Wednesday, August 14, 2019

5 - What to take to Disney

Finally. You've decided when you're going, made your advance dining reservations, made a touring plan (or have at least a general idea of what you're going to do when you're at the parks) and booked your Fastpasses. Now it's time to pack for your trip.

We walk, on average, 10km every day we're at a park. No joke. Pack good shoes. Don't wear flip flops to the park.

Remember how I said Disney was like a movie theatre? Everything will cost a lot more there and you'll have to wait in line to get it. Try to think of things you can bring from home that will mitigate the cost. Reusable water bottles are at the top of my list -there are water fountains you can refill them at. Rain jackets (the almost disposable ones you get at the dollar store) are also a good buy -they're cheap and small. Snacks are also handy to have around. Another tip: DisneyWorld offers free wifi. You’ll want to pack a charger (although you can rent one if you need to) and load up your phone with the Touring Plans App, My Disney Experience App, and the Play Disney Parks App. The Touring Plan App is the simplest way to keep track of your plan. My Disney Experience lets you see your reservations for restaurants and fastpasses (and allows you to make new fastpass reservations). It also has maps that will give you directions in the parks much like a map app (this is especially handy when you need to find the closest bathroom!). Play Disney Parks is an app that can be used on some rides while you’re waiting in line. Some of the games are park-wide - Epcot has a neat Phineas and Ferb game I highly recommend! You’ll get to travel around the different pavilions and interact with the scenery.

Keep in mind that you'll be going through a security check before you enter the park (or before you get on the monorail), so try not to bring too much. The more bags you take, the longer your check will take. Check out the park rules for a list of prohibited items.

Just a few more things to decide about in advance:

Magic Bands: we used Magic Bands for the first time last year. If you buy a ticket, it's like a little credit card that you carry around (if you buy them online, you pick the physical tickets up at the park entrance). Aside from the inconvenience of having to get another one, you don't have to worry too much if you lose it because everything is attached to your account, not to the ticket. If you're staying onsite, you get a free magic band. If you're not staying onsite, you will have to decide whether it's more convenient to have your ticket on a watch-like thing on your wrist or to take your ticket out every time you need it. You need your ticket to get in the park, get your pictures from rides/photographers (see Memory Maker below) and to use your Fastpass. It's not a huge inconvenience, but the cost of a magic band is not a huge expense either, depending on the size of your party. We usually keep the kids' tickets and take them out as needed, but we thought the kids would like wearing a magic band. They did not, and we ended up keeping them in our pockets and distributing them as we did when we had tickets.

Memory Maker: there are several rides at Disney that take pictures while you're on them. There are also photographers stationed all over the parks. Obviously, if you feel no need to buy these pictures, don't. But if you're like us, and you don't always remember to take lots of pictures, you might find it useful to purchase Memory Maker. It's cheaper if you buy it in advance, so if you do plan on getting it, make sure you get it more than 3 days before your trip. Once you're there (whether you've purchased it or not), you use your ticket/magic band (of the person who purchased Memory Maker on their account, if no one purchased it then it doesn't matter) to tap and the pictures will be linked to your account. If there's one particular picture you really like, you can just purchase that picture.

Strollers:remember when I said we walk, on average, 10km everyday we're at a park? You might be able to handle it no problem, but even if your kid hasn't used a stroller in awhile, they might not be able to. The first trip we took with no stroller my kids were 8 and 5. That means they were 7 and 4 and still using a stroller.

You have three options when it comes to strollers: bring your own, rent one from a company near Disney, rent one at Disney. You might already be planning to bring your stroller, so maybe this isn't a huge decision for you. We didn't have a double stroller, so our options were to rent one from a company or rent one from Disney. The benefit of the company is a snazzy, comfortable stroller. Disney strollers are just hard plastic, and are not divided so the kids sit right next to each other (cue: "they're taking up all the room" arguments). These are not strollers for infants that need to be strapped in. Also, you will have to wait in line to get a Disney stroller (if you do a mutiple day rental, the line is shorter, and it's good across all the parks). However, the benefit is you will not have to bring a stroller on the tram or monorail. We've actually walked from the parking lot to the park (and vice versa) rather than deal with the hassle of folding up the stroller to get it on the tram. So if you're kids are a little older and may not sit in the stroller the whole time and you can tolerate a little arguing about who's hogging all the room, you may want to opt for renting a stroller at Disney. Regardless, make sure you have something (like a rain jacket from the dollar store) to cover up the stroller when it rains, as well as a small towel in case it gets wet anyway. Stroller rental companies and Disney will give you a sign, but you may want to make one if you're bringing your own stroller. Even when we've rented a Disney stroller (which looks the same as all other Disney strollers) we have never had our stroller lost or stolen.

