Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm reading the guidebook, and now I don't want to go

I love family vacations. Even more than the vacation (well, not really more), I love reading the guidebook and figuring out what I want to do on which day at which hour, and where we're going to eat, and what we're going to see (spontaneity is not a friend of mine).

I'm reading the guidebook for this year. We're going to that mecca of canned entertainment known as DisneyWorld. We've been before, just never with kids, and before I start to sound too snarky and ungrateful, I love Disney. Okay, I enjoy Disney, appreciate a good ride, and LOVE to see my kids having a good time. Here's the problem: we're still 3 months away, and I'm already overwhelmed. What is all this stuff? Is it really any fun? How do I maximize the fun potential without driving all the fun away rushing from one really fun thing to the next really fun thing?

I need help. Will you help me? Please? Send me any advice for making the mouse encounter the memorable joyfest I know it can be for a 4 and 2 year old while still keeping the parents sane (and maybe even letting them feel like they had a vacation).

We've been showing this picture to Blue - he totally thinks we know Mickey personally:


  1. The secret when you have 2 little ones like you do is to totally relax, don't try and see everything, go to character meet and greets or dining opportunities and don't keep the kids out late - let them sleep.

    Most people with little kids are trying to get the most bang for their buck - You have to wait till their teenagers to do that.

    If you just "enjoy the slow journey" when they are little you will all have a much more enjoyable time. Even if you don't get to see every inch, of every park.

    I know, it is kind of a hard pill to swallow because I am a total planner and I like to see everything, everywhere I go but I have 5 kids and this is truly the best way when they are 4 and 2. You'll make great memories. Take lots of pictures with characters and make little books for each of the kids when you get home. It'll be their favorite thing to look at for years!

    Pick 2 things per day that are must see's on your list and then be grateful for whatever else you get!

    Good luck! I am a Disney Freakazoid - ha ha and also a friend of Jenny and Steve Moore's!!

    P.S. I wish I was going with you (wink!).

    P.P.S. Throw away the guidebook - lol

  2. I agree with Cherie. Realize that there is absolutely no way you will see it all. DON'T BUY A PARK HOPPER - that will just inspire you to do stupid stuff. Choose one park go there and stay for as much of the day as the kids can enjoy.

    RENT a stroller (for two) and realize that both Pink and Blue will end up using and enjoying it - no matter what Blue says before you start. Forget about how dorky it looks. You're not there to impress anyone.

    If you spend more than 3 consecutive days in the parks without getting a physical from a board certified physician you will regret it. The first time we went with kids we went to the parks for all 5 days we were in Orlando - and it took me 3 weeks to recover.

    Skip EPCOT on this trip - the kids are too little to enjoy most of it.

    Enjoy - I wish we were going with you.

  3. Sorry - you're all alone with your guidebook there. Josh is the family vacation planner at our house, but I agree with Cherie. Take it at the kids pace and it will be much more fun. Maybe you should let THEM help you plan...

  4. I have never been with our kids, my husband is itching for a trip while the kids are younger, but it will have to wait at least one more year. Have fun!

  5. I KNEW there was a reason we're friends! You're as bad as I am when it comes to planning. One important thing I've learned after 4 kids is this: relax, and just let them take their time to enjoy it.

    If you need a schedule, and I know you do, then let them pick out one or two things that are important to them, and you guys can pick out one or two things, and then leave the rest up to how people are feeling once your there. It really makes for a less stressful trip.

    Good luck, and I'm totally jealous.

  6. Go earlier in the day and you'll have less crowded moments. If you make a reservation for a breakfast at somewhere like Crystal Palace you can go in early with your reservation number...and in most cases you are not penalized if you skip their breakfast. (Check when you make the reservation.) Getting in the gate early allows your kids a chance to see the characters before there is a mob scene at noon.

    Dave is right about the stroller. Use theirs because it won't matter if something happens to it.

    I'd do Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and maybe MGM. Oh yes, Downtown Disney is basically free and my kids always enjoy going to the Lego McDonalds there.

    Freeze juice boxes and they will be slushies later in the day...keep your other snacks cool in the meantime. Bring motrin for you and Joshua.

  7. A good friends of mine just got back from her 3rd trip to Disney with the kids in 2 years! She is an uber planner and I know she has it all down pat now! I can ask her for her advice if you want. I know when I talk to her about it I am amazed anyone can keep their sanity while planning that trip, but she does it like a pro!! Brooke Ambrose :)

  8. We have done Disneyland with both the kids a few times. Once when they were your kids ages. My advice is to just go with it. When your kids want to go on a certain ride 10 times (and they will - we did Casey Jr. 10 times when Anne was little) just do it. They will be happy and because they are happy you will be too. When they are hungry let them eat. When they are sleepy don't push they because you want to get it all in. Just relax and have fun. Schedule more days then you think you will need that way you will be able to get to everything without the stress to push your kids. We are going in October to Disneyworld and I can't wait! I haven't been there since I was my Anne's age. Should be fun.

  9. Wow, I'm getting lots of good tips myself! :> As I have never been to Disneyland with small children I will pass along advice from others I know that have. Others that I know have said if you're planning more than a day in the park stay at the hotels Disney offers - that way a nap is a short jaunt away.

    Well, that's all I got! I'm sure you guys will have a fabulous time!

  10. We did Disneyworld when Bryan was a baby. We had a 6,4,2, and 5 month old. We spent 7 days at a condo and had a 5 day park hopper pass.

    We enjoyed the park hopper because we could go to the parks the kids had the most fun at for our last few days. We never stayed the whole day.

    Take it easy, do a fun morning and then a relaxing nap and swimming afternoon. If you want to go in the afternoon spend the morning relaxing and resting.

    I too am a planner, we found this website, it was helpful. You enter the ages of the kids in the group and he helps you plan your trip. It was worth the $20 bucks to have him give us his insights. We rarely waited in a line thanks to his insider secrets and had a relaxing week in orlando.

    Have fun, we have been debating about making the trip again this year or next. We went in Feb and the crowds were down and the weather was perfect :)

  11. We did Disneyworld this last month for the first time (after having done Disneyland more times than I can count). Totally different experience for us in 'World' versus 'Land'. Hope you guys have a ball!