Disclaimer: My wife made me sound like an actual writer in this article. I want to thank her for her talent, patience, and laughter while we wrote this together. And a very special thank you to my brother-in-law, Chad, for the inspiration behind this post.
I’m not like a regular dad…I’m a Disney Dad.
Before my wife and I started writing this blog post, we did a quick search to see how many articles have been published from a Disney Dad’s perspective. Instead of finding articles about Walt Disney World, we found the real definition of a Disney Dad.
Disney Dad (paraphrased in our words): A subpar dad that showers his kids with gifts and toys to compensate for poor parenting and guilt over divorce – Also, dad who attempts to look like the better parent by purchasing excessive and expensive gifts.
Uhhh yeah — Not exactly the direction we were going…and a little sad too!
To clarify…I’m a dad who truly enjoys vacationing in Disney. I am the proud king to three Disney princesses. At work, I find myself singing the classics from Frozen, Moana, and Beauty and the Beast. Please note that I work in construction — I get strange looks from the “manly men” on the job site, but in true Disney fashion, I just let it go and whistle while I work — see what I did there? Yeah, that’s what I do.
On most days, my wife says I’m her Prince Charming. Notice I said most. We won’t talk about the other days when I forget to do the things that I have been asked…. I nod enthusiastically when she shows me the latest special matching Disney shirts — imagine if we actually wore shirts from previous trips? I admit that I do love the expression on my Disney Wife’s face when she is in full blown trip planning mode. I smile when she scores a difficult fast pass or dining reservation because I know that I will enjoy the result as much as the kids.
My daughters won’t be little forever. Already the oldest is tossing aside the princess dresses she literally lived in from morning to night — (thank goodness for little sisters). I know that sooner rather than later, we won’t be chasing princesses around Epcot and standing in line for photo ops in Magic Kingdom for an Elsa hug or a Cinderella kiss.
So as a self-defined Disney Dad (not like the definition above), here are some of my Disney tips and tricks and what to expect if you’re a first-time dad heading to Disney.
It’s cliche, but remember…
Disney Life…Happy Wife…
You’re just an ordinary demi-dad: Rock the princess backpacks and wear the mermaid shirts. Even if you don’t have all daughters, expect to be juggling bags and pushing the royal carriage… also known as the stroller. If you’re lucky, anticipate at least one day of matching Disney shirts —maybe two. Be flexible and just wear them. My wife spends months planning our shirts – no joke – she has multiple Pinterest boards to plan and coordinate. Embrace the matching Disney shirts!
I think what you’re trying to say is — “You’re Welcome”: Heads up. At the end of most rides/attractions, you will be walking through a gift shop filled with trinkets and treasures galore your little princes or princessesMUST HAVE. Pirates of the Caribbean, Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster, Voyage of the Mermaid —get the idea? It’s an absolutely brilliant marketing strategy on behalf of Disney —wish I had thought of it… but it’s a parenting nightmare. “Mommy…daddy looook”, “Mommy…daddy…can I?” “Mommy and Daddy, but I don’t have one…” So we compromise with our girls. They can pick ONE souvenir at the end of the vacation, only if they are well-behaved. Our definition of well-behaved factors in at least one or two screaming tantrums, because Disney drama is inevitable. Embrace that too.
I want to be… Where the people are… Actually no…where the beer is: This isn’t a deal breaker and honestly, Magic Kingdom is my favorite park, but Magic Kingdom does not serve alcohol (well maybe Disney didn’t think of everything…) My wife is always telling me how important it is to stay hydrated. Florida heat can be rough and I don’t want to upset my wife. Unless you can snag a dining reservation at one of the five restaurants in Magic Kingdom that do serve alcohol, your best bet is to act like Prince Charming and compromise with your Disney Wife. We fill our day with Magic Kingdom fun and hop on the monorail to Epcot for a drink and fireworks. In Disney, everything can be negotiated both with or without tantrums.
When your little Simba doesn’t walk fast enough, you tell them to MUFASA….MUFASA MUFASA MUFASA: Okay, that’s corny, but hey, as a guest writer, I can be corny. Nobody knows how to walk in Disney, especially my wife. There should be a rule that says: No walking and texting. Disney? Can you do that? When you actually make it down Main Street USA, expect banged ankles and shins from other dads navigating their carriages. Once you hit Casey’s Corner, you can chest bump the other Disney heroes that made it down Main Street without having to hit the First Aid Station conveniently located at the end of Main Street. Hmm, wait… Disney really does think of everything. Anticipate crowds, enjoy the photo opportunities, offer to take a picture for other families, and be patient, while enjoying the scenic stroll down Main Street USA.
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever: Go on the rides… all the rides. Even It’s a Small World...It’s a classic and as much as the song playing over and over again can be torture, seeing the joy on your child’s face is timeless. To see Disney through your child’s eyes is the best part of every trip. Try to remember that when you open your Disney Visa card statement the following month!
“Listen, I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice… Here comes the smolder.”:My wife is a travel agent specializing in Disney, which is why our trips are stress-free. She plans and coordinates, but leaves downtime too —Disney is a magical vacation. We have mastered high crowd times, can navigate stroller parking, but know when it’s time to relax at the pool.
Your children won’t be young forever. Rock the pink backpack, wear the matching shirts, and hire a Disney Travel Agent. And always follow my number one Disney Dad rule: Once you see another dad with a beer in his hand, high five him knowing that it’s socially acceptable to get one —Even if it’s 10 in the morning.
As Maui says “AND THANK YOU” to my wife for taking my awkward words and ideas and making me sound like I can actually write!
My wife loves Amazon: Here are some links to our MUST have when we head down to Disney.
I'm a high school teacher, Disney Vacation planner on the side, but my most important job is wife to my husband Kevin, and mom to my three girls...the three P's! I love writing, crafting, running, teaching, and Disney...Therefore, I started this blog. I promise to keep it real, make my readers laugh, but I'm also not afraid to show the good, the bad, and the ugly! Follow me on Instagram at My_3peasinthepod
Mom to three strong, intelligent, and uniquely adorable girls, therefore my life is sprinkled with pink, purple, sparkles and sass. Each day, tackling the ever-changing and judgmental world of parenting. Always honest, mostly vulnerable and usually sarcastic, I care about all things important to moms, teachers, and women. High School English teacher and travel agent specializing in Disney Vacations. Searching for sanity in running, stand up paddling, reading, writing, home decorating, and yes, pixie dust.