Thursday, February 2, 2012

How Walt Disney Got Me Hooked On Sleeping Pills

Well, it’s booked. We’re making our pilgrimage to the Mecca of America, Disney World. And let me tell you, it has nearly killed me from the stress.

Let me preface this by saying that I am admittedly one of the more disorganized people I know. I lose things. I skim over the small print. I have trouble staying focused on the goal. Worst of all, I am a Master Procrastinator. These may be okay qualities to have for a creative type – big ideas, quirky and off-the-beaten path presentations, etc – but these are NOT good qualities in a Disney trip planner.

TIMELINE:  How I planned my trip to Disney

  • 1996 - I got pregnant and thought, “Hey, we should take this kid to Disney someday.”
  • 2002 – I got pregnant for the third time and thought, “Jesus, I will NOT lug three small kids to Disney.”
  • 2008 – Youngest Daughter started kindergarten and I thought, “Maybe we should think about Disney.”
  • 2009 – Ordered Disney trip planning DVD. It arrived. I stuck it in a drawer with report cards and kid art.
  • 2010 – Put house on market, got full time job, small life implosion not conducive to Princesses.
  • October 2011 – Bit the bullet in October and booked plane tickets to Orlando for Valentine’s Day.
  • November 2011 – Had sister book hotel rooms off property, as she could get me a Family Rate.
  • December 2011 – Had kids open Christmas gift saying, “Yay, we’re going to Disney!” Didn’t quite get the screaming/tears/hysteria we were hoping for – it was more of a “Huh. You finally did it. Great.” Those damned Disney commercials that I’ve been tearing up watching for the last year as the kids freak out just created unrealistic expectations in my own children.
  • January 2012 – Five weeks to departure – The Delusion is broken.

I start thinking maybe I should look at the cost of park tickets. We don’t get to Orlando until about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and leave first thing on Sunday, so we really have four full days in town. We only want to hit Magic Kingdom one day and maybe another Disney park, but the kids will want to go to Harry Potter Land at Universal, and Current Husband wants to go to Sea World. We should be able to do that in four days, right? The cost of tickets for a family of five on that multi-park plan is about $3000. I REPEAT, JUST THE TICKETS TO THE PARKS COSTS THREE EXTRA LARGE.

But hey, we’re making that up in the room, right? Because they are so cheap! But we do have to rent a car while we’re there, because Disney has it rigged that you can’t get transportation to Disney from anyone but them. And then there are meals. And parking. I decide to look around the website a little bit.


My name is Julie the Wife,
and I’m Disney Challenged.

I go to Facebook to complain and whine that I don’t know what the hell I’m Disney Doing, and a friend suggests I go to I do it, I buy the plan, and then I wait while they send my results. I can see that what they have is extremely helpful, to people other than me, but apparently now besides the Disney website to read, I have about 500 articles on the Tour Guide Mike site, all with secret codes and special instructions. What is my dining plan? What is my transportation plan? What is my Character Meet and Greet plan? What rides am I going to personally want to be on, and what time of day will I need to get in line? As I said, I know Tour Guide Mike is awesome for people who know how to point and shoot these weapons, but I can’t tell you what we are eating for dinner tomorrow night or where my black t-shirt is, so we’re both going to need a crystal ball for those decisions.

I said on Facebook that planning your first Disney trip is like having sex for the first time: Confusing, scary, and possibly overrated, but everyone expects you to do it. I’m starting to think I’ll use the same coping strategy this time – Close my eyes, brace for the unknown, and when people there ask me what I think, I’ll smile and say I came.

End of Part I. Stay tuned for Part II of the Disney Adventure, Crime and Punishment Version.


Mel said...

I am just prepping our first Disney trip as well. Kid is almost three and we are heading down in a spur-of-the-moment fashion, tagging onto other family members' plans. I'm thinking I did it right:)

Rhonda said...

You can hit 2 Disney Parks in one day probably since your kids are older and will skip some things, also you can get a deal on the 2 Universal parks on a one day ticket and it's no problem to hop back and forth between them. That leaves a day for Sea World. (I'm from Florida so you should have asked me! I'm like the Disney Queen!)

Jolyse Barnett said...

Hi! I popped into your blog from muffintopmommy's. Nice to meet you here. (Please forgive my longwindedness in this comment. I should receive combat pay for having survived 11 trips to Orlando with my family to date!)

Honestly, I wouldn't attempt to squeeze in all that activity for your first Orlando vacation. You'll likely be too exhausted to enjoy it. I'd suggest skipping Sea World this time around (sorry, Current Husband)and use one day in the middle of your vacation to relax. Or, better yet, let husband take the kids while you go to the spa and then relax by the pool. Hmm. That may work.

You're going to Disney at a pretty quiet time, (okay, compared to Easter, Christmas and summer) with chance for beautiful weather, so that's in your favor. You may want to check out the Unofficial Guide to Disney or Disney with Kids books (I got them at the library) to help map out a rough itinerary (Let your kids do this!! It'll save you the hassle). The key is getting to the parks at opening time to get ahead of the crowds and do the most popular rides first. Make sure you take a big break in the middle of the day, if you plan to stay at the park until closing. has money saving ideas if you want to check that out in addition to Mike's guide. I have found that website/newsletter to be really helpful--and I'm not super organized either.

Last but not least, I'd suggest buying your tix ahead of time. I buy Disney tix through a ticket seller recommended by Mousesavers, can't remember the name. I buy Universal tix through the Universal Orlando website(Like Rhonda said, do the 2-park in one day deal.). Wizarding World is crazy popular, so try to get there at opening and do the castle ride before anything else. (If your kids like that sort of thing.)

I think you're very brave to do a bunch of different places in one year. I only did Disney for the first 7 years! I'd be happy to help troubleshoot trip plans if you panic anytime between now and departure. :)

GrandeMocha said...

We went 4 years ago at Thanksgiving. It was crowded and COLD. There were snowflakes in the Magic Kingdom. All my super warm clothes were back home, not in FLORIDA.

Can't wait to hear how it goes. You will be live tweeting it, right?

Post a Comment

Let's talk. Tell me all about it.