Safety: wear sunscreen and drink lots of water. Also, make sure to TAKE BREAKS. The first time we went, I bought some SafetyTats but we never used them (their labels are very good though). Honestly, nobody wants to steal your kids at Disney. The people there barely want their own kids. It's probably a good idea to have a conversation about what to do if they do get separated (talk to the nearet Cast Member). We haven't lost a kid yet! (knock on wood)

Souvenirs: Disney really, really, wants you to buy their merchandise. So much so, that almost every ride you get off of exits right into a store. Decide in advance how many souvenirs you're going to get (if any) and speak to your kids about it. You'll save a lot of begging and pleading if they know whether or not getting something is even on the table.

Things to remember while you're there:

Take a picture of your parking spot. We forgot where we parked once. Not a pleasant experience at the end of a long day, and this was in one of the smaller parking lots. Just snap a picture and you won't have to worry about it (especially if you leave the park and come back again).

HAVE I MENTIONED YOU SHOULD TAKE BREAKS? No, but like, seriously. We take a longish break almost every afternoon. We head back to the rental for lunch and when we get back to the park around 3 feeling refreshed everyone else has hit melt-down o'clock. It is super intense being at the parks. TAKE BREAKS. Magic Kingdom takes the longest to get in and out of (because you have to take the Monorail/Ferry from the parking lot) so if you opt not to leave the park, find a quiet spot (the Tomorrowland Terrace when it's not open is great) to just sit back and chill for a bit.

My best advice:

Roll with it. There's a lot of pressure to HAVE FUN when you're on a Disney trip. I get it. It's expensive, you want to get your money's worth, and it's the happiest place on Earth. If you can't have a good time there, where can you? But all the pressure can be counter-productive. It's not going to be perfect. The fact is, you will be annoyed, overwhelmed, stressed, etc. Remember, it's the album, not the individual photographs. So even if a couple of your memories are not going to be good ones, as long as the overall trip is fun, you're doing OK.

 Here are the other posts on DisneyWorld planning:

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker

4 - FastPasses

I've briefly mentioned Fastpasses before, but I'll repeat Fastpass basics here. Everyone gets 3 passes per day to go in the Fastpass line that only people with these fast passes can access. These are completely free, and I feel it's another system that not enough people know about or take advantage of. Before I go into more detail, I want to talk about planning your day. In order to know which rides to book a Fastpass for, you'll need to know which rides you want to go on. There's no point in getting a coveted 7 Dwarves Mine Train Fastpass when you hate rollercoasters.

I'm going to plug Touring Plans again. I'm not affiliated, but I would not plan a trip without them. Not only does their crowd calendar offer valuable information about what days are the best time to visit the parks, the information that they have collected on the wait times of rides in the parks will help you plan your day at each park and lower the amount of time you spend waiting in line. Once you sign up, you'll have access to a variety of premade touring plans that they have made that you can adapt to your needs, or you can make your very own plan from scratch. I also love that their website gives details about every single ride and show, so you can make good decisions about which rides you and the people you are traveling with will enjoy. I also recommend watching YouTube videos of the rides you are thinking of going on -I show them to my kids to see if they are interested or if they think it will be too scary. Could have saved myself a lot of angst if I had done that before taking my daughter on the now-defunct Great Movie Ride! You can also enter in breaks (for the love of everything, please plan breaks!) and dining plans into your touring plan. Then, when you're at the park, you can check off the things that you've done on their mobile app, recalculate if you've gotten off track, and ensure that you are visiting each ride at the best time to avoid waits. Seriously, they've done the number crunching and their app will tell you at any given time of day how long you're likely to wait in line. If you put in all the things you want to do into a touring plan and hit "optimize," you will now have a plan that will help you avoid waits AND you will know if it's even possible to do all the things you want to do. If this doesn't convince you to get a subscription nothing will.

