Disclaimer: This is not a super helpful guide for planning your trip. This is just some brutal honest realities that we learned and also it's just for fun...enjoy!
So, I planned a trip to Disney World for our little family in January and we had so much fun. I will say, we almost needed a vacation from our vacation....we were SO tired, but it was worth it. It was a complete surprise, we didn't tell E we were going until we actually got ready to go to the resort and I think she was a little confused because we originally told her that we were going to Florida with Daddy for a work thing. So, when we did tell her, she was more confused than excited (total honesty: I was slightly let down, also, I cried telling her....only because she's been asking us to go for over a year). Anyway, here are some things that Will and I learned on our trip:
1. Don't schedule your trip for the week of the College Football National Championship if your team is playing.
Not gonna lie, the hubs was not happy with me on this one. Honestly, I was looking for the least crowded, most cost efficient trip; I wasn't thinking about football. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Clemson fan (class of 05') and I was a little disappointed in myself. We were able to watch it, but we shaved a few years off our lives and sprouted some new gray hairs...we also did lots of screaming into pillows since the kiddo was asleep in the room. The W was just the icing on the cake for this trip...so proud to be a Tiger!
2. If you have a meal plan and bring your own snacks...you can use a snack for a large Starbucks!
YAS!! This was a must for us. Every morning we would try to drink hotel room coffee, but always made a beeline to the nearest Starbucks as soon as we entered the park. Two large coffees and a whole milk for E, and we were ready to tackle all the lines to meet princesses. With the dining plan, we each had two snacks a day and I brought snacks with us, so it was very necessary for us to get decent coffee.
3. If you're cool with walking 1000 miles in a day...don't worry about planning your activities.
Oh. my. goodness. We were SO tired! I basically just booked FastPasses for whatever/whenever we could get what we wanted without looking at a map. We went from one end to the park to the other WAY TOO MANY times. Seriously, we logged close to 40 miles in walking according to my Fitbit. Had I planned better, we would have done everything we wanted in one section before moving to another. At least I burned lots of calories.
4. If your kid doesn't do rides, be prepared to take out a loan to smash pennies...
Or quarters, if you're high dollar. Seriously, E doesn't do rides, but we knew that going into the trip. Plus, the first ride we rode was pretty traumatic (see number 5). We did get her on some rides, but we were those parents that were dragging their screaming kid onto the (oh so scary) Winnie the Pooh ride and (the terrifying) It's a Small World. So, when we weren't walking or riding, we were smashing pennies...lots of pennies. There's an absurd amount of penny machines at all the parks...to the point where we told E we needed to save some machines for next time. If you have loads of money to spend, opt for the fancier quarter smash machines. They are more rare than plain ol' pennies.
5. If your kid doesn't do rides, do not let the first ride you do be DINOSAUR at Animal Kingdom.
What were we thinking?! This ride was scary as shit (sorry, but it was)! I was scared. Apparently Disney needs to work on their warning signs. The ride said kids 40" or taller and there was a disclaimer that it was dark...which we prepared for. However, we were not prepared for the whiplash and deafening sound of dinosaurs screaming at us. I thought E was going to have a heart attack. I just covered her up with my whole body and kept whispering in her ear that it was almost over. She got off that ride in hysterics and I felt so bad that I cried too. Don't worry, we know we won't be bringing home any Parent of the Year awards, but it does make us giggle a little when we see the photo of us from that ride!
6. Be prepared to shield your child from the elbows that will be thrown as a grown adult (with no kid in sight) tries to scoot in front of you to meet a princess.
Seriously. I rolled my eyes so much during our trip that I felt like I was back in middle school. Grown Adults knocking down my child to meet a princess! She's 5, you're at least 35 (in some cases older). I'm not trying to judge, but it was a little frustrating at times. Thankfully, E doesn't even notice things like that, so I relied on the silent eye conversations Will and I had while waiting in line to express my frustration.
There you have it. These were some of the things that we learned. Now we'll be better prepared for next time.