April 10, 2012
April 10, 2012
- Macaroni Kid Does Disney!
- Make Your Next Visit Extra Special
- Smooth Sailing on Disney Fantasy!
- Where to Stay: Wyndham Bonnet Creek
- Where to Stay: Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Where to Stay: Disneyland
- EPCOT: Disney’s Hidden Treasure
- The Ultimate Disney World Planner
- On Our Radar - Disney in Hawaii
- Join us in May for a Family Travel Expo
By: Joyce Shulman
We recently had the opportunity to interview the creators of The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner. This 350-page book has every tip a Disney World-traveling family might need. It’s the kind of book you markup and highlight before the trip, carry with you while you’re there, re-read while waiting on lines and scribble your thoughts, plans and impressions in the margin. And when you’re done, the dog-earned book will serve as a great memento of your visit.
It would seem obvious that creators Susan and Simon Veness would be able to provide some excellent Disney advice, so we thought we’d hit them with a few of the questions we hear most often.
Macaroni Kid: what's the best age to take your kids to Disney for the first time?
Susan and Simon: We are often asked this question and, like all answers that have to do with children, the answer is, it depends on the child. Our oldest boy made his first visit at 6 months, and with his wide-eyed sense of wonder, the memories from that trip are priceless. Every age has its good points and its challenges. If we were pinned down on an age, 5-6 years old is a great time for a first visit.
MK: how far in advance do you suggest families begin to plan for a Disney visit?
S&S: Advance planning is crucial, as many things need to be reserved in advance. Dining can be booked as early as 180 days ahead, and the most popular character meals — Chef Mickey’s, the Princess meals, Crystal Palace —are unlikely to be available if you don’t book early. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a spur-of-the-moment trip. But the longer you have to get a grip on the vast array of choice and challenges, the better equipped you’ll be to relax and let the magic find you.
MK: How many days? If I don't have two weeks, is it even worth going?
S&S: How many people have two weeks’ vacation anymore? While it’s wonderfully relaxing to have a longer vacation, it certainly isn’t necessary when it comes to having a great time. Five days is really the minimum you’ll need to get an overview of what Walt Disney World has to offer, seven is better, but any amount of time in the parks is better than no time in the parks!
MK: what was the impetus for the planner? What need did you feel you needed to fill?
S&S: The Hidden Magic Planner is a ‘new breed of guide book’, giving readers a much fuller appreciation for the stories each park and each attraction tells. We always say, “If you don’t know the story you’re just taking another ride.” For example, instead of describing Splash Mountain as “a flume ride through the world of Br’er Rabbit,” we take you through the journey as if you were on the ride and in the story. Knowing that each drop you experience along the way represents a thickening of the plot, each scene is from a specific story told by Uncle Remus in Song of the South, and knowing where to look to see special little ‘hidden magic’ within the attraction takes it from a ride you’re passively experiencing to something you’re fully engaged in. Along with all of the practical information visitors need, we also include backstory on the parks and resorts, Reality Checks that highlight solutions to challenges, Rookie Mistakes to help visitors avoid frustrations, and, of course, lots of Hidden Magic to look for as you tour. It’s a guidebook that goes beyond the superficial, giving readers a depth of understanding that will enhance their enjoyment of all Walt Disney World has to offer.
MK: If you were to give a family traveling to Disney for the first time, with three kids eight, six and two, just ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
S&S: The best thing families with young children can do is slow down. Yes, you paid a lot for this vacation and you want to squeeze every drop out of it, but you’ll enjoy it more and remember it better if you slow down and take it at your children’s pace. If your two-year-old wants to play in the pop-jet splash area for an hour, do it. If your eight-year-old keeps asking, “when can we go back to the pool,” go. If your six-year-old is afraid of Haunted Mansion, believe them (and get them a light-up toy to vanquish the dark corners!). The most priceless memories you make with your children will come from allowing them to be children. See the parks through their eyes, go at their pace, stop and smell a rose or two, and remember it’s a vacation, not a forced march. These fleeting years with youngsters are so precious, and you have years and years ahead of you when they’ll be ready to take on the parks full-force. But for now, slow your footsteps, plan to do Dumbo four or five times, and watch as your children’s eyes light up with the magic.
© 2013 Macaroni Kid, LLC