Many people will think that this level of planning is too much, and they would prefer to be more spontaneous on their days of the park. Personally, I like having a plan rather than wandering around seeing which rides have the shortest wait times (which we will sometimes do after we've finished our touring plan early). Following a touring plan doesn't have to mean following the touring plan to the letter: you can still be flexible and spontaneous. However, the parks are big and have a lot to offer and YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL. Having a touring plan means that you will a) prioritize the things you do want to do b) waste less time wandering around deciding what to do c) have a plan that will maximise your time riding the rides instead of waiting in line.

Touring Plans will also tell you which rides/shows you should try to get Fastpasses for once you've added everything into your touring plan (they even give you a spot to enter your Fastpasses reservations). This is important because not every ride that offers a Fastpass needs a Fastpass.  Let's get into the nitty gritty of Fastpasses.You start off with 3 Fastpass opportunities, and once you've completed all 3 you can get another one. Once you do that one, you can book another one (repeat until the park closes). However, sometimes by the time you've finished your first three, all the Fastpasses might be booked, or there might not be any Fastpasses for rides you want to go on. The most Fastpasses we have done in a day is 5. You would think it would be easy to do more, but Fastpasses are based on 1 hour windows, and they don't overlap. Ideally, if the park opens at 9, you would book a Fastpass for 9, 10 and 11, and then go grab another one for 12 (we typically take a break from 11-ish to 3, so we book our next Fastpass for then). Sometimes, the only Fastpasses for the ride you want are much later in the day, so you don't have any choice. It's also important to know that for every park except Magic Kingdom, there are Fastpass tiers. Meaning, your three Fastpass opportunities are divided into pick one from category A and two from category B. Sometimes you'll have to decide between two awesome tier A Fastpass opportunites, and sometimes you'll only want one of the available tier B opportunities. See the advice Touring Plans offers for Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom to see which rides fall under which tier. Whatever Fastpasses you do get will help to make your day run smoother, and if you don't get the Fastpass for the ride you want your touring plan will tell you the best time of day when you'll wait the least amount of time (or you'll decide you don't want to wait that long -there are a few popular rides we have never been on!).

Fastpass booking will depend on whether you are staying onsite or not. If you're staying onsite, you can book your Fastpasses 60 days in advance. Here's a calculator, put in the check-in date and look for the date under "60 Days: FastPass+ and Online Check-In" to see when you can book all your Fastpasses. If you're staying off-site, you will have to book each day of Fastpasses separately, so plug in the date you're going to be at each park one by one and the date under "30 Days: FastPass+ Selections" is when you can book your Fastpasses for that day. Regardless of whether you're doing it 60 days in advance or 30 days in advance, the system opens at 6 am. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the system before the day of booking. While you can cancel, move around, and change your Fastpasses without penalty, unlike dining reservations, you will need to have a valid ticket linked to your account to make Fastpass bookings.

 Here are the other posts on DisneyWorld planning:

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker


3 - Advanced Dining Reservations

Everyone's got to eat! And before you think, I don't want to eat at any fancy Disney restaurants, remember, you still have to eat. Where are you going to do it?

Let's back up a little and talk about eating at Disney. As long as you're not bringing a cooler in, you can bring in as much food as you want. In fact, I highly recommend you bring your own snacks and a reusable water bottle. Aside from the fact that you can bring your own food and drinks in, Disney is very much like a movie theater, in that, you'll pay movie theatre prices for the food, it's not that great, and the lines are long. So if you wanted to bring both lunch and supper with you, I wouldn't fault you.

But let's say you do want to buy something to eat at Disney, because you've always wanted to try a Dole Whip, or it seems easier than bringing a lunch, or you're staying onsite and have little access to food. There are two food options at Disney, one is called Counter Service and the other one is called Table Service. Do your research, look at the menus for all the places and see which ones you might want to eat at, and which one has that snack you've always wanted to try.

