My first trip to Walt Disney World® as the Person-in-Charge was in 2012. We booked two nights at Disney's Beach Club® Resort in the middle of March. We made made multiple dining reservations, upgraded to Park Hopper passes, and generally planned to live it up for three days. I had snacks, water bottles, extra clothes for the almost-four-year-old...I thought I was prepared for everything. What I wasn't prepared for was how the pace would exhaust him (and us!) and how overstimulated he would get. My happy-to-be-doing-anything kid was melting down at the happiest place on earth and I was beside myself as I dropped ADRs I was looking forward to and watched fireworks from the resort instead of the inside Epcot®. Oh, how I wish someone would have warned me how this trip would test my poor kiddo!
I also wish I knew he was going to be terrified of the very characters he lived to see every day on the TV.
That's the theme of this month's Ask the MousePros Agents question: What do you wish you would have known before your first Disney Parks or Disney Cruise Line vacation? Here's what the agents had to say:
Emily Milligan: "I wish I had known to arrive at my cruise hungry. You can eat lunch as soon as you arrive on the ship!"
I love this advice. I would be the mom trying to make everyone eat in line to board the ship.
Andrea Fraley: "I wish I would have known to take it easy! We all rush around and want to see it all. Why not take a pool day or a day to mini golf and visit Disney Springs. I love slower paced Disney and not running from one end of the park to the next. I enjoy stopping for ice cream and sitting and people watching with my kids. So, for me to enjoy the little moments and slow down."
Want to see what happens if you don't take it easy? You fall asleep at 5pm with your hand in the snack bag. (He didn't wake up until the next morning!)
Jennifer Muscato (part 1): "I wish I would have known about the stroller rental on my first trip to Disney. I brought a stroller that I pulled through the airport and struggled with when I could have just brought the baby carrier. My son was just 22 months and I would have loved to rent the city mini...Now, we rent a stroller ever time (he is 6 now). Kingdom Strollers is so convenient."
I haven't rented through Kingdom Strollers, but second the idea of renting a stroller whether through a service like Kingdom Strollers or at the park.
Jennifer Muscato (part 2): "I also wish I would have known how conducive it is staying at Pop Century with little ones...Being with my family and my son was helpful, but once we stayed at Pop Century everything was easier for me. It’s a wonderful resort for a reasonable price and very easy when traveling with small children. They have a great food court and only one bus stop."
Having once stayed at a resort with five bus stops, I can attest that the one bus stop is a huge plus for a resort!
Brandi Griggs: "I wish I would have known it's easier to meet the characters during character dining rather than standing in line in the park to meet them. I also wish I would have not filmed fireworks or parades, you can always find videos of them on YouTube, it's better just to watch them without videoing them."
I completely agree with Brandi on character dining. That's one of the main reasons my family books an Advanced Dining Reservation at Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort every visit. The Fab Five are always high on the list of must-meet characters for my kids and this way, we get them all done at once and don't have to spend that time in lines to meet them in separate locations in the parks.
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