In less than 3 months, we leave for Orlando and to the home of all things Mickey. To get things started, we watched the Vacation Planning DVD last night and WOW, we are in for a treat.
10+ days, 4 parks, the beach and all of the extras that Disney seems to sneak in to pull even more money from our kids' college funds......it's all very overwhelming. I'm late in my planning, as those who know what they're doing start 6 months or more in advance. Why? First, to drive my husband insane. Second, to secure reservations at meals with the characters, plan special events, create a detailed itinerary and more.
So, for the next 12 weeks, I will be studying the following sites in order to create the most magical experience for the fam.
The hosts of these sites are Disney experts. They assure you no more than a 10-15 minute wait on any ride, even during the peak seasons. They have plans on how to navigate the parks in order to maximize your time there, prevent meltdowns with the little ones and more. For example, most people enter the park and stumble upon the first ride they see, wait 30 minutes for it, and then wander to the next. Insanity! Instead, cross the park to get started. Sounds simple, but not everyone follows these rules.
Blake and I learned a few tricks from the DVD last night, as well. For those of us crazy enough to bring babies on a week plus jaunt through fantasyland, we can take advantage of a pass that allows one parent to ride with Carter while the other waits with Jack and Lainey....then the parent keeping the babies jumps right on the ride instead of waiting in line again. Love it! Also, for guests staying at a Disney resort, why wait for luggage at the airport? Make arrangements to walk off the plane and get on the shuttle to the hotel. Forget baggage claim. Our bags will magically appear in our room shortly after we arrive. Brilliant!
So, as annoying as I will become over the next few months, my work should pay off. We've been to Disneyland twice now since having kids and I used none of these tactics. However, Disney World is a whole new ball game.
And, for those who believe you should wait until your kids can remember the trip? Yes, there is some truth to that. However, from our experience at Disneyland.....and Carter visiting at age 2 and then again at age 6.....I firmly believe there is nothing more magical than going when they're toddlers. Lots of challenges, but there is nothing sweeter than witnessing a child's face meeting Mickey for the first time. They believe the fairytale and become consumed by it. Carter enjoyed his trip at 6 and loved every minute, but there was a clear difference in his fascination level. It's a different experience all together. Luckily, Carter has just recently found a new interest in the "big" rides, so he will enjoy that part of the trip. And, yes, Mickey, too. But, it will be Jack and Lainey who really believe.