Recently we took the family to Walt Disney World in Florida. Actually, it was Julie's parents that took us to Florida. It was quite the trip. Disney World is always fun and the kids had a blast. Unfortunately it was especially cold and rainy for the so-called "Sunshine State" and we all brought back more than souvenirs from the Germiest Place on Earth -- namely a nasty, nasty gastrointestinal virus and some lingering colds. Despite a week of diarrhea and vomiting that followed, the trip was worth it, in large part due to my wife's diligent planning before we left.
Not long ago, the Multiples and More website asked for tips about traveling with multiples. Having just done so, I've got some sage advice here for anyone heading to Disney World with multiple ankle biters.
Tips for Traveling with Multiple Kids
Tip #1: Leave the kids at home. Seriously. Like there's any amount of tips that can make major travel with a bunch of toddlers easy. Take the money you would have spent on plane tickets and theme park admission and hire a good babysitter.
Tip #2: If you're going to stay at a resort like Disney World, consider sending yourself a care package prior to arriving. It's cheaper than what the airlines charge for luggage and you'll save yourself the burden of carrying even more stuff to the airport and on the plane. If you're still insistent on bringing the kids on vacation, it might not be a bad idea to just ship them to the hotel, too.
Tip #3: OK, if you're going to ignore Tip #1 and go through with this, make sure you don't try to leave for your trip in the middle of a blizzard. There's nothing like planning on entertaining kids for two hours on a plane and then actually spending four hours on that plane. Not to mention, it's extra fun to load and unload the kids in and out of the car in two feet of snow.
Tip #4: Get your hillbilly on before going through security: strip your kids down to their diapers. Since two-year olds pose a major threat to national security, they will be required to get out of their strollers, remove their jackets and take off their shoes before being processed by security. I mean, since it's so easy to get multiple kids dressed in shoes and coats at home, doing it amid the chaos of an airport security gate should be a piece of cake, right? I say go all out and just let the kiddies follow you around the airport barefoot and in their diapers from the get go. Plus, it makes it easier to change their diapers on the chairs at the gate (see Tip #5) in front of everyone right before you get on the plane.
Tip #5: While waiting at the gate, nod your head and stare unblinkingly at random non-breeding passengers. It will put the fear of God in them as they visualize spending the next few hours of their lives trapped in a flying sardine can with your brood of germ carrying, seat kicking, scream machines. Might as well get your dirty looks in now -- you can be certain it will be a parade of dirty looks in your direction later as your fellow travelers consider how they would much rather be flying with card carrying al-Quaeda members since it's socially acceptable to tackle them if they get out of hand on a plane.
Tip #6: By the time you actually get your whole family and all your carry on luggage on the plane without the assistance of a single bystander, you'll probably be feeling a little stressed. A nice way to relax is by having a good laugh. I recommend taking one of the kids back to the airplane bathroom and checking out the baby changing tables. Hilarious! Tinkerbell couldn't change Tom Thumb's diaper on one of those things. Now quickly get back to your seat so you can continue praying that none of your kids drop a major deuce while mid-flight.
Tip #7: "I have had it with these motherf*%#ing kids on this motherf*%#ing plane!" No real tip here. I just hope you've amassed enough good karma points for a flight without diarrhea, vomiting, earaches or douchebag passengers that act worse than two year olds.
Tip #8: Remember that the flight was the easy part. Don't get sucked into a false sense of security as you exit the plane. Kids are dumb and they might have a hard time grasping the fact that the plane didn't just land at Disney World. You've still got luggage hauling, transportation arranging, and a long Mickey Mouse-less ride to your hotel. Have fun! Oh, and if you have the chance to opt for Disney's "Magical Express" service, do it. It's worth selling a kidney to afford it.
Tip #9: I hope you sent yourself that care package and it's waiting for you in your room. And I hope you included a bottle of vodka or rum in said package.
Tip #10: Disney only shows Disney owned television channels in their guest rooms, so that means no Yo Gabba Gabba fix for your two-year old and no after hours Cinemax for you. Pack accordingly.
Tip #11: When getting around the small metropolis otherwise known as Disney World via their expansive bus system, always make sure you GET ON THE RIGHT FRIGGIN' BUS. Because only a complete moron (or a husband and wife super moron team) would get on the wrong bus and turn a 5 minute ride to the Animal Kingdom into a forty minute tour of all the Disney parks you won't be visiting that day.
Tip #12: If you didn't listen to Tip #1, then remember you're doing this for the kids. And just keep telling yourself that you'll get to take a real vacation again when you're fifty. If you last that long.