Monday, October 14, 2013

my thoughts on disney

so yes, molly and i just got back from our second voyage to disney (pics to come)
the meca of children's vacation fun
i admit...i shouldn't have gone two years in a row
it seems a bit indulgent
i could have put the money to better use
woulda, coulda, shoulda, right?

let me say that we love disney, molly has now gone when she was 4 and 5 years old and she does great with all of the crowds, lines, and wait times.  we had a great time on both trips, but it is not a relaxing vacay!  it's exhausting on so many levels and i wish i had another week at the beach to recuperate!

i wanted to make not of a few things before i forgot them
many of these are just my opinion, but you may be interested...

little kids:
first of all, and i might of said this last year, but i really mean it
don't take babies and toddlers to disney!!!
they are too young and do not get enjoyment in being drug through the millions of miles of parks
i saw so many crying babies
tired, hot, and cranky kids
all because we {parents} think they are going to get some enjoyment from seeing a mouse!
they don't!
they really don't.
so, if you are considering a trip and your kids are little.  please just stay home.  you'll feel so much better by taking them to a park, library, or something local.

strollers are a major pain...
if you go when your kids are old enough to walk the parks you don't have to worry about these.  it is so crowded all the time and these crazy mothers (especially the ones with the double wide ones) will literally run over your toes to keep their stroller moving!
don't be that mom!  it's so unattractive!
also, you have to park the strollers at some alternate locations while you do rides or attractions and if it starts to rain then your stroller is soaked.
then, if you get on the monorail or bus transportation you have to unfold it and get all your crap out of it...pain!
molly walked the parks at both 4 and 5 years old...all day long.  but she is ms. independent and never cared for one really.  i'm lucky!

remember when you went to a theme park as a kid and all your mom packed was a pb & j and maybe some apple juice??  and you still made it through the day?
i mean some people (mainly the stroller driving ones mentioned above) are serious about snacks!  they reached in their stroller and pulled out chips, apples, carrots/dip, water, juice, popcorn, etc., etc.
some people are serious about snacks!  it's like my generation of parents won't let their kid go 1 second without gratifying every desire.  now, don't get me wrong... i know they are saving money too and sure  i packed some peanut butter crackers  and a water bottle too.  but we also ate in the park some.  i just found it interesting when a mom would reach in her bag, backpack, or whatever and pull out these elaborate things.  i also saw people with small coolers/ice chests...serious!
fyi...disney gives free ice water throughout the parks so you won't die of dehydration if you just ask.

if your kid can't travel to a theme park without their blankie, stuffed animal, or pacifier they are not ready to go!  i saw so many kids carrying things around.  especially the paci crammed in their mouths.  that one really drives me crazy.  parents would ask them questions but they couldn't answer b/c of the paci.

Autograph book:
autographs...they may have done this when i was a kid?  i don't remember.  i never got an autograph, but now it's all a big thing.  they have these elaborate books now and the characters sign them.  kind of cute. and it is a good way to allow kids to approach a character. but...hold on...while we were in line to see princess sofia there was a knock down drag out fight between two moms over who was first!!!!  no joke.  they were screaming and the disney employee had to call for back up.  great example for the kids!

Phone & iPad & Headphones for iPad:
i'm not even joking when i say there were more kids being "entertained" with electronics while in a theme park!  we never waited longer than 20 minutes for any ride, but there were parents cramming an electronic screen in their kids faces while they waited in line.  some kids even had the ear buds to hear whatever they were listening too.  isn't the point of a vacation to spend time with family??  what's up??

Prego women:
i've never been pregnant, so i'm just guessing here, but it looks really uncomfortable.
if you are 6-9 months pregnant and have a toddler/younger kid you don't want to be crammed into a theme park....just  a tip.

Angry Parents :
there were so many parents, couples, and families angry at each other.  everytime i turned around there was a mom jerking a kid, yelling at her husband, a husband mad at his wife, or whatever.  people were hot, tired, and hungry...all a recipe for anger.  so plan ahead and take breaks, cool off, realize that you can't do it all!

