Experiencing the Magic Kingdom

I grudgingly woke up this morning, stiff and sore. My arms ached. My head throbbed. I’ve got a stiff neck, probably from lying on the same position all night long. I was simply too exhausted the night before, after spending the whole day with my family and my sister’s family at The Magic Kingdom of Tokyo Disneyland.

 

Mickey and Minnie at the “Huli Huli Ohana Bash Parade.”

 

I have already lost count of how many times I have visited the place (I’ve also been to Disneyland in Anaheim and Disneyworld, haha. Sucker.). Every time a relative from the Philippines visits us, we make it a point to bring them to this magical world where both adults and children can enjoy themselves in the make-believe world of Disney. As they say, there is no other place where adults can feel like children again. How else to describe it? You’ve gotta see it to know exactly what I mean. :)

Monkey hug!

 

But this post is not exclusively about Disneyland. For me, going to Disneyland is always a family affair now, and nowhere can you find a place more dense with people pushing strollers with bratty babies and children. Having brought my own daughter to this place several times already, I’ve learned more than a few lessons about bringing children into the park. It’s not an easy task, but with a few smart preparations, even parents can enjoy their time. I’d like to share them with you in this post.

 

Here is my list of Do’s and Don’ts when bringing children to Disneyland:

 

Do’s

1. Bring a stroller. Or better yet, rent one at the park.

Strollers are lifesavers. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to move around the park. And when your little tyke wants to take a nap, presto, he or she can just sleep on the stroller while you can still enjoy the parade or watch the shows. I especially liked the strollers they lease on the park, because they come with a medium-sized bag at the back where you can put in your things. The stroller is also quite sturdy enough to carry extra bags on its handle.

 

2. Bring a mat.

The best way to watch a parade is sitting down. If you bring a mat, then you can choose a location early on, spread your mat, and easily claim your spot. Take a breather while you wait for the parade to start.

Lots of razzle and dazzle at the show, One Man’s Dream II. Highly recommended for those with kids.

 

3. Bring an extra battery pack.

I’ve forgotten how many times we missed taking shots or videos of our favorite float or show just because our battery gave out earlier than we thought. It’s a bit funny, you know, considering that most of the floats or shows are just variations of the previous ones we have already seen, yet we still want to take pictures of them. Suckers. 😛 But I digress. The important thing is to have extra juice for your camera so that you will always be ready to take those shots you really want. It would be such a loss when your kid gets to dance in the parade with the dancers and you couldn’t even capture the moment because of one lousy battery!

 

4. Bring extra clothes for the little tyke.

Spring is a little tricky. It could be very hot at noon, especially with the sun’s rays directly on you. But at night it could get very cold, especially with the cold breeze coming from the sea. You would want to bring extra clothes for your kid, in case he or she sweats a lot during daytime, or would need an extra layer at night when you go home. Prepare in advance for the large swings in the temperature.

 

5. Check in at a hotel for the night, if you live in a place which would take more than one hour to commute or drive.

I learned this lesson the hard way. When Aya was only 5 months old, we brought her to Disneysea together with her grandparents. None of us enjoyed that day because she was cranky during the day, and even crankier during the evening. All I wanted to do is hit the sack, but I couldn’t because we still had to commute back to our place. If I had known in advance that I would be dead tired at the end of the day, I’d have chosen to stay at a nearby hotel for the night. The next time around, that was exactly what we did. We woke up refreshed the following day, and even had time for a sidetrip along the way.

 

Don’ts

1. Bring your child to the park if he or she is less than a year old, if at all possible.

This would seem contradictory to what I did with Aya, but in retrospect, I realized that there was really no gain in bringing a baby into the park. It’s just a lot of hassle for the parent, and the baby wouldn’t be old enough yet to enjoy the park anyway. So it makes better sense to just wait until the baby is old enough to appreciate what’s going on.

 

There are baby centers at both Disneyland and Disneysea. I’ve had the experience of bringing Aya to Disneysea when she was only 5 months old. During that time, I was still breastfeeding her, so I was in and out of the baby center because of the feeding and other matters. While the rest of our group was busy enjoying the shows, I was inside the baby center feeding Aya, changing her diapers, or even just pacifying her.

 

And the volcano inside Disneysea? When it erupted, it scared Aya  A LOT. So much so that she wouldn’t stop crying! So, if you think that your child is sensitive to loud noises, think again. He or she won’t enjoy her time at the park, and neither will you.

