Taking a trip to the happiest place on earth doesn’t exactly leave you feeling “happy.” In fact this is actually a place that test’s your patience, and the ability to stay as calm as possible. For example, half the time I’m huffing, and puffing under my breath “get the f*ck out of my way!” Seriously, that smile on your face quickly disappears when the reality of this magical place hits you in the face.
Here’s how it usually begins….You walk in all excited. Eyes as big as those swirly lollipops, mouth wide open, looking around fascinated by all the decorations, lights, music, characters, and you just get this feeling as if you stepped into a Disney movie. You run over to the stand that sells Mickey pretzels. Foolishly buy one without noticing it cost you your arm, but hey that doesn’t matter because..well…let’s be honest you need it as a prop for that perfect Instagram photo. And wait! There’s more! A nice cast member insists on taking your picture with her big professional camera in front of the castle which you realize later cost you your other arm. This immediate “Disney high” doesn’t last long because before you know it, someone bumps into you knocking that pretzel to the ground reminding you it’s time to keep it moving. So what do you do? You grab the map of the park hoping that’s the start to your wonderful adventure, but instead of guiding you in the right direction you find yourself running in circles more confused than ever.
So here’s the thing…you can either wing it, and become a villain at the end of the day OR you can continue reading, and walk out of there feeling like Tinker Bell’s magic pixie dust was sprinkled all over you.
From experience, February, and September are pretty much the least busiest months to visit Disney, but regardless of when you’re planning to go, you should definitely check this site prior to your trip >>>>>
Click the link that says “crowd calendar” top right hand corner, and the city you are going to. From then on out it’s self explanatory. Literally shows you month by month indicating which parks are the busiest, and least busiest days to go. Also pay attention to details. For example if you are staying at one of the Disney property hotels you can use the EMH perk which means “extra magic hours.” This is basically a way to give guests the opportunity to enter the park one hour earlier or stay in the park up to 2 hours later than normal operating hours.
Download the MyDisney App!!! This is like the same thing as having gas in your car in order for it to run lol. The app is the fuel you’ll need in order to navigate around the park.
Going to Disney with a Toddler:
This all depends on what kind of parent you are, and how much you’re willing to let your child suffer lol. Me? Well, I’m pretty simple. As long as Luna get’s to go on most of the rides, meet some characters, and I get that perfect photo…we can call it a day. There’s honestly no need to torture yourself, and your children from 9am to 11pm. The reason I think some people stick around for every second of the very last minute is to get their money’s worth. I’m sorry, but I refuse to moisturize myself with everyone’s sweat all day long, and see my child cry more than I see her smile.
Side Note: Have you guys actually noticed how miserable the kids look? lol half of them are laying uncomfortably in a stroller SOAKED in sweat. Neck, arms, legs twisted in all sorts of direction making you wonder if they are alive, and the other half is being dragged on a leash that’s supposed to look like a “cute backpack.”
If you are going to Orlando which has multiple park’s my advice is don’t overwhelm yourself. Stick to one or two park’s a day. Much better then trying to cram everything into one day.
I recently took a trip to Magic Kingdom with my mom, and Luna. I have to say it was by far the best one yet! I don’t know if we just got lucky or I planned everything perfectly to have such a successful, fun filled day. Looking back I think what really helped was leaving the park around Luna’s nap time to give us a little break. It’s a bit of an inconvenience to leave the park, because it’s a process getting back to your hotel (especially if you aren’t staying on Disney Property,) but being at the park all day is SO overwhelming. Even though Luna ended up not napping we were able to have a nice lunch at our hotel, change out of our sweaty clothes, pick our feet up, and re-gain some energy before heading back for round 2.
What I noticed:
Smaller crowds in the mornings.
12-5pm is the prime time for the park with EVERYBODY there.
Around 4-5pm it dies down. People tend to leave when they realize they can’t hang all day. I’m telling you, it’s A LOT to handle. The heat, the lines, the people….Just take a break in the afternoon, and come back! It’ll be worth it.
