Disney Tantrums…Not just for kids

So I am sitting here watching my son (age 4) throw a fun little tantrum and thinking…thank goodness we are NOT at Disney, lol. Yep it happens; kids get tired, overloaded with sweets, too much stimulation, need more sleep and they aren’t the only ones.  Adults get hungry, hot, tired and CRANKY too…so much fun, right – NOT. Unfortunately when at Disney…tantrums can still be a thing…but luckily there are ways to AVOID them. Perhaps not 100%, but at least bring them down to a tolerable level.
Dealing with a tantrum at Disney seems to be a common worry or concern of many of my clients and I try my best to walk them through the steps to avoid such an event. With 2 kids, both in the tantrum age zone…it’s something I try my best to avoid as well. I have been to Disney more times than I can count and have taken my kiddies several times, at various ages and have learned a few things.
First…kids will be kids. Just because you spent your hard earn cash on what is supposed to be the BEST VACATION of a life-time…doesn’t mean your toddler is going to change. You know you kid(s) the best. You know their triggers, limits and issues. And you need to be honest to yourself about it. This is also where the adult tantrums come into play, lol. As an adult, we want to see and do stuff too. We want to stay up late and watch the parade/fireworks and do the special Holiday party. We want to have a few adult beverages and relax. We want to ride the coasters and do some thrill rides. BUT…we also want to see the magic in our kid’s eyes, see their faces light up with wonder and delight…but It can come to the point where we need to decide, what is more important? OR find a happy mix; a healthy medium. This is something I have developed over time and each and every trip gets better and better; as kids ages change so does the experience.

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BIG kid in stroller; she is happy & entertained while WE get a break.

Things to consider, thoughts to ponder about YOUR child: LIMITS…
• Walking – Strollers are NOT just for toddlers…if your older kid isn’t a grand walker…consider a stroller
• Sweets – Some kids have a limit, some can’t handle it at all. Giving them a limit WILL help.
• Sleep – Some kids NEED sleep, some can handle a little less than normal…but sleep is a MUST.
• Length of Day – Some kids crash out early, some are night-owls…some with a mid-day nap can flourish
• Food – Some NEED to eat at normal times, some can snack until a BIG meal…but DON’T push it off.
• Lights, Sounds, Stimulation – Some kids are ok with all the action, some kids are overwhelmed (consider breaks, head-phones, distractions)
• Heat – some people are ok in the heat, some people just can’t function (same with crowds). Know this and prepare.

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Dole Whip; nice treat, but LOTS of sugar – try sharing.

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Mickey Pretzel…my FAVORITE snack.

Be honest…if your kid tends to throw more fits after a birthday party (SUGAR) or after a long day at the zoo or fair is burnt out…then consider that at Disney. It’s OK to miss a few things, especially if it prevents a melt-down. Consider cutting back on the treats (we allow ONE per day), consider NOT doing the night-time fun every night (perhaps every other), consider packing or renting a stroller for an older child to prevent (my legs are tired whining). Pack “distractions” for kids who get easily bored (waiting in line) or overwhelmed. Consider saving an experience for “next” time. For us…this is the Holiday Parties…I am dying to take the kids, but when the time is right.
With all these trips under my belt you would NOT believe what I have witnessed (not that this will be you); parents forcing crying kids on rides, kids climbing on chains, bars and displays, kids having over-tired meltdowns during the evening parade, kids begging for more and more treats/toys, parents yelling, screaming and dragging kids along. It’s hard…we ALL want to see and do it all…but we ALL have our limits. Some kids are scared of certain rides, some are just hungry, some are dehydrated and need to drink more water and EVERYONE needs to make sure they get plenty or rest…PLUS parents need breaks too.

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LOTS of healthy options at Disney…

For us…as long as I try to keep it healthy (packing healthy snacks/bars), limit sweets, provide LOTS of water (not milk, juice or soda) and make sure we ALL have plenty of sleep…our Disney vacations have always been 100% Magical and Amazing. But I also keep it real…I know my kids. And I know me. I know what I need to walk for a week straight, to deal with kids and a husband and to keep everyone together. I know what my husband needs (evening adult drink, lol) and I know what makes sense for us, for NOW, for THIS trip. I have dealt with a tantrum or two (not just from the kids) and although they weren’t that bad, I did learn from them. Disney is amazing, but it’s also BIG, long, loud, crazy, FUN, filled with sweet treats, shopping AND people. One needs to learn to adapt and “go with the flow” while also tending to all the needs of the group.

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Don’t forget to take time out for “play”…its NOT all about the rides.

