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Lynda Loveland: Mouse ears for five!

Posted February 29, 2012

Lynda Loveland

It’s a trip we’ve been planning for years. OK, putting off for years. I’m talking about the kids first trip to Disney World.

For one thing, we wanted to wait until the kids were old enough to fully enjoy and remember the trip. But another thing, we were dreading spending all that dough. Oh, and then there is that whole road trip thing. We’ve never been with the kids in the car for more than four hours.

I don’t mean to start this off sounding negative, but I think since I’ve never been to Disney and have absolutely no knowledge of it, I was scared of planning it. I kept putting it off. All my friends kept telling me you gotta plan it early, months in advance, especially if you’re doing a princess breakfast/lunch/dinner. You know how it is when you perceive something as a big, daunting task and you keep finding reasons to put it off. That was Mickey and me.

Well, by chance, my friend recommended a Disney planner to do the work for you. Picture a weight instantly lifted from my shoulders. After a few phone calls and emails it was a done deal. Whew!!!! Talk about a relief.

With that done, I’m really starting to look forward to the trip. Every adult, and I mean EVERY adult I talk to says I will love it. Not just the kids, but me too! Dare I say, I’m getting excited!

Of course, I still have my worries. Will we see everything, will we manage to avoid any meltdowns, will we say no (effectively)? And, of course, can we successfully keep track of three kids once they set foot in the world that is Disney. I think it will be the equivalent of giving them each a dozen pixie sticks with a Mountain Dew chaser.

Any helpful hints???

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill and Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays.

64 Comments

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  • warmfuzzz Mar 4, 2012

    If your small kids are scared of the self flush toilets bring post it notes to but over the sensers. I would also either take or rent at least a double stroller. Makes it easy for kids not to get tired and somewhere for them to nap if they want to. If your going over Spring break know that it will be busy and waits can get long. Bring something for kids to do in line waiting.Take a backpack in with you. In Magic Kingdom and EPCOT there are areas for kids to run and get wet to cool down.You can also bring snacks in with you if you have a picky eater. Sending you a site that is great for information including menues to all parks. AllEarsNet.com. One of my favorite places to go. You can also find what is going on the monthe /time your there and things that are closed. Best piece of advice I can give you, roll with the ball. Things can and sometimes happen that's not in your plans. Adjust and o something else don't stress about it.

  • sheezacop Mar 2, 2012

    Meant to say...there is ONLY one parade at night and they are at a DIFFERENT PARK EACH NIGHT.

  • sheezacop Mar 2, 2012

    Each park has a parade every night. We love to end the day with those but just know that you have to pretty much scout out a spot an hour or so prior if you want your kids to be able to see them. The "Electric Light Parade" at the Magic Kingdom is our favorite and it's best to get a spot near the exit so you can beat some of the crowd out at the end. Souvenirs are outrageously priced at the parks. You can get the same stuff at the big "Wings", etc. stores for much cheaper. We know now to wait until our trip is almost over to do this. Fast passes on the best rides go QUICKLY. Get them ASAP once you decide which ones you want to ride. Do the parent swap when you can. Saves time in line for the kids and Mom/Dad and sometimes the kids get to ride twice (which our older son loved!) Get in the front of the line on the monorail and ask the driver if your kids can ride in his "cockpit". Mine thought this was "the coolest ride!!" (not everyone knows you can do that). Have fun!!

  • sheezacop Mar 2, 2012

    I see you've received lots of great tips so I hope I'm not repeating here. Depending on the ages and the "scare factor" of your children, keep on mind that some kids are afraid of the characters. After all they are HUGE in comparison to our babies and some kids completely freak out when they get too close. Yet we've seen parents practically forcing their screaming terrified children to "take one picture!" Thank goodness neither of mine were scared and they're now almost 14 (4 visits and counting) and my youngest just turned 4 and had his first visit at 2 yrs., 10 months. IF you REALLY want to have the whole character experience with the kids, I would HIGHLY SUGGEST A CHARACTER MEAL. We have always had a fantastic time at "CHEF MICKEY'S". They usually have the favorite characters AND they spend a lot of time with your kids. Just walk in about an hour prior to "opening" (dinner) or 1/2 hour (breakfast) and even with no reservation, they'll normally get you in since there are "no-shows".

  • tlclemens Mar 2, 2012

    Awesome!! Are you a AAA member? You get so many extra benefits booking with them. The best thing is the FREE touring plans subscription and the "Line" app. It really helps save time in Disney. Have fun!

  • bryanfamily5 Mar 2, 2012

    Dress the kids in matching colored shirts each day. It makes it easier to find them in crowded situations. If your kids don't know your cell phone number, string a bead necklace with your number on it that they wear under their shirt. Have fun!

  • lloveland Mar 2, 2012

    The comments have been FANTASTIC! Thank you! They are sooo helpful! Some of you have asked who planned the trip for us. Her name is Nancy Swope nancys@mei-travel.com. It's a free service. She saved me!

  • srainey Mar 2, 2012

    We are going with our 4 and 1/2 year old grandson to Disney in mid April! We have an 8 hour ride to Orlando. This little strategy worked beautifully when my two sons went with us to Disney when they were young. I bought and wrapped a small token item for each one for each hour of the drive. I then instructed them when we started that for every hour they rode well, did not argue, and did not ask "Are we there yet?" they could go in the grab bag and select an item. They were great! They often shared the item they got with the other brother which helped carry the entertainment over the hour time span. It made the trip so much easier! I already have my grandson's treats ready to wrap for our trip in April! Have fun! One other tip I would suggest is - go back to the room and let the kids (and parents) nap or rest for a while each day. The time you lose in the park will be more than made up for by everyone's temperment! Safe trip, have fun.

  • ladybug68 Mar 1, 2012

    Thanks for the Ebay pin tip Flamtap---our kids love to do that--will be better prepared for next trip--we learn more every trip!

  • S82R Mar 1, 2012

    To echo what others have said (this from someone who's been to Disney 20+ times) get up early, get to the park BEFORE it opens and then go back to the hotel after lunch (or for lunch) and then nap/rest/swim in the pool until almost dinner. Kids and parents are MUCH happier this way. Usually my wife and I will take turns taking them to the pool if they want to go so one of us can rest. I help people plan all the time and I tell them this "You can sleep in on vacation but this is Disney. Sleep in or stand in line, your choice." Also- don't try to do everything and don't feel like you have to! Do what your family thinks is fun/educational (and save the rest for the next trip!).

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