We did it this way, and we were able to get on every single ride that was age appropriate for Luna. Saw the show at night that’s projected on the castle. (Which btw if you stay for this keep in mind it’s madness getting out when the show is over. That’s one thing I’d do differently. LEAVE the park 20 min before the show is over to avoid the stampede!) Best part about the entire day was seeing Luna’s reaction to every character she met. My heart was exploding seeing her so happy. You know what, let me just share the photos so you can see the expressions for yourself lol
The way she’s nervously shrugging her shoulder’s haha
Look at her cheesy smile hahaha
Her meeting Goofy was my favorite. She was so shy, and bashful haha hence that awkward smile
Telling Ariel she’s going to steal Prince Eric
And that’s a wrap! Decided to take Tiger home with her haha
• The best park to visit in Orlando with a toddler is definitely Magic Kingdom. There’s so much to do for a child who’s under 3.
• You can never go wrong if you arrive EARLY!!! Use the EMH! Luna wakes up around 7am anyway so most of the time it works out great for us.
• If you are driving then it’s totally worth paying for preferred parking! Especially if you plan on leaving, and coming back!
• Speaking for Magic Kingdom Only: Be smart when picking your 3 Fast Passes. If you go early you’ll be able to get on anything with little to no wait time. For example we immediately go on “It’s a Small World” because there’s never a line in the morning. Right after that we go on “The Little Mermaid which also has about a 5-15 min wait, nothing crazy. After that we use the Disney App to see what other ride’s have a short wait time. I find it much easier to get away with waiting in line when we just get to the park..Luna doesn’t even notice we are waiting because she’s still so mesmerized by the place. Clearly as the day goes on she starts to loose energy….that’s why I save fast pass rides for later.
• If you plan to go on rides that are super popular like Splash Mountain or Peter Pan then you should fast pass no matter what time of day to make sure you get on.
• If your child MUST meet Mickey then you NEED to fastpass this one. It’s the most popular meet, and greet. In general meet, and greets take forever because the kids all want to talk, parents want to get that one good photo, and then the autograph signings…so just give yourself time when it comes to these.
• ADVICE FOR FOOD: If you don’t have restaurant reservations I’d suggest packing your own food/snacks. Even if that means bringing a small cooler! The food at the park is disgusting, and EXPENSIVE! It’s either fried, cold or soggy. You’ll also be jam packed in a building with a million starving angry people. I know, I know packing your own meal isn’t ideal because it means you have one more thing to carry around, but trust me, you’ll enjoy eating the nice turkey sandwich YOU made, rather then the one everyone coughed, touched or sneezed on while waiting in line. (Yes the food court’s are made into a buffet style where you grab, and go.)
• Don’t need to tell you this because it’s common sense, but I still see people make the mistake of wearing flip flops to the park. WEAR COMFORTABLE SNEAKERS!!!
• If you know you’ll be purchasing the photo’s that the professional photographers take then don’t hesitate to take A MILLION! It won’t matter if you take 3 photos or 100. You buy all of them as package through the MyDisney app for one whole price.
• Waiting in line with a toddler is never fun. Hell, even adults get impatient so you can’t blame your kid for being cranky. This is where you should pull out all the tricks in the book even if it makes you look like a “bad parent.” Give them a lollipop to suck on! Use technology! You know what I do for Luna? Let her watch little clips from a movie that have the character she was about to meet, or the ride she was about to go on. It made her experience that much more exciting when it went from a tiny little screen to real life.
• When it comes to buying park tickets it’s hard to give advice because it all depends on how many days you are going, what deals are currently available, and what your plans are in general. That’s something you’ll need to figure out.
After all that being said, you want the real REAL truth??? You’ll most likely end up spending more money than you thought, you’ll be annoyed with everyone, and you’ll be telling yourself you’ll never be back…yet somehow you get sucked in again, and again, and again.
I guess it really is a Magical Place. One we have yet to figure out what exactly cause’s that “Magic.”