Bill Leslie: Taking my oldest granddaughter to Disney World

Posted January 20, 2020 6:23 a.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2020 6:43 a.m. EST

— Keeping a promise I made more than a year ago, my wife Cindy and I took our oldest granddaughter to Disney World. I wanted to make sure Elizabeth would be old enough to remember the trip.

At age four, Elizabeth has a vivid imagination and intense adoration for Disney characters.

We used our Fast Passes for meetings with Disney stars such as Woody and Bo Peep and Mickey and Minnie. Older children, of course, would probably enjoy the rides more than chatting with characters.

We took this trip in one of the so-called “slow weeks” at Disney in January.

Bill Leslie: Taking my oldest granddaughter to Disney World

But there were still plenty of people in the parks.

Our first full day may have been our favorite. Animal Kingdom has lots of trees providing shade in the 84-degree heat.

Elizabeth enjoyed a dinosaur ride and a get-together with Goofy.

We marveled at the glorious Tree of Life with its magnificent waterfall and important lessons about nature and the web of life. More than 300 animals are carved into this sculpture standing 145-feet-tall.

Later, Elizabeth loved seeing the real animals in the Kilimanjaro Safari.

Bill Leslie: Taking my oldest granddaughter to Disney World

We finished our first full day with a mystical boat ride in the rainforest of Pandora and Avatar.


Day two took us to the Magic Kingdom with its iconic castle and hugs from Cinderella.

The popular Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a little too scary for Elizabeth but she rode it anyway.

The Mad Hatter ride was more her cup of tea.

Elizabeth was thrilled with the midday parade at Magic Kingdom with its street dancing and upbeat music.

Nightfall brought a magic carpet ride and an unforgettable fireworks display above the castle.


We caught Star Wars fever on our final day at Disney.

We got to see Mickey one last time at a dance party.

The Frozen Sing Along at Hollywood Studios was outstanding.

We rode rides, played games and caught a glimpse of the Green Army Men.

Some takeaways from our trip:

  • Disney workers are friendly and helpful. Security is top-notch.
  • We would like to see healthier and less expensive food choices. You may want to pack your own snacks and lunch.
  • Navigating the parks can be confusing. We would like to see more signs.
  • Do your homework before you go. Figure out your Fast Passes ahead of time so you don’t have to wait.
  • Strollers are a must for young children. We put many miles on ours.
  • Bring your patience. Lather on the sunscreen.
  • Rekindle your sense of wonder.
  • And make amazing memories like we did with our granddaughter Elizabeth.
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