When you think of Orlando, Florida, you think of Disney and princesses and Mickey and all their friends. It’s definitely the place to go for family fun and entertainment -- and long lines, humid weather and millions of tourists all pushing their way forward to be the first person in line. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? In actuality, Orlando is a great place for families and for a little mother-daughter bonding for you and your toddler.
There’s something to be said about spending time alone with your little girl. She loves to learn, loves to have fun and loves to see things she can’t see on a regular basis. For this reason alone, take your little lady to SeaWorld (seaworldparks.com). She will enjoy watching Shamu perform and petting the stingrays. She'll no doubt convince you to purchase some sardines so she can pet and feed the dolphins during feeding time. Since your little one is likely active and you are -- well, older and probably less active -- you will find it convenient to let her blow off some of her steam and energy at Shamu’s Happy Harbour, where you can both check out the toddler-friendly rides and she can play in the fountains and water to cool off from the hot Florida sun.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
What little girl doesn’t love princesses and fairytales and playing dress-up? Judging by the mess of shoes and hats in your master bedroom closet -- definitely your little girl. There is nothing more magical for you and your daughter to experience together than a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (disneyworld.disney.go.com/tours-and-experiences/bibbidi-bobbidi-boutique/). There are two locations: inside Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom or in the Disney store at Downtown Disney. Here is where your little girl will become the project of her fairy Godmothers, who will transform her into the Disney princess of her choice, complete with an up-do, magic fairy dust, painted fingernails and toenails, and even a beautiful princess ball gown, shoes and a tiara. Your little one must be at least 3 years old, but she will love every second of this mother-daughter activity.
Dinner With Cinderella
For little girls, Orlando is the mecca of all things princess. This means no mother-daughter bonding experience is complete without the ultimate activity: having dinner and a dance with Cinderella and Prince Charming. At the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, you can dine with Cinderella, the prince, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters over a full meal and a little dancing (disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/1900-park-fare/). Your little princess won’t know what to say when she realizes she’s having dinner with her favorite princess, and that she will get the opportunity to meet, hug, talk to and dance with Cinderella and her friends -- and wicked stepfamily. Bring your autograph book, pen and camera, because this is a magical mother-daughter experience. Reservations are required. If Cinderella isn’t your daughter’s thing, she can meet other characters at different meal times. Breakfast and lunch options include characters such as Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter and other Wonderland characters.
Call it a female thing or call it fun -- which it is -- but shopping is something even toddler- and preschool-age girls like to do. She may not want to shop for the same things as you, much to your husband’s relief, but there is no shortage of shopping for you and your daughter in Orlando. Head over to Downtown Disney and let your little girl pick out a new princess dresses and other Disney items at the giant Disney Store (disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/shopping/). Head on over to Conroy Road and shop until you drop at the Mall at Millenia (mallatmillenia.com), where you can both try on shoes at Jimmy Choo, stop for a cheesecake break at the Cheesecake Factory or pick out all the Hello Kitty stuff you want at the Sanrio store. If it’s Christmas, she’ll love to sit on Santa’s lap and see the massive Christmas tree at the mall entrance. You will bond over shopping, picking out gifts for your loved ones or helping her choose a whole new wardrobe to wear when she starts preschool.