I'm home. Severely depressed. Spring Break was a nightmare

motherof5

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
It's always great to hear the successful trips with so many little kids. Great job! Do you have any tips for other families who will visit WDW with a large number if little ones?
1. Be flexible
2. Don't be afraid to split up. My husband took the boys on a ride while the girls were in a FP for meeting princesses. You can't always do everything together. 1st trip we stayed together the whole time and it was hard as boys didn't want to do what girls did and vice versa. Made for more cranky kids.
3. You can stay at the parks even if one falls asleep- last trip my 5 year old fell asleep in the stroller. I still bring it just in case someone gets tired. We went to the park for 7 pm and stayed til midnight. He was asleep at 9 that night and slept comfortable in the stroller. My husband and I got to enjoy walking around and talking, but when it came to the rides we took turns going with the kids and someone stayed with my son asleep in the stroller.
4. Relax. Our first trip my husband said I drove him nuts, I wanted to go on so many rides & see shows as I felt the kids needed to do alot. Next trip I had them each pick 2 must do things and anything else was a bonus. You can't see everything in 1 trip and it's okay if you miss things. We watched rides and shows on you tube to see what they would like best.
5. try to plan things in same part of parks. For example older kids love space mountain my younger ones aren't tall enough. we did speedway together than while they went on space mountain we went on buzz and people mover. When older ones came back they felt they missed out on people mover so we scheduled for another day, but they have to know they can't do everything so they have to pick what is most important.
6. take time just for resorts. Very relaxing by the pool, doing activities at the resorts are great, relaxing and free. Don't feel like every minute has to be at the park. Last trip we went to parks at 5pm or later each night and did the resort all day. Had a blast at the resort and the parks weren't busy at night so we always did what we planned. For example one day we did 11 rides from 7-midnight. Previous trips we went in afternoon and spent the same time frame and only did 1/2 the rides.
7. Make the best of situations you can't control. If it rains go see indoor show, use that time to shop etc... Don't give up and leave the park, some rides are covered and most people leave with rain so parks slow down some.
8. Use the baby swap to your advantage. Rock n Roller Coaster only had a few kids tall enough. They were dying to go on rides and with so many too short we got us all fast pass and asked for baby swap since half kids couldn't go. So adults were switched and kids got to go two times in a row. That saves time versus going on the ride two different days. While they did this ride I took little ones to Beauty and the Beast show. We were covered by the canopy so it didn't feel hot and ate while we watched the show, 1 kid even took a nap.
9. Take your time to enjoy other things besides rides and shows. I remember my 6 year old asking to just pose near the landscape at Epcot. Spent 20 minutes going to different spots so she could pose and take pictures. She loved it, even though it wasn't my ideal fun her enjoyment was why we were there. Sometimes parents get caught up in trying to do what they think their kids want they don't ask them and do something that they kids might enjoy. Same went for doing Animal Kingdom badges. I thought it would be boring but I mentioned it to my kids as a alternative to rides, they had a blast and can't wait to go back and get more badges.

We went to Disney twice last year so I think I was relaxed knowing I had more opportunities and in the past when I went once every 24 months I felt more stressed. Sometimes we as the adults need to just relax. Our kids sense our tension and when we rush them that makes for a hard day.
We had so much fun next trip we added another family with 3 more kids. 1 is a baby (I've gone a few times with babies and already game them tips)
Hope this helps everyone. I have always felt that the more kids we bring the more special we are treated. I only say this because back home we can never go out as such a big party without dirty looks, in Disney all we hear is "Welcome Princess, how is the Prince doing today? etc...) Makes us feel special and so do the kids.
 

