Making Magic and Harnessing Pixie Dust

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When my son was 5, my husband and I took him on a baseball spring training trip to Florida for two weeks. Six baseball parks and eight games later, it was truly one of the best vacations I have ever had. We had so much fun exploring different ballparks and cities around the state with my parents, and we’re hoping to do that again for the cactus league in Arizona one of these days.

One of the games we attended was the Astros vs the Braves at the Wide World of Sports ballpark, and we stayed at the All-Star Resort, which has a baseball-diamond-shaped pool and a miniature football field on the hotel property. Our son thought he was in paradise.

When we returned home, he told everyone he had been to Disney World. To this day, he doesn’t know about all the rides and food and fun at the Magic Kingdom.

But he’s about to find out.

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Next week, we are headed to Orlando to stay at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, which is right across the street from Disney Springs. And Monday - my birthday! - we will be at the Magic Kingdom, soaking up all of the magic for my son’s first visit there. He’s 9, so I think it’s the perfect age to both appreciate and remember this trip.

At the beginning of 2017, I told my husband that one of my big goals for 2018 was to bring our son to Disney World while he was still young enough to believe in the magic. All I asked for last year for Christmas was to take this trip this year, so you can imagine how excited I am.

One of the reasons we picked the Wyndham is because although it’s an official Walt Disney World Resort, which means we get Extra Magic Hours, Fast Pass+ access, round-trip bus transportation to the park, character breakfasts, and a Disney store in the lobby. However, the value and quality is a great match for our family’s budget. We looked at all of the options, and this resort gives us the most for our hard-earned money.

The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is the closest property to Disney Springs, which is a fun place to eat with 62 dining options (!), 100+ places to shop, movies, a Christmas tree trail, a holiday scavenger hunt, bowling, live music, and soon, a giant NBA experience that my son is going to love.

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Some of the things I’m excited about:

  1. We can walk to Disney Springs from our hotel over a new pedestrian bridge.

  2. At the Oasis Aquatic Center and Grill, there is a giant rock waterfall and a 189,000-gallon heated pool, an elevated hot tub overlooking the lake and pool area, and a smaller cool down pool with additional loungers. 

  3. Meeting up with the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista’s “Fun Director” who helps kids and their parents contribute to the tile memory wall and search for “Hidden Mickeys.

  4. 24/7 access to snacks at the Sun Dial Lobby Restaurant, Eclipse Lounge, a Dominos Pizza Kiosk. All the foooooooooooooood.

  5. My son is going to go nuts over the hotel’s Video Arcade/Game Room. The arcade includes air hockey, driving games, and crane games, which will make him very happy.

Stay tuned! I’ll tell you about all of the highlights on my social channels: @KristinVShaw on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Sponsor notes: Chrysler is providing us with a brand-new Pacifica Hybrid for our drive, the Wyndham is hosting our stay, and Disney has sponsored two of our three tickets to the park. It’s a dream come true, really.

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Kristin Shaw