Fast pass:
remember when you actually had to wait in line for rides?  no longer...enter "fast pass" because evidently our generation is unable to wait for pleasure and we're raising our kids to be the same.  molly and i were trying out the new disney magic bands.  with these bands you get into the parks, use fast pass, use it as your photo pass, use as your credit card, and use as your room key, etc.  they were great because it simplified what you actually need to hold onto each day. and i was able to schedule our fast pass rides before we left home for vacation...kind of nice.  we didn't make each fast pass that was scheduled, but did most of them.

disney resort vs. cheap motel:
last year we flew into orlando, used the magical express, and stayed at the all star music resort.  that was great and everything went smoothly.  the only complaint is the all star resorts are so large you have to walk quite a ways from the bus/hotel entrance to your actually building.

this time i wanted to try a "cheaper" option, so we drove.  it was a really easy (although long...10 hours) drive.  molly did great on the way there and back.  then, we stayed only 2 nights at the disney resort and stayed the rest of the week at a cheaper hotel off of disney property.  both had advantages and disadvantages...we stayed at the all star movies resort this time.  all of the "all star" resorts are the cheapest places to stay on property.  they have the basics, are clean, and convenient.  the plus side to staying on property is the disney transportation system.  but the bad part of staying on property when you drive is that you have to lug your luggage all the way to your room.  which at these huge resort hotels is a long way.  and, traveling as a single mom makes it really hard to go back and forth to unload your car with your {tired} little girl around.  (when you fly they take your luggage from the airport and deliver to your room so we didn't have to worry with it)

all of the resorts have a quick service dining option, this is convenient but they are really crowded at the typical dining hours (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  again, trying to maneuver through a crowd with a 5 year old, a tray of food, and get through the line is hard.

the "cheap" motel we stayed at was quality inn & suites.  it had pretty good reviews on trip advisor so i thought i'd try it.  it's really close to disney and also close to shopping (target), grocery, and restaurants.   it was $50/night (can't beat that?), newly renovated, and had a basic continental breakfast each morning.  nothing fancy, but something to fill you up until lunch.  (eggs, sausage, cereal, yogurt, milk, fruit, and waffles)  it was very clean and the best thing was that it was so convenient to park right in front of your room and unload.  (it has the basic motel/outdoor entrance to your room).  so, i would definitely do this again if budget is an issue.  there was a small pool but we didn't use it.

character dining:
ok, so there are many different kinds of character dining.  i'll break down what we've done (last year and this year) and tell you the highlights.

first of all...character dining can be really stressful if you are at a buffet restaurant.  when they seat you you only have a certain amount of time to get your food and then be at your table when the characters come around.   if you miss them, they won't be back around for a long time.  so, it's kind of chaotic...especially for a single parent.  you are trying to get your food, her food, take pictures, eat, and it can be too much.

but, with that said, it is really fun and it so great to see your kid's face when they see a character come to see them.  last year we ate at cinderella's castle (the characters are all princesses and the food is brought to your table).  This one is very expensive and the food is mediocre.  but, the atmosphere and experience is great!

we also did akershus last year at epcot.  the characters are princesses also and is a buffet.  it was good, not my favorite.

we did tusker house last year at animal kingdom.  this one is part buffet and part table service.  it was really good food.  the characters are the fab 5 i believe.

this year we did 1900 park fare.  it is buffet and was very chaotic in my opinion.  the food was mediocre.  however, the experience was great.  first of all, it is located at the grand Floridian and the scenery is gorgeous!  everyone should take a stroll around this resort.  we went early and sat in the lobby for a while listening to the piano player.  the kids went up to him and requested their favorite disney song.  it was great!  the characters here are cinderella, prince charming, the stepmother, and sisters.  you can't really see them at many places so it is a great opportunity to see them up close.  we did the dinner service here.

we also did ohana this year and i think it's my favorite so far!  oddly enough i don't even know the movie or characters stitch and lilo but they are cute.  molly loved them!  mickey and pluto were also there.  the food was brought to the table (we did breakfast) and it was delicious!  this is at the polynesian resort, and again it is beautiful scenery!  we had a great table overlooking the lake.   and i felt like i could sit back and relax more since i wasn't getting up and down to get our food at a buffet.  

overall, i've found breakfast to be better food than lunch or dinner at these things.  and you should make sure your child is comfortable being up close and personal with the characters before you pay money to do them.  if they are easily scared or shy, you may as well wait until they are older.  

1 comment:

Becky said...

I so hope we can get to Disney one of these days coming up and you had some really great points. Been there once too, and this time would probably go with daughter's family. I will not leave my puppy mill rescue in a kennel so know we will need to camp at Ft. Wilderness. You really did bring up some great thoughts.

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