SCSteve

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
1. Be flexible
2. Don't be afraid to split up. My husband took the boys on a ride while the girls were in a FP for meeting princesses. You can't always do everything together. 1st trip we stayed together the whole time and it was hard as boys didn't want to do what girls did and vice versa. Made for more cranky kids.
3. You can stay at the parks even if one falls asleep- last trip my 5 year old fell asleep in the stroller. I still bring it just in case someone gets tired. We went to the park for 7 pm and stayed til midnight. He was asleep at 9 that night and slept comfortable in the stroller. My husband and I got to enjoy walking around and talking, but when it came to the rides we took turns going with the kids and someone stayed with my son asleep in the stroller.
4. Relax. Our first trip my husband said I drove him nuts, I wanted to go on so many rides & see shows as I felt the kids needed to do alot. Next trip I had them each pick 2 must do things and anything else was a bonus. You can't see everything in 1 trip and it's okay if you miss things. We watched rides and shows on you tube to see what they would like best.
5. try to plan things in same part of parks. For example older kids love space mountain my younger ones aren't tall enough. we did speedway together than while they went on space mountain we went on buzz and people mover. When older ones came back they felt they missed out on people mover so we scheduled for another day, but they have to know they can't do everything so they have to pick what is most important.
6. take time just for resorts. Very relaxing by the pool, doing activities at the resorts are great, relaxing and free. Don't feel like every minute has to be at the park. Last trip we went to parks at 5pm or later each night and did the resort all day. Had a blast at the resort and the parks weren't busy at night so we always did what we planned. For example one day we did 11 rides from 7-midnight. Previous trips we went in afternoon and spent the same time frame and only did 1/2 the rides.
7. Make the best of situations you can't control. If it rains go see indoor show, use that time to shop etc... Don't give up and leave the park, some rides are covered and most people leave with rain so parks slow down some.
8. Use the baby swap to your advantage. Rock n Roller Coaster only had a few kids tall enough. They were dying to go on rides and with so many too short we got us all fast pass and asked for baby swap since half kids couldn't go. So adults were switched and kids got to go two times in a row. That saves time versus going on the ride two different days. While they did this ride I took little ones to Beauty and the Beast show. We were covered by the canopy so it didn't feel hot and ate while we watched the show, 1 kid even took a nap.
9. Take your time to enjoy other things besides rides and shows. I remember my 6 year old asking to just pose near the landscape at Epcot. Spent 20 minutes going to different spots so she could pose and take pictures. She loved it, even though it wasn't my ideal fun her enjoyment was why we were there. Sometimes parents get caught up in trying to do what they think their kids want they don't ask them and do something that they kids might enjoy. Same went for doing Animal Kingdom badges. I thought it would be boring but I mentioned it to my kids as a alternative to rides, they had a blast and can't wait to go back and get more badges.

We went to Disney twice last year so I think I was relaxed knowing I had more opportunities and in the past when I went once every 24 months I felt more stressed. Sometimes we as the adults need to just relax. Our kids sense our tension and when we rush them that makes for a hard day.
We had so much fun next trip we added another family with 3 more kids. 1 is a baby (I've gone a few times with babies and already game them tips)
Hope this helps everyone. I have always felt that the more kids we bring the more special we are treated. I only say this because back home we can never go out as such a big party without dirty looks, in Disney all we hear is "Welcome Princess, how is the Prince doing today? etc...) Makes us feel special and so do the kids.
Excellent Tips!
 

motherof5

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Excellent Tips!
Thanks hope they help. Forgot to mention have someway to entertain kids in line. could be stuff like finish this Disney song or how many villians can you name etc..., we also eat lunch (sandwiches) in line. Time passes quickly if you have something to do besides focus on the wait.
 
  • Mumketeer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2018
    It is really crummy to have a bad vacation, especially when it is something huge like Disneyworld. I feel bad for you and I can understand that writing about it is probably like therapy. So it would be nice if people could just let you vent because that is all I am sure you want out of this. Smile :wave: summer and warm weather is coming.
     

    lilaclily

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    I am 100% certain that any state inspector would have shut the ride down.... i wish there were inspectors seeing the packed crowds in the theme parks. It has to be dangerous.
     
  • JLCDisMom

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 21, 2017
    Oh boy. That sounds stressful. I'm sorry you've come home feeling depressed. I think there's a lot to be learned by an experience like this and while I sympathize, it seems like your expectations were out of alignment. I can appreciate the sentiment that you shouldn't have to research to have a better vacation, but dropping 13K is no joke, and I can't imagine dropping that amount of cash and not researching to be sure it's worth it (whether it's a trip, a car or whatever). Maybe when the sadness and disappointment lessens, you can begin to piece together what went wrong.

