So in case you haven’t noticed, I LOVE LOVE LOVVVVVE one-on-one trips with my kids. Whether it’s a campout in the backyard or a three-day vacation. Giving each other that undivided attention for a good stretch of time does something for our relationship that we don’t get in our crazy everyday life. It doesn’t have to be all fancy-delancy or mucho expensivo. It just has to be time together without anyone else. And after many trips with Zoey, this year it was Holden’s turn.
ME: Hey buddy, where do you want to go?!
HOLDEN: Disney World!
And just like that, he turned into my favorite child. Of course I wasn’t sure the rest of the family would be okay with just the two of us going to Disney, so I asked my hubby and Zoey before I booked anything.
ME: Hey honey, would you be okay if I took Holden to Disney for a few days without you?
HUBBY: Wait, so I won’t get to go somewhere where you make us wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the park before it even opens and then stand in lines all day for rides like It’s a Small World that make me want to stab my eardrums out with an icepick?
ME: I’ll take that as a yes. Zoey, would you mind? Tell me honestly.
ZOEY: It’s fine. I’ll have fun at home with Daddy.
Awwww. Of course a week before we went, Zoey totally changed her tune and started saying things like “You know where we haven’t been for a while? Disney World.” But it was too late, muhahahahahahaaaaa, the trip was booked, our bags were packed (total lie) and our magic bands were ready to go.
So here’s the thing, I’ve been to Disney a bunch of times now, and I’m getting better and better at it. Yes, it’s a skill. I mean I’m not experty enough that I don’t call a travel agent to help plan it, but experty enough to share a few things I’ve learned over the years.
So here goes… six LITTLE things that can make a BIG difference on your Disney trip:
1. Think outside the parks
So the first day we got there, we didn’t have tickets to the parks and my kickass travel agent suggested Holden and I take a little trip on the new Skyliner. Can I just say this was one of my favorite rides there? It’s super relaxing, you get a spacious car all to yourself, and we hopped on and rode to the Art of Animation Hotel where we grabbed dinner at the food court and mosied mozied (how the heck do you spell that word?!!) moseyed around the hotel where they have life-size models of all the Disney Cars!! It was just a chill way to hang out.
2. Some random stuff I’ve learned to pack over the years
I cannot stress this one enough. It rained one morning we were there, and literally every single person in the entire park moved into the building and it was like standing in the middle of a moist mosh pit.
- Sea Bands
Holden gets motion sickness. On the airplane, on rides like Flight of Avatar, and on boats. So this time we tried Sea Bands. Line them up with your pressure points, and they help keep you from getting motion sick.
- Paper bowls and plastic spoons
I always order cereal and milk and bananas and snacks from Prime Now and have it shipped to our hotel before we get there (they’ll hold it in a fridge for you!) but what will we eat out of? This time I remembered to pack bowls and spoons in our luggage!
If you’re like WTF is a Jackery, so was I before someone gifted me one. It’s this amazing portable charger so your phone always has juice and you can check whether the wait time for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is 200 minutes or 400 minutes (slight exaggeration. slight).
- Other shit that’s smart to bring
Mini fans because duhhh it’s Florida, band-aids because you’re walking like 9000 miles, a spi belt if you don’t wear ugly-ass cargo pants like me, a waterproof phone pouch for water rides, and an e-book so if you’re waiting 400 minutes for a ride, you and your kid can read to pass the time.
3. Always ask cast members for help
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s ask and ye shall receive. Seriously, the cast members WANT you to have a good time. So when Holden finally got the courage up to ride Expedition Everest but we were at a totally different park, I just walked over to the Fast Pass Kiosk and asked the super nice cast member for help. Badabing badaboom, she gave us fast passes to Expedition Everest!!
4. The only free thing in all of Disney World
I’m still kind of flabbergasted by this because they could charge a crapload, but for some reason Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios is FREE and AWESOME. They even lend your kiddo a hooded Jedi robe (with a free souvenir: head lice!!). You just have to get there early to sign up (and if you read my post on how to get on the Rise of the Resistance ride, you’ll be there in time to get Jedi Training too). May the force be with you.
5. Ample Hills Creamery
Holy crap, you guys. So this time we stayed at the Boardwalk Inn (I HIGHLY recommend it!!) and right downstairs on the boardwalk there is an ice cream place that sells FLIGHTS OF ICE CREAM (in all caps because that’s how excited I was). And the flavors are to diiiiiiie for, so picking six isn’t even easy. My two favorites were Chocolate Milk and Cookies and The Munchies (Pretzel-infused Ice Cream with a mix of Crackers, Potato Chips, Pretzels and Crushed Chocolate Candy). And my other two favorites were Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Snap, Mallow, Pop. And my other two favorites were every other flavor they had except for the sorbet because as much as I like sorbet, who the heck would order sorbet with all those deeelicious flavors to pick from?
6. Chill out
It’s taken me a lonnnnnng time to figure this one out. But after many trips to Disney, I’ve learned something. I need to relax. If we don’t get on every ride, oh well. My kiddo won’t even know what he’s missing. And if he’s cranky or tired, then it’s time to reboot with a churro or a dip in the pool or a nap. There’s no point rushing to the next ride if he’s going to be a douchenugget and ruin it anyway. Last but not least, freaking out on him doesn’t make him feel better. It just makes me feel worse. Even though it’s Disney and it’s stressful and jam-packed, it’s supposed to be a vacation. Even if I need another vacation after it.
So there you go. Am I a Disney travel agent who knows everything under the sun? Nope. But I’m a regular mom who’s probably a lot like you. And if I’m going to spend a few mortgage payments to go on a trip, I want it to be damn good.
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