I always knew I wanted to be a mom. And I always expected to be a fun, care-free, spontaneous kind of mom – you know the sitcom-kind that everyone wants growing up? She is part mom, part friend, and ALL fun. It sounds like a splendid idea until you actually have children and you realize that life isn’t quite that simple. Children require discipline and guidance and well, they more than occasionally try your patience. And that makes smiling all the time a challenge.
So, since I’m required to be a real-life-mom every day, I figure Disney World MUST be the exception to the rule.
At Disney, I want to laugh and have fun. I WANT TO BE A KID AGAIN TOO.
Here are 10 Ways You Can Make That Happen.
1) Put Your Kids In The Driver’s Seat – I mean this both literally and figuratively. Start by letting them decide where they want to go first and then let them decide again. There is something magical about allowing your child to lead you by the hand through any of the parks. And on the rides, if they can steer, let them do it!
2) Be Spontaneous – Sure you want to plan a few things to make sure you cover the parks you want to see and get the meals you need, but allow for time to say ‘where to now?’ and just choose. Allow for an ice cream break at 10am and hot dog at 3pm. Skip naps if you can and ignore that spilled chocolate milk. Just. Enjoy. The. Moments.
3) Don’t Be Afraid To Be Goofy – I have been known to skip down Main Street. I have picked my small people up and twirled them around. I have worn silly hats and bug-eyed glasses. If it makes them laugh, if I am laughing, it is all worth it.
4) Go Ahead And Get Wet – the caveat here is, I won’t embrace this if the temperature is too cold, however, if it is hot outside, who cares that I will look like Roseanne-Roseanna-Danna when I step off Splash Mountain? (I do, I SWEAR!) What matters is that my family loves the water rides. We have fun riding them together, so truly – I refuse to be a party-pooper because I don’t want to mess up my hair. My small people don’t stress about their appearance, so in true ‘I’m-embracing-my-inner-kid-fashion’, I refuse to be held hostage either.
5) Do The Fast And SLOW Rides – Even if your whole family LOVES Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, take the time to ride Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and It’s A Small World. You will have the opportunity to slow down in the middle of your day and you will likely reminisce about a previous trip to the Park, or another memory wrapped tightly around one of those characters. It is worth it.
6) Put Your Hands Up – Anywhere you can… on the rides, in the street, just for fun. This is a universal signal that you are having a stupendous time. You will laugh, your kids will laugh, and very likely, everyone around you will too.
7) Dance In The Street – There seems to be music playing at every park. Stop and dance. Do the jig during a street show, bounce along during a parade, or grab your kids and swing to the beat as you walk from one ride to the next. It will be like a mini flash mob. People will see you having fun and will auto-magically join in.
8)Embrace The Characters – You will see them everywhere. Get their autographs. Shake their paws, smile and wave, pose for a picture and if you really love them, buy a hat and dress up like them. You make look a little silly, but you will make your kids smile and you’ll both have the time of your lives. And get this! You can use Verizon’s Disney Mobile Magic App to track where characters are at different times around the park. So, have a little princess who MUST see Cinderella? Never fear: the app will guide the way.
9) Look For The Hidden Mickeys – Make a game out of this with your family. There are ‘hidden Mickeys’ throughout Magic Kingdom – on the streets and buildings, in the rides and restaurants, even in the ways the food is served. Keep an eye out and see how many you can spot.
10) Allow The Magic To Capture You – If you are willing to look for it, you will see the sparkle of Disney World in every little aspect of the park: in the people, the rides, the architecture, even the other guests. Smile. People will smile back. Even that is magic all by itself.
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