I said, "Keep an eye on them," not "turn them into the cast of Grease."
What I learned taking the family to Disney World ...
- Dressing the whole family in matching outfits may look nerdy, but it is effective in finding one another in a crowd.
- You can really spend a lot of time in lines waiting for rides. It's then that you really appreciate how much your kids feel the need to be rescued from boredom.
- Indoor shows are a good way to cool off, taking advantage of their air conditioning. (HT Oilcan)
- Complaining relieves stress (or at least gives the feeling/illusion thereof). Listening to the complaining of others really intensifies stress. Corollary: The complaining of others pales in comparison to my own.
- Disney, like many other places in American society, is not designed for families of 6+. You will often have to ride and dine in separate groups.
- Use the Fastpass feature whereby you scan your ticket and then return later to avoid the line, trying not to look smug at those in the queue. You can only Fastpass so many at a time, so plan your strategy, hitting the hottest or most prized rides first. (Insider secret: You can't return earlier than your time window, but you can return later.)
- I can understand why people put leashes on their children. I don't endorse it, necessarily, but I understand it.
- Modesty (or lack thereof) is seemingly unrelated to body size/shape or chronological age.
- The "fanny pack" may be practical, but I'm still not a fan of it being an accessory for a grown man.
- You should always check the hotel alarm clock to make sure it's not set for 4:45AM, thereby awakening people prematurely.
- All Krispy Kreme locations are not created equal, some are quite bad with rude employees, stale donuts, and limited coffee selection.
- Kids can be very disappointed when you get the whole family in swimming attire and learn after you're there that the condo's pool is closed. The least they could do is have a moose out front to tell you. Perhaps even a person who can say more than, "Pool's closed" would be nice. I felt like Fletch in the "So you're saying she moved out" conversation.
- Having lunch in the castle with the princesses is at the opposite end of cheap, but it was the highlight of the week for some of the kids.
- It can rain a fair amount in Orlando and a pancho or umbrella might be helpful. I didn't mind getting wet, but a Wal-Mart pancho would probably be about 1/3 the cost of the same one sold in a different package at Disney World.
- Customer service is not so good in a tourist area.
- Customers can be really rude to the help, which may contribute to the #13 above.
- Duration of sleep can't overcome quality of sleep when the bed is horrible. After all the walking and standing in line in the heat, I could have used some good sleep. Instead I couldn't sleep on that miserable bed for more than 1.5 hours at a time and each morning I got up with the addition of a new pain (e.g., back, neck, knees, etc.). Oh, bringing my own "crunchy" pillow would have been wise as well.
- Kids don't always give you much notice regarding their potty needs. Too frequently we heard, "I have to go to potty ... REALLY BAD!" with no prior notice.
- If we have to make a potty stop, we're all going. I don't care if a kid doesn't have to go. 3 exits after you rejoin Interstate traffic someone will likely have a need in that department.
- I discovered a great Italian fast food joint called Fazoli's and their "unlimited" bread sticks are outstanding. I ate like a dozen of them for dessert and I'm not even a bread fan. (Incidentally, they say they're unlimited and ready with a smile, but after the 2nd trip, I got no smile.) Oh, and they have Cherry Coke on tap.
- Kids really like to boss each other around, especially with regard to the toys of others.
- Vacation is hard work. After 3 days of Disneying, we took a day off to enjoy the pool which finally opened. After 2 full days of driving on either side, I could have used a few days to recover from vacation.
- Disney World is actually like 7 different parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios, Typhon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney Area.
- My suggested minimal age for a kid is 3. I wouldn't want the whip of dealing with strollers and/or diapers. There are still a few rides (e.g., roller coasters) that would be inaccessible at age 3 (height restrictions), but they really enjoy themselves. 3 is okay, but 4 would be even better. Our plan, Lord willing, is to go again in 3 years, when our youngest is 6.
- High School Musical 2 may not do much for you the 1st time, but after watching (or listening to) it every day for 2 weeks, the songs really start to grow on you.
Labels: Good Bull