    Is this the best resort for our family? Value rooms are the smallest on property. There is some ownership on your end for picking small rooms.
    Is this restaurant best for our family? These meals are SO expensive, but the menus are online. There's some ownership on your end for picking restaurants your kids won't like.
    Is this the best time of year to visit? A Google search will yield dozens of hits of what to expect of crowds at WDW over Spring Break.

    And then there are non-Disney issues that, I get it, are awful, but not really Disney issues.
    The issues on the road there and back, are not a Disney problem-- as much as they'd spoil my mood. We drive from Canada, so I can sympathize with a long, difficult drive.
    There is nothing you can do about the weather. That's not a Disney problem. Again, I can see how disappointing that would be, but it's just not something Disney is liable for.
    Rude people. What's going on with people these days?! We had a rude woman a few weeks ago lose it on us for removing our ponchos on the bus. Sadly, that's a culture thing and not a Disney thing. It's not Disney's problem someone stole that phone, and it's not Disney's fault that the woman yelled at you (which is undoubtedly rude).

    Is Disney perfect? Of course not. I do think that we can build up Disney trips to be something that they just can't live up to. Hopefully in time you'll be able to keep the good and learn from the bad. I can totally understand that you never want to go back again, but maybe in time you can see that things could have been different if expectations had been adjusted.
    edit: just realized this is an old post. Don't know how I missed that detail ;)
     

    DisDreaming4116

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2017
    OP - I know you said you had an older user name but couldn't log on and that's why you posted under this name and maybe you're monitoring this thread under a different user name. It's been 3 years...have you been back? I hope so and things went better this time.
     

    delilah

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 11, 2004
    I thought the post was from this year. Easter was last Sunday, and the posts were from early March. A lot of people aren't aware that spring break isn't the same as Easter break, and a lot of people don't pay attention to when Easter, the religious holiday, is at all, in much the same way, many Christians don't know when is Passover. Easter break at our school is that the kids get out at noon on Good Friday. As a matter of fact, the Catholic schools in our archdiocese aren't supposed to have spring break during Holy week (the week before Easter) or Easter week (the week after Easter), so spring break for our school is frequently different than that of the public schools. Which is a good thing, while trying to schedule a vacation around that of coworkers. But, because Easter was so late this year, it didn't interfere at all with the secular spring break at the public schools.
     
  • PixieLily

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2017
    You are so right. I am amazed how so many people take anything that disney throws a t them. "Had there been a fire, people would have died or been trampled. It was THAT packed." yep. I hope this never happens but ....
    Last time I went was on a supposedly slower time (feb) and it was obscenely packed as well. Welcome to the new disney.
     

    danielocha30

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 10, 2014
    I think is fair to say everyone have had a bad experience at some point at Disney, we all have battle the heat, the rain and the obnoxious guest. But It was unrealistic to take 10 kids to Disney and expect everything to be smooth. I get it, that price tag was huge and sadly no matter how much you pay Disney “ magic” is not guaranteed. Don’t beat yourself, and learn from it.
     

    heaven2dc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 26, 2003
    Let me preface this by saying, in total we spent slightly over $13,000 for our Disney vacation. I have 10 children, and we stayed at Pop Century for 6 nights. (3 rooms- 2 of my children are under 3 babies)
    I am looking back in horror as day after day we had terrible experiences and realizing I could have just spent all that cash on a car. My savings account is completely depleted and I have nothing to show for it but bad memories, 15 loads of laundry and grumpy kids.

    I consider myself to be the eternal optimist, always looking for silver linings and whatnot. After the 5th day I believe it was, I found myself spending a half a day sleeping alone in my hotel room crying over how terribly bad this trip had gone.

    Let me start off by saying, this was a total surprise to my kids. They came home from school and thought they were going to be spending a night or two bear watching at a nearby local cave system. (Spring Break)

    The trip down, we traveled in a 15 passenger van. We encountered 11 different delays for accidents from Ohio to Florida via I-75. Aside the delays and antsy kids, it was an okay trip down. It rained the entire time and there were tears of joy as we pulled past the welcome to Disney World sign. -- Our air conditioner went out in the van right after we arrived. Thank God we stayed on property and rarely had to get in the van for anything until we left.

