What I learned from a week at Disney (with five children under 10).
By Hannah Wallace
The volume of a four-year-old increases exponentially the earlier the hour.
Crowd navigation is the name of the game at theme parks, so the excess of strollers carving their way through the masses and ramming your heels starts to grate pretty quickly. It’s one thing if you’ve brought your own stroller to accommodate your two-year-old; it’s another thing entirely if you rent a stroller from the park for your 13-year-old to play her PSP. If your child can walk to the park from the parking lot; if he’s taller than 40 inches; if he has a driver’s license; if he’s studying for his doctoral defense, chances are, he DOES NOT NEED A STROLLER. God. It’s like the damn spaceship in Wall-E.

Bright, matching, tie-dye shirts help tremendously when trying to locate the other 11 people in your group. Probably because they’re the only ones in the park not saying things like, “Hey, you guys together? Hahahaha!” Yeah. Hilarious.

In a remarkable show of evolutionary specialization, the Cheetah Club Clan's green tie-dye allows the family to blend with Disney's Animal Kingdom foliage.

When it comes to narrated rides, I’ll take an animatronic character over a live “actor” any day. Because I don’t get embarrassed for the animatronic character.
Epcot is…fun? Really? The World Showcase tour of nations—the side of the park I wanted nothing to do with as a child—is now my happiest place on earth. And I thought Pleasure Island was cool; these people serve imported beer (varying by country) from carts on the street. At noon. I mean, the internationally themed gift shops are fantastic (and there’s some educational stuff, too? I think?), but I’ll vote for any amusement park that serves me shepherd’s pie and Guinness for lunch.
Something tells me the real-life Buzz Lightyear character’s “battery charging” breaks might have something to do with oxygen and IV fluids.
I am not as terrified of roller coasters as I thought. Well, no, change that: I AM terrified of roller coasters, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some of them…if I can avoid stroking out in the hour-long line. I mean, I hate the big drops. (Seriously: hate. That fluttery feeling automatically tenses my every muscle. It’s like being electrocuted.) So I still dislike Splash Mountain, but Hollywood Studios’ Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster was a blast. My first upside-down ride!
That being said, when you’ve been wandering around the MagicKingdom for six hours, there is no better ride than the slow-moving Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
Disney brings out the child in everyone:


CCB and his brother. I had to break out the censor bar,

as I assume buttcrack is not blog-appropriate.