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What I learned on my September vacation

September 18, 2007

I just returned from a week at Walt Disney World.  I went with both kids and my mother.  The husband stayed at home.  I felt that I learned a lot from this vacation, and I wanted to share it with you.

 1.  My husband who stayed home is the one who had the vacation.  Any trip to Disney is work, and needs to be approached as such.  Even more so when you have two kids, one who is an infant. We had a stroller and a baby Bjorn carrier and I used both of them extensively.

 2. I used one guidebook to help plan our trip – The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  Yes, this is a shameless plug for a Wiley book, but as a veteran of 30+ trips to WDW,  believe me when I say this is the best and only guidebook you need.  I know a lot about Disney. It’s hard to tell me something I don’t know about parks. But the Unofficial Guide ended up doing just that. One of the best tips in the book was about the barbershop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.  They specialize in first haircuts for kids, which would have been great if my son actually had enough hair to cut (he doesn’t).  Instead, I went there for an “up-do” for my daughter.  For $5, they put colored gel streaks throughout her hair, put it in a high bun, and sprinkled pixie dust (confetti in the shape of castles and coaches).  We could have spent $30+ to get her hair done at the (not kidding) Bippity Boppity Boutique, but what we did was just as good if not better.  I had tons of parents and even Disney cast members ask where she got her hair done.  You can see some of the other works of the barbershop here. My mom liked the place so much, she even got her hair cut there. Thanks to the Unofficial Guide for that hint!

3. When we booked our trip back in May, they were offering the “Magic Your Way” dining plan for free.  I won’t describe it here, because it is simply WAY too much food for any person to eat.  I’m on an austerity program now, finding myself craving salads and broccoli like mad. Advice? If you get it for free, remember you don’t have to eat everything. And think carefully before you buy the plan, if that’s what you’re thinking of doing. You can really do better by eating less. Granted, my pedometer showed me walking 5+ miles per day, but I seriously did not need that fourth waffle at Chef Mickey’s to compensate.

4. Photopass is cool! You know how you get your photo taken these days at every little theme park and zoo? Disney has taken it to a new level. If you see a “Photopass” photographer in a Disney park, ask him to take your picture and give you a photopass card. Collect all your pictures on that one card. You can get printouts of the pictures, but cooler yet, you can now get them all on a CD. Yes, the price of the CD is ridiculous, but my family had almost 100 pictures accumulated, and by having them on CD I can do what I want with them, whenever. I’m going to make a Disney trip calendar for my mom’s birthday (shhh don’t tell!).

If you have any mouse-related questions, feel free to ask.  I am here to help!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2007 6:56 pm

    Were you able to get baby son on any rides? I am thinking of a return to WDW next year, but will have a 8-9 month old on my hands so I’m wondering if it is worth just waiting until 2009 (it’s hard to wait). Also loved the photopass when we were there. And it is good at ALL of the theme parks so that is convenient. I waited until the end of the trip to see what was good and not good (mostly not good). Jen

  2. September 18, 2007 7:39 pm

    Disney is a great place for small ones. I was able to take Mr. Man on many rides. For the rides where I could not manage him, they have a baby swap where one person waits on line and the other waits with the baby, and then you swap, usually with the second person being able to go on the fast pass line. Of course, it’s not the rides you think of that caused the problems for Herr Fussy Pants – he didn’t like getting wet, so he freaked out at the Little Mermaid attraction. I had to leave “IT’s Tough to be a bug” because he was too scared. I decided not to risk “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” for fear of having him freak out on a 45 minute ride where you are essentially trapped in your seat. I took my daughter to Disney when she was 9 months. It was work, but it was fun. As I said last week, even a bad day at Disney is better than a day in the office.

  3. September 19, 2007 2:32 am

    I have never been to Disney so have always half admired your love/obsession and half found it frightening. You probably also had college friends who had their proms there. That is also scary (I remember seeing pictures) but I do think it sounds more appealing to go sans offspring (angelic though yours may be). I am impressed by your fortitude but assume you could not have done it without your mother – one adult per child, right?

  4. xarafashion permalink
    September 19, 2007 7:50 am

    travel is such a nice thing. especially in early autumn, really feel like wandering to some new places.

  5. September 19, 2007 1:05 pm

    Constance, I would not have tried to do this without my mother, but I could have, since my older one is almost 8, and functions mostly as an adult. The biggest challenge would have been the baby swaps – I wasn’t leaving the 8 year old alone with the baby, nor was I going to let her go alone on the rougher rides. Also, the buses were a challenge – someone had to hold the baby while I folded the stroller, but the big sister handled those chores nicely.

  6. September 20, 2007 2:16 pm

    Not aware of the baby swaps – good to know!

  7. September 20, 2007 5:43 pm

    You need to comp a copy of the Unofficial Guide!!!

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