Counter Service places are fast food. You can get snacks and even full meals. The quality may not be very good, but it's fast. Here's a tip: use Mobile Ordering. You can skip the lines and just pick up your order. Most people are not taking advantage of this system yet so you'll be surprised at how much faster this is! Some Counter Service restaurants do not offer seating nearby (or very little seating), so keep this in mind if you're planning to eat a meal, especially if you have people in your party who need to sit while eating.

If you want to have one special meal, or you plan to eat a meal every day at Disney, you may want to make a reservation at a Table Service restaurant. Some restaurants even have character dining, which is a fantastic way to get pictures with your favourite characters without having to wait in line. Having breakfast before the park opens can be a great way to be first in line if you finish before the park opens (we've never done breakfast). At this point, you will want to book a Table Service. The way you do this is by making an Advanced Dining Reservation, which can be made 180 days in advance of the dining day. Here's a great trip calculator to help you figure out what day you can make your reservation on. Just pop in the day you'd like to reserve for, and check the date under "180 days - Dining Reservations." On that date, get your browser open to the right page, ready to refresh at 7am when the reservations open up, and book the restaurant you want before the reservations are gone. Some restaurants, like Cinderella's Castle or Be Our Guest, are very hard to get reservations for. Consider booking at off times -having lunch at 11 or 1, having supper at 4 or 5 or later in the evening. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the booking process before you actually have to book. You don't need a ticket to book (just a free Disney account), so if you wanted to, right now, you could make a booking and cancel it just to practice (just make sure to cancel it!). You can always cancel or change your reservation as long as its 24 hours in advance, so if you didn't get the reservation you wanted, check back because one might open up. I would recommend using the browser over calling (the wait time to get connected means you'll lose valuable time, and they don't have any reservations that are not online) and even over the app (which always seems to crash at an inopportune moment).

Dining plans are available for people staying onsite. Basically, you are prepaying for all your meals by paying a certain amount per person per day. I'm not going to go in-depth talking about Dining Plans, because my understanding is that you have to really crunch the numbers to see if it's worth it money-wise, and it can cramp your planning because you have to see if a restaurant accepts the dining plan, how many credits it uses, etc. Sometimes Disney offers free dining plans, in which case, if you're staying onsite, go for it!

My favourite restaurants:
MK:
The Plaza
Liberty Tree Tavern (family style)
Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen (it's affiliated with the Jungle Cruise ride, and very underrated)
Epcot:
Cantina de San Angel
Akershus (princess dining!)
Animal Kingdom:
Yak and Yeti (try the burger)
Hollywood Studios:
Brown Derby
Sci-Fi Dine In (my kids really like this one)

My worst restaurants:
MK:
Tony's Town Square (my kids didn't even like it -how can you mess up pasta and pizza?)
The Diamond Horseshoe
The Crystal Palace (you're there for the characters, not the food -I'm told breakfast is better)

 Here are the other posts on DisneyWorld planning:

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker


2 - Where to stay at Disney

I can't give recommendations for places to stay *at* DisneyWorld, because we've never stayed on site. However, just because I've decided staying off site is better for my family, doesn't mean I think it's better for everyone. What I want to do here is present the pros and cons of doing each.

You have 2 options when it comes to finding a place to stay at Disney: stay onsite (or at a Disney-affiliated hotel offsite) or stay offsite. You can check out Disney's website for all the options and costs associated with staying onsite. Staying offsite can mean renting a place (like through AirBnB) or staying at a hotel.

Cost: it will probably always be cheaper to stay offsite. Even when you factor in the cost of the car rental/hotel and the parking at Disney, you'll probably still be coming out ahead.

Space: this is the main reason why we have always stayed off site in a rental. Having limited space and no kitchen is a real downside to us, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Food: staying a Disney means eating at Disney. Your food costs will definitely be less than if you went to the grocery store and cooked your meals. But then again, who wants to cook on vacation? But even if you ate at restaurants outside Disney during your trip, you'd still be saving money vs. eating at Disney (and in some cases, would probably be eating better food).

