May 1, 2012

What Happens at Disney...

We've been to Disney, a lot.

For some, I know that this is a once in a lifetime trip.  Myself, I never went to Disney until I had kids.  We didn't vacation much when I was a younger and when we did it was to the Outer Banks or Virginia Beach.  Maybe that was the same trip, but the bottom line is Disney was never in our travel plans.

That's all changed with our kids.

My oldest has been to a Disney related park probably around 20 times.  That includes Disney World, Disneyland, and even Disneyland Paris. Throw in a few cruises on Disney Cruise Lines and we are VERY MUCH a Disney family. Disney can be a daunting experience to plan for, as there are too many websites, books, and videos all telling you that has to be the case.  If you go on any of these sites like Disboards.com or Passporter.com there are literally hundreds if not thousands of people telling you how to experience Disney.

I am not going to get into any specifics about how to plan for a trip like this, but needless to say, if you follow all of the advice of everything that you read or hear, you will drive yourself crazy and never fully enjoy your experience.  I know people that have their whole itinerary planned out to the second, but if you do that, you will truly miss out on the magic that Disney offers. 

I have two boys so our trips are a little different than families with girls.  Sure we go on all the rides and see many of the same characters but we don't have to see ANY of the princesses which I know take up a lot of your day.  I've seen the lines and I don't envy those people in the slightest.  My oldest was always a Mickey fan, so we knew where to go and see him with the least wait (Hollywood Studios, One Mans Dream - skip the 15 minute movie and Sorcerer Mickey is right there).  Of course you could always dine with the characters so you don't have to worry about seeing all of them in the parks.

Why do we go all the time?

Sometimes I wish we didn't go as much as we do, but we truly love it.  I'll be honest with you though some of the magic has worn off.  Gone are the days where Tyler was running around hugging every character in sight or Carter would scream hysterically at the mere mention of them.  The fireworks shows have begun to blend into one another and the parades aren't the spectacles they once were.  But the boys are experiencing new rides every year and while the magic isn't the same, it's evolving.  The excitement of seeing Donald or Goofy has been replaced with the thrill of riding Space mountain. While they aren't scared to go in the Haunted Mansion anymore, there is a fear of falling to your death as they ride The Tower of Terror.  It's almost as if something new comes a long every time we go.


Disney is not for everyone and I certainly see where a lot of people would have issues with them.  We are not one of those families. I would never tell anyone that they have to spend their money and go to Disney, it's not cheap. I know that I am totally sounding like an ad for Disney right now, but it's probably my boys favorite place in the world so why wouldn't I speak glowingly of it?

The bottom line is, we'll be going back as long as the boys want to go back.  The magic won't last forever, so we will ride it as long as we can.

For some quick tips from a first time Disney visitor please check out my friend Daddy Knows Less.  He just got back and made a list of things he wish he knew before he went.

If YOU have any questions about Disney or quick tips to offer please leave me a comment below. 


John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?

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24 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me know which sites to stay away from.  It is overwhelming with the planning - we are going on our first trip in June and my oldest is 10 so I hope the magic is still there and he won't be sitting around bored off his gourd...I know he will die the day of Legoland..

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  2. We are also a Disney Family.  It's always a wonderful experience, and the customer service is always impeccable.  Each year we sit down to plan our vacations and look at different options; Maine, Caribbean, Cali, etc.  We ALWAYS end up at Disney.  Nothing beats it.  124 days until we sail on the Magic out of NY to Canada and just this past week I booked February at the Art of Animation resort!  There are times when it's hectic, especially when the kids were a bit younger (they're 15 and 6 now). My 6 year old is afraid of something different every time we go.  In February, it was spiders and loud noises.  Greeeeeeaaaaat.
    When it gets to be too much, we slow it down.  Pick a different resort to stay, spend some time relaxing at the pool.  Send the kids to the evening children's programs at the deluxe & DVC resorts and choose a fancy restaurant to go eat.  The Boardwalk and Downtown Disney are also favorite places of ours.  Nighttime movies on the beaches at night (with my umbrella drink in hand) is another way to relax and slow it down, while keeping the kids entertained.  Yes, we spend quite a few "commando" park days, we always try to slow it down a bit too.  

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  3. It is important to slow down... We own DVC and love just hanging at the Beach Club pool. The boys love the slide and the bonfires on the beach are great. If you don't take time to breath you won't be able to enjoy yourself. We're with you, we do yo on other trips but seem to end up at Disney every year. A vacation is always more enjoyable when the kids are enjoying themselves.

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  4. He won't be bored. If he has never been it will be amazing for him. Don't get me wrong the magic hasn't disappeared it's just changed. There is just too much to see and do and having not seen it before you guys will have an amazing trip. If you need any advice just hit me up. I'm more than willing to help.

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  5. I've never been there but always wanted to go.  My wife has and still talks about it.  We will defnitely be taking our family in the next couple of years.

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  6. I'm here for you James.  I won't pay for it, but if you need some quick tips ket me know.

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  7. Ha ha.  I will probably have questions and if you change your mind about the SendHudymas2Disney charity, just let me know. 

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  8. I like the hashtag #SendHudymas2Disney... lets make it happen everyone!

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  9. Michele from FamilyViewedMay 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    We are a Disney family too AND little kids not in the house anymore.  We still go whenever we can!  We are still waiting for a picture of my husband with Cinderella.  The lines are too long. Someday we'll get it! 

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  10. Melissa_FillingOurBucketMay 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    I am a Disney fanatic and am training my son to be the same. ;) We took him for the first time in November over Thanksgiving. This also happened to be my husband's first time. Needless to say, while we had a blast, it wasn't the best first experience for him because obviously, it was outrageously crowded. We are going again in October 2013 which will be much more relaxed. And we'll also be going for a full week to 10 days, rather than just 5. Can't wait.

    We are DVC members too. Animal Kingdom Lodge is our home resort. Hoping to stay somewhere different on the next trip, just to experience a new place.

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  11. I can't wait to bring my girls.  I have a rule though - no strollers and no carrying. I want to enjoy it just as much as they do. I'm thinking that they'll be ready around 5 or 6 years old - and also be able to remember their first experience there. 

    I still remember mine as being magical (and I was 18!). I want my girls to have that same feeling.We were watching something on TV the other day about the Princess Room in Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom. I would win Best Dad of the Century if I could ever score a night there for my little PiTs (Princesses In Training)!

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  12. You will either have to luck out and bump into her in the street or perhaps have a character dining experience. But then you are going to have to eat with Prince Charming and I don't know if your husband will want that.

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  13. BRING A STROLLER! Even if it is a little umbrella stroller. Trust me! At some point a kid is going to need to sit, and you can use it as a shopping cart for all the stuff you will inevitably buy. You don't want to be stuck carrying around big bags of things and stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls. My kids don't NEED the stroller but they are a necessity. My sister in law brought one just to carry water around.

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  14. I would suggest Beach Club. The pool is the best pool on the property and the location next to EPCOT makes it ideal. You have to take a bus to MK but to be able to walk out of EPCOT or take a boat from Hollywood Studios can't be beat. Animal Kingdom Lodge is somewhat remote and you are forced to take te bus everywhere. Another good option is the new Bay Lake Towers. That is right next to Magic Kingdom.

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  15. Great post man. We consider ourselves a Disney Family too. And we have only been to the one in Orlando but we have gone several times in the kids short years of life.  I love it. I hate leaving.  It is all so much fun. I think it is almost as much fun trying new things and doing more each year. 

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  16. They've grown into the parks.  More and more rides are becoming available for all of us to ride.  Tyler can go on Space Mountain and Carter is big enough for Runaway Train.  What used to be just a walk in the park to see characters has now become something more than that.

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  17. You hit the nail on the head with all of the resources and not knowing whom to listen to. Bottom line is, you have to make the trip your own. We didn't go to an entire park when we were there - Hollywood Studios. Figured Peanut was too small for most of the rides, and we wanted to make the most of the short time we were there. So one thing I learned is listen, but don't necessarily follow. Thanks for the link!

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  18. Hollywood Studios has two of the best rides in all of Disney; Toy Story Mania and Star Tours. There are some show type rides that everyone can do and if she is tall enough, The Tower of Terror which is in everyone's top five rides. Hey you have something to look forward to when you go back. We usually spend half a day there then take the boat to Epcot. It really is important to not over plan.

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  19. Good to read this post. And timely—I am sitting in the hotel enroute to Orlando with the family. I agree that Disney isn't for everyone. It's a very immersive experience; overwhelming for some, and probably not fun if you're counting your pennies. But if you enjoy being transported into the magic, and just let yourself be part of the festivities, it is really quite relaxing. Escapism at it's best.

    Did you know that this past weekend there was a social media conference held in Disneyworld, called DisneySMmoms? Perhaps one day there will be enough dad blogger influence to have parallel conferences.

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  20. I saw the Hashtag all over Twitter, I couldn't miss it.  There were a few dads there as far as I could tell.  You just have to let yourself go and realize that you are going to spend more money that you would have liked.  It would be cool to hear from more dads about Disney.

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  21. Easiest wedding planning decision my wife & I had was the honeymoon destination. That was our first trip to Disney World and we are preparing for number 15 this summer. Aside from home, we don't feel as comfortable anywhere else. We all get choked up every time we step through the main gate at the Magic Kingdom & see the castle for the very first time of the trip. The magic remains in tact. I have two girls and it does make the trip different than going with boys, I guess.  I'd offer more but I'm also working on a blog post with my 15-year old and I don't want to spoil it!

    I can offer one tip for you.  If you really are a Disney fan, make sure that when you're tweeting & something makes you really happy, put on your Mouse ears like this =>  8(:-)

    I'm sure Walt would have appreciated it.

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  22. Agreed John. You have to ride that lightning as long as it is going to be flashing. At some point the rides and the magic wears off. Enjoy it all for as long as you can.

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  23. We've escaped being a Disney family thus far. We were a Universal couple. :) But when the kid gets old enough, I imagine we'll make the change. I mean, there's got to be some reason why people go so crazy for it!

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  24. I'd love to visit Disney someday, but --- alas --- I fear it is something we will never be able to afford. For now we enjoy our local theme park, King's Island, along with summer passes to the village pool, family membership at the local art museum, & maybe a one-tank-trip to a neighboring city for a weekend. This summer we might actually get to see the aquarium & zoo, too! :)

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