On our recent Marathon trip in January, my son and I had lots of time to spend with each other before the Marathon and after the race. He is 19 years old and has been going down to Florida with us since his first trip in 1997, so you would think he has pretty much done it all in the 13 years he has been visiting Walt Disney World.
But the thing is, as he has grown up, his tastes understandably have changed. While he may have enjoyed Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and a Mickey Bar when he was 6, he now enjoys Rockin’ Roller Coaster and a Mickey Bar (the fine cuisine that is a Mickey Bar remains a favorite). Each trip down is also more about experiences for him rather than just attractions. The whole reason for the vacation was to have that time together with him and to share the experience of running a marathon together.
There are a few of the fun things we did and my favorite one was completely free.
- One of the best things we did on our last Marathon trip was just play catch. My son has really gotten into Major League baseball lately and he always travels with two mitts and at least one ball. We had planned ahead and both brought our favorite mitts and a few baseballs. This is an activity you can do pretty much anywhere on property as long as you find an area where there are not any guests that would be impacted and if you don’t mind carrying the equipment around with you. We chose to throw around on the Beach Club lawn close to the walkway by the water. We were the only ones out there as it was misting a bit but that did not bother us because we were having a great time just throwing and talking. We receive may smiles and looks of approval as well as a few kind comments about our choice of activity. We talked and played catch for over an hour and would have gone on longer if the webbing on my mitt had not broken. I had that mitt since my Purdue days so it was getting old, but Matt insists that the break was because of his amazing power. I’ll give him that one.
- Take a walk. There are so many things to see outside the parks and all it takes is a stroll with your son to take some of them in. One of my favorites is getting up early and walking over to the Boardwalk to get some coffee and a Cinnamon Roll. We then continue on around the lake and over to the International Gateway to Epcot, which is not yet open, but it is interesting to see all the activity that goes on in the morning before the parks open. If you are really ambitious, you can walk the other way to Hollywood Studios and back again. If you are a runner, or not, most hotels have a list of the running trails/walkways around your hotel. You can choose to run them or just take a nice long walk around them. Early morning is best before everyone is making their way to the parks.
- Rent a Boat. As I mentioned in my Marathon Day 6 post, we did an Illuminations cruise. Although a bit expensive, I found it worth every penny for again, the experience and the memories that it produced. There are many less costly options at several resorts throughout Disney World. Call (407) 939-7529 to make a reservation for the chartered excursions.
- Go Shopping at Downtown Disney. You can find exclusive Disney World merchandise at one of the many unique shopping locations.
- Get a midnight or later snack. Many of the restaurants or even hotel can have fairly late hours, but our secret spot is the 24 hours quick service restaurant in the Dolphin hotel called Picabu. We found it on one of our previous trips and it is a must do if we are staying at any one of the Epcot resorts. If you are out late and even the bars are closed, this place can really hit the spot.
These trips are a great time to reconnect with your kids. You can just walk, and talk but be sure to listen.