That headline should really say it all. We’re.crazy. But seriously, for those of you who know me and my family (we live in North Florida) we LOVE Disney. We never imagined being one of “those” families, it just kind of happened. We wanted to take Caroline back when she was 2 and when we were looking at prices, it just made sense to purchase season passes instead of a 3 day pass (or at least that’s how I explained it to Troy..) That year, we went probably a dozen times with Caroline. It was seriously so much fun watching it through her eyes and getting to experience so much ourselves. There were even a few times we just took some adult trips.
After our passes expired, we were in the middle of selling our first home, moving, building a new home, and then SURPRISE pregnant with twins, so for obvious reasons, did not renew our passes. Now with our youngest two girls about to be two, we decided to get season passes again earlier this year and have taken about 3 or 4 trips so far. Our first one was with just Caroline for her 5th birthday so we could spend quality time with her, but the rest of the time has been with all three girls.
So I’m going to lay it all out there for you, the good, the bad and the very, very ugly. I would be lying if I said that Disney hasn’t had it’s ups and downs this year. Have a 5-year-old who thinks she knows everything and two 21-month olds that have learned they love their independence lately is pretty tough in itself. Throw in overly tired, overly hot and overly stimulated and it’s bound to be fun.
Ok so I promise that this post isn’t all doom and gloom. We have really had some great experiences with them, we have just had to learn to adjust OUR way of thinking and our expectations when it comes to “weekends at Disney”. We have found that it’s a bit of a double edged sword, Emily and Sarah do better with day trips, where we don’t have to worry about hotel rooms (3am wake up calls…), but Caroline does better with weekend trips where we can spread it out some (she is NOT a huge fan of all the walking).
We pretty much have packing for Disney with kids down to a science, what we need to bring, the best way to bring it. If we’re staying at one of the Disney resorts (which we love) we use their bus transportation, so we do opt to take our big double stroller (City Select). It is a slight pain to fold up for the buses, but it’s a million times worth it to have the ease of it inside the parks. We hook a diaper bag to it that has all the stuff for the girls, we keep a backpack on us with dry snacks, sunscreen, autograph pads, etc., and then we have a small lunch box that we use as cooler for the cold snacks and water. That is the great thing about Disney, they let you bring in your own food and water, and I highly recommend it, especially with 3 kids, you’ll spend a small fortune on food and drinks. I always prep all of our snacks into small snack size portions, pre chop any fruit and place it all into a gallon zip lock for each day we’ll be there. If you can’t tell, I really like to be organized. We usually end up bringing our own stuff to make sandwiches too and then just grab some topping off of one of the snack bars.
I love to try and schedule out our day the best I can. However, I know that if we go off schedule, it’s OKAY! This just helps us have somewhat of a game plan or else you’ll spend so much time wondering around trying to figure out where to go or what to do next, you waste most of the day (and usually arguments follow…). I always use the My Disney Experience app to check wait times and to pre-book our Fast Passes for our favorite rides to help us skip the lines (21 month olds DO NOT like to stand still in lines). Disney allows you to have 3 fast passes a day and once you use those 3, you can book additional ones, one-by-one. We also take advantage of the Switch Rider pass for Caroline. We actually just learned about this recently, but it’s perfect for families with older and younger kids. You and your older child can go on a ride while your spouse stays with the smaller kids, you ask the cast member at the gate for a switch pass, and then your spouse and older kid can go back on without having to wait in line!
So if you are considering season passes or even a trip, I would say go for it! Just be sure to set your expectations based on your kids and know that it isn’t going to be perfect, there will be melt downs, there will be arguments and there may even be a point that you (or your spouse..) swears you’re never coming back. But honestly, I think that’s where Disney’s magic truly starts to work, it’s a lot like labor, after a while, you forget how tough it was and want to do it all over again! Haha! I do recommend staying on resort if you’re able to, the properties, staff and transportation are seriously top notch and make for such a fun experience in themselves! Be sure to research and plan ahead of time, use their app and book any dining experiences (character meet and greets) way in advance. Disney really is the happiest place on earth!