Disney Boot Camp Tips for Toddler Momma By Gindi Vincent

Mommas reading this today fall squarely in one of two camps:  (1) I cannot wait to take (or I already have taken) my one, two, or three year old child/children to Disneyworld; or (2), there is not enough money in the wide world that would convince me to take a single, or multiple, one, two, or three year old child/children to Disneyworld.

I had never given Disneyworld much thought.  After we had kids, I knew we would probably end up there one day.  However, I am not Disney obsessed, nor do we watch much television in our house, so flying to Florida to spend a week with triplets (yep, snuck that in there) at the most commercialized place in the world did not top my priority list.  Then I talked to Brandy.  She’s your garden-variety Disney enthusiast and has been taking her (single) child to Disney since he was two.  My husband and I began talking to her and suddenly heading to Disneyworld with toddlers sounded like a logical thing to do.  Even more logical since, at the time of the conversation, our triplets had just turned two and children are FREE before they turn three.  There’s a reason children younger than three are free – Disney would be on the defense end of lawsuits nationwide from parents on the brink of divorce after spending a week with toddlers at the overstimulation capital if they’d had to pay for it!

Regardless, my budget loving husband realized that fact meant if we made it over to Florida anytime before October 2nd we would only have to pay for two adult tickets for the week.  Plus, we had enough frequent flier miles to cover one of our five flights.  So with a few clicks of a mouse, we had ourselves the first ever, one week, Disney resort + park, Vincent family vacation for a mere $2,000.

Now that we have recovered, I mean returned, I thought I would pass along a few survival tips for those crazy, ahem, loving families wanting to take their toddler(s) to Disneyworld:

5.  Ignore the prices.  Yes, it is all too expensive.  Do not give yourself an ulcer over it.  Yes, it seems ridiculous to spend $50 for a few hot dogs and bottles of water at a self-serve counter, but the reality is you cannot possibly pack enough meals to take with you to the parks so just realize that your overzealousness to get your kids to Disney just cost one of them a college education and move on.

4.  Yes other children cry at Disneyworld, but you will only hear yours.  Toddlers cry in any given day a handful of times.  At least mine do.  But throw them into a massive stimulation pit, add a little heat, and toss their schedule out the window and you will watch meltdowns of epic proportions (and no you cannot stick to a schedule at Disney, I am the most scheduled woman in America and I couldn’t do it).  My husband commented that our two year olds were the only ones crying at Disneyworld.  When my protestations did not change his mind, I simply admitted they were immune to the “magic.”

3.  In a related tip, prepare your wee ones that the Disney characters are the size of monsters.  I actually implemented this tip with great success prior to departure.  Since my kids had not seen any Disney movies, they had no connection to the characters.  I bought a few books so they would know who was who and spent weeks telling them that these sweet characters were VERY large but they loved children and it was okay to hug them.  We had absolutely no problems during character encounters, but there are some children I saw that will need therapy for years to come post-Mickey.

2.  Give your marriage a pass this week.  Pretend you are in Vegas and whatever happens stays there.  You are not allowed to hold a grudge against your spouse for what he or you did or said or allowed over the course of the week.  You were both sleep-deprived, bone weary, frazzled, sunburned, overwhelmed, and hoarse from trying to keep your kids away from the emergency exit door on the airplane.  It’s no wonder he suggested you refrain from another ice cream cone or you suggested he take a second job, this is survival of the fittest, people!  You will totally dig each other once you have recovered.

1.  Enjoy it – you’re making magical memories.  Or at least that is what you will tell your children when you show them the pictures (take a lot) for the next five to ten years to buy some time until your return visit.  And you WILL have to go on a return visit because we all just took toddlers who will have no recollection of having gone the first time.

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Gindi Eckel Vincent is a full time attorney, part time writer, wife and momma to three precocious three year olds.  She blogs daily at http://vincenttriplets.blogspot.com (soon to be www.gindivincent.com) and has her first book about leadership coming out in the Spring.

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13 thoughts on “Disney Boot Camp Tips for Toddler Momma By Gindi Vincent

  1. My hat is off to each and every parent who survives taking their children to Disney. I think you all deserve a medal! 🙂

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  2. I haven’t taken my daughter to Disneyworld yet.Actually, that’s not true. She went briefly when she was 10 months old because I had a conference there. She doesn’t remember, though. I think these are great trips, especially the one about the marriage pass. When things get stressful, it’s often our spouse who gets the brunt of our stress.

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    • Boy that was true for Bray – I think my head was spinning by Thursday night, luckily all that was forgotten when we returned & we could happily look at our photo books and gloss over the rough patches 🙂

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  3. Welcome, Gindy! =) I am in awe of your courage to take three kids, no matter what age, to Disney World! I love your pictures, and your post made me laugh. But if you’re considering going back at all–no matter whether they remember–it sounds like it was worth it. My husband and I cannot WAIT to take our girls to Disney World–although I think my husband is more excited about it than anyone else. 😉 Can’t wait to learn more about your book coming out! Congratulations!

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    • Thanks so much Elise! Yes, we’ll go back, if nothing else b/c the kids are in absolute ecstasy when they’re there and that’s worth the price of admission (which we’ll now have to pay!).

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  4. Thanks for joining us today! My husband and I are hoping to take our girls this next summer, but no plans are solidified yet. It will either be that summer or the following. I can’t wait. My girls already talk about it (4 & 2 yrs) and can’t wait to meet their favorite characters. Great tips!

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  5. Loved this post and the advice. It’s all so true! I’m one that would have to be dragged there kicking and screaming. On the bright side, we took our kids to the mountains last summer and they keep asking when we can go back.

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  6. Omg! As someone who just took her too kids Disneyland this summer, I *loved* this post!!! So, so, so true! Our kids are 7 and 4, so we didn’t have any toddler meltdowns, but you are dead on on everything else! The money, the giving your marriage a pass, all of it!
    Thanks for guesting here!

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