was sponsored by Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two the video game.


Dawn @ thedalaimama

We have been to both DisneyWorld and DisneyLand with our crew--when they were little and it was all magic--well they are still little.

The first time the kids were almost 3 and almost 2 (we went because we were there and the kids were free). Then we went when they were 4 and almost 3. And it was very magical. The kids (now 6 and 5) still talk about it all the time.

They still weren't old enough to do much of what Disney has to offer and we plan to take them again in a few years when they are both tall enough to ride most of the rides and experience it a bit differently.


I went to Disneyland in 1991. Looking back at the photos and our wardrobe choices is absolutely HILARIOUS.


Also, I'm not even going to lie...fanny packs were super resourceful. I wish they'd come back...


We live an hour outside of Orlando and spent this past year with Disney passes. We waited until our daughter was almost 5 before we took her for the first time. And it is magical for her. I vote to go now or within the next year or two. Your boys will love it. They are totally renovating Fantasyland with staggered openings of new attractions over the next couple of years. 1990: I think we all had those style of sunglasses strapped around our necks. Did you have a Swatch Watch too?


I have 7-year-old twin daughters (born same month as Noah, but they are my only kids). We took them right after they turned 4, and a lot of it was magical, but I don't think they remember that trip much now. Also, it turns out that one kid was terrified of characters, so we have a lot of pictures of the other kid with a character, and her sister is nowhere to be found. She actually hid under a table to get away from Cinderella. We are going again in January, and I'm hoping that we'll get to ride some of the bigger rides, and that the character thing will not be an issue anymore.

I went when I was 13; my sister was 15, and what I mostly remember was ditching our parents as much as we could to ride the good rides.


We took our 4 boys four years ago. The timing was mostly based on economics. Sad but true. The boys were 8, 10, 12, 14. And I have to say... It was AWESOME. No, it wasn't quite as magical as taking a 5 year old but it was still great. They could ride whatever they wanted, they could stay up until the park closed at midnight or 3 a.m. They could race from one ride to the next or take a break and hang out a little until the crowds died down. Lines weren't an issue because they were old enough to entertain each other. And it was still magical in that they had never been before and let's face it, Disney is a magical place no matter what your age. Also, we were much more likely to enjoy the same kind of exhibits/rides. Total win/win. Oh, and they all remember more than I do about the trip.


My parents (whom I cherish and love with all my heart) NEVER TOOK MY BROTHER AND I TO DISNEY WORLD.
They took us to Florida when I was 5, but to Sanibel Island, where we had to go on nature hikes and wildlife preserve drives and some woman's German Shepard got eaten by a crocodile when we were there and my brother and I wished it was us.

I joined marching band when I was 15 just so I could go to Disney World and loved every minute of it. Granted, I spent most of the time with my didn't-know-at-the-time-but-obvious-in-retrospect gay friend, wandering the park and singing "Hakuna Matata" in harmony, but hey! I think it's a blast at any age.


Holy shit, lady, you look like Ezra with a wig in that five-year-old picture!


DISNEY!!! We took my daughter last year for her 4th birthday. Her baring melted out of her ears. It was awesome, amazing and everything we could have hoped for, even with marshaling around a pack of 7 adults and a 4-year-old (3 grandparents, an aunt and an uncle, and her actual parents).

When you go, I cannot recommend the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World enough. They even have an app!


You rocked the early 90's look!
I rocked it in my own special way with glasses, braces and a perm. Because the fashion wasn't awkward enough.

Courtney in FL

(raises right hand) I will not stalk, I mean "bump into" Amy while she brings her family to Disney! I will not!!
The boys will love it! They just finished a big re-vamp of Fantasy Land! Get the "special aid" pass, (my son 5yrs has Aspergers plus all the other fun add ons... ADHD and so on), it is a life saver! Front of the line for rides and special accommodations if need be).
(umm, I'm going to be a dork and offer if you need any recommendations for anything, feel free to ask!)


My son was 6 when I took him for the first was terrific and we had such a blast. You've got to balance some age ranges and I'd wait until the babine is 3 and/or past the potty emergency age and then bring on the fun. It's Disney, so the magical is guaranteed.


I took my son when he just turned 2 in 2009, and then took my son at 5 and my daughter at 16 months in May 2012. Obviously my son remembers more at 5 then at 2, but it was fun nonetheless. We will go again in 2015. Age doesn't stop us. It's fun for all no matter what.