    First night there, we check in and I have to say were literally packed like sardines in Pop Century's rooms. I would not suggest them for more than 2 -3 people. We went into the Magic Kingdom. HUGE mistake. Ive been to Disney over a dozen times in my life, and never ever have I seen crowds as horrible as they were. We were herded like cattle through main street and into Tomorrowland. We had literally no other choice to go anywhere else. The very first ride we go on, my sister had her Samsung Galaxy phone in her pocket- a phone she spent over $500 on complete with a beautiful swarvoski crystal case. 20 seconds after she steps off the ride she turns and says, Oh no! my phone must be on the seat, its slipped out of my pocket!-- the cast members check each car as they come in... and surprise, surprise.. someone has picked that bad boy up and kept it. These first few events cast a dark shadowy mood over the first few days of our trip. We go to get on the next ride because we have a fast pass and its down. The wait times are all way too high to actually wait in line anywhere if we want to make it on the NEXT ride for fast pass. So we meander around a bit and wait for our fp time for mine train. At that point, the rest of the party gets in line and I walk our double stroller around with the two little ones in our party. I stayed to the far right at all times and attempted to stay out of everyone's way. At one point, a woman stomps past me, turns and yells, "I'm sick a G-d d*n tired of all these strollers and cars being in my way!" right in my face. I'm feeling like, this is certainly NOT the happiest place on earth. My party exits the ride and we all agree to just go back to the hotel. Everyone is feeling disappointed and let down by our experience. 6 hours in the park and only 2 rides the first day in. We stop at City Hall and pray someone has turned the phone in. Of course not.

    Second day we went to Animal Kingdom. It rained and was unseasonably hot- 87 degrees in March. The crowds are again, absolutely obscene. Once again one of our FP rides is down during our fp time, so we end up riding the safari and dinosaur. That. is. literally. it. We went to our restaurant and waited for well over an hour even though we had reservations before we finally said forget it and bought some ice cream from a cart. The kids were covered in melting sticky ice cream so we decide to just scrap the day and head back to the hotel to wash up and swim. No one wants to go back. They actually get very upset when we even talk about going back.

    Third day we were at Hollywood studios. The lowest crowd levels we encounter anywhere. We ride Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Toys story- eat at the commissary and catch a Muppet show and then call it a day. It rains for several hours.

    Fourth day was Epcot. The crowds, again, off the hook bad. It rains- badly. We ride The living seas, and half our party gets separated after we get off- there are so just SO many people everywhere, lining the walls of the observation area- and we lose our 7 year old who we got separated from for a good 10 minutes. I was nearly hysterical before we finally were reunited. We did space ship earth and the land. We go to eat at our restaurant and its once again overbooked. Everyone is hungry, its raining. We dip into Marrakesh Moroccan place to eat. $180 later and we still have several hungry people who couldn't stomach the food. We take the ferry across the lake and high tail it back to our hotel. By this point, some of the kids are on the bus crying about how this is NOT what they were expecting. I am heartbroken and disappointed. Every single opportunity we can, we are trying to lighten the mood- play fun games, buy little treats and souvenirs. Its lightning and raining so badly, we cannot swim. The kids stay in the room watching tv the rest of the day.

    Fifth day we are back at Magic Kingdom. It rains again. I send the rest of my party into the park without me for the first 3-4 hours. I am in bed, literally depressed out of my mind at how bad this entire trip had gone. After housekeeping stops by a 2nd time and notices my flushed, obvious I-had-been-crying face, she gave me a big hug. I decide to suck it up and make the best of whats left. I meet up with my family. We have a fast pass for Haunted Mansion and can I say, this is by leaps and bounds one of the worst experiences we have there. We are herded like cattle through the entire line queue- and there is literally no space whatsoever between people. Had we been in literally any other situation, people would questionably been accused of assault. My 9 year old son is literally smashed between a womans breasts and my sister speaks up and says something to her about having some decency. The woman says, "No one has room- It's Disneyworld!" and shoves him away from her. I am furious at this point and my non-confrontational side fades away and mamabear's claws come out. I shout back at her, "how would you like it if I shoved YOUR child!?" I was SO upset at this point. I am 100% certain that any state inspector would have shut the ride down. Had there been a fire, people would have died or been trampled. It was THAT packed. The 13 of us in my party were easily smooshed into a tight 5x5 ft square. A couple of the kids were crying, "no nevermind we dont want to go on this"- not because of the theme, they were fine with that, but because of the scary way we were all packed so tightly together. (For the record, later that night near 11pm, I take the older 5 kids on that ride again to assess the situation once more and the crowds were absolutely no where even halfway as bad. We all had acceptable space between us.) After that very first ride, a couple of the kids beg to go back to the room. One even says, "I just dont like this place. Its not like how it was in the videos"- a few of the kids stay behind with an adult and watch youtube videos the rest of the day.
    We ride another 2 or 3 rides then head back, as the rain is too heavy to continue in the park- even with ponchos. We return that night with the oldest kids to ride space mountain (where 3 college aged boys in front of us made fat jokes obnoxiously about every overweight person they saw for 90 minutes and shined a laser pointer in everyones eyes) then splash mountain, which they genuinely loved- despite the rain.

