Disney World. It’s the most magical place on Earth! This is where kids go to the Magic Kingdom to meet Mickey Mouse, ride the Dumbo Ride, and eat oversized Mickey-shaped pretzels.
My family bought me and my husband 3 day park tickets for Christmas. We were so shocked and amazed! I went with my family when I was in elementary school and then twice 4 and 5 years ago when I was a dance coach and my team was competing at the National Dance Team Championships. From all my experiences, I had the experience paid for and all I had to do was just go enjoy the parks. For someone that didn’t really grow up with a Disney obsession, I did not realize the amount of prep work a family Disney trip needed until after we were already there. This post is only about day #1 of 3.
Let me explain…
So, I was down in Orlando with my parents, sister, and kids for five days before my husband could join us due to his work schedule. He was flying down on Wednesday night after work and our plan was to go to Magic Kingdom on Thursday, Epcot (no kids) on Friday, and Hollywood Studios on Saturday. We had our flight back (kids’ first time on a plane) to MI on Sunday morning (that’ll be another post!).
Anywaysssss… On Wednesday afternoon, I got food poisoning. For the first time in my life, I got food poisoning. On vacation. In Florida. The day before the Magic Kingdom trip we’ve been talking up to our kids for months. UGHhhhhhhhh.
I spent all night throwing up- in and out of the bathroom. Luckily by morning I was still feeling off, but needed to suck it up for the kids. So, that was not the best start to our big trip we’ve been looking forward to.
We drive up to the park all excited in my parents’ car, ready to spend the day in the Magic Kingdom. We drive up to a toll booth looking thing. What’s that here for? Oh yeah, they charge $25 for parking, per day! What?! Whatever. It’s just $25. We can do that. It’s annoying, but we will do it and not let that put a negative outlook on our day.
We have a 2 and 3 year old- girl and boy, respectively. We are asked quite often whether the kids are twins. They both have blonde hair, but outside of that, I’m not really sure how people think that. We realized on our way to the park that kids UNDER THREE years old are free. What?! What kind of park has three year olds pay for tickets? That was wild to me. Any other park EVER has a THREE AND UNDER rule. Ugh. I made an assumption and I assumed wrong. Again, another part of the non-planning ahead piece that I missed. So, we did a thing… Don’t judge us. 🙂 We played a game. I asked my son if he remembered how people ask if they’re twins. He said laughing, “Oh yeah!” I asked him what he would think if we played a game and pretended that they actually were twins. He loved the idea. When we were in line, he walked up to a little girl (looked to be 4-5 years old) that was playing with his sister and out of the blue he said, “Hi. We’re twins and I’m two!” I couldn’t believe he said it. The funnier part of it was that he said it with such perfect dialect that it was incredibly obvious he was not two years old. At that point we just shrugged our shoulders and conceded to the fact that we were going to have to pay for a ticket for a three year old. A ticket that will cost over $100. Ugh… We walked up to the gate and were passed on through, not needing a pass for him. They just let us go! How cool! WHEW!
So, there’s this thing that you can’t bring a wagon into Disney…. What?! You can bring a stroller, but not a wagon. OMG! We left the stroller at home and brought the smaller and collapsible wagon since it’s easier to lug around. But nope. Couldn’t use the wagon in the park. Instead, we got routed to the park entry to pay $31 PER DAY to rent their double stroller. Lord!
Again, if only I had prepared better.
So, as luck would have it, we get our typical Magic Kingdom family photo then approach the castle as they were starting a character show. The kids LOVED it! Totally accidental attendance, but glad that we stumbled upon it. If only I had looked at calendar of events. I didn’t recall shows happening from before. In my mind, you just pay for park entry, walk around meeting characters all day, and ride a couple rides.
After the accidental Mickey show, the experience at the Magic Kingdom started to lose its luster, quick. We started to loop around the park and saw the Magic Carpet ride. Axl just had to ride it. We get in line with no awning to block us from the heat of the sun. In this moment is when there was a random torrential downpour that lasted about 45 minutes. So, we were soaked. My son and I waited just over an hour to ride while my husband and daughter tried to get lunch in the park. Not only could they not get food from the place we wanted because the line was longer than the ride lines, but when he finally got food, there was nowhere to sit. Nowhere. In the dining areas, it was like a bunch of hyenas surrounding their prey, ready to pounce on that almost open table. It’s an aggressive bunch of people at Disney- I’ll tell you what! So, we just made it work between a planters box and our stroller. And, for the three tacos, one burger, chips and salsa he purchased, that costed us $50. Cool!