I know some of this seems generic, but it’s about YOU, not what your friend did, your neighbor did or even what I did…it’s about what is GOOD for YOU. This is something I help all my clients with. I will have long chats about concerns and worries and help plan the best vacation per THEM, their needs. Each and every client/trip/family is different. It’s not something you can compare or copy…every trip is unique. One family’s favorite or ideal resort might not be yours, same with restaurants, rides and other activities.

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This TOY camera saved our trip last time…He took LOTS of “pictures”.

I post this…not as a deterrent to Disney, but as an honest account. This is something to think about and plan for…to have guidelines and back-up thoughts…to “practice” before you travel. To prepare and learn about all the “quiet” spots, children play areas and best resorts for a mid-day break (if needed).  To know when to push and when to alter your plans, lol.
**As a Travel Agent specializing in Disney vacations…it is my job to know the parks, resorts, restaurants, rides and attractions. It’s my job to see and do it all…it’s also my job to help and give advice to the best of my knowledge and expertise. Consider putting your trust in an agent whose FULL-TIME job is Disney, someone who knows more than just ONE resort. My services are 100% FREE if you book with me and as a Disney Vacation Planner…I book directly with Disney. Check me out – http://www.facebook.com/wordofmouse

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Gettin’ Organized…Making Lists

Ok…so I am about 6 months out from our Disney Vacation.  This is about the time that I start making LISTS…yes I am a crazy list person.  But I do this to not only stay sane and organized but to save a few too.

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I find that shopping last minute for specific items not only makes me want to tear my hair out, but also costs more.  Not to mention the dreaded…I must get XYZ (insert Bathing Suit, Formal Dress, Matching Clothes HERE).  Plan Early and shop the Deals!

Also considering it’s almost summer and in 6+ months it will be fall/winter…finding summer items and accessories will get harder and harder to come by, not to mention pricey.  So I make my lists and shop as I normally would and if I see something on my list when already at Target or the Disney Store – SOLD and DONE.  No more last minute trips for sunscreen, a suit that fits, cover-ups, backpacks, Disney Tees and so on.  Shop early and save yourself the Headache…here is a general, ever changing list.

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Summer Time Deals to LOOK for:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses, Summer Hats – for ALL
  • Bathing Suits, Water Shoes, Cover-up, etc – For ALL
  • Clothes for the kids…for when you go. Perhaps get the next size up?? THINK SHORTS.
  • Disney TEES, Princess Attire, etc – Shop the Halloween section, shop DisneyStore Deals
  • SNACKS…often Target has deals on BULK snacks during summer

Back to School Items:

  • 1-2 Backpacks – One per parent perhaps
  • Soft-Side Cooler bag or Tote – I just got a deal on one from the DisneyStore
  • Highlighter, note pads, locker Magnet boards with dry-Erase Markers (Cruise)
  • Black Sharpie Markers – Autograph signing
  • Post-it notes – Cruise and for taking notes in general

General Searching:

  • Formal Dress/Accessories and Attire for family…also Sundresses – Cruise
  • Pirate Gear – Cruise
  • Other random items: Blister Band aids, Nightlights, Alarm Clocks, Clothing Pins (Cruise), Ziploc bags, etc.
  • Kids Entertainment – Coloring books, Airplane fun, Tablet apps, Headphones, etc.
  • Disney Gift Cards – if you see a deal
  • Get NEW shoes and start breaking them in…DON’T wear straight from the box.
  • Camera and other Memory Making items…read manual, practice, practice, practice.

NOW is also a good time to search Etsy.com for Matching tees, embroidered outfits for the kids or any other Custom items.

**Also NOTE…I love to purchase lightweight Princess Night-Gowns verses Full-on Fancy dresses…DisneyStore and Kohl’s always has a cute selection and they are perfect for the sunny/hot weather.

I am a Disney Vacation Planner, AKA Disney Travel Agent.  As always my SERVICES are 100% FREE if you book with me and you gain all my Travel and Kid tested tips, advice and HELP.  Check me out: www.facebook.com/wordofmouse or @mermaidninatravels (https://www.instagram.com/mermaidninatravels/?hl=en)

Quick Service…Say What?

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What is a Quick Service (QS)?  Where are Quick Services?  What Quick Services are on the meal plan?  How many Quick Services do I get on the meal plan?  What are your favorite quick services, what’s most popular?  And the questions go on and on.  I get questions about QS almost daily…and yet…even after my explanation, things still seem fuzzy, lol.  So here you go…the ins/out of quick service meals.

Quick Service restaurants are basically fast food restaurants…you don’t need a reservation, you don’t have a waitress and you don’t leave a tip.  At Disney…quick services places are, IMO, a major step up from fast food with quality food…but that’s the best way to describe them.  You order your food from a menu on the wall above the cashier, you wait for your food, you take it to a table, you eat and then you walk away (cleaning up is preferable).  Simple and Easy.

