Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back from Disney World...

It’s my first full day back from our family vacation to Walt Disney World and I already feel like I need another vacation. Reality can be a little slap on the backside, can’t it? But before I get too steeped in the present, I wanted to share a few thoughts about our trip to visit Mickey and pals.
  1. Theme parks are not as physically exhausting as you might think. Turns out nine hours of walking around Disney parks isn't quite as tiring as I anticipated, except for Grandpa who at 74 made an impressive show of endurance. Truth is, when you factor in ride time, show time, wait time, eat time, and rest time, nine hours at a park isn’t nearly nine hours of walking. According to my Polar Activity Monitor (which my daughter enthusiastically wore around her ankle to account for those times she didn’t let her arm swing--like pushing the stroller and holding the camera) it’s not much more than a typical day around the house. Our ratio of time spent in the park to time moving was something close to 3:1. That means for every three hours we spent in the park, we spent about one hour walking.  
  2. Theme parks are more mentally exhausting than you think. More exhausting than nine hours of walking in the hot sun is the insufferable sales pitch of the Disney marketing monster, unmatched at Sea World or Busch Gardens. Disney has every exit covered, every corner staffed. Looking for something test to your Zen state of mind? Disney is there for you. My suggestion…  give your kids an allowance of money they can spend at the parks, then let them decide where the money goes. 
  3. Our kids take their pool time as seriously as we do our runs. While the parks are fun, having a pool seemed equally important to my kids. They swam at least once a day, if not twice and registered more activity in the pool than anywhere else. Cady's almost perfected her flip turn and Maggie has a flawless "CANON BALL!”  Every early morning after every late night, my kids found a hidden reserve of energy in the pool. 
  4. You DO see gators while running in Florida. Let’s just say I felt better running on the road than the sidewalk after witnessing a few beady eyes not far from my path. 
  5. You can eat healthy in Disney. After our visit to Disney in 2007, we vowed to bring our own snacks on our next trip; back then we didn’t see much nutrition on the kiosks of ice cream sandwiches, popcorn, and cotton candy. This time around, however, we did see some GoGo Squeez applesauce packets in Epcot and lots of fruit in Animal Kingdom. We didn’t see many healthy options in Magic Kingdom, but luckily we’d packed out own. Turns out there are a few places you can go to get healthy food. At the Princess Dinner in Norway, I had what seemed to be a very healthy serving of salmon (though the kids options were less than friendly—hotdog and pizza). If you’re interested, check out this post on the Disney food blog for some food stops that offer healthy eating alternatives.  
  6. Disney is something every kid should get to see at least once. In a perfect world every child feels special and important. In a perfect world every kid gets to smile until it hurts and yell, “I love you, Sleeping Beauty!” at the top of her lungs (yes, my little Maggie is in love). In a perfect world every kid would get at least one visit to Disney.
Share your recent Disney experience or post a question if you’re going soon. I'll be taking notes for next time.


  1. Love this Laurie - you've pretty much echoed my sentiments from our trip in Feb.
    I'd add that you can see pretty much everything if you plan your schedule based on the plethora of sites out there, use one of the many apps available (including the DisneyWorld mobile site), and utilize the fast passes.

  2. Good point, Darren. The fast passes were huge... A good thing to note is that you have to wait two hours in between when you get one set of fast passes and the next.

    I think you mentioned something about the light show on my FB page... Last time we didn't stay for the parade or the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. SO glad we did this time. Both were amazing (especially that light show!).