 

2. Attempt to see all the sights in the park to get your money’s worth.

Bottomline: it’s simply impossible to do that without overstraining or overtiring yourself and your little one. If there are only adults in your group, then by all means, knock yourself out! :p  But if you’re there to enjoy with your kid, and you want to make sure that he or she also enjoys it, well, just take it easy. There will always be another opportunity to enjoy Splash Mountain or the Mermaid Lagoon. The goal here is to enjoy. That said, I’d recommend the parades and shows and just stick to the slow and easy rides like the Jungle Cruise or the Western River Railroad. The latest attraction, Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblaster is also aimed for kids; it takes one on a slow ride while doing some practice shooting with an LED ray gun toy. I rather enjoyed it, even if I got a rather low score. I’m not a sharp shooter. Sigh. :(

 

3. Assume that all rides/shows are suitable for kids.

There are height requirements for certain rides like Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. And for good reason! You don’t want your kid to break his or her neck because of the jerky movements. There are also “innocuous” shows like the Microadventure (3D movie) which you might think would be alright for a little kid to watch. But do be careful. Some kids could get pretty rattled by seeing those huge animals lounging towards them because of the 3D effect. One kid was so frightened by the snake in this show that he started bawling inside the theatre. Obviously, he did not enjoy the show at all, and neither did those unfortunate souls who were seated close to them.

 

Knockdown ang mga kids! With my brother-in-law and his daughter.

The above list is a mere guideline for parents out there. Feel free to take what you need, trash whatever you think is unnecessary. Bottomline: be prepared! Make sure to have extra energy for the long haul home. The little ones would be very tired and would most likely sleep in your arms.

 

In closing, let me just say that aching muscles notwithstanding, there is no way I’d choose going there without my family just to spare myself of the tiredness and exhaustion. I’ve come to accept this as an inevitable consequence when bringing my daughter to Disneyland. While at the park, I saw Aya’s face lit up several times when she saw her favorite characters. No way I’d exchange that for anything in the world. :)

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26 Responses to Experiencing the Magic Kingdom

  1. mitsuru says:

    it’s good to feel one even for a few hours…hehe

    it’s a small world after all…:)

  2. Belle says:

    nice tips for mothers going to Disneyland/Disneysea for the first time. i have experienced once in the past of forgetting to bring extra batteries for my camera, ahhh not good!

    you can tell that the kids had a busy and fun day. pagod pareho! are they of the same age?

  3. Leah says:

    I’ll be sure to remember your tips when we do finally go to Disneyland in Florida. If not for my daughter, more so for me.

  4. smarie says:

    I want to go there too! LOL! It looks like you had a fabulous time 😀

  5. Gypsy says:

    You didnt say wear comfortable shoes! But I guess that should be a no brainer…hehe. I will make sure not to have kids (yet) if I plan to visit any of the disneyland places in the next ten years, seems like something thats not for the faint-hearted, like moi. Bwehehe.

  6. pining says:

    I’ve yet to bring my kids there one day (probably when the my youngest turns 2) , so thanks for the tips. It’s just a pity we don’t have a disneyland here.. the nearest one is in Paris!
    Anyway, I’m sure the smile on Aya’s face, no matter how many times you’ve been there, is always priceless :-)

  7. Mon says:

    maganda itong mga tips mo kathy, I will remember them kasi my turn will come soon. Kaya lang I got the feeling na ako ang magiging pasaway sa lakad na yun kasi hindi ko pa din nararating ang Disney lol.

  8. kathy says:

    You’re right, Bill! Even for just a day. That’s what is magical about the place. When I see those adults wearing silly hats, I couldn’t help but also see the children in them who are out to have a good time. :)

  9. kathy says:

    Belle, yeah, knockout talaga yung dalawa. My daughter is four while her cousin is two years old. So you could imagine how “pasaway” these two kids were at the park. lol :)

  10. kathy says:

    Oh you’re going to LOVE Disneyworld! Because there are four parks to enjoy, it’s four times the fun. :)

  11. kathy says:

    Yes Sheila, we had a great time there. Great company, great place. The kids loved it. :)

  12. kathy says:

    Oh yes, comfortable shoes should be right there on that list! But believe it or not, some Japanese women would insist on wearing high heels and skirts at the park. It’s silly, no?
    Nah, you’ll be fine even with kids, just get the hang of it. Mas enjoy pag may kasamang bata, nakakahawa yung enjoyment nila. :)

  13. kathy says:

    Pining, hope that one day you’ll get to visit Disneyland (in Paris? :)) with your family. I’m sure it will be a day to remember!