Most quick services places at Disney are set-up more like Cafeterias…multiple ordering windows, some with windows that only offer a certain types of food; salads here, burgers here, sandwiches here, dessert here…that kind of thing.  The larger ones can be a bit overwhelming…but any cast member is willing to help explain things to you.  If you are a little nervous…try going at a non-popular dining time; 11am instead of noon, 4:30 instead of 5-6:00pm.

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My kids loved this..how to get your plastic-ware – Sanitary

Where are Quick Services located; umm…they are everywhere.  All Disney resorts have them, all Disney parks including the waterparks have them and even Downtown Disney has them.  They are located in almost every land within a park and pretty much all of them are on the Disney Dining plan…which means you can dine at them all using your meal credits.  So can I dine at one at a different resort from where I am staying? – YES.  Can I eat at the parks even though I am on the plan? – YES.  Can I eat at more than 1 per day? – YES.  You can dine at a quick service as often as you want…just be careful because if you are on the plan…you are only allotted so many…so if you power through all of them…you will need to pay out of pocket for the rest.

Meal credit on the Disney dining plan depend on 1: what plan you’re on and 2: how many nights you are staying.  So if you are staying 8 days, 7 nights…you get 7 on the regular “plus” dining plan…but don’t forget  to count your table service meals too (a different post).  If you are on the Quick service plan…you’d get 14 total QS meals.

My Favs…Oh this is tough.  I like different QS for different reasons; some for the atmosphere, some for the selection and some for just one particular dish, lol.  But here is a quick, quick service list:

  • Tortuga Tavern (MK, near Pirates…) – LOVE the burrito and the unlimited toppings bar (open 11-3pm) so plan ahead.
  • Pinocchio Village Haus – (MK) – eat and watch fellow guests on “Small World” with flatbread pizza/pasta.
  • Sunshine Seasons – (Epcot) – So many options, so little time. Lots of treats for Food Allergy peeps too.
  • Flame Tree BBQ – (AK) – a favorite amongst my clients – Apparently killer BBQ
  • Pizza Planet Arcade (HS) – Need I say more, lol. Yummy fun Pizza – Kids paradise.
  • Earl of Sandwich (Downtown Disney) – Sandwich, after giant mouthwatering sandwich

As far as most popular…one of the perks of booking with me…is right before your travel date I send you a tip card with all the yummy QS listed…that way when you’re in Tomorrowland and hunger strikes…you can easily look up the best QS in the area.  And don’t worry Food Allergy and Special Diet peeps…I have a special card for you too.

Disney is my home away from home and I LOVE to eat and try new dining experiences…I also have 2 kids with food allergies so I am more than familiar with my way around Disney dining and special accommodations for my family.  Contact me today and let me show you how magical your vacation can really be…the smart and prepared way.  Nina@goTMCtravel.com or 734-890-2350 – FREE Disney Vacation Planning (I promise).

A “Napper” at Disney…

So…as a Mother of two little ones I have vast experience with this…not to mention it’s a very popular question amongst my clients.  Now…this post isn’t about the importance of napping, quiet time or resting…it’s about the “how to”.  And PS – Napping is highly RECOMMENDED; especially for younger ones and families doing an “All Day” experience.

In my opinion there is really only 3 ways to “nap” at Disney; in room, in stroller or my new favorite…on Mamma (or Dadda).

  • Napping in room, aka your resort room is the obvious choice…but is it the best?  First you have to leave the park, take a bus (or hop the monorail) then quiet down the fam, close the curtains, turn off the lights and hope & pray the kid(s) nap.  Now…this option is awesome when everyone wants to nap and will nap.  It’s perfect for families who travel often and are use to sleeping in one room or families that co-sleep.  It’s also great when a young family only has one kid.  The family with one kid can put the baby (tot) to nap while mom and dad sit out on the patio and discuss the day.

We did this one vacation and I can honestly say it worked out great.  Did I want to leave the park, NO…Did I like missing out on a few hours of potential play time, NO…but did it ruin my vacation, NO…my then 2 year old slept everyday like a champ and was then ready to tackle the evening for a few more short hours (we are early sleepers).  Now what saved us was not sitting and waiting around for 2-3 hours (everyday)…I packed her pack n’play tent (see pic), her baby monitor and we were able to walk the grounds a bit, grab a snack and return to the patio knowing she was safe.  Many people saw us and wondered where the baby was, asked if we had “grandma” with us…I mentioned the monitor and everyone was in awe.  So that’s my secret…enjoy.

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Pack N’ Play (provided by resort) – Tent I packed…Keeps kid safe.

Of course some could nap, some could play (swim)…but unless that napper is really, really tired…they might not want to miss out on any fun…so beware of that.

