We can both sit here and pretend that your children are going to be absolutely perfect during your entire trip to Disney and that the likelihood of a misbehavior “incident” is small, but Rad Dad doesn’t deal in the currency of fantasy — only truth. And he also apparently refers to himself in third person…
Rad Disney Dad
With how often the contributors to this blog visit Disney, it is inevitable that we will sometimes have a less than stellar experience. It could be the weather, the crowds, or (however unlikely) the service, but probability dictates that we will all at some point have a negative experience befall us. But what if that negative experience somehow transforms into a beloved memory? Is that even possible?
People’s opinions on Epcot vary about as much as their opinions on politics, religion, and which Kardashian is actually the worst (does Kanye count?), so some of you might fervently agree with my picks while some of you will vehemently disagree. Let me know what you think in the comments down below. I’m also going to start incorporating alternative rides as suggestions in this episode, so let me know if you agree or disagree with my suggestions there as well.
Did you know that most people who visit the most magical theme park in the world share a number of characteristics? Someone should really categorize them and then make a list that half mocks them for the entertainment of millions — or the three of you reading my article who aren’t directly related to me in some way.
We all do it. We go on vacation and get talked into buying trinkets and baubles that have little to no relevance to the vacation, the location, or the experiences had while there. We give in to the moment and walk away with useless junk that clutters a space in our homes until it is eventually broken or thrown away. Disney is no different. They’ll happily sell you an LED glow stick that will promptly stop working the minute you get back to your resort. So, what kind of souvenirs should you buy instead?
Hollywood Studios is undergoing one of the most aggressive expansions in Disney history, which is going to have a dramatic impact on how the park is perceived, but until recently, Hollywood Studios was a half-day experience — a fun place to spend some time and ride some classics, but not necessarily worth the full-day treatment. Considering the amazing new attractions that have recently opened — as well as those coming on the distant horizon — let’s take a look at what are now undoubtedly the four most overrated attractions in the park.
For many of us Disney-obsessed adults, the constant implication that Disney is only for kids and that we’re somehow suffering through our family trips is alarmingly common. It’s almost as though people think that just because you’re a grown human person it’s somehow impossible to enjoy Disney in the same way that your children do. Let’s go ahead and squash this myth right now.
We’ve all been there, forced to travel with friends or family members whose enthusiasm for Disney is — shall we say — somewhat less than yours. How can you salvage what you consider to be the full Disney experience when you’re faced with such a suboptimal situation? I have a few ideas (and I would also like to apologize in advance to anyone named Nancy)…
If we’re being honest with ourselves, there are more than a few rides that we typically avoid when visiting the parks, and there are still more that — while considered popular by many guests — do not live up to the wait times (and/or hype) associated with them. I thought I would explore this topic in a series of Rad Rants about the most overrated attractions in Walt Disney World, starting with those in Animal Kingdom.
While we have incredibly talented photographers here on the ZADD Crew Blog who constantly amaze and inspire us with their artistic visions of Walt Disney World, it is highly unlikely that you will have such talent following you around during your days at the parks unless you are some sort of social media impresario or a wealthy, narcissistic weirdo. So how can you produce similar results even if your knowledge of photography amounts to little more than pressing the shutter button on your phone?
If you’ve been following Nicole Ellington’s blogs, you’ve probably learned about a wide variety of ways to keep your kids entertained while visiting the parks (check her work out here); however, I recently noticed a gaping hole in Nicole’s extensive body of work.
I’ve already talked about my need for speed on here, so you might imagine that waiting in line for character signatures runs contrary to the goal of maximizing time within the parks — and you’d be right. There is a wide variety of characters you can meet in the Walt Disney World parks, so how can you possibly fill your children’s autograph books with pictures and signatures and still have time to experience all the parks have to offer?
Though we are born and bred southerners, I do not consider our expectations in regards to manners and courtesy to be anything special. We feel as though manners are a matter of common sense: treat others with respect and it will be returned. Though a trip to the parks can be exciting — especially if it’s a rare occurrence — it’s important to remember that you are one family among tens of thousands of people. Here are some basic tips to help you avoid making a social faux pas that at the very least could be irritating to your fellow guests — or at the most could make everyone else in the parks want to toss you off a freeway overpass.
