I’ve always gone with my parents (70s) and young kids (now DS3 and DS5), but my poor dad had to cancel last-minute in November for health problems.
We’re really close, and although he’s always been active, he has some health issues (chronic leukaemia, heart problems, artificial knee) that are going to catch up with him over the next few years so this is probably our once-in-a-lifetime father-daughter trip, for 4 nights in May. We don’t need to go expensive (we’ve spent a lot of camping trips in a tent together for $12 per night and had the Best Time Ever), but I’m willing to if it will make him happy.
SO HERE’S WHERE YOU COME IN:
What special things should we do? How would you suggest we spend out trip? We arrive noon on Thursday, fly out noon on Monday, currently booked WL, planning 2 days MK, and some mix of AK, HS, EP. I’ve never really spent much time in WS with kids, wonder if it might be nice, or too much walking?
He loves rides - EE, Small World, HM, JC, Pirates, Soarin’, TSMM, Buzz, etc, so we’ll do lots of all of those. He’s not super keen on lots of shows or parades (has a hard time standing for a long time), but every time I drag him to one he agrees that he had a good time - plus, he has a lot more fatigue now so he probably can’t walk for 12 hours straight anymore. He loves food - not necessarily fancy, but plentiful and delicious.
What other experiences should we consider? Hoop de doo? Chip and Dale’s campfire? Fireworks cruise? Any particular shows at the parks (he’s only ever seen Dis Jr… lol)?
I know this is a lot to ask, but would love to hear anybody’s advice… I’m great at planning for preschoolers, but I’m out of my league here! I think I’d be less stressed if I didn’t feel like there was so much at stake - this will probably be our last major father-daughter excursion, and he’s been my biggest fan for my whole life, I just want it to be perfect for him. Thanks all!
I think it’s great that you’re getting to go with your dad! I think since you guys enjoy camping the Chip N Dale campfire would be really fun and hey, it’s free!
Maybe one really memorable signature meal? CG comes to mind we thought it was awesome!
I’m sure that no matter what you end up doing he will really enjoy and appreciate the time you get to spend together.
If standing to long is a problem WS could be a challenge. Have you considered a scooter to help? At least it is a guaranteed seat. Have a great time
In recent years I’ve been to Disney World twice and Disneyland once with my dad, as he’s now in the same age group as you parents. He doesn’t move very fast anymore and needs regular breaks, but still enjoys the parks. Even with all the physical exertion that’s required, he seems sharper and more engaged after a few days of Disney.
Some things that we’ve enjoyed were simple, like just looking around some of the resorts. He really likes the Grand Floridian (we stayed there once, in 1989!), so we scheduled afternoon tea there one day and that went over well. It provided a break during a Magic Kingdom day and gave us time to look around the lobby and shops. I’m not sure if any resorts have similar good memories for your family, but Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge could be great places to relax in a lounge for some time of your feet.
My father also really likes the Brown Derby, as it reminds him of old Hollywood when he was growing up (kinda like the whole Disney MGM-Studios park did at one time), so we usually schedule a meal there. We also returned to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review a couple years ago, reliving a favorite show from our trips while my sister and I were growing up.
Our Disneyland visit was part of and Adventures by Disney tour and my dad really enjoyed that, but the tour meant a lot of walking, which was tough. However, if one of Disney’s shorter tours appeals to your dad, then that could be fun. Maybe something like the Steam Trains tour.
Overall, just slowing the pace down makes a big difference. When traveling on my own or with other adults I tend to want to see and do as much as possible in my short time in the parks. With someone who moves at my dad’s speed, just having a few great experiences to savor each day is enough. My parents enjoyed just sitting on a bench in World Showcase for awhile and watching people go by. Animal Kingdom also lends itself well to meandering along one of the trails, then sitting and taking in the scenery for awhile (especially because that park can be really difficult to walk for many people).
Lastly, I’d think about booking a dessert party in the Magic Kingdom or Rose and Crown in Epcot (or both) to provide a place to sit and watch the evening fireworks, rather than fighting for a spot with a crowd of people and then having to stand.
Let us know what you end up doing, since I’d be interested to hear what he enjoys!
I think Hoop de doo would be fun. I don’t have any other good suggestions, but I will also really want to hear what you decide to do. It sounds like a great trip.
What a nice trip to look forward to! I would suggest some TS meals scheduled. I always think they are a good break and a little less standing waiting in line at CS. WS is a lot of walking but maybe a good meal there would be nice. I also like the Plaza in MK for a break. I am all about food today but it sounds like your dad might like Whispering Canyon at the WL. It is good and plentiful (and fun).
The two shows I like best are the Lion King and Nemo at AK. I think they are the best at Disney.
Also just slow down and do your favorites. You don’t need a lot of new experiences to have fun.
Get FastPass+ for Festival of Fantasy, the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes (and Illumiations or Fantasmic if seeing those). That will ensure a special experience for each that will be easy and comfortable for both of you.
Fort Wilderness is beautiful and peaceful: a cabin there would be a pleasant place to stay. Reserve a carriage ride for the two of you, and consider renting a golf cart to make getting around easier.
We loved the Behind the Seeds tour (1 hour) of Epcot’s super-sized hydroponic garden, and the 3-hour Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom (way, way better than the standard park “safari”). There is also a Magic Kingdom trains tour that he might find interesting.
If your dad happens to be a veteran, he might enjoy attending the daily MK flag lowering ceremony.
A haircut at the harmony barber shop could be fun, too.
Cirque de Soleil La Nouba in Downtown Disney is fantastic, too.
Try for rope drop so the waits are less. Use the touring plans and put in minimize walking. Use the fast passes early and put them in the same area. Then get more at the first opportunity.
Enter park and go to Pirates. Then Thunder Mtn. and on to Splash Mtn with first fast pass. Get on the train and get off in fantasyland. Use fast pass for seven dwarves mine train and Peter Pan. . immediately go to a kiosk and get more FP for the afternoon. I think there is one close to philharmagic. Do Philharmagic, small world, Dumbo, Barnstormer.
Break for lunch. there is a window that overlooks the loading of Small world.
Use FP for HM. Then use the FP in tomorrow land. Hopefully you can get one for Space and Buzz light year.
why don’t you try to get a seat on the second floor of the railroad station to see a parade? I think you have to get there at least an hour early, but you could bring a snack.
You might see the carousel of progress or Hall of Presidents for some “downtime”.
Also, the upstairs part of Columbia Harbor house is quiet if you go early for lunch or dinner.
I would say take lots of breaks and just enjoy the experience.
He might enjoy getting a haircut and listening to the singing quartet.