Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surviving the Mayhem & Enjoying the Magic

We've been gone on a magical adventure to the Disney World. It's a trip, I remember more fondly than I think the reality was - and that's what Disney is all about: a magical facade of wonderment. I am not hating on it, but it's a lot of work. Here's how we made the trip more magic, less mayhem.
  1. Plan, but don't over plan. This time around I was prepared, far more than I have been in the past. Holy Pinterest, it's helpful. The most important thing, I think that helped this trip? We decided we wouldn't freak out on seeing or doing everything.  We were going to miss stuff - and that was ok. Having a collective okay on that decreased the stress, 100%.  We know we'll be back (in a few years, the FDA approved wait time), so there was no reason to make sure we saw everything. We'll see it all, at some point. Or maybe we won't - it's still magical.

    We made reservations for meals, where we could. The thing about Disney is you can make reservations 180 days in advance, which in my last minute procrastinator head is Amanda Bynes level of crazy. I conformed and it was absolutely worth it. 100%. Makes sense. I'm a believer. We made no more than one reservation a day, to allow for the whole "take us where the day takes us" mentality, but provided the ability to actually sit down & eat.

    Personal favorites:
    Tutto Italia Dinner
    In Epcot: great food, pitchers of beer. What more can you ask for?

    Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    In Epcot: Good food, Princesses who come table to table chat, are adorable and it's not crazy town - at all. Like Chef Mickey which I find cra cra. And to quote my husband, "They should serve antacid pills with your breakfast. This is insane."

  2. Magic can be made, not bought.  My kid likes details, she's into them. I don't know where she gets it {sarcastic font}.  To quell the constant questions I created a personalized itinerary for the girls. Each day, it was laid out where we would go, there were words easy enough for her to sound out and images to match. I won't lie, I took it slightly too far - as I do.  It was a perfect way to make sure the kid knew what was up and we will be able to look back on as a memory. After a week in the magically land of Disney, it all starts to blur together.
    *Names changed to protect the innocent - and those who will
    be embarrassed by Mom's crazy when they are older.

    The itinerary is created through Word, I downloaded a few free fonts to jazz it up and swiped images off the Internet which I'm fairly sure isn't Kosher but to be fair, I'm not 100 %. My best discovery was searching for images with a "transparent" background. This allowed for an overlay where I didn't need to baulk the system. Another option is clicking on the image and choosing the option to place the image in the background for easy layering. This might not make any sense, but if you are into it - it will.  There were surprises layered through out the week - laid out created fun anticipation.

  3. Magic that is bought, can be done on a budget. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I would scour Dollar Stores or sale racks for treats & surprises. Glow sticks, Princess or Disney themed jewelery, arts & crafts and Princess costumes.  Did you know that some Princess dresses are 80 bucks? Like what the hell, it's dress up - not prom. Every morning the girls would wake to a few small trinkets left by Tinker Bell & her fairy friends. I used some of the fonts I already downloaded and wrote a quick note. Each note was encouraging, thanking them for their good behavior (self-fulfilling prophecy hopes). Each note came with a small trinket that I probably would have bought anyway (sandals, Mickey band aids) or help to defray the whole "TOYS TOYS TOYS I NEED A TOY!" madness (jewelry, princess costume, arts & crafts). I sprinkled each delivery with a little glitter and magic ensued. Though, at a certain point the kid could be heard saying, "Why does Tinker Bell keep bringing me all this stuff? I don't need all of this!" Oh my practical girl, how do I tell her the Dollar Store knows no bounds & mommy wanted to make sure we had enough?

  4. Characters, man. Beyond waiting on lines for character autograph books (which for the right wait time - is totally worth it). See exhibit A. There are other opportunities that can't be missed, see exhibit B. It is taken in the midst of a dance party.
    Exhibit A
    Characters are actually everywhere. First, there are parades. Pro tip: you don't actually have to set up an hour earlier. We would get there moments before any parade, get a great seat and enjoy with minimal crazy town.This doesn't mean a crazy woman won't bum rush your child to wave to the princesses... but that could happen after waiting an hour in the same seat in anticipation. Second, there are dance parties. They are our favorite. I didn't see them - at all - last time around. But this time? In most of the parks we stumbled across dance parties. DJ, kid friendly music, an MC that was all "let's do the electric slide" and then characters would come out to dance with the kids. Honestly? It was my favorite part - for real. There could be these really, truly, magical moments of love with the characters without the rush of an autograph
    Exhibit B
    line.

  5. If you got 'em, dress up like 'em. Encourage dress up, if the kids are into it. I mean, first - it's hilarious, adorable & magic. But the cast members of Disney? Freaking, slow clap to a standing O. They are amazing. Of course all the staff at Disney are pretty much magical, but throw a princess dress on your kid? They are curtsying, calling the kids princess. Asking if they've seen Aurora, Arial... telling story of Tinker Bell flying past them. Amaze. Pro tip: Kohl's sells Princess costumes, and for the right deal you can get them under 20, which is lovely. That said, what UP Disney? How ya gonna stop (easy to access) sizing at 6? Mama's got a tall glass of water - and throwing me a 7 or 8 would have done us wonders. We also did low key, inexpensive dress up options that wasn't the princess garb 100%.

    Example: Princess t-shirts with coordinating skirts or color themed outfits. Like yellow, blue & red = Snow White or blue = Merida or green = Arial. We made it work. We also did different hair themes. Best day ever, for the kid, was revitalizing some Rapunzel throw backs. We did her hair in braids and included some flowers. I am hair challenged, but easy enough: 3 braids, made into 1 braid. I stuck in some fake flowers and she got more compliments that day, than any. Even with her Bippity Boppity Boutique day (AKA Honey Boo Boo school of rejects). And she beamed. And I wilted.  Their happiness, made this "vacation." Dare I say made us so tired had us yearning for the end, it was still pure magic.


    These kids, man. The magic moments, made the mayhem worth it. 100%.  If you listen to nothing else, don't stress- too hard. Enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. You guys make the dreams come true :) pure magic!!! I loved the pics and the schedule !!!

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