We just got back from a week-long trip to Disney World, and I must start this post by saying IT WAS SUPER FUN.
Seriously, even though I literally feel like I’m recovering from a marathon now. (I’ve run two. I know this feeling.)
Instead of blogging all about how lovely it was (it was!), which I will get to soon, I thought I’d start by telling you about what I regret about the trip so maybe you can avoid the same mistakes… or so I’ll remember to avoid them the next time we go. Oh yes, there will be a next time.
We didn’t have a stroller seat for every kid butt. We brought our Maclaren Quest, and we rented a single from Orlando Stroller Rentals, thinking that Kendall (7) and Leyna (4) could take turns walking. HAHAHAHAHAHAHANOPE. Finally, on the very last day, we rented a double from the park and the angels sang and hit us upside the head for waiting so long.
We went back to the hotel too much and broke up our day too much. I wish we would have made meal reservations at the parks we planned to stay at all day. We thought we’d be smart to hit a park up in the morning, head back for naps, then get back to the parks in the evening. Most of our dinners were in parks we weren’t in during the day.
This plan works for a lot of people, but what wound up happening for us was the big kids were restless at the hotel in the afternoon and didn’t want to take naps. And we ate up at least 2 hours in travel time to and from the resort. The last two days we simply stayed in the parks all day, but took our time. We didn’t have to rush around to cram everything in. We let the kids rest, play, ate slow meals. And Lowell napped in the stroller.
We started our days too late. The first few days, we thought we were doing good to get to the parks by 9:30 or 10. Then on the 4th day I had an early breakfast reservation with Leyna at Be Our Guest, and we got in to the park before it opened to the public. Simply awesome. I do not enjoy early wakeups, but I do not enjoy crowds and lines even more. Next time, I really want to make as many breakfast reservations before parks open as possible.
We forgot our ponchos. We caught the tail end of Hurricane Patricia the 3rd day we were there, and it was pretty miserable walking around soaking wet. We thought we were only supposed to get sprinkled on! Nope. Torrential downpour. Never stepping foot in Disney again without ponchos.
I thought Leyna would wear her princess dress all day. The day we had breakfast at Be Our Guest, Leyna got fancied up in her princess dress and jewelry. I’d seen little girls walking around the parks all day in their dresses, and thought Leyna would want to do the same. An hour after we finished our meal I was in Sir Mickeys spending way too much money on a shirt and shorts for her because she was miserable in her princess attire.
We took our toddler to the Not So Scary Halloween Party. I worked super hard to get tickets to this party. They weren’t cheap, but we’d heard from so many people that it was such a special experience. I really wanted the kids to go. We dressed up as a family, and we brought my dad and step-mom with us. (They were on the trip with us, along with my mom, step-brother, sister, brother, and sister in law- crazy, right?! So fun.) Lowell, the 2 year old, had a good time, but I think he would have had just as much fun staying behind with the other family members, and we would have been able to focus more on Kendall and Leyna. Not to mention this was the night we learned just how VERY, very scared Lowell is of fireworks.
We stayed too far from Magic Kingdom. Our resort- Art of Animation- was really wonderful. Please don’t get me wrong. We loved it. But, IF we could do it again, and IF we could afford to stay at a hotel on the monorail, we would. The buses are super convenient, but there are long waits for them sometimes, and many times they are super packed. You could wind up standing, holding a stroller, and a baby for 30 minutes… on your way home after a 12 hour day. The monorail would take us to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot, which are the two parks we spent the majority of our time in and ate almost all our meals in.
We tried to do too much. We should have treated it more like a marathon than a sprint. I wish we would have slowed down and let the kids dictate most of our day instead of rushing them from one place to the next. It made it super stressful and caused many meltdowns. I think in the beginning we treated this like a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and that put a ton of pressure on us to get everything done. By the last couple days we realized we would likely come back again, and there was no need to cram it all in.
I didn’t take enough pictures with my nice camera. Ugh… I don’t know if this really belongs here because it was freeing at the time to give up toting my camera around after day one (and very few snaps because it was just downright inconvenient with 3 kids to watch). But looking back, and comparing the few pictures I managed to get with my DSLR to my phone snaps and the park pictures, I’m just a little sad I didn’t take more myself with the fancy camera. That said, I could have done that and I’d be writing about how I regretted lugging my camera everywhere with me this time.
(I got great pictures at Disney World last time, but I also only had one kid to keep up with then.)
I’ll be back soon with a few more things that we did right this time at Disney. In the meantime, be sure to check out my last round of Disney Tips & Tricks.