We took our 5 yo to Disneyland in May as her birthday present. It was awesome. My mom lives about 45 minutes away, so she kept the 2 yo and the Big got both parents and free rein all day. We focused on Fantasyland, because princesses. And fairies. We took a day off, and then went back with all of us. The Little might not remember a lot, but her sister does, and I do.
We'll go again when the Little turns 5.
Is it weird that I cannot wait to see Amalah boys in Jedi training photos?


My god, you were 12 in 1990??? I feel so old...


Our first trip was when he was 8 and she was 4. Perfect! And we just returned lastnight from our 12-14th trip (depending on family member, some have been more times than others). And my now 19 year old son still pouts and nearly cries when we leave. He is never less enthralled than he was the first time, but I know he is not the "norm".

I suspect, from watching the families with little ones at the park, that the magic of bringing a 2-3 year old is balanced with a good bit of meltdowns, passing out and shit-losing. It does not look pleasant to me.

If you do it, whenever you do it, my primary advice to all parents is to stay on the grounds and take a mid-day break everyday. The kids are easy to get going early in the morning, b/c they are ape shit excited and raring to go. I'd recommend insisting on nap time mid-day to make the long stretch of evening/fireworks more enjoyable for everyone.


Our first trip was when he was 8 and she was 4. Perfect! And we just returned lastnight from our 12-14th trip (depending on family member, some have been more times than others). And my now 19 year old son still pouts and nearly cries when we leave. He is never less enthralled than he was the first time, but I know he is not the "norm".

I suspect, from watching the families with little ones at the park, that the magic of bringing a 2-3 year old is balanced with a good bit of meltdowns, passing out and shit-losing. It does not look pleasant to me.

If you do it, whenever you do it, my primary advice to all parents is to stay on the grounds and take a mid-day break everyday. The kids are easy to get going early in the morning, b/c they are ape shit excited and raring to go. I'd recommend insisting on nap time mid-day to make the long stretch of evening/fireworks more enjoyable for everyone.


You HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO go during Star Wars weekends- we went last June with boys 2, 5, and 7. Was the best week of our lives- the stormtroopers walking around, jedi training, droid factory, swoon. Oh yeah, Mickey was cool too, do the character breakfast at the Contemporary- and I can not recommend the Wilderness Lodge enough. Boy heaven. Also, take Ike now, he can eat from your meal plan, and is free in the hotel. Yippee.

Goddess in Progress

We took the kids at 2.5 and the big win there is that you don't have to buy park tickets for kids under age 3! They loved Fantasyland and some of the characters, but I was glad we had to shell out fewer bucks (also, they eat free at buffets).

We're going again in February with our pair of 5.5-year-olds and the nearly-2-year-old. The little one won't care, but the big kids are going to be BESIDE themselves. I'm really excited.

Also? I die with the NKOTB reference. I, too, was a walking daydream at that age.


I am a self professed Disney Parks freak, so take my recs with a grain of salt, but go. Go soon, but especially before Ike turns 3 (no need to buy a park ticket for the under 3 crowd). My twins (a few weeks younger than Ezra) have been a number of times, and the only trip that wasn't amazing was when I got sick. The magic is so fun to witness.

I personally put no stock in the "they won't remember it" camp, because, honestly, there's trips from my adulthood I barely remember unless I look at pictures. The warm fuzzy feeling they get when traveling somewhere wonderful (and built JUST FOR THEM!) will stick with them forever.

Also, in terms of traveling with kids, there is no where easier. Every restaurant has a kids menu and plenty of high chairs. Every bathroom has multiple diaper stations. If you stay on property, no need for carseats. It's just so much fun.


"FACT: I loved Robin Hood because there was a song in the movie that mentioned the word 'underwear.'" Ditto. Best.Disney.Movie.Ev-ah.


I say go while Ike is still free! The kids will love it at any age. You will love watching them! I've taken my nieces at ages one and three and they adored meeting the characters. The older one loved the roller coasters.


Oh, and while I realize this truly dates myself, I was walking about Epcot with John Taylor from Duran Duran. He loved me, really...sigh...


I could not focus on this post at all because all I could see was Noah! He is totally your clone!! I love it. Delurking for the first time.. long time reader and lover of your blog!


Hello little girl Noah! And hello every awkward moment from my own memories... we were apparently the same misguided teenager at one time. These pics all crack me up!


Somehow, taking your own kids is even MORE magical - go soon!


I too went to Disney World as an adolescent, but it was even more tragic, because I was there with my HIGH SCHOOL BAND! I still had the best time I'd ever had... EVER. Up to that point.

