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Disney Rookies: Should We Book a Trip?


Second graders are prone to hyperbole, or at least mine seems to be. However, she may be pretty close in thinking everyone but her has been to Disney World. Of course, I know that can’t possibly be true, but I do feel the allure of the magic mouse and invisible pressure to make sure she has the same experiences as her peers. We certainly haven’t been successful in avoiding the pull of the global powerhouse, as we’re big fans of Elsa, Moana and Minnie Mouse. My girls have dressed as all of those for at least one Halloween.

As someone who dislikes crowds, noises and heat though, Disney World shouldn’t even be a thought for me. But I love my girls even more than I dislike those things, and I know they’d enjoy themselves and have an incredible time if I could just get myself to make the plans. (For the sake of argument, let’s pretend the cost isn’t a factor, although it certainly is at our house!)

During our six month sabbatical in Minneapolis last year, I braved the Mall of America and its Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park many times. Once I figured out less busy and cheaper times to go, it became a favorite activity (and inside means no heat, or cold as the case was in Minnesota half the time we were there). We have also been to Dollywood when my oldest was two. But I realize the corporate reach of Disney is so much larger than even Dolly! So I know taking them on rides and waiting in line can be done, and even if I didn’t love it, I could manage the experience.

My grandparents lived in Orange County, California, so I visited Disneyland several times growing up and have pretty fond memories. The draw for me at Disney World is certainly the Magic Kingdom, although I know Disney has a lot more to offer if (when?) we trek to Orlando.

Two families we’re close with recently went to Disney World for the first time, and they both enjoyed their trips and plan to return. My editor is a Disney veteran and has lots of good tips and tricks, but it’s still so overwhelming and I have a LOT of questions. Would it really be worth it? Is Mardi Gras break the best time to go? Should we go now, before my littlest can actually ride most rides and might still need a stroller to manage things, or do I wait until she’s 48 inches tall too? Do I try to figure it all out myself, as a Disney rookie or hire a Disney travel agent for help? I know you have to sign up months in advance for fast passes, but how do I even figure out what rides we’d want to do?

Or, perhaps we should keep it local to start and try out Dixie Landing as a first trial at an actual amusement park experience (at least for little sister who hasn’t even made a Dollywood trip yet).

What do you think? Hit me with your best Disney trip planning tips! I’ll keep you posted...

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19 Nov 2019


By Mari Walker

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