My husband and I were big fans of the Walt Disney World® Resort well before we decided to start a family. We visited a bit less frequently than we do now (usually every other year.) But when we did, we did it right! The deluxe dining plan, Segway tours, dinners at Victoria and Albert’s, and the Wagyu beef at the Yachtsman Steakhouse were just a few of our favorites.
Now (with a preschooler in tow) we tend to favor more quick service meals, it’s a small world, and dinner at Chef Mickey’s. That’s not to say we don’t love the less adult Disney fare that has become a critical part of our vacations. Every visit, I cry the first time my son sees Mickey. I cherish these moments.
However…Mommy and Daddy have not given up their love of the “more adult oriented” offerings around the World; although they are a lot less frequently enjoyed and we pick and choose pretty carefully these days…and we need a little help…
In 2011, we celebrated our son’s first birthday with a Walt Disney World vacation. My father, who hadn’t visited since 1983, was along for the ride and I wanted him to experience California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (one of our favorite restaurants anywhere in the world.) But there was no way I was going to take a one year-old to a signature dining restaurant well after his bedtime.
After doing a lot of homework, I found a number of services offering in-room sitting options for families visiting the resort. Of these, I felt most comfortable with Kid’s Nite Out. They are “contracted with Walt Disney World as their ‘exclusive childcare provider’ for in-room sits.” As such, they complete training (and extensive background checks) with Kids Nite Out as well as attending Disney Traditions (a required program for cast members.)
Making the appointment was super easy, and consisted of calling their 1-800 number, providing some basic information about my son, and holding the reservation with a credit card.
The evening of the reservation, right on time, Ms. Kelly appeared at our door in her signature purple polo. She took a few minutes with us to review Andrew’s vitals – allergies, medications, bedtime, meal restrictions, favorite things, etc… Then she got down on the floor and started chatting with Andrew. He was going through a bit of a stranger-danger period, so we gave Kelly big hugs and lots smiles to show him she was safe. After a comfortable amount of time, she took him to the window and asked him to point out some things to her. Meanwhile, we slipped out the door.
I was that mother…the one who stands outside the door listening to hear if her baby is freaking out and if she needs to come and rescue him. “He couldn’t possibly be happy without me!”
No crying came…My husband pulled me away and we headed off to dinner (and I only called the room once to check on him!)
When we returned he was in his PJs fast asleep in his crib. Kelly had an account of the evening’s highlights for us. They played with toys she brought, walked around the resort grounds, and read books before getting ready for bed.
It’s now 2014, and a few weeks ago we booked Kelly for (what I calculate to be) the 10th time! We no longer have to slip out. At four years old, Andrew looks forward to seeing her and tells me all about the fun he has with her.
I know he’s now old enough to attend Disney’s Children’s Activity Centers. But, for only $1 per hour more, I know he is getting one-on-one care and attention from someone he trusts, and with whom he enjoys spending time. Maybe one day he’ll want to visit the clubs, but for now Kid’s Night Out is our choice for a Mommy and Daddy night out! And we all look forward to seeing Ms. Kelly on our next Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
At the time of publishing, Kid’s Night Out’s hourly charges $16 per hour to care for a single child from six weeks to 12 years old. For more information, visit http://kidsniteout.com/sitter_services.html