Here at Disney Dork Tom, we aim to be practical. “How can I prepare for a Disney trip” is by far one of the most frequent questions that I get via e-mail and social media. So, we gave that question some thought within the context of “what if visiting Disney was like the Olympics”. What would the events be and how would we train for them to get the gold? We put together this list of practical (albeit unconventional) ways that you can train like an Olympian before your visit to Disney.
Our first event, of course, is walking. You will do a fantastic amount of walking during any Disney trip, to the tune of at least a few miles a day. In some cases, like a day at EPCOT, you may walk closer to 7 or 8 miles (or more!). That’s why walking before your trip is absolutely essential. But, regular walking isn’t going to cut it. You need to walk in an environment that somewhat mimics a Disney park. You need an environment that has lots of people and can be slightly disorienting. For that reason, we suggest driving to a (somewhat) local shopping mall you aren’t familiar with on busy weekend days and exploring for a few hours. It’ll hone your ability to navigate unfamiliar areas throw hordes of people and condition your feet for all the miles you’ll walk at Disney.
This is more of an issue for parents visiting with children. While at Disney, your kids will be inundated by things they want to do, see, eat, drink, or buy. It’ll be a non stop barrage of ‘want’. You need to build up your children’s defenses to these stimuli a bit before they arrive at Disney otherwise they’ll go crazy (which means you’ll either go crazy turning them down or broke accommodating them). The best training for this is to take your kids to the local Animal Shelter every weekend and introduce them to a few puppies. Once they’ve fallen completely in love, calmly express to them the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. Yes, the first few times, they’ll flip out. Slowly but surely, they’ll learn to live without needing every cool thing they come in contact with.
The next big Olympic event at Disney parks will be the lines. Painstakingly waiting in hour+ lines to ride your favorite attractions or visit your favorite characters will quickly drive any untrained Disney Olympian mad. To help you prepare for this, we suggest visiting your local DMV (without an appointment) during lunch time. Wait in the line, have a quick chat with the staff when your number is (finally) called, then rinse and repeat until night fall. This is kind of like when people run with weights on their legs, so that when they go back to running normally, they’ll feel like they are running on air. By waiting in endless DMV lines all day, the lines at Disney will feel like a breeze – and – will have the added bonus of an actual payoff at the end (the ride, the parade, the meet and greet, etc.).
By now I am sure you’ve heard that Disney visits aren’t cheap. Even when you scrimp and save, it’s still going to cost you a pretty penny. We had to brainstorm a way to help you train for this event without actually wasting your money. So, we found a great solution. When you go shopping for anything that is non-perishable, buy double the amount of what you need, and when you get home, hide the duplicates until you’re back from Disney. This will train you to embrace the fact that everything at Disney will cost twice as much as it does in every day life. Added bonus: when you get home, you’ll have a nice stash of products that you don’t have to go out and buy, too.
I know this may be hard to believe… but people do melt down at Disney parks and it isn’t always the kids. There is no way to predict who, when, why, or how these meltdowns may occur, but they do happen, and you typically don’t want to be there when they do if you’re not prepared. For this event, you may have to contact your local city and ask them if you can do a ride-along with their parking enforcement department. Invariably, these people must be finishing up a ticket when someone scurries back to their car, and that inevitably must lead to an adult meltdown. Closely monitor how the parking attendant handles and diffuses this situation. Then, apply these techniques to your Disney trip when you witness a meltdown.
What say you, fellow Disney Dorks? Any events you think are crucial to training like an Olympian for your visit to Disney?
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