Parents, if you want to torture yourself and your children, here is how you start: get them up at the crack of dawn and tell them they are going to Disney World, and then tell them that your hosts are still sleeping and they have to be quiet. This was how we started out, and it only got more successful from there.
I guess I had unrealistic expectations for this day, so perhaps I have no one to blame but myself. Simone and I visited Walt Disney World in 2006, the year before Ruby was born, and we had a fantastic time, so this is not a blog against the place. Not at all. The problem was that I expected this visit to be at least mildly similar. Here are the differences that I noticed:
In 2006, we traveled in February. We spent 2 days at Walt Disney World and saw all 4 parks. We spent half a day at each, and saw pretty much everything. You see, it was a cold rainy couple of days, and there were pretty much no other people there. The brochure listed it as "off-season" and it certainly was. We took pictures with almost every character to every appear in a Disney film, and we rode every ride we wanted, some more than once.
In 2011, we traveled, well, yesterday, and it was also listed as "off-season." Now look, I'm not an (absolute) idiot, and I expected the crowds to be bigger on a sunny day in May than on a rainy day in February, but I expected something like 20%-50% more people. Instead, there were approximately 1,000,000% more people (give or take 8 people). The rides we went on had lines of up to an hour, and when we did finally get on the rides, they lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 seconds. We spent an entire day at the Magic Kingdom, and we rode 3 rides. We also stood in 3 different lines to meet characters. That's it. One whole day, approximately 10 cumulative minutes of fun, and it cost me over $400 when all was said and done.
Now, I am not in any way saying that Walt Disney World is not fun and/or the happiest place on Earth, what I am saying is that it is clearly no place for children. Man, when it was just me and my wife, not only did we get in for free by listening to a boring time-share speech for an hour (which you can't take kids to, by the way), but we got to go on all the fast rides, nobody was whining that they were hungry (except me), and we very rarely (in fact, perhaps never) hit anyone in the back of the foot with a stroller.
People, listen to me, if you are thinking about having children, hurry up and go to Walt Disney World now, before it is too late! And if you already have children, wait until they are old enough to go to college before you consider bringing them, because otherwise you'll get in big trouble when you ditch them. And most importantly, go when the weather is good: 45 degrees and raining.
Thus ends this edition of Tenor Dad: On the Road with Kids at Disney World. Ruby got to meet Mickey Mouse and Rapunzel, so she's happy, and we can leave Florida with our heads held high. We have made it 93.2 miles north (out of 1500 or so) and it has only taken us two days. At this rate, we will be home by Flag Day. Tune in tomorrow to find out if we make it out of Orlando alive, if we get through any of Georgia, and if we can find some sort of exciting family activity to do on the way!