11. Strollers to bring or not to bring? - The Disney strollers are expensive, they are not comfortable, but they are convenient in that you don't have to bring them from home or fold them and bring them back to the room on a bus. But then you do have to bring the tired/cranky child back without a stroller if you use a Disney a Disney stroller. Remember you will also be tired and carrying a 35+lb child is heavy, carrying two is nearly impossible. We brought our umbrella stroller to have one to wheel one child back, we wish we had two late at night. Our intention was to leave it at the park during the day parked outside a restaurant and then to use the Disney double while at the park to only push one. Then at night when we were leaving we were going to pick up the umbrella stroller to wheel the sleeping/tired child back to the hotel. However, our kids hated the Disney stroller, it is not conducive to napping or sleeping and they fought over the Maclaren we brought from home. Next time I will bring two umbrella strollers and forgo the whole renting from Disney. Pushing two is also easier than navigating a double and not a big deal to us. Last year I brought my very big baby jogger,that is super comfy, lots of shade and easy to push, however it is not easy to fold, not compact, and heavy which does not make it a great stroller to transport on Disney's bus system. On Disney's bus system the children must be removed from the stroller and the stroller folded to get on the bus. When you take the monorail you can keep them in the stroller and just wheel it on....so convenient! The buses are not though, your husband will be the one to hold that stroller while standing on a breathing room only bus. Just something to think about.
10. Meal Package-- The jury is still out as to whether this is a good thing. After our trip last year, I said I would never go without it. Well you know what they say about saying never. Anyway the package we got allowed for 1 snack,1 quick meal, and1 table service. And those come with an entree, a LARGE (overpriced)drink, and a desert. Now let me say that if I didn't have the meal plan I may just opt for the entree and a smaller drink. However my meal plan obviously pays for a large drink, an entree with a side, and a desert. I would never buy the desert if it wasn't with the plan. At least not with every meal, especially a quick service meal which is like fast food. But it comes with it right....don't be silly guys,Disney doesn't give away anything for free. You are paying for it. Decide if it is worth it. Also the sit downs come with a desert as well, for every person you get a desert, a bunch of money spent I normally would not spend. If we did get the desert we would all get one to share....just saying. And the price range has to be pretty big for the meal plan, one lunch cost us $60 and one $100 and they were both covered for a sit down,you know which base you are paying right....remember Disney isn't giving anything away. Oh and another thing I had a friend mention you could bring bread and get peanut butter packets and jelly and make sandwiches to save money, I did not see that or any PB&J packets at all. I did see lunches that people made ahead of time and brought in. But let's be realistic unless you have a kitchen in your hotel and are staying off Disney in a condo with a kitchen and bringing lunch in,you have to eat, I just don't know if the meal plan is the way to go.
9. Reservations....decide where you want to eat 6 months from now....Seriously -- Yes,my friends if you don't make dinner reservations when you book your trip or 6 months out at least.... forget about it. Josh and I came home with 2 adult sit down dinners and 1 child sit down dinner. Not because we were sick of Disney food and refused to use the money we had already spent on the dinner.....nope we simply could not get a reservation. We even ate at a place that used 2 table service credits and we still didn't get a chance to use all of them. So the day you book your trip book your dinners. You don't even have to show up the reservations you make, unless it is one that needs a credit card reservation which is only a handful. You can make the reservation, with good intentions to show and then not and there is no penalty, which is a major part of the problem, but that is a different story. So make one for at least every day in case. That being said if you want a character dinner, call the day you can to reserve your spot, especially if you want to dine at Cinderella's table in the castle at the Magic Kingdom. Which also leads to this,if you don't use all of your meal plan vouchers you do not get a refund from Disney. So book those reservations early. Some of our favorites are Akershus(Epcot princess dinner), Sci Fi Cafe(where you eat in a car), Chef Mickey (character lunch at Contemporary), 1800 Park Fare (Cinderella dinner at Grand Floridian), we also did breakfast at Crystal Palace (nothing to write home about, but very conveniently located in the Magic Kingdom.) There were also two other restaurants that were in the Magic Kingdom and looked good an Italian place right when you enter and a sandwich place, but we couldn't get reservations at those.
