I’m a big WDW fan and used to write for a Disney travel e-zine. Been Many Many times. For one, take time to enjoy your resort. There are SO many things to do at AKL (Animal Kingdom Lodge)! There are children’s activities and story tellers and just sitting and watching the animals (either from your room if you have a Savannah view or from one of the several viewing points in the resort).
Relax and treat this like a vacation. Do not try to see everything. You physically cannot see everything in one trip and doing so is going to exhaust you!! Take time for yourselves. Rest when you (and especially your dd) get tired. There is convenient transportation back to your room all through the day. Or if you are at one of the monorail parks, take a break and just ride the monorail around the park.
There are SO many fun things to do that you will not be at a loss for something to do. As long as you are having fun you are getting from Disney what is important. Your time together as a family in a nice (hopefully warm and sunny) location and surrounded by a fun atmosphere is what will make your vacation memorable. The first time we went to Disney we thought it was a “once in a lifetime” event. We had so much fun that we made it a priority to continue going back (again and again and again!) I think in the past 10 years we have been 15 times! Everything from a 3 day weekend to an 8 day luxury vacation. We are gearing up to go again in February and we can’t wait!
Remember if your child is cranky, YOU aren’t having fun either. Change what you are doing so EVERYONE can have fun. I can’t tell you the number of parents I have seen dragging a tired, hungry, thirsty, overwhelmed child who is crying or screaming or distraught through the park yelling, “I’m paying $1,000 a day for you to have a good time and you are GOING to have a good time whether you like it or not!” Gee, I really want to be part of THAT family! NOT!
My favorite things to watch are the fireworks display at both Magic Kingdom and at Epcot (they are truly specatcular and bring Kleenexes!) MGM’s Fantasmic, the live shows, the animals and walking tours through Animal Kingdom. I love thrill rides, but I enjoy a much more leisure pace at WDW. One thing I will recommend is to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, particularly the later night ones. Sleep in and get a later start on the day. You can avoid the “gotta get to the park now” breakfast rush at the hotel and at the buses, and you will get up to 3 additional hours in the parks after they close. All the popular attractions will be open so you can get on those with very little line or waiting. We road Soarin’ three times in a row once without having to disembark because there was no one waiting to get on! Done the same with Mission:Space and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Your dd may be too short for some of the more thrillish rides, but you can take advantage of child swap for those rides allowing one parent to ride while the other waits with the child then the other parent gets to ride skipping the line. Just ask at the entrance of each ride she is too short for as to how that ride operates their child swap. We still use child swap for a few of our rides as our son does not do thrill rides at all (and I just HAVE to do Rockin’ Rollercoaster once each trip!) Here is a great big boy almost my height and we are still doing child swap!
Most of all HAVE fun and come back rested and energized!