Wednesday, June 09, 2010
What I learned from our Disney trip.
We went to Disneyworld earlier this month. It was the first time in many years that either Brian or I had gone, and the first time EVER that O had gone. Since we just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, we decided to use this trip as our anniversary present, so we spent a little more money and stayed in the hotel at the Animal Kingdom, where you can sit on your balcony and watch zebras, giraffes, and other crazy wildlife right outside of your window.
1. Even if your kid has not sat his precious little butt in a stroller for two years, he will want to ride one at Disneyworld. When your friends tell you to bring a stroller for him, listen to them.
Seriously. I cannot even remember the last time O has been in a stroller. He was one, I'm sure (he's 3.5 now). Everyone said, "Bring a stroller for him!" And I said "Pshaw! He has the energy of ten thousand adults! He'll never sit in a stroller! And if he gets tired, we can carry him in the Ergo!". And by 11 am, the kid was TIRED AND HOT and having all of the meltdowns associated with those two conditions. Mommy and Daddy were also tired and hot and having meltdowns.
(actually, this was a sobfest over the thunderstorm that was going on)
We did try to carry him in the Ergo, but you wouldn't walk far before he'd want to get out and see something. And what a pain in the butt it was to keep loading him back into that sucker. So by noon he was in the stroller. Of course we had the baby too, so we had to carry her in the sling. And it was in the 90s, so that was pretty hot for her (plus there isn't any shade). Also, we had the carseat in the stroller since she's still so young. So we had to carry that around too. All could have been avoided if we'd just brought our umbrella stroller like everyone told me to!
2. There are mosquitos at the Animal Kingdom. If you are one of those people that mosquitos love, don't be an idiot. Bring insect repellant.
We got a savanna view room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was great, because it had a balcony and there were all kinds of cool animals right outside our window. After we put the kids to bed, we took some wine out onto the balcony and played Scrabble on my iPad.
Now, I don't know what I was thinking, I mean, it's summer. In Florida. At night. And I am one of those people. Not only do mosquitos think I am friggin' awesome, I also react badly to them. After two nights on the balcony, I counted nearly 75 mosquito bites, covering both calves, my feet and toes, my arms, and even some on my back, right where my shirt ended. Now I am covered in large, bright red welts and I look like I have some sort of skin disease. It's day 5 now and they are starting to fade, so I'm hoping they'll be gone by next week because I have a business trip to go on and I'll be wearing a skirt!
3. The Baby Care Center rocks.
They have one Baby Care center at Magic Kingdom. They had a big room with big changing tables (and disposable covers), one with highchairs (didn't need that this time), and a smaller room with rocking chairs for nursing moms. I totally have zero problem nursing in public, but it was REALLY HOT and it was nice to have somewhere to sit quietly in an air conditioned room with the baby every couple of hours. They really need more of these areas at Disney. They even had diapers, diaper cream, wipes, baby food, etc. - anything you might have forgotten (that you'd buy I'm assuming, amazingly we didn't forget anything so I don't know for a fact).
4. Check a crowd calendar.
I just Googled 'disney crowd prediction' and found a crowd calendar that told you how busy you should expect the park to be on a given date, and which parks to do (and which to avoid) on that date. The lowest crowds predicted were for a Friday of the timeframe that we were looking at, so that's what we picked (and Brian took an extra day off of work so we could do that, instead of going on Saturday). And obviously we only went for one day, so I can't compare other days which had higher predicted crowd levels, but it was, in fact, really not crowded on the day that we went. We hardly had to wait in line at all. We walked right onto some of the rides. This was great with a 3 year old who might not always be the most patient waiter.
5. Use a travel agent.
I never knew how travel agents worked. But I happen to know someone (from TriangleMommies and Twitter!) who is a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations. She got us more discounts than we knew about and helped us formulate a plan for our day at Magic Kingdom. Even though we did not stick to the plan faithfully (see point 3 - had to go to the baby care center constantly!), it was really helpful in making decisions about what was and wasn't worth doing with a 3 year old.
(not worth doing - Snow White's Scary Adventures and Pirates of the Carribean... both of which our travel agent suggested might be too scary. And in fact, they were. But the lines were so short we tried them anyway...!)
6. Spend some time at your hotel.
We didn't do this as much as I'd planned. But the parks are EXHAUSTING. And the hotels have such nice pools. And other stuff to do. We had hoped to spend some time hanging out at the pool but we only got about an hour. It was fine, but I would have liked to have used the hotel a little better.