Saturday, June 22, 2013

Disney Tips

I can't believe it's been more than a month since we left for Disney.  Sometimes it seems like it was such a long time ago.  It always amazes me how quickly life returns to normal when you get home from vacation.  You feel like you should be able to ease back into it, but that is never the case.  Oh well, there's always the next vacation to look forward to!

I know a lot of people think we were crazy to take two young children to Disney.  They will never remember being there, but it was still all worth it.  I will never forget seeing their excitement.  And it could quite possibly be the only family vacation we will ever go on where there was no fighting or major tantrum throwing.  This was a vacation well worth it full or memories Brad and I will always cherish.

We learned a few tips along the way and I thought I'd share them with you.

My Tips for Taking Young Children to Disney World

1. Go to the most important park on the first day.

     The kids will be at their best the first day.  They have yet to be depleted of all their energy and will
     be excited and want to do everything.  So, decide which park is most important and go their first.
     My recommendation is Magic Kingdom.  It has the most to do for young children and really is a
     must see any time you go to Disney.

2. Make time for nap.
     Even if your child doesn't take a regular nap, make time to go back to your hotel and rest.  Get to
     the park as early as you can in the morning, do all o
f your must-dos, then head back to the hotel in
     the afternoon.  After being outside all morning and all of the over-excitement even big kids need a
     chance to re-charge their batteries.  After a couple of hours at the hotel, you can re-group and head
     back to the park for more fun.

3. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
     I highly recommend bringing as much of your own food as you can.  The Disney meal plan is a
     great deal, but not if you only have young children. We stayed in a hotel with a full kitchen, which
     I highly recommend.  Every morning we had breakfast at the hotel.  Then, I packed a lunch with
     lots of extra snacks for us to eat at the park.  We either ate dinner out or made something easy at
     the hotel (usually a pasta dish).  My boys are always hungry so it felt like they were always asking
     for something to eat.  We packed lots of granola bars, raisins, fruit snacks, Mum Mums (Micah's
     new favorite!), crackers, and even some fresh fruit.  I used my thermal lunch bag and it kept
     everything nice and cool despite the heat.  Plus, I don't even know how much money we saved by
     not buying all that junk at the food vendors!

4. Schedule your days beforehand and think it through.
Looks like Mommy kept him up too late last night!
     I researched our trip for a month.  I knew which parks we wanted to go to.  I knew which rides
     we would take the boys on and in which order.  I knew which street shows I wanted to catch and
     any other special attractions we might like.  I even booked us a character breakfast.  I knew Micah
     would be scared, but I hoped that the relaxed setting of breakfast would help him to ease up a
     little bit.  Plus, I knew he would love seeing the characters, even if he didn't want them to get too
     close.  But I made one mistake.  Our first night we went to Magic Kingdom.  I insisted that we had
     to stay for the night parade and fireworks show (which we watched from the parking lot in order
     to beat the rush to exit the park).  And then I scheduled an 8:30 breakfast the next day.  I kept the
     boys out until almost midnight and then made them get up at 7:00 the next morning.  Ooops.
     Don't make the same mistake!  If you're planning a late night, make time to relax the next
     morning.  I fully believe our trip would have gone very differently had we allowed the boys to
     sleep in the second morning (or foregone the fireworks show the first night).

5. Babywear.
      Get yourself a good baby carrier (I recommend an Ergo) and wear your baby as much as possible.       We brought our double stroller with and parked it as we entered each world.  We knew Micah
would want to walk most of the time so we wore Judah and let him walk.  It was much easier than
      fighting the crowds with our massive stroller.  We actually got around much quicker and were
      able to get in the lines very easily.  

6. Distinguish your stroller.
     I do recommend bringing a stroller, too.  We had to have something to carry our diaper bags (we
     brought one for each boy and filled it with their snacks, an extra set of clothes, and their diapers),
     lunch bag, and other miscellaneous items in.  Not to mention, Micah did eventually get tired of
     walking and needed someplace to rest.  But there are thousands of strollers at Disney.  And
     everyone else has the same stroller as you. So, do something to distinguish yours.  I meant to bring
    a scarf to tie around our handle, but I forgot it so we grabbed a bungee cord cable from the car and
    wrapped it around the handle.  Worked great.  We were never left wondering if that was our
    stroller or not and never accidentally took the wrong one.

7. Dress your family in similar clothes.
    I know this sounds corny and it is.  Kind of.  A wise woman told me many years ago that whenever
    her family goes somewhere crowded she made her boys dress alike so that if one of them went
    missing and she was asked what he was wearing she could point to another child and say, "that!"
    What a great idea!  Not to mention it makes the pictures look great, too!  I ordered us all matching
    Mickey Mouse shirts from Etsy because I am corny like that.  We got so many compliments on
    them, though.  Workers, other vacationers, even Mickey Mouse pointed them out in the parade and
    "said" he liked them. :)  Next time I will probably order shirts for every day we go (because I'm
    corny like that).

8. Be prepared for anything.
    Don't have high expectations. We're talking about young children here.  They are like loose canons.
    You never know when they're going to go off.  You might think they'll love a ride and instead
     they're deathly afraid of it.  That's okay.  Don't push.  Be willing to say that's okay and try
     something else.  Know your child well.  Know when it's okay to push them a little bit and when
    it's best to back off.  If you're constantly forcing your child to do things he/she doesn't like it's not
   going to be a very enjoyable vacation for anyone.  There was a lot of things Micah was afraid of,
   but there was also a lot of things t
hat he loved.  I think we rode every possible train ride there was.
   But to see his face every time we stepped on a train was priceless.  And that's what the trip was
   really all about.  No fighting.  No tantrums.  Because we followed him.  And in the end, we all had
   a great vacation.

Those are my tips for taking young children to Disney.  Do you have anything to add?

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