Some thoughts and points on the Disney trip in retrospect. After all those lengthy posts, I am going to make this a bullet post.
- When we planned the trip, it was a one-time affair and I wondered who would want to take a membership and take all vacations in Disney. After spending 6 days there, I now understand the lure of the place. The ‘happy, happy’ place it makes even the most grumpiest person (including the husband,he he, ;-P) smile. While I waited for the Very Merry Christmas party, I saw families around me who were visiting for the 4th time or the 5th time. I met a teenage daughter and mother from London who make an annual visit but the mom said that they had never been there at Christmas before so they planned to be there for Christmas and New Years that year before the daughter went away to college the next year
- Like I said before, we had taken a quick meal plan which gave us 2 meals per person per day and a snack. The quantity of food that came for a meal used to be huge – more often than not we would be waddling after a meal and not feel hungry upto 5-6hrs. This, considering we went in search of veggie options. For those who are non-vegetarian,I guess the portion sizes are larger. So, unless your family has growing teenagers who can really eat well, or if you are vegetarians, I think it makes sense to buy food individually instead of the meal plan
- On the positive side, what worked for us with the meal plan was that we experimented. Instead of sticking to Starbucks sandwiches or McDs or same old pizza, we went in search of veggie food options because of the meal plan. However, by the 6th day we realized we still had quite a few snack credits remaining. So, for that last day, I picked up chocolate chip cookies and water bottles and carried with us to the airport hence ensuring that we did not leave any credit unused
- It helped to read up Disney related blogs -I read this one extensively: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/ It gave me an idea of the rides, best times for the rides, must dos, what we can skip, food options, transportation, crowds, weather and clothes too!
- Based on the weather suggestions on this blog and checking the weather until the last day before packing, I packed hoodie for Sam and a jeans jacket for me that came in handy most evenings. Though we had to carry it with us all day long which hubby kept grumbling about but on 3 out of 6 days we did wear them. I regretted not carrying it on Day1 for Sam – because he was cold in the morning at 7am until the sun came out and after that I packed it every day. And a 50% hit rate is good according to me! Who knew it would rain and the weather would get muggy? What if it had rained and got windy? huh?
- Having a boy has its advantages. One thing for sure that helped us get through most shows and rides – we did not have to use our fast pass or our time standing in line waiting to meet and greet the princesses. Though, I loved seeing all those pretty girls from age 3 to age 23 wearing tiaras and dressed as princesses standing in mile long queues to meet their favorite princess/fairy
- As predicted, the camera bag became a burden at times. I have written here before how hubby and I are not too much into pictures and taking pictures on my phone is sufficient for me as memory. Just because we bought it, there were times when hubby experimented for a few minutes and then left it saying, “let me enjoy the atmosphere and take in the live show than taking all these pictures. You take what you want on the phone”. Or for some of those roller coasters, I was left holding both the heavy backpack AND the camera bag
- I mentioned on Sam’s birthday post that I was quite disappointed with the cast members for not wishing him despite it showing up on their screens. We also had experience of some cast members who turned away their faces and continued walking, much like our Bengaluru autos, even when we said ‘excuse me’ and wanted some help
- In contrast, I really give kudos to these characters who have to wear those suits all day long and stand and pose and act as if they are happy meeting thousands of people everyday. I wonder how hard it would be for them in peak summer! Every character we met greeted us so well, Minnie noted my Minnie Tshirt and did a little jig, Goofy and Pluto played with Sam. Donald saw Sam’s birthday Tshirt and asked if it was his birthday and made some fun of him. Chip and Dale were acting naughty.It was a joy to meet these characters
- About the families we saw. So many teenage siblings taking care of the younger ones – both boys and girls. Feeding them, pushing their prams, helping with their princess dresses, teenage boys going on small rides for the younger sibling – it was so good to watch the families interact
- Last but not the least – Sam enjoyed. That is the bottom line. We worried that he might not be able to relate to the rides or characters but it never bothered him. I think it was the right age – he matched all height requirements for the thrill rides, did the scary ones,dark ones and the rides meant for younger kids. He loved the anticipation of standing in line before the ride. He enjoyed the fantasy ones as much as he enjoyed the roller coasters. Every day was “the funnest day ever” and he even thanked us for taking him there. His grouse – he did not want to stop for food, he was not interested in any of the fireworks
- I shamelessly told many cast members that it was his birthday making sure they wished him and that made him feel special. Hubby was “why are you acting like this? you never do such things” but for me, this was a milestone trip and I wanted Sam to have good memories of it, and as his mother I gave up on my ‘sharam’ and ‘haya’ and told as many people as I could so he could be wished 🙂
- Finally, a couple of tips:
- Go with a like minded group. Kids have more fun when they have company. We tried. Asked 3-4 families but everyone had their own reasons for not making it. It worked out for us because we planned the day as we liked it but there were times when we thought that even if there was 1 more kid Sam’s age, he could’ve had maybe a little more fun. He might not have gone on every ride with his Dad – which he did this time – there are some roller coaster pics where he is almost hiding – sticking to hubby and he only once mentioned that he wished at least his friends from the apartment could be there with him.
- Do not shop in Disney – it is true that all prices are hiked up and you can get them all for much lesser on the Disney online site or even on Amazon
- Finally, fastpass – make sure of what rides you want to do in advance and book them in quick succession preferably in the morning slot. Once you are done with all 3, you can block 3 more for the afternoon and so on. If you block something for much later in the night – the App will not allow you to select any more Fast passes.
- No point in taking fastpass for any fireworks or night time spectaculars or shows. Seats are plenty so the line moves pretty quick. Only the Lion King was an exception to that rule for us-so do your research on the crowds as well.
- Fastpass is a must if you enjoy thrill rides – more the thrill, longer the lines (Crazy people I say!).
Phew! Done. And I thought this would be a short, bullet post. Duh!