  • Napping in the stroller; I must confess that I have never done this but after several trips to Disney and watching other parents…I kinda have an insight.  First the perk is…you stay in the park, you don’t have to leave thus you can enjoy more rides and more park fun…however…if you have a napper in the stroller someone either needs to wait with the napper while others play or you wake the grumpy napper.  In my opinion this option doesn’t seem totally convenient, but if you have grandma with you who really doesn’t want to ride the rides or the parents switch off – it can be done.  But beware…hot sweaty kid in hot stroller might equal some unpleasant results…so remember sunscreen, get a shade and hydrate when awake.

Of course you could take that time to shop the air-conditioned stores and get your spending on…but do you want to do that everyday – just something to think about.

  • Napping on Mom, aka baby wearing; this is my new favorite way to nap at Disney…why?  One major reason…you can still ride the rides, that’s right…if the kid can ride it awake, you can ride it when “wearing” them.  This was basically our only option this past trip…the older kid didn’t want to leave (neither did I) and the napper was never going to nap in the room anyways (not a napper at home)…so I brought the baby carrier and hoped for the best.  He napped everyday for 2-3 hours…on me.  It was hard to use the restroom and getting in/out of the rides reminded me of pregnancy, lol – but it was awesome.  We still enjoyed ourselves and he had an awesome nap.  For the record he is 2.5 and about 32lbs.  I wasn’t in pain, my shoulders didn’t hurt and no…I did not trip.  I was able to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and other similar rides, no rollercoasters obviously.  In fact I joke because he fell asleep in Mexico and woke up in Canada…he slept through the entire World Showcase, lol.
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Napping in front of Beasts Castle

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A Mermaid Experience…

Guess who just came back from “the Happiest place in the World”…Me, Me, Me!!  So I have LOTS to blog about, but I thought I’d start off with a post about the inspiration for this blog…My Favorite Princess.  Are YOU thinking about one of the Frozen Sisters?…nope guess again, lol

Ah…you got it…Ariel.

Thanks to the creation of NEW Fantasyland…Ariel has a proper place in Magic Kingdom.  Amongst Eric’s Castle you will find a clam shell ride (Under the Sea – The Journey of the Little Mermaid) featuring many of Ariel’s friends and one majestic Ursula.  Ursula totally steals the show; in my opinion…she was amazing.  I found the rest of the attraction to be a little quick and had wished Ariel had as much animation as Ursula did…but still the ride is a must and I wish I could have experienced it again and again.

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As you exit “Under the Sea…” you are just a few steps away from meeting Ariel herself.  Now this is Ariel the Little Mermaid, not Ariel with “human legs”…but Mermaid Ariel has always been my favorite so I was just as excited or perhaps more than my 5 year old.  We entered “Ariel’s Grotto” hoping for as much theming and amazement as the rest of the area (which is very cool)…but sadly I found inside her grotto to be a little lax in decor.  I had wished for more fish, seashells, seaweed, treasures a trove, something…but I digress.

We waited an amazing 20 minutes to meet the wonderful mermaid.  My DD, of course, beamed from ear to ear with excitement but still thinking my smile was bigger.  Ariel and I had the most in-depth discussion regarding our favorite accessory.  We both agreed that no mermaid should be without her “dinglehopper” and suggested that I always keep one with me at all times…for which I showed her mine, lol.  She also gave me strict directions to an under the sea store where I can purchase her favorite Jellyfish gel, apparently this product is the reason her hair is so fluffy and doesn’t deflate in the Florida sun.  So…as soon as I get my mermaid fins…I’m there.

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Meeting Ariel was beyond Magical for me and my 5 year old.  Out of all the characters I (we) met this trip, she was the most talkative.  Anna was a close second (stay tuned).  I could have spent more time chatting but this land mermaid had fastpasses to get too.  But as Arial said…”Us redheads need to stick together”, so my new bestie and I will hang again soon.

And for those that want to know…we had fastpasses for “Under the Sea” at around 10am…directly after the ride we entered the grotto and as I said only waited 20 minutes.  I am not sure how long the wait usually is, but we had to walk through a few lines of chains before hitting the end of the line.  I found New Fantasyland to be rather crowded as the day progressed…so I would suggest hitting it first.  As a mom…I had planned out this experience (knowing to go early), but kept it underwraps as I didn’t want to disappoint the kids if Ariel was overly-popular that moment…so to my DD this was a total surprise, she had no idea what we were even doing until we saw the amazing mermaid…so my advice…go with the flow (but with a plan) and if the moment is right…strike and enjoy the memories.  Nothing is worse than a mini-mermaid melt down, lol.

Walt Disney World is an amazing place and truly magical…but the smarter you go, the better time you will have – saves time and money too.  Check out my “about Nina” section to contact me.