Interesting statement...inherited a toddler. What fun!
I would definately visit a beach location.
However, keep in mind it's not going to be 80* and sunny in December.
The theme parks in central Florida would be a waste of time and money for a 2 y/o.
However, if you talking about this Christmas (2013) get a move on. they're already saying airfares for Thanksgiving are going to be out of this world pricey.
I grew up on Southwest Florida and you'll find many days that Ft. Myers, Naples or Marco Island has the highest temperature in the nation during December and January.....although it may not be much more than the high 70's to low 80's normally you will find plenty of sunshine most days.
Here is the average temps and rainfall for Ft. Myers: http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USFL0152
While I'm not attempting to sell anyone on the southwest part of the state it will have the best of weather yet the traffic and beaches will most likely be crowded with snowbirds and seasonal residents. I'd avoid Disney over the holidays unless you want to spend a bunch of money and stand in some long lines.
Best of luck in your planning and keep us informed of your findings.
We always take our vacation in November and December and return just in time for Christmas. My cruises always ended in Ft Lauderdale and the weather was fantastic. I always have been able to swim in Ft Lauderdale at the beach and pool. IAHFLYR is also correct. When my children were younger we would go to Sanibel and Captiva Island which is near Ft Myers and the weather there was always great. It really is warm and sunny 90% of the time. Unfortunately there is no Marriott on Sanibel or Captiva (only SouthSeas Island Resort ,new name and is for children). Also, if you like Ft Lauderale there is Marriott Harbor Beach which has children activities. I am not sure if we have just been very lucky with the weather each time we went. Hopefully this helps and enjoy the toddler they grow so fast!
But there is a Marriott just prior to the Sanibel Causeway,
And then Marco Island Resort is fabulous and only 45 minutes from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) south of Ft. Myers.
The beach at Marco will have you thinking you're really in Hawaii, and the place is simply wonderful particularly if you are able to land on of the Lani' rooms at the end of each wing!
Yes, there is a Marriott at the causeway (it use to be the Sanibel Harbor Beach Resort) but you have no access to the beach unless you cross the bridge. Marco Island is also really nice, but the transportation to the hotel can be expensive.I agree with IAHFLYR the beach is amazing,( copy/paste from web site) My longest stay in the Ft Myers,Sanibel/Captivia, area in December was 2 weeks and the weather was perfect. The Ft Myers & Sanibel area seems to miss a lot of the bad weather, I am not sure why this happens.
That's a great idea, renting a car. You will not be disappointed exploring the areas of Southwest Florida. Per the Marriott at Marco Island web site it states the taxi is approximately $75.00 one way and self parking is about $12.00 per day. Sometimes there are Marriott packages that include the parking fee.The earlier you book the better. Also, car rental prices seem to change, sometimes even on a daily basis. Even if you already have a booking recheck every so often to see if the rate has gone down. Wherever, toddlertravler , happens to travel over the holidays at least they will all be together and make a memorable time and that is what vacations are all about (in my opinion)
I have taken my kids (now 8 and 11) to Europe since they were babies (like 6 months old). London, Paris, Rome, all very friendly to the stroller based crowd, not as busy as the "warmer" location mentioned, hotels have lots of specials going on (just to fill the rooms), and all have Museums, Paris has Eurodisney (been there in December and its not as hectic as Florida or CA version), and many of the better hotels have indoor pools, which can be hours of fun for a 2 yr old. I may present an unconventional suggestion, but if you want less crowded hotels and child friendly locations (albeit, not as warm as those southern USA locales), then try going aboard where its not high season. We are off to London this year for Christmas, and are taking them skating (tower of London has skating in the moat, how cool is that?), the V&A museum, a few shows, tea on Christmas day (we are at the County Hall), walks along the Thames, the aquarium, London eye, etc, all add up to fun for my 2.
My mom was still alive and living in Florida when my boys were young, but I admit I get confused about what ages we did what things, but they always loved going to Florida, for, among other things:
I took my grand children to Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center Resort in Kissimmee | Gaylord Palms Near Orlando back in July this year and we had a great time. We are thinking about going back this year for Christmas since they have special events going on at the resort, plus it is close to Disney, Sea World and Universal Studios. For a toddler, I would recommend Disney's Magic Kingdom.
The Atriums at the Gaylord Palms Resort are beautiful, and they will be decorated for Christmas. You can learn more about Christmas at Gaylord Palms at Christmas at Gaylord Palms | Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Hope you have a great time wherever you chose to go.
If grandparents are taking two toddlers to Florida for Xmas, and you are from up North, I would recommend Disney, not the parks but the on-premisses hotels. There are lots of Europeans, mostly English that spend the month of December in hotels in Disney. All the lights, colors, and activities are excellent for the grandkids, there is trensportation (no driving), and one does not have to spend all the time in the park. But, it is not cheap.