3. How To Survive Magic Kingdom
4. The Points Guy Hangs Out with Southwest Flight Attendants
5. Niagara Falls, Elvis and Amish. Oh My!
Have you seen all those photos of happy, smiling parents frolicking around Magic Kingdom with their equally happy children? It’s all a myth perpetuated by Disney’s monster marketing machine. I’m going to tell how it’s really going to be.
You will save your money all year for that magical vacation. You will spend a ton of hard earned cash on flights, lodging and food. You will most likely be hot, miserable, standing in line for the best part of the day. You will be surrounded by crowds of equally miserable parents and their screaming children. Some of the adults will be wearing Mickey and Minnie hats. What’s up with that? And you know what the craziest part is? After reading my post, you will still go.
So, I will try to provide some tips on how to survive the whole experience and possibly even enjoy some of it. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my kids, I would never step foot into a Magic Kingdom. However, as Florida residents, we get a special promotion of 3-day pass for 129 dollars from January through first of June. This year we had my parents over for a visit and they have never been to Disney. So, I figured we would save the last day of the pass for them. Plus, everyone told us, we just haaave to take my parents to Disney.
So, what can you do to minimize your discomfort? First, try to avoid summer. It’s brutal in Florida. Visit in the spring or fall if at all possible. Amazingly, we happened to be there on a cloudy day in June, and it was actually pleasant, a rarity indeed. Also, check this website for crowd size predictions on certain days of the week. Another useful website is Disboards.
Make sure to bring or rent a stroller. I don’t care if your kid is 8 years old and you get weird stares from other guests. It’s none of their business. It’s all about survival for you. Those Disney strollers look sturdy enough to cart me around, though probably not my husband.
After getting into the park, get your Fast Passes. You go to a special kiosk and get to pick 3 attractions with assigned time slots. It will cut down on your wait time considerably. Some of the most popular rides are Space Mountain, Peter Pan and the new Seven Dwarfs ride. My kids also enjoyed “Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and the annoying “It’s a small world.” Bring ear plugs, you’ll thank me later.
Try to forget about how much everything costs, which is a LOT. Honestly, just resign yourself to the fact that you will be ripped off on every single thing and try not to care. Staying on Disney property is extremely expensive which is why we have never done it. However, the convenience factor can’t be beat.
It took us 1 hour to get from Magic Kingdom to our car. If you are staying at a Contemporary resort, you can just take the monorail or even walk, and be in your room in 10 minutes. But you will pay between 400-800 dollars per night for the privilege, and it will look just like the Holiday Inn room we stayed at for 109 dollars per night. Review is coming tomorrow.
There are a number of IHG properties nearby ranging from 20,000-30,000 points. Marriott hotels range between 20,000-35,000 points. One of the best deals is an SPG property Sheraton Lake Buena Vista resort that runs only 3,000 points on weekends and 4,000 on weekdays. If you have a decent stash of SPG points, this could be a very good deal, even if you have to get 2 rooms. You can also check multitude of condos on sites like VRBO or Sky Auction.
Our kids are 6 and 3 years old. Personally, I think 3 is too young to appreciate Disney. Our son had several meltdowns and was bored by most of it. He did love the train ride, though. If your kids are that age, I recommend you do something else, like a cruise to Bahamas. They have babysitting on ships and you can tour Atlantis in Nassau, which children would love.
If you still decide to go, I recommend you bring relatives or in-laws along. It would make things much easier on you. Even if you don’t like your in-laws, you will appreciate the help. You could even get park hopper tickets for yourself, go to Epcot and then rejoin the misery later in the day. Plus, your in-laws will never ask to vacation with you again, I guarantee it! In all honestly, my mom loved it. My dad is an introvert and hates crowds, so it wasn’t his cup of tea.
That said, there is something magical about the place. During the lights show at night, my son was exhausted, but kept smiling throughout the whole thing. You just can’t put a price on that. Or can you?
Allright, all of you Mickey and Minnie hat-wearing Disney apologists (and you know who you are), come on out, don’t be shy!
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.