Transportation: staying onsite means using Disney transport. Disney will take you to and from the airport, and you'll have a system of buses and (depending on where you're going) the monorail. Some Disney locations are even walkable depending on where you're staying. However, keep in mind that while this service is free, the cost is the time you spend (I would also add the cost of being on a crowded bus). Everything you do is on their schedule. There is the option of Minnie Vans and Uber if you are staying onsite. Driving your own car to and from Disney will make it easier to take breaks and arrive and leave when you want to, so it's all about weighing your time vs. the cost of a rental/parking.

Fastpasses: we'll get to talking more about Fastpasses in a later section, but the short version is that you get 3 passes to go in the fast lane that only people with these fast passes can access. Staying off site? You can book them 30 day in advance of the day you'll be at that park. Staying onsite? You can book them 60 days in advance of your trip. This actually works out to be more than 60 days. Let's say your trip starts June 1. You're going to visit the parks June 2, 3, and 4. If you're staying off-site, the earliest you can book your Fastpasses is May 3 (for June 2), May 4 (for June 3), and May 5 (for June 4). If you're staying onsite, you can book all your Fastpasses for your whole vacation on April 2. If there's a ride you really want to get a FastPass for, there's an obvious advantage to staying onsite. (Oh, and if you think you'll stay a couple of days onsite and then move to a rental, you'll only be able to take advantage of the 60 day onsite advance booking for the days you're staying onsite. The rest of the trip will be 30 day advance booking).

Extra Magic Hours: Disney offers an extra hour before or after the park opens/closes. This is only for people staying onsite, meaning a much less crowded park. Keep in mind that not every park has EMH every day, so this adds an extra element to your planning, because you'll want to plan to be the park offerring EMH on that day. Also, if you have really small kids, you may not use the EMH at the end of the day.

The Disney Bubble: is what people call being at Disney. Some people really like the intensity and the experience that Disney offers. Staying onsite means staying immersed in that experience.

Here are the other posts on DisneyWorld planning:

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker


1 - When to go to Disney

The discussion for when to go to Disney is two different discussions. The first part is what age is the right age to go, and the second is what time of year is the best time to go?

A. What age is the right age to go?

There isn't one right answer to this question. What it depends on is whether or not you will go again. If, like me, you're going multiple times, you can take any kid of any age there. My son was just over a year old the first time he went; he napped in the stroller while one parent took our older daughter on rides. At that time she was three, and the look on her face when she saw her first princess....priceless. Nowadays, at age 8, she's a bit over it. The nice thing about going multiple times as the kids age is that you'll find yourself trying out different rides and shows as they get old enough to appreciate them (or tall enough) and the experience changes every time. Of course, I recognize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am to go multiple times, so this answer really depends on your family. You want your kids to remember it (but even after going at age 7, my sister doesn't remember her trip to Disney very much). Are your kids good travellers? Do they sleep well on vacation? How well do they deal with overstimulation? Disney is an incredible place but it's also busy, noisy and exciting. This can be a lot to deal with for some kids, and sometimes being a little older will make it easier. If it's a big deal for you to go out with diaper bags and strollers, it will definitely be worth it to wait until you're out of that phase. Sometimes even just a year can make a big difference between a fun trip and a journey to melt-down city.

B. What time of year is best to go?

Obviously, when the kids are in school. September, just after school starts, is probably one of the best times to go. Even Summer break isn't bad because not a lot of people want to deal with the Florida heat. Winter break (the two weeks around Christmas/New Years) is the absolute worst time to go - you couldn't pay me to go at that time. Spring break is hit and miss, because unlike Winter Break, not every single school in North America has the same Spring Break. Your absolute best bet at figuring out the best time to go is Touring Plans. Getting a membership will not only be the cheapest thing you do when you visit Disney, but the smartest. Have a look at their crowd calendar, which is on a scale of 1-10. Obviously lower numbers are better, and beware that if you do decide to go on a day when it's a 10, if you don't get to the park early enough it might reach capacity and you might not get in at all. I prefer days that are 6 and under, but even an 8 is comfortable with enough planning. Sometimes, shifting your vacation by just a few days can make a big differences in crowds, so I always check the crowd calendar to see what days would be optimal in the time frame I'm thinking of. We'll talk more about why Touring Plans is so awesome when we talk about Fast Passes and planning your day at Disney.

