Disney. My memories of Disney are a bit fuzzy. It was over 20 years ago and time can cause a bit of a memory predicament. I remember characters and a handful of rides. I remember the afternoon rainstorms and the parades. I also remember our hotel, the Wilderness Lodge, and the pool. It was pretty legit. I bought a Simba stuffed animal and was pretty excited about it. Vague memories, but good ones for sure. Adam went to DisneyLand way back as well and his memory is equally as fuzzy. So when we booked our trip to Florida, we decided to make Orlando a priority and hit up Disney for a day. When it came time to pick which Disney park we visited, we let nostalgia win out and went for the Magic Kingdom. A close second was Epcot, but we didn't want to spend a bunch of money on food and drinks to get the real flavor of the place!
So Magic Kingdom. Let me just say, I loved it. I love theme/amusement parks. I love rides and people dressed up. I love feeling like a kid and walking around the perfectly planned/themed buildings and restaurants. I love it. Let's just say Adam wasn't AS enthusiastic as me, but he still enjoyed himself. We went on a Monday in February hoping for shorter lines and smaller crowds. There were still lots of people there, but we strategized our rides and ended up never waiting more than 30 minutes for any attraction. We hit most of the major rides including Space Mountain, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, The Haunted Mansion, Teacups, Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear, etc. Unfortunately because of time and lines, we missed Splash Mountain and the Seven Dwarves ride. Oh well! We ended our day with dinner at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. Food was really good and not to over priced. It was a fund day reliving a bit of our childhood and being kids again at Disney. The nostalgia of Magic Kingdom won the day and we loved seeing old classics like Swiss Family Robinson Tree House (a favorite movie as a kid). Thank you Johnson County Public Library for the teaching me all about classic Disney movies. We left before the fireworks to beat the crowds and caught a glimpse of them as we were driving away. Not bad for a Monday!
Here are a couple tips we learned from our day at Disney:
- Make a Dinner Reservation: I waited until a bit late to do this, but luckily reservations were still available. I would have loved to go to the Be Our Guest restaurant because the inside looks amazing, but the Jungle Canteen was a bit more reasonably priced and reservations were available. Why wait for a table when you can plan a little ahead and get right in? No brainer. Do this a bit further in advance if you want the super specialty restaurants.
- Bring Lunch and Snacks with You: I am so glad we did this. We grabbed peanut butter and honey from the Hampton and bought a loaf of bread from Walgreens. We packed up a few sandwiches and LaraBars and we were good to go. There are water fountains around too, so bring a water bottle. It saves time and money when you aren't constantly searching for somewhere decent to eat that doesn't cost a fortune.
- Use Fast Passes Wisely: This was new to me. I only discovered this right before we went to the park. So, we didn't book ours in advance. Rookie mistake. Basically you get three fast passes to use in the park on any rides/attractions where spots are available. You get to schedule a time and skip the line, real VIP style. What we didn't know is that once you use your three, you can sign up for more if they are available. So if you book in advance, choose your fast passes for morning slots and once you use them, go sign up for more if they are available. Way to go Disney!
- Take Time to Wander: We weren't all about hitting up all the attractions and running around like crazy people, that's not fun. We loved just walking through Disney and soaking in the childhood memories. We wandered through gift stores with no intent of buying anything, although I almost bought a coffee mug of Mickey and a million things for our nieces. Either way, we loved the kiddie/nostalgic rides and just spending the day there. No need to rush off and tackle a mile long to-do list because it sort of sucks the joy out of the happiest place on Earth, you know?
Obviously, Disney with kids would look drastically different. Trust me, we saw it all. I'm just thankful we weren't one of the ones looking for stroller parking and pushing around a passed out or worse, tantrum-throwing child. We will take our peaceful day at Disney and enjoy it!
What Disney suggestions do you have? I know there are some experts out there.