How we feel about Disney attractions exists on a sort of sliding scale. On the one end, you have rides such as Space Mountain, an indelible classic beloved by nearly all who experience it, but on the other end you have rides such as Stitch’s Great Escape, which is the theme park equivalent of stepping in dog poo. With bare feet.
This one might be polarizing to some of you, so let’s establish some ground rules right from the start: I do not condone being rude or shoving past others, especially in line, and I also do not condone “cheating” in the form of disobeying cast members’ instructions. If ropes or tape have been applied to the walkways to form a path or cast members specifically instruct guests not to go through a certain area, these basic rules must be obeyed. Are we good? Excellent. Let’s talk speed.
Tips. We give them out freely on this blog. We’ve got tips on maximizing time, saving money, and staying safe and hydrated. But there are some things that just need to be said, and as the resident coach here on the ZADD Crew blog, I’m going to throw out five tips that you may or may not know about, along with the very blunt reasons for why you’ll want to consider employing them on your next magical vacation. Here are five important tips I’ve learned over the years — some, the hard way — such as…
We were all rookies once, wandering wide-eyed around the Magic Kingdom and continually taking steps in one direction, only to think better of it and start off in a different direction — which was probably the wrong direction. We arrived at the parks too late, stayed stationary too long, and were too easily flustered by the myriad opportunities and options this wonderful, magical place presented. We hurried to rides with typically low wait times while saving other, far more popular, rides until later — only to find their weight times stretching all the way until a quarter to never. Trust me, I might go by Rad Disney Dad on this blog and on Instagram, but back in 2010, I was anything but. I was a Disney rookie, a “noob” as they
say in the gamer world, and Rad Mom and I arrived at Walt Disney World for the first time with only the faintest idea of what we’d be doing for the next two days. (Can you believe that we thought we could accomplish anything worthwhile in just two days?!) Though subsequent trips saw improvements in our planning and preparation, it took a good three or four trips before we achieved anything even remotely resembling the (self-proclaimed) Rad status we enjoy today. Perhaps I can spare you from making some of our more facepalm-worthy mistakes. Or just give you a chance to laugh at our expense.
Full disclosure: The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar film, hands down. I absolutely love the film and the story it tells, so it was difficult for me to manage my expectations going into a sequel I’ve been hoping for since 2004. It’s weird to think that the first time I saw The Incredibles Rad Mom and I were newly married, the Rad girls didn’t exist, and Pixar was playing it safe establishing some of its earliest hits. Flash forward fourteen years and I’m sitting in the theater with the entire Rad Fam waiting excitedly for the sequel to one of my favorite movies to begin. It’s a surreal feeling, and it reminds us why great movies stand the test of time and should be shared with those you love, becoming pop culture bookmarks on the journey of life.
It’s hard not to be just a bit envious of the families who are clearly experiencing Disney for the first time with their children. The excitement on their kids’ faces, the laughter, the giggles, the wonder and joy captured in the entirety of the
experience seem to be emotional beats that we can only feel once before they become glistening core memories influencing our islands of personality. I remember when the Rad girls were that young, absorbing the grandeur of Walt’s vision for the very first time. I’ll never forget Rad Ella dancing with Woody and Jessie (Jessie was her absolute favorite at the time) or seeing Rad Hallie lose her mind when we walked through the archway into the Magic Kingdom and there, greeting guests at the base of the flagpole, was Daisy. She was beside herself, and her little two-and-a-half-year-old mind must have been replaying only one thought over and over again: it’s real. All of it. Every bit of it. It’s completely and totally real.
Since we’re all still getting to know each other, I figured now was the perfect time to drop some Rad Dad confessions on you. Some of these confessions might be conversation starters (let me know what you think in the comments) while others might be points of agreement that are generally accepted by the Disney community but not necessarily vocalized in civilized company. Fortunately for you, I am many things, but civilized is not one of them, so I will gladly call a spade a spade if it so deserves the moniker of a spade.