8. The food stinks,but you aren't there to eat right?-- Okay let me start this by saying I am originally from New Orleans, so I like spice and flavor in everything I eat. The food at Disney is all the same and after a few days taste the same too, it's just prepared and served a different way everywhere. Seriously, it is all the same and mediocre at best. And after 5 days of eating Disney food, you would give your first born for McDonald's or something else that isn't served in a Mouse ear tray. Trust me. At this point take a break from the park and go to downtown Disney. Guess what....they have a McDonald's and other restaurants that are much better than Disney food. Or at least I think that! Take a night to go shop and pay a very inflated price for a big mac or make reservations at Rainforest Cafe and take a break from Disney dining. Especially when you have no reservations that night (not for lack of trying) and you cannot eat another hamburger,nugget or chicken wrap!
7. Don't feel like you have to do it all --- Disney is huge. In fact we saw quite a bit this last time that we didn't even venture to last year when we went. And you know what our kids didn't know they missed anything. Disney is big, trying to accomplish it all with 2 small tikes in not possible. Don't' try and your kids won't know the difference. We went for the week. We love Disney and we love not feeling like we have to cram it all in 4 or5 days. We stayed 7 nights and although some people think that is too long,but it was just right for us. That being said we hung out at the pool one afternoon and took a night at downtown Disney.
6. Remember your kids ages, let them act that way,you try and remember not to-- If your kids are 22 months and 3,expect them to throw a tantrum when they don't get their way or when they are just plum exhausted. However remember you are probably in your 20s or 30s and you throwing a tantrum to is not going to solve anything and just cause the whole situation to get worse quick! And me to write about you on my blog. There were more kids crying and adults yelling than my poor head could take. Remember they are kids guys, no crying would be unreal.
which leads to...
5. For being the happiest place on earth, there are a lot of tears at Disney -- Disney days are long, it requires patience and kids will be immediately whacked off their normal, typical schedule and out of their routine. However kids are pretty resilient and will normally do well. It's the parents who struggle and spend the afternoon in tears fighting with their significant other about whether he brought the camera, left the wipes at the hotel, brought the rights snacks in the backpack or walked the wrong way down the street. Oh I kid, but realize it is long days for everyone and you will see more tears from tired kids and exhausted parents. Try to just roll with it and save the reprimanding at loud decibels for when your kids are in their normal environment, with their normal routine. If you expect them to roll with it, learn to roll with it too.
4. For being geared towards kids, Disney is pretty damn dark! -- The rides besides the teacups, dumbo, magic carpet, carousel, and roller coasters are pretty freaking scary. Even Small World scares the crap out of me, although the kids love it! But Snow White's ride, Pooh's ride, and Peter pan are pretty dark and really loud as well as lots of the shows. Noah sat with a sheer look of terror on his face and occasionally cried. Meredith covered her ears and eyes for most of them. Of course Meredith covers her ears a lot! It's her thing, her coping mechanism if you will and who am I to mess with that?
3. If you kids don't sleep with you at home, they won't sleep with you in Disney either! -- So from about day 1 our kids have slept in their own beds. They go to sleep on their own and sleep all night upstairs in their own rooms, in their own beds. Unless they are sick and wake up sick in the middle of the night that is where they are. That being said it is very interesting and frustrating trying to get two small tikes to sleep in one hotel room with us. Josh and Noah shared a bed and me and Meredith, they were pretty certain they could stay up until whenever and it was party time. Josh and Noah often strolled the resort grounds to get him to sleep. Just don't expect Disney to always exhaust them and them to fall asleep magically in the room with you. Tinkerbell doesn't sell fairy dust for that! One night they did fall asleep and stay asleep as we transported them onto the bus and then into the room. One night, the rest was a battle between us and them!
2. The Monorail Resorts - If you can afford it, go for it! The convenience is worth it. Enough said!
1. Those Mouse ears only look good in Orlando! - Disney sells it all and almost every ride dumps you right into a store of some type. Your kids will want and to be honest so will you! Remember those mouse ears are not quite as cute in your hometown. Even if the trip is a once in a lifetime thing, limit the mouse paraphernalia. Don't go overboard....seriously...no one sported their mouse ears once we hit nola!