Friday, December 05, 2008

The Magic Kingdom

My first trip to Disney World was when I was six, so it seems fitting that Megan's first trip would be at the same age. I think six and up is the perfect time to take kids to Disney. Our kids were wired with excitement as we parked, took the tram to the "transportation center," hopped on the monorail, and entered the Magic Kingdom.

We thought it might be better to hop on the train to the back side of Disney and make our way forward to avoid crowds. Turns out the train's pretty slow, so I don't think we beat anyone, but it was a fun ride nonetheless. The first ride we hit was Goofy's Barnstormer, which is a mini-roller coaster. Ethan and I went together with Megan, Nonna and Erik soon to follow. Ethan laughed the whole way, and we had barely slowed down when he exclaimed, "Let's do it again!" I think he might have been happy just staying there the whole day. But we moved on.

I have some strong memories from my first trip which kept cropping up as we moved through the park - the Mad Tea Hatter's Ride which, as it turns out, is more fun when you're six; Snow White's Scary Adventures, which we avoided after we scared the pants off Megan in the Haunted Mansion; Pirates of the Carribean, where you can tell which animatronic people were created more recently than 1980; and the Jungle Boat Cruise, which was on a much larger river when I was 4 feet tall. Or so I remember. It was fun to relive my own memories while watching the kids make their own. And thank God for fast passes, though this time of year isn't a busy time at Disney. We hardly had any wait time for any rides.

The only part of the day I really didn't enjoy was Space Mountain. I know - it's one of the best rides, and it was Megan's favorite. But having my petite six year old, who barely made the height requirement, be flung back and forth in her seat in front of me in almost total darkness terrified me. Especially since by that point of the day she was all into the "raise your arms like this, it's more fun!" kind of coaster riding. I reached as far around the seat as I could and clung to the hood of her sweatshirt, like that would help if she launched from the car. I know, irrational of me, but I couldn't help it.

What surprised me about Disney was the amount of crying I observed. There's no crying at Disney World! C'mon - it's a magical place where dreams come true! Can I offer an explanation and perhaps a warning? The children who were crying were the little ones - the ones who were scared of the rides and the giant characters, tired from missing naps, and from being dragged around a huge amusement park. They're just too young. Save your money. They won't remember it anyway. Unless you know that your kids are troopers who love new experiences, take them to the county fair until they're old enough to appreciate it.

Wait until they're five or six, then have a great day with them, like we did.


Amy :) said...

That is too funny about the crying! Twice when David & Marissa were little, my parents invited the extended family to join them at their timeshare in Orlando.

Matt & I noticed a *lot* of crying as we waited in line. It was sort of ironic, because here were all these parents, dragging their kids through a park when they were clearly not having any fun.

I think your advice is very good... wait until they're old enough to enjoy *and* remember it. :)

Amy :)

Sherri said...

I agree that Disney is funner when the kids are a bit older...but still young enough to enjoy the magic of it. Of course, even at my age, it is still the most magical place!! We first took ours when they were 3, 4, and 6. When we went back the next time, when they were 7, 8, and 10, it was so much funner!! We were able to ride more things together, and they could really appreciate where we were. Also, our days didn't have to center around those much needed naps!!! We plan on going back this year. The kids are 10, 11, and almost 13, so I think it will be the funnest yet!!!

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