Then we decided to walk around the park aimlessly. We walked to the big water fall ride in the back to find an almost three hour wait. We scooted right on past that one and found ourselves at the “It’s a Small World” ride. The woman at the end of the line with the sign that says “This is the End of the Line” said it was a 40 minute wait. We walked up and saw there was another area that said “Fast Pass”. Those people were moving through the lines FAST. I asked if how we get a fast pass and they started to break down the insane pricing to purchase a fast pass and these had to be done well in advance. So we got back in the ‘poor and unprepared people’ line. We decided that we could make that work since we overheard this super prepared family in matching shirts talking about the parade coming up in an hour. We thought, sweet! We will do this ride and then go right to the parade. 30 minutes into our wait, and we moved three like three feet. That’s when the temper tantrums started to become just what we do in this line. The kids even started to join the adults lol. This is actually when I started wondering two things: 1- why in the hell do they not put characters in these long lines to keep the kids engaged and excited, and 2- what IS included in a super expensive park ticket- not food, not parking, not strollers, not fast pass, not the pictures they take, not merchandise, … An hour and a half later, we rode this stupid ride. It wasn’t that dumb. My kids loved it. I was just pissed it was double the wait time we were told and we missed the parade. I’m thinking to myself at this point- yup, killing it as a mom 😦
It was in that line that someone told us about the Disney app. They said, “OH you’ve gotta use that app. You can make food reservations, check wait times for lines, check your fast pass and pictures, etc.” So, we downloaded the app and saw that the Merry Go Round was at a fifteen minute wait. We darted over there and had a great time on that ride. We realized that the reason why the line was super short was because the park had this big parade happening that everyone flocked to. So, then we started to strategize the rest of our day. At this point, we have only been on three rides, and we spent over four hours there. We found out there was another parade coming up. We were going to dart over to the character lines to meet Daisy Duck and Pluto! We’ve got this whole Disney thing figured out now!
We got the kids strapped up in the stroller and darted across the park to the Circus area where they had Daisy Duck and Pluto there to meet them. We brought my old Disney character signature book from when I went as a child. I envisioned my kids running up to their first character in absolute awe, hugs and kisses, perfect picture, and then asking for their autograph. As we darted across the park, we passed the Beauty and the Beast part of the park. We saw a couple people who worked at the restaurant there and remembered how lunch went. No place to sit and eat together. We needed to right this wrong for our next overpriced meal. My husband goes up to the woman and asks about how to make a reservation to which she laughed, “Oh, reservations can be made 180 in advance. The only chance you have is to hope there’s a cancellation.” Get the theme here? We weren’t prepared for this trip.
We finally got in the character line, which is BS by the way. I remember “back in my day” that the characters were just walking around the park. No line. No event. Just part of the normal thing. The characters live there and just walk around their home saying hi to the guests. No. Now it’s an event on the app drawing lots of people to where they are and have long lines- just like a ride. Ugh. So, we wait. This was important. I needed to give them this experience. By the time we got to the front of the line, …. we realized that the kids were…. well take a look!
Yup. They were passed out. For almost two hours. So, dada and I sat down, put our feet up, and just rested for that time. We were just laughing at the hilarity of our day. Nothing was going the way that we envisioned it, yet we were still so happy. We were all in it together. Yes, I envisioned our day going MUCH different than it did, but that didn’t matter. We still made the best of this day because it wasn’t about the WHAT of the day- it was about the WHO. Our family was together and having a great time as a unit.
As the night was coming to a close and we were prepping to see the big show at the castle with the fireworks, we parked the fam on the main street and ate our $50 corndog bites and fries on the stroller. We all hugged and marveled at the beautiful show they put together and held my daughter close as she didn’t like all the loud noises. Even though there were 60,000 people there, it felt like it was just me, my husband, and our twins 😉