Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Magical Grand Adventure - Memories!

Disney paid for my family's trip to 
Walt Disney World® Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.

Savoring the happy hustle and burgeoning bustle of Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom® Park, I overhead a wistful conversation between a pair of young stroller-pushers. "I just wish we could ride a few of these as a couple." "Tsk, tsk," I mused, "Why didn't you people invite grandma along?" A while later, I witnessed an epic meltdown by a tired and frustrated toddler. "Well, tsk, tsk, again! Where's grandma?"

Not a single one of the grand-ladies (or gentlemen!) I know would miss an opportunity to pass out mouse-eared ice cream treats and relish a break in the shade with restless mini-guests, leaving mommy and daddy free to enjoy the park for awhile as a carefree couple. In fact, I met fellow grandmas who joined me to do exactly that on our recent venture. One of my bench companions had accompanied her family ever since the kids were very young. Today, her nine and ten year old grandchildren don't need her as a babysitter anymore, but their annual trip to Walt Disney World® Resort just wouldn't be the same without grandma!

Grandma's premium-stroller-patrol-service! My grandson, Ryan, totally enraptured with a hat to twist and a sock to savor!

Grandpa and I, plus the family of my oldest daughter, Mary Jo, comprised a group of eight who recently enjoyed a five day, four night dream vacation to this magical wonderland. We were guests of Better Homes and Gardens and Walt Disney World® Resort as part of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine "Making Memories Magical" contest promotion.We also included, at our expense, the families of two additional daughters, bringing our three-generation party to a total of sixteen. At one point in my life, I would have regarded such a trip as impractical. Weird, even. But I know better now! Because Walt Disney World® Resort offers such a wide range of experiences for every age, multi-generational/multi-family trips create unique benefits and memories for each member. Join forces as a team and everybody comes home happy and satisfied! Here are a few of my own reflections:

Night life. You may be different, but for this grandma the best time of day is often at night! Late evening romantic dinners at Epcot® are for mommy and daddy! I prefer to keep a watchful eye - and an earlier bedtime - back home at the hotel with the little ones. We hop into our jammies, nestle together, and relive the best moments of the day. We chatter about what we'll do tomorrow and animatedly describe something we spotted through a gift shop window. Then, we drift off together, smiling away in anticipation of the next day. When mommy and daddy slip in later on, relaxed and happy, they find us soundly asleep. It's then they realize that vacations don't get any better than this!

Okay, shared babysitting. That's one reason to travel in a multi-generational pack! But what about others? I'm not saying you have to be a techno-wizard to enjoy a day at Walt Disney World® Resort, but millennials (that's mommy and daddy!) instinctively know how to handle all the cool stuff you can do directly from your "magic wristband!" Enter the Park (with valid theme park tickets). Load pictures to Disney PhotoPass® service. Operate the My Disney Experience app to reserve meals, and use Disney FastPass+ service to select character greeting experiences. You'll enjoy each day without the worry of making a bad choice. How's that for a benefit?!

And here's another one....

Sharing the tab! Everyone's circumstances are as diverse as the bottom line on your own Walt Disney World® Resort vacation budget, but a few things tend to be true with a grandparent lifestyle. We've got all the "stuff" we need. (Just check out our closets!) Most of us don't need things from our families to be happy. We just want to do things with them! And we've been around long enough to know that what experts say is true - the best value from a dollar is an experience enjoyed - not another thing purchased! Memories. That's what we want to invest in!

But I should clarify that we grandparents do like to buy some things! Like dated, keepsake Christmas ornaments for each individual family. My wish is that the ones I bought will trigger annual revisits to the fond memories we brought home together this year. ("Merry Chris-Mouse??!")

This last one is personal to me. It's my own favorite benefit of our multi-generational/multi-family trip to Walt Disney World® Resort:

We wait in line to ride, and all I know is that I'm part of a "group of eight." A little hand reaches for mine, our fingers lace together proprietorially, and suddenly, I'm half of a "party of two." "I want to ride with you, grandma." Long after many scenes from this magical journey have faded into the mist of senior years that lie ahead, I will always feel those little hands and hear those little voices. And my reply will always be the same. "Grandma wants to ride with you, too, sweetie. I will always want to ride with you!"

My sincere, most heartfelt gratitude to Mara VanGeldern, Associate Marketing Manager at Better Homes and Gardens, and to the Cast Members of Walt Disney World® Resort. Together, you made our multi-generational vacation to Walt Disney World® Resort one beyond magical!

Here is where you'll find details and links you'll need to enter for a chance to win a multi-generational family vacation for eight of your own at Better Homes and Gardens Magazine "Making Memories Magical" contest. 

And here, at "Magical Grand Adventure!" is where my five part series on multi-generational travel to Walt Disney World® Resort begins.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Better Homes and Gardens and Walt Disney World® Resort. 

2017 Update: Continue filling your pre-trip info file with a look at this post written for AARP by Teresa Kindred, another grandma blogger who has also experienced Disney World with grandchildren!


  1. Again - more and more fun - I love the ornament - and the hand holding and riding with Grandma.

  2. Lovely photo's, great memories.

    All the best Jan

  3. Oh the photos of the kids here are just precious! :)

  4. Precious memories indeed.
    The only time I was in Disney World Florida was when we visited the States when my kids were 4 and 5 and we had a lot of fun.

  5. Hello, wonderful report on your Disney trip! It sounds like a grand time with your grandchildren and family. Wonderful Disney Memories. Have a happy day!

  6. What an absolutely magical trip your family had together. It will always be a memory to last a lifetime. All those handsome and beautiful grands will grow up but always remember. Every Christmas they will look at their ornament and probably have a story to share. Love it. :-)

  7. What wonderful memories all of you have made together. None of you will forget it anytime soon!

  8. Your memories are beautiful!! I loved reading about your delightful trip, and you my friend, are an awesome grandma! :-) Your heart is beautiful, just beautiful.
    Those precious little ones will cherish their relationship with you forever.

    Thank you for gracing your presence and beauty for Stephanie's birthday. It was so nice to see you as it has been much too long. I'm slowly making my rounds with visiting and trying to use the electronics at a minimum so as not to over do. Coming here was good for me.


  9. What can I say? Wow! What a wonderful trip.

  10. Lovely pictures, looks like a great trip :)

  11. I plan on shouting out this post on next week's Tuesday Talk link up party. I'm doing a special theme so stop by Tuesday to see!

  12. As I look at your grandchildren all I can do is dream of the day when I will have grands to spend precious time with.

    Thanks for sharing at SYC.

  13. Disney smiles are the best of the best! It really is the happiest place on earth when it comes to a child! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  14. So great to create these memories with your adorable grandchildren! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty