Thursday, May 15, 2014

What I learned at Disney World

I did a lot of planning for our Disney trip. My friend Janet is a Disney expert, and she offered her help and knowledge A LOT!

But despite all the planning I did, the most important thing I did to get ready was to have a long talk with myself.

I am a planner. And more than that, I am a planner who gets upset when plans don’t go, well, according to plan. I also have a lack of patience with myself and others. So I wanted to work hard to keep those things in check.

That said, here are a few things I learned at Disney World:

1. You absolutely cannot do everything there.

As I was checking out the amenities of our hotel, I realized that we could just stay at our resort and never step foot in the park and still have a great time. Multiple pools, pontoon boat rides, horse and carriage rides, playgrounds, stores, a food court, an arcade and more. And that’s not to mention the free nightly outdoor movies and other planned events.

And it would take me three days to write down all the things to do at the park. And we only went to Magic Kingdom.

So as I was making my plans, I tried to be really realistic. And I was constantly reminding myself that I was making plans to help us do as much as we could do, but if we missed something, Biscuit wouldn’t know the difference.

That took a huge amount of pressure off me, which in turn, allowed me to relax and enjoy myself more. And if you know how tender-hearted and sensitive Biscuit can be, you know that my mood definitely has an affect on him.

2. You cannot expect more of your kids at Disney World than you expect at home.

As a matter of fact, you’re most likely going to get less than their ideal behavior because it’s hot, they get tired, there are lots of people, and they are in complete sensory overload.

The temperatures while we were there were in the high 80s and low 90s. Biscuit was taking three or four steps to every one or two of ours. There were crazy people with two-kid-wide strollers zooming all over the place. And there were bright colors, movement, music and more everywhere we went.

All those things could’ve led to multiple breakdowns, and believe me, we saw plenty of kids who fell prey. But we paid close attention to make sure Biscuit got water and snacks, breaks to sit down and chill time.

3. And speaking of chill time, we built in afternoon breaks.

There are buses that take you to and from the resorts to the parks. So we headed back to our room to have lunch (we had sandwich fixin’s and snacks). Then we took a dip in the pool, which we could see from our window. Then made Biscuit lie down and rest for a little while. And despite him saying how not-tired he was, he still went to sleep.

Those breaks gave him a good amount of energy to tackle the second part of the day. He was rested enough that we could go back to the park and stay until closing time.

4. Biscuit is more durable than we thought.

Despite the heat, the crowds, the noise and the walking, Biscuit was a trouper. He didn’t complain too much, and he was game for whatever we suggested. … Well, except Splash Mountain. Every time he saw one of those log boats come screaming down that big hill, splashing water everywhere, he said, “I will NOT go on THAT thing!”

He didn’t ask for too much. He wanted some kind of Peter Pan toy. He wanted a sword. And he wanted a Mickey Mouse pretzel. I tried to buy him a T-shirt, but he said, “No, thank you.” I tried to buy him the ears with his name embroidered on the back, but he said, “No, thank you.”

I did stop at a CVS after we checked out of our hotel and bought him a couple of T-shirts for half of what I would’ve paid in the park. And of course when he got to wear them to day care this week, he was glad I bought them.

One of the many emails I had in my work account after vacation was one from our editor. Don’t worry. I wasn’t in trouble. The email contained a web link for a story written by a dad offering tips for surviving Disney World. I read the article and was surprised that many of the tips he offered were things we had done just from instinct and common sense.

We all three had a great time and were still speaking to each other at the end of the day. I’d say that was a successful trip.

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