We're getting ready to head to Disney Land in a couple of weeks with our almost 2 and almost 5 year old boys. I'm not sure if I feel sorrier for us, or for Disney Land.

I don't think there was a single awkward thing about you, Amy. What an adorable little girl and young woman you were!


Uh... Is that chipmunk about to feel you up?


Man, the 90s were something. No one even thought it weird and not worthy of photographic evidence, Robin Hood's inappropriate hug. Ah, blinders. How I miss them.

HOLY HELL I see all three boys in your face, but in the Robin Hood picture mainly I see Ezra and with Minnie your profile is totally baby Ike's. You at 12 is so Noah. Oh, boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.

We took the kids a few years ago (at least 5 years). Now that we have the boy we have to go again but short of me shaking my nonexistent boobs to get some cash, I don't see it happening before he's 5. That'd make the oldest 14 and well, I am so not dealing with eye rolling out of state.


We took our girls when they were 7 months and 3.5 years old. They loved it! We're going again next year when they'll be 2.5 and 5.5. They'll love it again differently! And we will love having the memories of their experience. Seriously even at 7 months there was so much to look at, there were rides (small world etc) that she could go on and there were new foods to slurp (ice cream). And until I met my husband I thought Disney was a stupid consumerist cult.


OK, not to rain on the Disney parade, but we took our kids in Fl when they were 7 (girl) and 4 (boy). They thought Disney was ok, but SeaWorld BLEW their mind! Favorite park EVER. We were in SoCal when they were 10 & 7 & gave them their choice of Disney or SeaWorld as we were same distance from either LA or San Diego, and they chose SW. Just saying. I'd like to take them back to Orlando now (15 & 12), but for the Harry Potter thing at Universal. =) I've been to both Disney Land & World several times & would say they need to experience one of them at some point, but don't forget the sea animals! =) Also, I have lived in MN or ND all of my life, so any trip to Disney is a great trip for me!

Suzy Q


jill (mrschaos)

My girls are 15 and 10 and both still ask when our next Disneyland trip is. We just have the best damn time there. Cheesy as it is, still kinda magical and all that.


Umm... is that Chip and/or Dale trying to cop a feel? Magic!


Oh! Take them sooner than later! I grew up an hour from DisneyLAND - in South CA - and I still remember my first time. We went at least once a year for most of my childhood after that, and I totally remember the OMG amazeballs magic. We live in TX now, but last summer, I took my 5 year old daughter (with mild SPD, because it's relevant to tell you this) and when we wrapped it up with "It's a Small World"...well, I bawled like a damn baby. I watched her face the entire time and cried and cried and cried as the whole magic thing came full circle. I hope you get to experience something similar too, and tell us all about it!


When you go, I recommend the following: staying on site. It is part of the magic. We have especially enjoyed the Ft Wilderness cabins. They are built to sleep six and are not snugged up against each other like hotel rooms. Also, from there you can take a boat to the Magic Kingdom.
The dining plan is nice. The deluxe plan is crazy overkill. My kids were moaning, "Do we hafta eat AGAIN!?". There are lovely restaurants in the parks AND in the resorts. You can find all the menus at Great resource.
I think crowds and excessive heat are joy killers so we try to go in the off peak times of year. Fall is especially good because you can hit the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT and/or Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. And I KNOW that means the kids miss school but it is so worth it.
Last tip: plan at least one day at one of the onsite water parks or resort pools. The kids will NEED it. Nice break.
Would love to help you plan! Enjoy!


OMG - we were twins separated at birth. Except, I'm a year older. Seriously, though, we looked eerily similar at both age 5 and 12. And I too visited Disney World expecting to see an NKOTB member and fall in love - Joey or Jordan would've been fine. And you are right - the early 90s were kind to no one, except maybe Cindy Crawford.


The photo of you at 5 with Robin Hood look exactly like Ezra...amazing


Um, your love with Joey McIntyre was totally not real, because he and I were deeply in love when I was 12 and on my family trip to the beach. Like totally, deeply, for reals in love. Sorry.

Also, the mind-blowing of a 5 year old at Disney was so fun to watch with my older child that I can't wait to go at the same age for the younger one. It's a good time no matter what. :)


Oh wow, Ezra looks exactly like you at 5!!


I haven't managed to pull off Disney World, yet all of mine have been to Disneyland. I think...maybe you plan on going twice. The magic of it right now, man your older boys would never forget it. Maybe wait a year until Ike is a big more mobile? Then I'd say go again when they are old enough to ride all the things. Which is I believe when I'll be able to take mine. I'm aiming for next winter if possible because mine will be 12, 9 and 5.

