It started innocently enough: my husband and I were talking and the question comes up, so when do you want to take the girls to Disney? I’ve always wanted to see the Magic Kingdom all decked out for the holidays, so I suggested, “How about we go this December?” This, mamas, was my first mistake. Because this conversation happened a mere 6 months before we expected to take this vacation. Seems like a lot of time, right? Nope! Hahahahaha suckers, in Disney time you’re already behind.
I was about to get a whirlwind education in Disney Planning for Dummies. Now I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb on all you unsuspecting mamas who think you can just *scoff* show up and let the magic happen! I learned the hard way so you don’t have to. Sings in a Maui voice: You’re welcome!
How to plan a Disney vacation in 27 easy steps:
- Decide to go to Disney, and haphazardly search around the hotels and resorts. You finally decide when and where to book about 5 months in advance.
- Realize this five-day trip is going to cost more than a week in Europe. Have a mini-stroke. Consider running off with your husband to Italy instead.
- Spend an hour going through Disney’s booking website only to have it crash at the last moment.
- Call a customer service agent who is very sweet but the slowest human being imaginable. In your head, you imagine the sloth from Zootopia. Give her all the same information you just spent an hour entering online. Finally, you’re done and confirmed. I’m going to Disney World!!!!
- Ask friends and family for dining recommendations, only to find out that nothing they’re suggesting is available. Reservations start filling up six months in advance. Your dreams of going to Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for a princess-laden buffet are shot to shit. You can start panicking now.
- At this point, you are completely overwhelmed. You know you need to make reservations somewhere before your family is forced to live off of popcorn and giant turkey legs, but you haven’t heard of any of the available restaurants. How in the name of sweet baby Rapunzel are you supposed to research and decide on all these restaurants?!
- Like a beacon of light from the heavens, a friend tells you she knows a Disney travel agent. She graciously helps you make reservations.
- She kindly suggests that you let her help you with the entire booking next time. Oh, and she likes to start 7 months in advance.
- She cautions you that all of your tickets aren’t linked to your account, which you will need to fix to choose fast passes.
- Start researching your fast pass choices. Read all the travel-themed mommy blogs. This time you’re going to be prepared! (lol)
- There are a few considerations: the geographical location of each ride, typical attraction wait times, when and where your meal reservations are, when and where the shows and parades will be, what your kid will actually want to do, what characters do they want to meet (if only I got into fucking Akershus, I wouldn’t be wasting two fast passes on princesses!!!!), is mercury in retrograde, is your husband going to need to stop to take his morning shit at 9:30 sharp or can he hold it until AFTER Peter Pan?
- Side note: Why is Peter Pan the most popular ride in Magic Kingdom? I can’t for the life of me figure it out. My daughter does not give one single fuck about Peter Pan. I give maybe 1/2 of a shit.
- Set a must-have list for fast passes: Frozen in Epcot, Avatar in Animal Kingdom, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and yes, Peter fucking Pan.
- Log on exactly 60 days before D-day.
- Realized you never fixed the issues with your tickets.
- Let out a string of expletives that would make poor old Walt roll over in his cryogenic chamber.
- Log out and reload the website. Uninstall and reinstall the app.
- Get distracted by life and finally call customer service again a week later. Everything can’t fill up in a week, can it?
- Have you been paying attention, of course it can!
- Your tickets finally show up, but it’s too late. You are SOL again, my friend. All the in-demand fast passes are unavailable.
- Scream angrily at the Disney gods. Especially Zeus and Hades.
- Rock in a corner while singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” in a psychotic sounding whisper.
- Begrudgingly pick from the fast pass sloppy seconds.
- Realize that no matter what the bloggers say, you were never going to plan a *PERFECT* vacation that hits all the must-do attractions in the most efficient way possible.
- Accept that micromanaging every minute just isn’t your style.
- Proudly say, “Fuck that noise, I’m going to have an amazing Disney vacation even if we have to wait 75 minutes for a 5 minute trip through Arrendale!” Start scream-singing “Let It Go!” in a power-ballad Elsa herself would be proud of.
- Remeber you get more fast-pass choices the day you’re in the park, and this time you are going to be ON YOUR SHIT!
Congratulations, the planning is done! Now all that’s left to do is arrange to have time off from work, find a dog sitter, book a ride to the airport, pack for yourself and two kids, and survive the flight to Orlando. Welcome to the happiest place on Earth!