    The last day we are there, again it rains for a few hours in the afternoon. The crowds arent as bad as they had been the prior few days but still thick. We ride a handful of rides, grab a bite to eat and head back to the room to return later since the park was open until 2 am. That night we come back briefly, but apparently so does the rest of the park and lines are once again very long. By 1 am, we leave- completely defeated.

    The ride home, we encounter many more accidents. Forcing us to stay in Georgia just south of Macon. We are woken up at 7am-ish as a tornado passes through. I felt a little like Alanis Morissette... isn't it ironic? at this point, nothing could surprise me anymore. Until I get home and realize our card had been charged several times for various purchases at the art of disney, and the pizza place in Disney. The hotel in Georgia, overcharges each of our rooms by $55 each room as well and being Sunday I cant do anything about it. I total up the amount spent (assuming we get duplicate charges removed from our debit card-) $13,155 for a week of absolute hell and disappointment.

    I love Disneyworld, but its very very likely we will never ever return.

    In the meantime, we are out a ton of money. We paid up front for everything and had been saving for this trip for over 2 years. I feel absolutely robbed.
    I just found this post and am so sorry that you had such a rough time on your vacation! I did see that you posted a pic after you returned from your trip announcing that you were having a baby and wanted to belatedly congratulate you! Glad to see you were smiling in the pic and that you were happy in that moment!

    Hope you have had a second chance to want to return to Disneyworld! We've returned several times since our first visit in 1994 (when my husband passed away in the hotel room of a heart attack before we had a chance to even go to the parks which was hard for me and our five kids but harder in that it was his dream vacation and he never got to visit Disney.) I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that you will visit one day!!
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    I know how old this thread is, but I think it's worth posting on it if we can all help someone else avoid feeling similar depression after a trip gone wrong. For instance, the earlier post with all of the great tips for traveling with a big group was wonderful. :)

    That being said, I really think it's worthwhile to warn kids ahead of time about the realities of going to WDW. Unfortunately, it's hard to do that if you decide to make it a surprise trip, which is why we personally opt not to do that. Our kids are part of the process of planning the entire time. They help come up with our plans B, C, D, etc., for when things go wrong, too. Because we know things will go wrong and we want to be able to bounce back from those things as easily as possible.

    If you opt to surprise the kids, then I really think, especially in such a large group, that you need to have some more recharge time built-on, and you need to choose resort space suitable to your size group. If you can only manage to get 2 adults with a large number of kids, then 'd personally suggest paying more for a suite and stay less days to keep to your same budget. (Although, if at all possible, I'd suggest a smaller kid to adult ratio for a trip like WDW.)

    I'm really sorry the OP and her group had such a bad time of it. But I hope anyone else reading can find that there's something in the replies that they can use to make their trip turn out better.
     

    Flamingomo

    Jack Sparrow's Wench...and proud of it.
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2007
    We too had a horrible vacation once and when I posted on here about it, I was ripped to shreds. This should be a place to give all feedback, good and bad, but it seems no one here wants to hear anything negative about Disney. We save for these trip and spend a small fortune and we want them to be magical, especially for our kids. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I hope someday you will be able to give it another shot when the kids are older or off peak time. We always go early December , October or February, but even than once we had a really bad time, some was Disney's fault, but 2 of my kids and my husband also got sick. so my was also a firestorm of crazy. But we have been back a couple of times since and are hoping to go again next year.
     

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