Once you have decided when you are going, you'll have to decide how many days your trip will be and how many of those days will be spent at the park. It makes sense to go for 4 days, one at every park. In an ideal world, you'd go for at least 5 (spending 2 days at Magic Kingdom), taking a break in beween each park day. Having a longer trip is cheaper if you're staying off site, which is what the next post is about. I will finish this post by saying that in addition to deciding on the length of the trip, know which days you'll be visiting each specific park (the crowd calendar will help you figure out which day is better for which park), which will make the rest of your planning easier. There is a ticket called Park Hopper that lets you visit more than one park in a day, but I feel it's easier to stick with one park per day (not to mention cheaper!). I would also at this point make an account at DisneyWorld. Every adult in the party will need to have their own account -you will need one if you are staying on site, to make dining reservation and Fastpass reservations. You can add people to your Family and Friends list so that one person can make all the reservations for everyone, but each adult will need to have their own account.

Here are the other posts on DisneyWorld planning:

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker



Planning for DisneyWorld- Introduction

So while this isn't an authentic parenting post per se, it's something that's been on my mind to write for awhile and I needed somewhere to put it and this is the best place I have. I'm almost embarassed to admit that I've been to DisneyWorld 6 times (once as a kid and 5 times as an adult) and am currently planning my 7th trip. Needless to say, I feel like I've got a lot to share about how to do it.

To many, Disney planning can seem daunting. And while there are a lot of steps involved, it doesn't have to be all done at once, and the nice part is that once you get there everything is done and you don't have to think about it. However, if you're thinking you can just decide to go to Disney next month, you'll probably miss out on things you wanted to do or wait for a really long time in line (for example, if there's a popular restaurant you want to eat at, Advanced Dining Reservations are made 6 months in advance and you will probably not get one a month before). That's why I highly recommend planning a Disney trip at least one year in advance. Although you can do it in less time, a year gives you a nice leisurely time to plan. For the first month or two, start planning when you're going to go, then take a month or two to decide where to stay, then a month or two to familiarize yourself with restaurants and by the time you get to 6 months you'll be ready to make your dining reservations! After that, you have several months to check out each park and decide what to do when you're there, which will naturally segue into making Fastpass reservations. Then all that remains is to pack!

I've broken down the Disney planning into a few parts.

1 - When to go to Disney: what age is a good age? What time of year is good to go?
2 - Where to stay at Disney: breaking down the pros and cons of off vs. onsite
3 - Advance Dining Reservations: because hour long waits for lunch/dinner are for non-planners
4 - FastPasses:  it's free, so why not get on the rides faster?
5 - What to take to Disney: including discussions about strollers, magic bands and memory maker

While I really enjoy the planning part (almost as much as the going part), I hope that if you're not a planner like me you will find this simplifies the process. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments!

ps. if all this still seems like too much work, there are many travel agencies (some that specialize in Disney travel) who will do all this for you, including Fastpasses and Advanced Dining Reservations. Some will even do it FOR FREE, as they receive commission from Disney. I can't make any recommendations as I've never used any companies, but do make sure that they are booking everything for you and not just your hotel reservations.

Monday, April 22, 2019

It’s not about the toothbrush

The time came to change the toothbrushes, and my son was not having it.

It would have been easy to brush off his objections, and just toss the toothbrush and tell him to stop crying.

It would have been easy to tell him he could keep the toothbrush, to avoid the crying.

Instead, I sat with him while he cried. I acknowledged that he was very sad about giving up his toothbrush, while holding the limit that it was time to change the toothbrush and that he couldn’t keep the toothbrush, even if he didn’t use it anymore.

In the end, when the crying slowed, he asked me if I was going to live forever.

It’s not about the toothbrush.


He wanted to take some pictures of his toothbrush so he could remember it. We found some really cool toothbrushes that light up and he was happy with that. But more importantly, he got to learn that not only do things change, but that things can change and he will still be ok, that he can say goodbye to the things that he loves, even if it hurts, that he can be sad and it won’t last forever.