Bringing the magic to the grandparents

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by KaystotheKingdom, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. KaystotheKingdom

    KaystotheKingdom Earning My Ears

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    Hey all!

    We are treating my mom and dad to their first real trip with a stay on Disney property (DH and I are newly minted DVC owners at WL). We will have our one year old son and 4 year old daughter with us as well.

    I’m looking for any suggestions for a great “extra” magical experience (ie beyond just going to the park) that they would enjoy experiencing with our kids.

    Thanks!
     
  2. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

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    We've taken our parents several times and we always reserve a fireworks cruise. They are so much fun and such a relaxing away to watch the fireworks. We also rent a canopy or pontoon boat during the day. It's a nice way to escape the crowds and my sweet mother in law loved "driving". A Dinner show is another idea. They also enjoyed going on the Characters of Flight. If they are healthy enough rent bikes at FW. I know is sounds crazy but my parents had not been on bikes in years and had so much fun. We actually had to do it twice. Enjoy the special family time and congrats on your DVC ownership.
     
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  4. NYCgrrl

    NYCgrrl DIS Veteran

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    On site-A nice dinner minus grand children and children. You know like a date night.
    Off site- How about looking at Orlando's tourism website and finding something to do that appeals to them based on your decades of knowing them?
     
  5. Beth33

    Beth33 Mouseketeer

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    How about a silhouette? They're quick, inexpensive, and a great keepsake.
     
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  6. stephk1981

    stephk1981 Mouseketeer

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    We treated my mom to a trip at BWI last month. We did Breakfast at Cape May which she enjoyed with the kids. My mom lives quite far from us, so doesn't see us but twice yearly. She actually asked to child sit to ' feel like' a normal grandmother while we went to dinner one evening. Have a great trip with your parents!
     
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  7. Shellyred8

    Shellyred8 I'd rather be at Disney

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    A horse drawn carriage ride might be fun. They have them just next door at the campground. Does anyone fish? It might be fun to take the kiddos fishing with grandma and/or grandpa.
     
  8. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    My in laws were thrilled to babysit so we could have a date night.
     
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  9. tinkerjo

    tinkerjo Crazy Disney nut

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    A character breakfast. There isn’t nothing like seeing the magical excitement Of meeting their favorite characters. As a grandma I do NOT want to babysit at Disney. I love them dearly ( all boys 4,3,9months) but I want a little freedom. I also have a younger son(11) of my own. If I choose to take one at a time to do special rides, I will do that. Last visit with them I was stuck in my room at 5pm one night babysitting for their date night. (2 years ago so they were pretty little) Have to say I was a little resentful. Please don’t flame me, I would do anything for them but I look forward to my Disney trips and I plan on taking the 2 oldest with us next year, I guess I just resented feeling like I HAD to.
     
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  10. NYCgrrl

    NYCgrrl DIS Veteran

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    I like that you spoke up and said what YOU would like to do and when and how.
    DGD lives with us fulltime so I don't get to do a lot of traditional grandmother things or have the mind set either.On the other hand I'd put on a forced smile if my kiddos set up a character meal for me and their children BUT that's because I don't like them and if they did that I'd know they forgot who I am. This doesn't mean it's not right for another person just it's best to know who you are doing something special for.

    I think the OP should ask her parents and if they don't have any idea then present some edited ideas based on what she knows they like. I also think it's wonderful that she wants to do something special for them w/ or w/o the grandchildren.
     
  11. disneydreamer1980

    disneydreamer1980 DIS Veteran

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    My parents go with us every year and their favorite thing is watching HEA and the parade with my kids. They love to see the kids excitement. We do the HEA garden view party and the Tonys parade package each trip so we can really enjoy these experiences without fighting for viewing space.
     
  12. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

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    I would ask them what they want to experience, what they think it will be like and go from there. I say this because my sister and law and I take my MIL with us once a year and the first trip was a bit of a learning experience. My sister in law and I had been taking trips with our kids together for a few years and when we included my MIL we sort of thought things would not change. Needless to say we were wrong, she wanted way more pool time than we did, was happy with a only a morning at the parks and really enjoyed our "downtime" at the villa as well as a very early sit down dinner every night. Now that we understand and can incorporate her wants with ours / our yearly visits are fun for everyone.

    Last trip she really enjoyed pool time every afternoon, dinner at HDDR, tea with the older girls "cousins" at GF and either mornings or evenings at the parks depending on rides and shows. My mil was never the babysit type so if you did have that in mind make sure they are onboard.

    Lots of questions would be my advice :) Enjoy!
     
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  13. Afabena

    Afabena Earning My Ears

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    Hi! We are taking my parents with us in Nov who have not been to Disney in probably 20 years. Will be my kids first time as well. We are including them in the planning as much as possible - I sent them a website with all the restaurants for the 4 parks as well as at the Contemporary (we are staying at BLT) so we can get a feel of where they might like to eat. When it comes time to plan out our days they will be involved in helping determine which parks on which days. Something special that no one in my party has done is MVMCP and we are leaning booking that one night. Other ideas I have are fireworks viewing at the California Grill, something simple like Mickey bars on Main Street in the MK, or possibly the spirit of Aloha show at the Poly which is something I did with my parents on our last trip long ago. We have not booked our ADRs yet as our window opens May 7, but I am starting to remind the adults in our party that time is winding down and we need to start really thinking about our days. I am also trying to keep expectations low as I know when they were younger my parents had the stamina to park hop and walk all day with an afternoon break here and there, but not sure how they will hold up 20 years later. They swear they will be able to do it all, but once we are there it will most likely be different. I am planning for afternoon rests/pool days frequently if not everyday to give everyone a break. I agree with asking lots of questions and trying to get a feel for what they might want to do. Most importantly, enjoy your time with them!
     
