Thursday, July 2, 2015

Magic Kindgom Adventures

We had the chance to experience the MAGIC that is Disney last week. Work brought me to Orlando, so I thought it'd be a good opportunity to bring along Mark and the boys and meet THE Mouse at the very least.

It was a vacation of many firsts. A couple of examples:

First time on an airplane with kids where I wasn't like "Ohmygosh get me off of this airplane right now please, please, please."
On a plane! And I'm not even faking that smile.
(Note: Henry was being bribed with cookies for good behavior.)
First time seeing Disney through the eyes of my children.
Monkey see, Monkey do.
And Disney through the eyes of your kids? AWESOME. I will totally admit that I over-planned the one day we had for Magic Kingdom. But somehow my kids (nearly 4 and 1.5) managed to make it through every ride they were tall enough for, from 9AM-8:45PM. I was impressed, and thankful because I was being selfish and really, really wanted to be able to do it all in the one day we had.

Henry's favorite rides were Buzz Lightyear, It's a Small World and the Jungle Cruise.
Will cheesing and Henry copying Buzz-- his new obsession.
He didn't like the Seven Dwarves Mine ("that one is too crazy") The Barnstormer ("this one makes my tummy feel funny") or the Haunted Mansion ("can't they turn the lights on?" Though he did perfect his evil laugh on this one, so that's hilarious.)

William seemed to enjoy It's a Small World and The Winnie-the-Pooh Ride. At least those are the ones where he did the most pointing to characters.
Sing it with me! It's a Small World After All...
I personally liked Under the Sea, and appreciated all of the in-line distractions of Winnie-the-Pooh. My least favorite: The Motor Speedway. If real driving were that difficult I would never leave my house.

Mark liked the Jungle Cruise, the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight and the Swiss Family Treehouse (which Henry is now expecting in the backyard.) And I think he was surprised at how much he actually enjoyed himself-- and I'd have to agree. I thought Disney was going to be a nightmare from the parental perspective, but it was SO GREAT. I can't wait to go back and do more!
Believe it or not, this was the last picture we took on our way out of the park.
If we still liked each other after a full day of Disney, we can make the long-haul, right?
So after a day at Disney, here are my tips:

1. Bring your own water bottle. Why spend money on something that you can get for free? 
Our go-to ride when William wasn't big enough to ride something that Henry was.
2. Download the Disney App. It lets you know up-to-date wait times and character locations. Utilize Fast-passes in the afternoon, when lines are at their longest. For those you don't have a fast-pass for, hit as much before noon as you can, then break for lunch before your fast-passes start. With a lot of planning, we were able to hit 18 attractions, plus meet Mickey!
This is the face Will makes now when I pull out my phone.
Waiting to see Mickey was the longest we waited all day! 35 minutes.
3. Don't feel like you have to stay at a Disney Resort. I'll admit I didn't fully research this yet, but we were staying at the Gaylord Palms (that's where my work-show was) and it had an amazing kids water park and water slides, kids ate free, free shuttles to and from Disney Parks, and there was enough to entertain them on the days we didn't get out of the hotel.
Disney Excitement
4. Check out Downtown Disney! There are some fun characters walking around, live music, a couple of kiddie-rides-- and many of the restaurants take reservations, so if you plan ahead, you can beat out the lines! We spent a whole evening there, and it was a good "warm-up" to Magic Kingdom. The T-Rex restaurant was definitely overpriced, but entertaining. (Those dinosaurs, can't walk... right Mom? If they could it would be a little bit scary.)
T-Rex Restaurant
5. Bring snacks to distract your kids in line. One dum-dum can go a long way. Also stock up on new toys at the dollar store before you leave. This came in handy on the plane and in lines to distract the boys with something new. And I wasn't concerned if something got lost or ruined because it was a dollar! I plan on remembering this trick for future long car rides.

6. Don't be afraid of a rainy day-- you are waterproof! There were a couple of sprinkly showers the morning we were at Disney (no down pours, just some light rain) but I feel like these showers made the park less crowded, and for the morning at least we weren't miserable in the hot-hot sun! All of the ride lines are covered and many will run in the rain, though so it's really a non-issue!
If you and your kids don't look like this after a Disney Park,
you're doing it wrong.
What are your Disney Tips? What's your favorite attraction? Your kid's favorite attractions?

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