    It’s true, as parents, inspite of the exhaustion, we can truly enjoy ourselves when we see our children having fun. :)

  14. kathy says:

    Mon, you got kids?!! Di ko alam yun ah. 😉
    Hope you have a great time at Disneyland! I think this season is one of the best to visit the park. Not too cold and not too warm. Take lots of pics ha. Post mo rin sa blog mo. :)

  15. “When you wish upon a star …”

    This was the song that kept playing inside of me when I was a kid. How I wish then to go to Disneyland. I even wrote a long essay about it when I was in fifth grade, which made my teacher teary-eyed, because she was really touched by my intense inner longing.

    However, when I got to be a young adult, the dream vanished. Even when I spent some time in LA and Florida, the thought never came to mind about visiting Disneyland or Disney World. I guess, it was because of the clubs and night life that began to overwhelmingly consume me during that period of my life.

    However, when I won the PBA award recently, I was suddenly consumed with an intense desire to go to Disneyland … hehehe.

    Enjoy the weekend, Kathy!

  16. herb says:

    i looove disneyland! i nevr get tired of it and each visit still feels like the first time!

  17. snglguy says:

    I have a pretty good idea how hard it is to bring rowdy kids to a theme park. And I’ve seen this happen so many times to my ex-wife’s brothers and sister’s own bratty kids. Running wild like loose zoo animals in the park… 😀

    Good thing we never had any kids, hehehe. 😀

  18. annamanila says:

    Your delight is almost tangible from the pictures. Never been to a theme park .. not even to laguna’s enchanted kingdom. But i will … i will … soon before it gets too late. hahaha.

    Thanks for the do’s and don’ts. Will save them for the future grandchildren. Aaah i hope my joints are not yet unhinged by then.

  19. kathy says:

    When I was also a young kid, my dad showed me an article which appeared on Reader’s Digest. The article was about this poor man who made a living out of making cartoons, but who eventually rose up from poverty and became one of the most legendary people who ever lived. That was the first time I heard about Disney, and about Disneyland. I wasn’t as consumed about visiting Disneyland as you were, but I did wonder if someday I would be able to visit the magical place.

    Well, I guess you now have the capacity to make your dream come true. :) There’s even HK Disneyland if you don’t want to travel very far.

    Thanks for sharing, Eric! Have a great weekend too. :)

  20. kathy says:

    That allure of the place is simply amazing – at least for people like us. There’s always something to look forward to in every visit. I guess that’s why people keep coming back. :)

  21. kathy says:

    Medyo “tame” nga yung mga dala naming bata, dahil mga babae, but it didn’t (and doesn’t!) make things any easier. Running like loose animals is a pretty accurate description, snglguy! lol

    Have a great weekend! 😀

  22. kathy says:

    As in never?!! Wow…simply wow. I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t been to a single theme park in his/her life. I’ve never been to Enchanted Kingdom myself, but I heard from my sisters that it was pretty good.

    Hope you can use some of the tips when you visit with your grandchildren. Take it easy and make the most out of the experience! :)

    Enjoy the weekend, Anna!

  23. niceheart says:

    These are very helpful tips for couples with young children. My kids are older now, so graduate na ko dyan. :)

    We have never been to any Disneyland or Disneyworld. Wala naman kasing malapit dito sa amin. So we never really had that desire to go. :) But of course, if given the opportunity, bakit hindi, diba? :)

  24. rhodora says:

    Very useful tips! I can use these when I already have my grandkids.. hehe.

    My daughter was able to visit Disney L.A. last summer. And according to her, the thing she most enjoyed was the fireworks, which, she said, made her teary eyed with the background music and all and Tinkerbell gliding along. Hay, buti pa siya, nakapunta na.

    Ang cute nung monkey. takot na takot, parang siyang humihingi ng tulong sa ‘yo.. 😀

  25. kathy says:

    Nice one, niceheart! Hehe. How I wish I could also say, “Graduate na ako riyan.” But I’ve several more years to go. Anyway, I’m enjoying each step of the way.

    It would be really great to go out on a family outing once in a while. I do hope you can get the opportunity to do this someday! 😉

  26. kathy says:

    Wow, you daughter is already going places! Sana nakasama ka. Maybe next time, huh? The one thing that I liked about Disneyland at Anaheim is that I could understand everything they say and sing. Dito kasi sa Tokyo, Nihonggo yung salita ng mga characters. Imagine Mickey Mouse saying, “Minnasan, konnichiwa!!!” (Hello everyone!!!) 😉

    Yeah, that monkey just came out of nowhere and grabbed me! Presko! Heheh.

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