Today we welcome an amazing guest blogger, Melanie Tillman, to share with us her Top 5 Biggest Disney World Regrets!
There are literally hundreds of blogs out there telling you how to do Disney World with small children. However, most of those are written by people who are almost professional Disney vacationers. Some of their advice I just couldn’t relate to or sometimes even understand. (Who knew there is a whole different vocabulary for Disney bloggers?) I felt overwhelmed trying to sift through often conflicting advice.
So, here I am, an average mom who just took her children to Disney World for what may be the only time in their lives. A mom on a budget, a mom with too little time on her hands to peruse thousands of Disney blogs. Hopefully, a mom just like many of you. And I’m here to share with you my biggest regrets of our Disney vacation so that, hopefully, you can avoid the same regrets.
- I regret not renting a Disney stroller.
This is one of the many things I got conflicting advice over. Since I heard that the Disney strollers were a bit pricey, I opted to borrow a couple of umbrella strollers for my five and three year olds. The advantage was we could use them at the resort and on public transit. (Only collapsible strollers are allowed on the monorail and buses.) So why do I regret going that route? Two words: stroller envy. Those Disney strollers are much more comfortable for kids, especially older ones, than a traditional stroller. They also provide more shade and more space for your stuff. Only one of my umbrella strollers had a basket, and that just didn’t cut it. I also saw kids who looked to be about 8 or 9 years old conked out in those Disney strollers. My 8 year old got exhausted by the end of the day, but resting in an umbrella stroller just ain’t happenin.
- I regret not taking a break.
To nap or not to nap is another big Disney debate. I even took to Facebook for this one. We ended up just going from park opening to dinner time after several people swore to me the kids would be too excited to take naps. Plus, we were traveling with extended family who were not on board with going back to the resort after lunch. So, we plugged on. The result is the kids were cranky and exhausted by the time we left each evening. (One night my five year old fell asleep beside her dinner plate.) Yes, maybe they wouldn’t have slept, but we still could have relaxed. We also would have avoided the most crowded and hot hours at the park, and we could have enjoyed some of the evening activities that Disney offers like the fireworks.
- I regret taking my preschoolers on Pirates of the Carribean
I should have known we were in trouble when my little ones started getting nervous in line for this ride. But my three year old loves pirates, so we soldiered on. Big mistake. The three year old cried, “I don’t like this!” as soon as the boat took that little dip in the beginning. He and the five year old huddled in terror against me and my husband the entire ride. All was forgotten in the gift shop, however, where my three year old bought a Jack Sparrow sword (even though he already had three or four other swords at home). We should have skipped the ride and just done the gift shop (which fyi is filled with Jake and the Neverland Pirates merchandise). If your kid gets scared even slightly just from standing in line for a ride, skip it!
- I regret taking my daughter’s Rapunzel costume to wear in the park.
Let me first be clear: I do not regret buying my daughter that Rapunzel costume from the Disney Store. I purchased it during one of their Twice Upon a Year Sales, which means it was about fifty dollars instead of seventy-five. Yes, that’s a lot for a costume, but I just can’t emphasize the quality of these things or the attention to detail. Those costumes from the toy department fall apart in no time, but the ones from the Disney Store are going to hold up for years (so buy one size up so your daughter can enjoy it longer).
However, even though I purchased it specifically for our Disney trip, I don’t recommend wearing it or any costume to the parks. Instead, I would buy one of the Disney dresses they sell at Kohl’s, JC Penny, and Toys R Us that are actual clothing. The top of these dresses are made of t-shirt material and are super comfortable. Just today my daughter played for hours at the playground in her Elena of Avalor dress. I saw a lot of girls in these at Disney World, and this is the way to go. I ended up stuffing my five year old’s Rapunzel dress in my backpack for the majority of the trip. It was too scratchy, too hot, etc. She wore it to meet princesses, and that was it.
- I regret leaving on a day we visited the park.
I have saved my biggest regret for last. DO NOT DO THIS!! If you take nothing else from this post, take this, please. I know every day you stay at the resort equals more money spent, but factor into your vacation an arrival day and a departure day. Don’t go to the park on either of those days. On the front end, we did this right. We got to our resort (The Art of Animation Resort) at check-in and then spent the rest of the afternoon exploring it and swimming in the pool. My nephew took a nap and then swam after dinner.
However, on the back end we didn’t think things through. We got up super early to pack up our vehicles because checkout was 11 am that day. Then we headed to the park and were there in time to see the park open for the day. (Yes, you read that right. What were we thinking?) My brother-in-law and his family left at 3 to drive home because he had to be at work the next morning. My family wanted to do a few more things, so we and my mother-in-law left the park at 5. By this time, of course, our kids were tired and extremely cranky. Actually, so were the adults. We were also all incredibly hungry. I won’t give you the details, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Do you have regrets from your first Disney trip with kids? Share in the comments section below!
Want more Disney? Check out my other Disney World Posts!