  14. Tys Nanny

    Tys Nanny Earning My Ears

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    Honestly, after reading all these replies, I see how very different GPS are and think that your best option would be to pick a few suggestions here and offer them a choice.

    We’re retired and eat three meals a day together; a “date night” would be the last thing we’d enjoy. We love special meals out with our grandchildren.

    We vacation often with our DD and her family, and I am constantly suggesting dates for her and her DH so we can baby sit.

    We’re both in our seventies and did the parks from rope drop to the end of the fire works on out last trip in 2017. We’d sometimes skip a ride in the afternoon and relax on a bench somewhere, but that was the exception and not the rule.

    The old saying has it that, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” There’s no standard Grandparent Model that you fit into because one of your children becomes a parent. I’d have a frank conversation and get an idea of how they envision the vacation taking place. (But the fireworks cruise sounds terrific to me.)
     
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  15. danikoski

    danikoski DIS Veteran

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    My parents are going to WDW for the first time as grandparents on our trip this summer. We actually sat down and discussed how they'd like to tour the parks, what they want to do, if they'd be interested in babysitting a might or two.

    My parents want to get up early and go to the parks and have a midday break. My dad wanted to see Illuminations and go to Biergarten. We booked a fireworks cruise for Illuminations. We are eating lunch at Biergarten.
    My mom wanted the afternoon breaks, character meals with her grandson, and PPO BOG breakfast. We have two main character meals at Tusker and Crystal Palace and we have the PPO BOG breakfast. She also wanted a non-park day in the middle of our stay, which we worked out.
    My dad and I are doing the Marceline to the Magic Kingdom tour, just the two of us. He also wants a night him and my mom can just sit at Geyser Point and relax. He also didn't want to have to do anything in the evenings except Illuminations the one night. I have planned for that for him.
    They are going to watch my 19 month old son one or two nights so that us rollercoaster fans can go ride some.

    A lot of it came down to just communicating about what they wanted and what their expectations are. I'd start there before booking something special. I was going to book a dessert party or dining package for Illuminations, but my dad didn't want to do that. But he thought the cruise sounded like fun. So just ask what they'd like to do.
     
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  16. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

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    Some great points above especially since the "age" of a grandparent can range so widely!
    My mil was 88 at the time of the most recent trip and she was quite the trooper :)
     
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  17. MudQueen22

    MudQueen22 DIS Veteran

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    I'm glad you posted this. Not all grandparents are alike, just like not all kids and parents are alike.
    It's okay to want to enjoy your vacation.
     
  18. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    This is us! We liked tossing the "kids" out and spending time with our DGD.


    Our DGD lived with us for a few years as well while my DD and DSIL saved for their home. I was her caregiver and while I would stop "sitting" and start "Nanaing" as soon as they got home, Disney vacations were the perfect time for both Pa and I to indulge ourselves in the grand-parenting fun, and giving my DD and DSIL a chance to do a few things without Kady in tow, (or without us for that matter)

    I think that the first thing to remember is that not every grandparent is on the same page though, and vacation expectations can be sketchy if some things are not spelled out. I would discuss what the grands want in regards to "magical" experiences. For instance, on one trip we sent everyone to the arcade and we stayed on the Poly beach with Kady. She played and we watched the Water Parade, took her back for a bath and bed. It was a favorite for us, but who would have thought that? WE have also taken her to play or swim while the rest stayed behind to play cards etc. These little things turned out to be more fun for us than the planned experiences we booked for the three of us. As an aside, she is 17 now, and still loves to recall swimming at the pool with her Pa, walking through the animal trails with me, etc. She has never spoken about that Princess Tea at the Grand in her custom made Blue Aurora dress. The anecdotes she likes to talk about are the most mundane and ordinary experiences, but they meant the most to her.
     
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  19. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 DIS Veteran

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    Great post -

    Reminds me of our most recent trip, it was later in the after noon and we were just about to leave for the parks and it started POURING - like it does in FL. If it were just my sil and I and our kids we probably would have trudged on into the parks but it we knew it was just to uncomfortable for Nana. Instead my dd and my niece went to the giftshop and bought Disney monopoly, we popped popcorn made some drinks for the adults and had a blast just waiting out the storm in the vila. It was a highlight for everyone, not planned but enjoyed by all.

    Its days like this that remind me to take things easier and enjoy all the in between moments.

     
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  20. danikoski

    danikoski DIS Veteran

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    It's easy to forget at WDW to slow down and enjoy those impromptu moments. My mom and I had a trip in 2017 where we used old tickets (1991 and 1992). We couldn't book FP before we got to WDW and converted the tickets. We had three days left on the tickets, and we bought one day at Epcot, which then allowed us to plan our Epcot day. The rest of the week was pretty unplanned. And it was fabulous! We made some great memories, and some of the best had nothing to do with FP and theme parks.

    Now I just have to remember this as I plan our trip this summer ;)
     
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