Parenting & Travel Blog with tips, guides, reviews and honesty about family travel and parenting.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Is Disney World Overrated?



Disney? Meh. Don't get me wrong, I get the appeal of Mickey, even though Goofy is my personal favourite.  I lived through the princess years with all three of my princesses and can sing "let it go"in my sleep. But the happiest place on earth? Skeptical. I prefer nature as a playground for our family trips - running on the beach, building sandcastles and swimming in the ocean. Plus I am not fan of amusement parks. I just can't handle the rides or the long lines. 

But for the sake of giving my kids the ultimate childhood experience (and to get over my mom guilt) - I decided to see what made the Magic Kingdom so magical. Here's what this Disney non-believer loved:

  •  It really is fun! Disney does back up it's hype and is fun for the whole family.  The best part of the whole experience for me was that we could all ride the rides together - which was Walt Disney's original vision right? All 5 of us could ride almost every ride together - height restrictions and fear (mine) weren't a major issue at all for us.
  • The characters spread the magic, joy and belief.  I'll admit I did get a little (ok, very!) excited when I saw Mickey Mouse! It was also such a joy to see my tween-going-on-to-teen, get her autograph book out for every character she saw. Seeing the characters brought out the little kid in all of us.
  • Seeing the huge smiles on my kids faces (even through the dripping sweat- we went in August!).  While Disney may not have been my first or second or third choice for a family vacation, it really is a place where kids are happy (well maybe about 75% of the time).


So I'm ready to plan our next trip to Disney (land or world, I'm not picky), especially as now Star Wars is coming to this galaxy. But what I learnt about planning our first Disney trip was that DisneyWorld isn't  just a show up and enjoy kind of trip. Not if we expected to see and do everything we wanted to; or not spend a gazillion dollars; and especially not if I wanted to keep my sanity.


So I took copious notes, set up spreadsheets and crossed my ankles, legs and fingers in hopes that I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. But somehow it worked out anyways ,but I did gain some insight for next time:

  • Stay on resort: We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando which at that time wasn't a Disney hotel (but that just changed!)but is on the Disney world property. It is a beautiful, luxurious property. We had tons of space in our one bedroom suite for us to spread out after a long day at the parks. They have a couple of pools and attached is the Hilton with their lazy river. Location is great because it’s easy to get to the parks and they provide a complimentary shuttle in an air conditioned luxury bus to the parks as well. Only drawback is that the schedule isn’t as convenient as being on the monorail at a Disney hotel. Next time we would consider staying at one of the Disney properties to get the full experience. But this mama likes her luxury, so I’d have to research what fits the budget and my princess needs. But other advantages of staying at a Disney hotel include: earlier access to the parks, and earlier booking window for fast passes and character meals (which the Waldorf now offers!)
  • Fast passes are no joke: Try to book and plan your fast passes AS SOON AS your window allows you to. Space them out and make sure you can get to them on time. Give yourself plenty of time to explore that part of the park as well - The Magic Kingdom is BIG. Take advantage of the fact that once you use up your 3 passes, you can add a fourth. We got up to using 5 fast passes this way. I felt like it was one of my greatest achievements as CEO of my tribe. I used Pinterest to see what rides were the hardest to get fast passes for and tried to get those first.
  • Character meals: They were worth it, not so much for the food, but for the overall experience.  We ended up booking two lunches because it gave us a break out of the crazy August heat and humidity mid day. These experiences gave the girls memorable  one on one time with so many characters. Mickey really is as charming as you think.
  • Try to be somewhat prepared: We packed refillable water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, hats, comfortable walking shoes and dollar store ponchos (which actually came in handy!).  I also purchased autograph books from the Disney store at home, along with a pen each. This gave the girls something to do when meeting the characters and they were a memorable keepsake.
  • Give yourself enough time. If you want to see all the parks, fully, then book enough time. We didn’t get through all the Magic Kingdom in one day (although we tried). If we had allocated two days we could’ve done more at a more leisurely pace. Next time!

But for me the ultimate Disney trip would be with Disney's VIP Tour Service, where this mama would get a break from having to do all the planning and keeping us on schedule. A mama can dream, can't she?


What are your top tips for managing a trip to DisneyWorld? I’m just a novice when it comes to the magical world of the mouse- so help a mama out! Share below!
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2 comments

  1. I agree, a Disney hol is best with lots of planning! (my recent blog post has lots of tips if you're interested). I'm glad you had a good time. August must've been boiling! X

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    1. Thanks so much Angela! Can you post a link to your blog here in the comments? I love all of the great tips out there for Disney - it really makes planning such a special trip even better!

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