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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

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“I just have no interest in going to Disney.” No one meant this more than me, but I’ve come around.

Two years ago, when my daughters were two and three, my sister was trying to convince me of the joys of Disney World. She suggested going for a long Mother’s Day weekend–a family vacation, just the four of us. “It will be fun!” No way, I thought (the lines, the crowds, the constant commerce, whining kids, terrible food). Then I saw that the Four Seasons had opened a new property in Orlando at Walt Disney World and I changed my tune. We decided to try it–I would take care of organizing the hotel, and my sister would do the theme park planning. We booked a Thursday-Monday trip, and I still count it as one of the most relaxing for me.

Since the girls were little–under three–we decided our park time would be short and sweet. We booked two early park breakfasts, used Fast Pass for all our rides and then would always have lunch back at the hotel.

If you want to take it a bit slower in the morning, the hotel offers a character breakfast so that you can get your Disney experience in steps away from your room all before 10 a.m.! There’s also the option to wake before your family and enjoy the complimentary spinning or yoga classes.

Pool time at the resort was the highlight of our trip (the hotel has a fantastic splash pool). The water is about 3 inches deep, requiring a minimal fear factor with the little ones getting into trouble, and my girls just had a blast. Meanwhile, the grownups could properly relax by the pool, read our books, and take turns “lifeguarding.” We would order food and drinks from the menu while the kids would eat PB + Js made from 7-Eleven supplies. In the late afternoon, we’d take turns at the spa.

Some nights, we’d venture back to the parks for dinner. It was a beautiful way to change up the environment once the temperature cooled. We loved Jiko at Animal Kingdom and the Contemporary for the fireworks. Movie night poolside at the Four Seasons is also worth experiencing. They serve popcorn to all the guests, and the dinner menu is delicious. Sort of a luxury Alamo Drafthouse, but poolside. And if your kids can stay up for the fireworks, dinner at Capa on the rooftop is a great last night activity. Kids under 5 eat free.

If you have kids between one and five, book this trip immediately. You won’t be sorry. Tickets to the park are free for kids 3 and younger, and they’re just shy of knowing that the option of staying at the park all day exists. And as early risers, you’ll be able to take advantage of the morning breakfast reservations and extra magic hours which the Fours Season now offers for guests. This has become our go-to Mother’s Day treat. The kids love it, and we get in tons of relaxation–a perfect balance.

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