I love love love these photos. Mostly because I now feel not so alone. My 1990 summer photo book (we went to Hawaii that year) frightens me a bit.

Sara M

GO!! We took our two boys (4 and 2) last year to DW, which also included a 5 hour plane ride from Phoenix. They absolutely loved it and still talk about it. We just went to DL in CA with the boys and our 9 month old daughter (I was pregnant while at DW). Again, they loved it! Disney makes everything great for kids of any age, so the littles don't feel left out. I totally agree with a PP about staying on site at DW, so much better than driving around, finding a parking spot, then remembering where that spot is!


I went to Disney World when I was five, and since we are about the same age, my pictures look eerily similar to yours in terms of both clothing style and characters. I also remember meeting Snow White, because I remember suddenly feeling very intimidated and small - she was so gorgeously pretty, and I felt so plain and common. Low self-esteem at five! I still have the picture of the two of us where she has her arms around me and I just look... uncomfortable. I'm beaming and laughing in all my other photos, and that one, I just... sad trombone. Wah wah.


Please wait until they can all remember it, otherwise, major waste of money!


I live in South Florida and had yearly passes to Disney from 11/11/11 until now. I went up 3 times and mostly spent our time at Hollywood Studios for the Star Tours (Star Wars ride). My son is 7 and has Aspergers/ADHD. He really hated the parks and only wanted to do the Star Wars related stuff. If you do want to go Spring is best, summer is hell and winter is beautiful. P.S. if you go to guest services and explain you have a child with special needs you get a guest assistance pass which helps you skip the long lines = no meltdowns. Sorry this is so long, just a Floridian! LOL.


Let me just say a few things:

The first time I went to DW, in 1970, it wasn't even open yet - I was 5. We got to see the Visitors' Center. I went back when I was in 8th grade. I remember next to nothing. Also, I got married in 1990 and you were only 12...sigh.

On a happier note, we took our boys to DW when they were 7 and 4. I can't speak to their memories, but it was magical for me. The first time we walked onto Main Street, USA, I got misty-eyed. We've been back twice and it's awesome every time. As they get older, we do more stuff. (When they were younger, we took nap breaks in the afternoons and had early nights, just to prevent meltdowns and non-magical memories.)


We went when I was 9 or 10 and IT ROCKED HARDCORE. I'm also going to admit that what I remember more vividly is going to NASA, because I got to watch a shuttle launch. I gave up a day of Mickey for that.


I do think you need to wait until all your kids are all old enough to remember it. Otherwise you will never hear the end of the whining from Ike. Also in a few years you will have three kids who are potty trained and don't need naps which makes things easier.

I went twice, when I was 8 and when I was 13. I loved Disney at 8 (although I was also deeply impressed by the hotel having a water slide and the amazing breakfast buffet) I think I could have enjoyed it at 13 more if I wasn't a total wimp about roller coasters and scary rides. I skipped a lot of rides for either being too scary or to babyish.




Are those acid washed jean shorts you're wearing? I had a jacket that would have matched them perfectly! It had a diagonal zipper across the front because: Fashion! I suppose my choice was the more tragic of the two, because technically I was an adult and should have known better. As for Disney, The Boy, his father, and his grandfather are all going in February. I will be staying home, because being alone in an empty house for one whole glorious week is the best vacation EVER!


Why does your Facebook page say you have 2 children?


Definitely a waste of money to take Ike now, he won't remember it. Unless you're just interested in building memories for the rest of the family.


I was also rocking fanny packs in 1990. :)

I went to Disney at age 4 and 8. Remember both a bit. The highlight from the trip at age 8 was that I wanted one of those floating dog leashes (you were walking an invisible dog) from the Haunted Mansion gift shop SO BAD. I was pretty incensed that my mom wouldn't get one for me.

I have twin sisters that are 12 years younger than me and for my parents 25th anniversary they took us all to Disney World when I was 22 and they were 10. I thought they would be too old for the 'magic', but they totally weren't. And I enjoyed that trip a ton.

And here is my Disney trip advice. Go in December. But avoid Thanksgiving week and Christmas week. We went around December 10th and that place was a ghost town. We didn't wait in any lines EVER. We would literally get off a ride and walk around to the back of the line and get right back on. If you can swing taking the kids out of school for a week, this is what to do. Plus Disney decorated for Christmas is pretty fun.

