It’s no secret that my wife and I do not have children. We have been to Disney Parks on both coasts multiple times over the past few years and we have no intention of changing our favorite vacation destinations. Well, maybe we’ll throw in an Adventures by Disney package one of these times, but you get what I mean.
The rest of my family love their Disney trips as well. This can make for some interesting changes to our routine when we travel together. What do you do when a childless (millennial) couple like us vacations with their parents, siblings, and a bunch of nieces and nephews in tow? Sounds kind of like a sitcom pitch (note to self), but it’s a serious concern that warrants a big adjustment to our expectations. Read on for some of my thoughts on the experience!
My wife and I are definitely not the type of Disneygoers who wake up at dawn and power our way through our favorite attractions by noon so we can get out of there. Half the fun is being in the Parks with people! True, there are more scooters and strollers to dodge, but what would these parks be without all of the hustle?
We approach our vacations with a pretty casual air. We always pay for Max Passes in Disneyland and we try to get a few good Fast Passes going in Disney World, but we don’t sweat it if we miss a favorite attraction. If we choose to sleep in or head down a different path away from our plans, we do so knowing that we are still likely to have a great experience.
Disney Parks with kids are a different beast.
I get it! Kids don’t really want to stand in line for two hours to fly a banshee from a movie they never saw! Neither do I, but I have seen too many children succumb to the pressures of a long line. When my sister suggested we hit the Magic Kingdom at rope drop, I knew where she was coming from.
In a very short amount of time we hit up Peter Pan, it’s a small world, and took a few turns around the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. A few of the adults scooted around the corner to the Haunted Mansion for a no-wait journey while the rest of the group journeyed with the Little Mermaid. Very short lines at Dumbo and Goofy’s Barnstormer claimed the rest of our early morning hours.
At that time, the lines were filling up. Thousands more descended upon the Magic Kingdom, determined to meet princesses and enjoy the attractions with which we were already finished. When the older kids (No, not me. Actual children.) asked if we could head back to the pool, it was all too easy to comply. There was so much day left, but we had already done so much! It was time to relax.
This was all a new experience for me, and it was pretty great. Proof that showing up super early works. If that doesn’t teach me to adjust my expectations and practices, nothing will.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to play it cool when traveling with a different crew. We are used to planning our entire day around our meal reservations. Dinner with six children laughs at plans. We found creative ways to wing it and enjoy quicker meals. I was impressed at how effective ordering four pizzas and three salads at Wolfgang Puck’s was. Same for visiting Starbuck’s and picking up a handful of various sweet morning treats. My family has also found great success in locating those restaurants that are a little under-appreciated like the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk Resort. Visit at lunchtime any day other than Sunday and there’s plenty of space to accommodate a family of twenty.
It takes an effort to adjust one’s own expectations on a Disney vacation. It is so easy to fall into a rut, pursuing the same experience time after time. Mix it up! Disney with a different crew is a great way to find a completely different experience in the Parks.
Whether you want to experience Disney your way or with a different cluster of friends or family, our travel planners are here to make your next trip magical. Reservations are starting to open back up and I know we can all use a quick Disney vacation. Or a long one. . . . Reach out to one of your friendly ConciEARS and we will do our absolute best to craft a trip customized to your unique needs. Let’s get planning, everybody!