Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disney for the Large Family

And we were off!!!
Yes, we took 7 kids to Disney World for our spring break so there was 9 of us total. My older 3 were not able to come and to be honest, they said, "We've done Disney Mom.  It's really OK for us to miss."
Now I love Disney (more than my husband does and I think even more than some of my kids : )  I had a plan and it involved getting up early and go, go, going.  Believe me, when we returned home, we were saying,"I need a vacation from my vacation!"
I know there are million posts out there with Disney tips, but I thought I would give you some of mine, particularly helpful if you have a bunch of kids in different age ranges.  I won't give the usual or obvious tips, such as.....bring your own snacks and water bottles, go when it isn't so crowded, etc.  But instead some things I've learned over the years in bringing more than the average number of children to the "Vegas of the South" as I call it. But first a few pics........

We thought we actually got a complete family pic in Norway at Epcot (my husband is Norwegian) but the older gentleman that we asked to take our picture didn't get Matthew who was in the stroller!

Then this great pic taken going back into Future World was photo bombed by some crazy stranger!

Well, here's the tips..........

1. Get the book "The Unofficial Guide to DisneyWorld."  It's a great book and it will give you a plan.  They print a new one each year.  I've been using these books since we first went to Disney as a family 15 years ago.  I got mine at the library this time. 

2. If you have little ones still that don't sleep too well in a hotel room, stay off site at a condo that has transportation to Disney.  We did that this time and even though it took longer to get to the actual parks than staying "in the world" we slept much better and saved a ton of money.

3. Rent a stroller from them.  Don't bring one.  I promise I have tried both ways and really the Disney strollers are awesome.  As you can see from the picture below, you can easily fit 3 kids in it and you don't have to worry about lugging your own around.

4.  Like I said above, get to the park as soon as it opens or at least as soon as you can without getting too stressed out.  We were there during a pretty busy time of year, but we never waited longer then 20 minutes in any line due to getting there early and also having a plan.

5. Don't stress about doing it all.  Chances are, you will be back in your lifetime.  Do what appeals to most of the ages in your group and leave the rest for another time.

6.  Have pairs that are responsible for watching each other.  Also, have a team that wants to ride the more crazy, fast, scary rides and be prepared to separate as needed.  We did this a good bit.  My husband doesn't really like roller coasters and I do.  So I would go with the older kids sometimes to ride the crazy stuff.

7.  Fast Pass has changed some in the past year.  Get your fast passes from a FP site right when you enter the park.  I would have my husband take the kids on a ride or walk around while I got the FP for everyone.  It takes a bit of time if you have a large group, but it's worth it in the end. 

8. Right when you get home, write down what you did each day so you can put it in a scrapbook.  Also, ask each child what was their favorite thing they did on the trip.  It's so funny to hear their responses and write it down too!  It's so cute to look at years later. 

9.  Dress in layers.  Don't carry too much stuff with you.  Have a back-pack that small enough to take on rides with you (not a giant diaper bag) and have everyone wear comfortable sneakers.  Bring sunscreen and band aides and charged cell phones.  But think light!

10.  And just be prepared for melt downs.  We saw so many children having melt downs and temper tantrums, particularly in the Magic Kingdom.  It was actually kind of funny because it was a constant thing.  My husband and I started calling Disney "The Melt Down Capital of the World."  And I'm not just talking about kids here : )

We also spent a day at was great but it rained that day so some things were closed.  I was surprised that SeaWorld is just as expensive as Disney.  Was not quite prepared for that.

Here we are at Seaworld in the new Artic exhibit with real penguins.  It was 32 degrees in there!

A cool pic in Animal Kingdom.  This was some of my kids favorite Disney park.

We could easily fit 3 kids in the big Disney strollers (Seaworld had them too) but most of the time the little boys didn't want to share. 

This was a typical afternoon for my husband.  The little boys took naps in his arms or in the stroller since we were too far from our condo to go back for official nap time.  They were pretty tired by the end of the day. 

One of the few character pics we got.  I'm not a fan of standing in line to get a pic with a person dressed up.  We saw many characters around the parks, particularly in the parades.  My children don't care too much about that and kind of feel the same way as me.

Patrick's favorite thing at Animal Kingdom was feeding the mallards and brushing the goats in the petting zoo.  These were 2 things we could of just done in NC!
It seems that kids don't appreciate so many things at Disney which is why we only go about every 5-6 years.
Happy Vacation!

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