Monday, November 10, 2008

The wonderful world of Disney!

As I put Lyda to bed last night she said. “Daddy, Disney World is the best. But you know what would make it way more cooler? If Ariel could be at the beach and you could see her in the water and we could meet Flounder and Sebastian.”

That does sound cool. So, with that, here are some thoughts about last month's trip to Disney World…

My idea of a vacation is a hike in the mountains or lounging on the beach. The litmus test of inspiring awe is a sunrise over the Grand Canyon or snorkeling with sea turtles. But I must say that, although I rolled my eyes a bit at the thought of a trip to the Magic Kingdom, it was truly awe-inspiring and breathtaking. If only you considered the creative genius of Walt Disney, or his marketing genius, or the coordination and organization it takes just to open the gates every morning, or the sheer volume of fireworks, or the fact that you’re never more than 30 steps from a trash can, or the impeccable craftsmanship in the design – any one of those things is enough to warrant respect. But the real awe and magic is in the eyes of each of those children – young and old – who skip through the turnstiles and marvel at the wonder that is Disney.

To hear Lyda squeal when she saw her favorite characters live in person made it all worthwhile. Even 17-month-old Willa would break into her own version of song whenever she saw a princess, and she fell in love with Pooh.


Get a meal plan. Even if you think you’re paying too much, it’s nothing compared to what you’d actually pay without a plan, and it saves major hassles. And I think the food was fabulous. Jeni and I are vegetarian, and there were plenty of healthy options.

Bring snacks from home. Pack some extra granola bars, fruit, and juice boxes to save some cash and avoid over-dosing on junk food.

Avoid sugar and plan a nap. Talk about over-stimulation! I saw more parents screaming at their kids to calm down (how ironic) or to quit crying toward the end of each day. Well, duh…you just pumped the kid full of sugar all day, ran him from ride to ride, bribed him to smile for a jillion pictures, and now you expect him to hold back the tears? We went back to the hotel (The Contemporary) for a nap all but one of the five days (they both napped in the strollers that day.) It helped make everyone much more pleasant – especially me.

Plan a character meal. If your kids are at all into the Disney characters, check out one of the special meals. They’re pricey, but worth getting a private audience with and autograph from one of the princesses or Mickey or Donald or Pooh.

Include the grandparents (and get them to pay for everything!). Whatever you may give up in control over gift shop purchases and surgery snack intake is well worth having an extended family experience and extra help with child care. Jeni and I even got a date night at Epcot.

Highlight of the trip…

The princess lunch in the castle. I’m pretty cynical, but even crusty ones like me will be a bit mushy by the time it’s over. Lyda was nearly delirious with excitement. We met Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine, Belle, and Aurora. And the food was excellent. Again, like everything at Disney, it cost a chunk of change, but it helped create a priceless childhood memory.

Tune in next time for a list of Lyda’s favorite and not-so-favorite Disney attractions!! You’ll get the scoop from one insightful four-year-old.

What Disney tips do you have? Please share them by clicking on "comments." Cheers!

1 comment:

Markoulatos said...

Oh Fun! Eva and Tayte both want to work at the Disney Castle when they grow up. Great pictures!