Disney Mama Drama

Scene: A hot and sunny day at Animal Magic Kingdom Studios.

Mom: "You'd better lose that attitude right now."

Child: "I don't have an attitude."

Mom: "Then why are you speaking to me with that tone?"

This wasn't an actual encounter between adults and children in my family, it's something I overhead. Okay, there might have been a similar exchange or two during our six days at Disney, but I really did overhear this.

When temperatures and teen (or toddler) attitudes soar, it can be easy to lose sight of what a family vacation is all about- time together, new experiences, family fun, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

It can take a bit of planning to be a happy family at the Happiest Place on Earth, but it also takes a willingness to abandon the plan. For example, we were wilting in the heat waiting to be called for our restaurant reservation at Animal Kingdom, but my younger son really wanted to go see the Flights of Wonder, a bird show that conflicted with our meal time. In the end, we gave up our reservation, grabbed a few egg rolls from a nearby stand and headed to watch the show. We can get great Asian food close to home, but we don't often get to see owls, parrots, hornbills and condors flying within a few feet us of. I'm glad we made the switch.

Take A Break
Pass up the temptation to "do it all" in one day from park opening to park closing and consider returning to your hotel for a mid-day swim or siesta. You'll miss the peak heat and well as the peak crowds, and return to the park refreshed. When the boys were younger, they needed the naps. Now that we're all older, DH and I napped while the boys did their homework

Hop Around
Purchasing the Park Hopper ticket option permits you to visit multiple parks in one day and is a worthwhile expense. You can start your day at the park with the earliest opening hours, take your mid-day break and end it at the park with the latest closing (or best fireworks).

Every Other Day
When our children were preschoolers, we managed our Disney vacations by spending a day in the parks followed by a day swimming at the hotel along with a low-key excursion to Downtown Disney or Disney's fun mini-golf courses. Neither the children nor the adults in our group could handle six straight days of theme park fun.

Go With The Flow
If your agenda reads too much like a checklist and is full of must-do items, you might want to scale back. You also need to be aware that your child might not be the right age or have the right temperament for some of your favorite activities. The families that are most driven to do it all regardless are usually the ones that are the most stressed out.

Remember to Eat and Drink
Whether you pack your own or buy at the parks, full tummies and hydrated kids (and adults) are key. Theme park snacks and drinks can be expensive, but a $10 or even $20 snack is well worth it if it keeps attitudes in check. You simply cannot ignore basic physical needs (hunger, thirst, tiredness) (your child's or your own) and expect to have a good time.

I didn't see any Mama Drama at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration beyond my own crabbiness when I failed to follow my own advice. D0 you have tips for happy times on them park vacations?

Disclosure: As a participants in the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I was given park passes for my family as well as other perks, including the chance to hear great speakers, attend special parties and I received several gift items.

Prior trips to Disney were subsidized by my parents (1982, 2001, 2003). As a participant in the College Program and employee of the Walt Disney Company, I was able to visit Disney Parks at no cost Jan - May 1989). And boy did I witness a lot of mama drama in my role as an attractions hostess.

DH and I took a trip to Disney World circa 1991, during which I actually bought my own park pass.

Edited 3/23 to add a photo.
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