I have a confession to make. I have never been to Disney. Not Disney World, Not Disney Land. Nothing. Until now. I finally made the trip to see what all the hype was about. And to take the girls. That too.
When I travel I like to be prepared. Like Boy Scout prepared. So I read every article I could find, I asked every Disneyphile I know. Hell, I even asked the cashier at the grocery store for tips. Nobody said the same thing. So basically, we had to wing it. We only did two of the parks on this trip and we had to decide which two, so we went with Disney Land and Epcot. Mostly because they seemed like the obvious choices for a newbie.
Things I love
- They let you bring in a backpack with food and drinks. I have one with food allergies so bringing our own snacks is incredibly helpful. I don’t have to worry about cross contamination and her getting sick while shaking MIckey’s hand. Plus, it saves money. LOTS of money. We took snacks that won’t get yucky in the heat or smashed in the bottom of the bag. I grabbed some of the mickey shaped snack packs with apples and pretzels. My daughter felt like she was getting Disney snacks and I saved a few bucks. We brought nuts, pretzels, apple slices, beef sticks, etc. It’s amazing how many foods you can find with Disney characters on them. Even the beef jerkey sticks had Elsa and Anna on them.
- The park is clean. Very very clean. Disney obviously spends a great deal of time on park maintenance. People mentioned this to me but I didn’t think it would be a big deal until I saw it for myself.
- The Disney characters rock. Like for real. They stay in character the whole time. My youngest went in costume and they treated her like a princess. Even the non costumed staff called her princess. It totally made her day. Her week, hell, it made her year. She still tells everyone she got mistaken for a real princess at Disney.
Things I hate
- It’s crowded. We went on a weekday in April. How crowded can it really be? Really. Really. It’s not just crowded, it’s packed with strollers and motorized carts. My toes got run over by some crazy old lady bound and determined to beat us to space mountain. Too bad we already had it on fast pass, you crazy old bat. And what the hell is up with all the strollers? Why can your six year old not walk around the park? If your kid is old enough to push the stroller, don’t jam up the walkways with your massive double stroller for him and his stuffed animal. Did I mention it was crowded?
- Sucky rides. I get it. Disney is for kids. Even my kids said the rides were lame. If I had to sit in one more shell and listen to songs while plastic characters popped up from behind rocks I was gonna scream. Even better, all this excitement was after standing in line for an hour.
Thanks I suggest
- Wear comfortable shoes. I don’t care how cute your new sandals are. Don’t do it. Wear shoes with good arch support and that fit well. You don’t want blisters or achy feet at the end of the day.
- Bring an autograph book. It has become my daughter’s most cherished possession. I am going to take pictures of each autograph and send it in with photos we took and turn it into a book for Christmas this year.
- Sunscreen. And advil.
- A light jacket. Even when it’s hot during the day, it gets cool at night. We took light weight jackets and rolled them up and put them in the bottom of the back pack. I was glad we did. It’s late, getting chilly, your kid is tired and whiny. You can stuff the jacket in thier mouth. Kidding. It’s just one less thing for them to bitch about.
- Fast Pass. We loved getting to fast pass the rides with longer lines. We also fast passed a couple of character meet and greets. Those lines are super long and it makes your kid feel special to go to the front of the line.
- Bracelets. We did not stay at one of the disney parks, so we had to buy them. My girls still wear them because they picked which ones they wanted. We didn’t have to worry about pulling out your card every time you got to your fast pass time. We just waved our wrist over the scanner and in we went.
- Disney Ap. Download it. Now. For real, you must have it. It keeps your schedule, tells you where you are in the park and even how long the lines are.
- Restaurant reservations. You have to book them in advance. Some times months in advance. You can not get into any of the big restaurants without reservations. Period.
- Be flexible. It’s about the kids. Keep telling yourself that. Sometimes, again, and again, and again. If you spent days planning your schedule and little Johnny decides he doesn’t want to ride the ride you fast passed, skip it. At the end of the day, he will be exhausted and sleep hard. You can reward yourself with a glass of wine or four.
To see more pictures of our trips, follow me on instagram @austinmomof7