I also went to Disneyland as part of a college spring break trip.


I grew up an hour from Disneyland, and while it was a super special treat to go, I wasn't really a huge Disney fan. Became an adult, had a kid, still lived an hour away, still not a huge fan but took DD1 when she was just under 2yo. She walked in not knowing a single Disney character, and learned them all in about an hour. She loved everything - the characters, the rides, the shows, just walking around. Total win.

A few years later, we had the chance to go on a Club Med-type trip - I hate the beach, and it didn't sound like much fun with a 5 and 1yo. Some friends suggested WDW instead, which I assumed was just a really big Disneyland with some hotels. WRONG. We had SUCH a good trip! We checked our luggage (and assorted tons of baby crap) in at LAX and never saw it again until it magically appeared in our hotel room. We never sat at a restaurant for more than 5 minutes without being offered crackers or crayons or characters for the kids. Disney does customer service right - so much that we returned 2 years later, then went on a Disney cruise for my PIL's 50th anniversary. Yeah, it's Disney, so expensive and cheesy at times, but my kids loved it as toddlers and they still love it at 8 and 12yo. We'll probably go one more time before they hit high school - but I'm glad we went when they were little and were so awed by the whole thing. Totally worth it.


I went about 5 years ago with nephew 4 yr old, niece 7 months old, and my sister and parents. It was great. We took the baby on everything(except Soaring and the Space Mountain), the rides are about cool things to see, very smooth. But the 4 yr old LOVED Epcot, much more than Magic Kingdom, it was so much more hands-on, and you didn't have to wait in fantastically long lines.


I grew up going to Disney World and my son, now 12, has been over a dozen times. We lived just north of Disney so it was pretty convenient. I would recommend not coming during the summer, the heat and the crowds are terrible. The fall is a great time as well as just before or just after spring break. You have to stay on Disney property, the Disney transportation is fantastic. I always recommend, especially with younger kids, to head to the park in the morning, go back to your hotel in the afternoon for naps and down time and then heading back out to the parks in the early evening for a few hours. The service at Disney World is top notch, especially if you let them know you have a child that has special needs. Check out they are a fantastic resource for all things Disney.


Omg! Also went at 5 and 12! Is that some sort of "thing"? My fanny pack was acid wash though. So jealous I know!

Christy S.

I have a friend that was "Chip" and/or "Dale" at Disney during the 90s, so I'm going to choose to believe that you are hugging my friend in that picture!


Go soon! You can always go back when Ike and Ezra are older. That's what makes this country great!


I had that EXACT fanny pack! And a *sweet* hypercolor shirt when I went to Disneyland as an awkward teenager. (Hello pit stains!)
I only hope I can help my own kids avoid such terrible fashion trends...


My first trip to Disneyworld was in 1995, for my honeymoon. We took Princess to DW when she was just short of 2 because my BIL's Transplant Olympics were being held there. She loved it at the time, but only "remembers" the trip because of photos. We took all three kids ten years later (Princess' 12th birthday, Hoss was 9 and Little Joe was 7) and it was the perfect time- they were big enough to ride lots of stuff and really enjoy the trip, but not yet in the eye-rolling, "OMG, my family is such an embarrassment!" stage of life.


My family went to disneyland every single summer from the time i was 3 until i was 19. I LOVED it every. Single. Time. It never got old for me. . .i mean, it never gets old because i still love it. Between age 19 and 30 i only went twice, but then we started a new tradition 4 years ago when my oldest was 3.5 and the youngest was just 5 months old. obviously the baby was just along for the ride, just to be near my boobs, but they also get in free until age 3, so it really didn't matter. But i just didn't want the three year old to miss the magic sweet spot. Kids grow up fast these days, man, and i'll tell you what. We've gone every year (they're 3 and almost 7 now) since then, and the 7 year old? She absolutely loves it, but it's already totally different. It's hard to explain, but i'll put it this way: take a 3 year old who has watched a few episodes of mickey mouse clubhouse, and introduce her to mickey, minnie, etc? There is just nothing like that kind of magic. I'm so happy i got to experience that with both girls. Like i said, the 7 year old still loves it, but it's not because of the straight up magic anymore, you know? She's old enough to realize that the characters are people in costumes, which takes away just a bit of the experience. My point is GO! Go now


(continued, woops hit post) before you miss the really magic little kid ages. The looks on their faces will make you glad you did it sooner than later. You might even get addicted to that joy and start saving to make it happen every year, like we have.

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