by David Juart

I’ve wracked my brain for the past week trying to put together a “Top 5 Touring Tips” or a “Top 5 Backpack Tips” or a “Top 5 Must Haves in the Parks” list, all with little success. I could come up with five, sure, but some were just filler (much like this intro) and it didn’t leave me with a “WOW! I really helped someone today!” feeling. So, I decided to put the best ones together to form the Five Random Tips for Dads While Attacking the Parks. Who knows, maybe it’ll become a series. Cheers!

5. Eat breakfast in the parks BEFORE Ropedrop – Excluding the birth of your children, I don’t believe there is a moment that comes as close to perfection as walking down Main Street USA in an empty park. It feels as if this Disney experience was planned just for you, with the background loop playing, Castle pictures without randoms in the foreground, there’s nothing like it. And you can have this experience at every park with a little planning. Make reservations for breakfast at 8:15 or so in the morning at places like Crystal Palace, Akershus, Tusker House and Hollywood and Vine. What better way to start off
a day than with a character breakfast of your choosing, an empty park for pictures, and being in the most opportune position at Rope Drop to head to your favorite attraction/princess. Do it once and it’ll become a staple of your touring plan. FOR DAD’S WITH DAUGHTERS – This works well with Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique also. Book the earliest reservation you can 180 days out, and with any luck you’ll be able to snap pictures of your little princess with only the Castle in the background, not Brazilian tourists.

4. Moisture wicking shirts – Dry Fit, Under Armour, Tech T’s – Whatever brand you fancy, they are life savers for the Moisture Producing Inclined among us. Honestly, I sweat when it’s 50 degrees out, so you can just imagine what the July heat does to this guy. This was the best investment I made prior to leaving on our last trip. A t-shirt for the morning, then a golf shirt for dinner, all moisture wicking. Start stocking up now for your next trip.

3. Backpack with Hydration Bladder – Ok I lied, THIS was the best investment I made prior to my last trip. I searched and searched for the best way to carry water into the parks and landed on a hydration backpack. Now I was branded Scuba Steve for the entirety of the trip by my wife, but the remarks bounced right off of my well-hydrated skin. There are plenty of makes and manufacturers so shop around and find one you like and that fits your budget. With a simple internet search I found a new, brand-name pack for $50 after shipping. Plus they usually have lots of pockets for necessities like cameras, batteries, first aid kit, Keys to the World, pins to trade, CLIF Bars, extra clothes for kids, ponchos and whatever else you usually carry into the parks.

2. Take a laptop – I know a lot of people want to disconnect while at Disney, and I’m all for it. Hear me out. We’ve all lost things, important things. Personally, I’d hate to lose the pictures on my camera when I drop it off the side of a boat in Small World. Bring your laptop along and back up your camera cards/video recorders nightly to ensure the fidelity of your memories. And if I can offer one more piece of backup advice, look into an online backup service such as Carbonite. Most can be had for under $60/year, and will back up all the files on your computer automatically. It’s worth it. One Final Note: Even
if you’re against having a computer with you on vacation, at least switch out your camera cards daily so that you don’t lose an entire week’s worth of pictures on the last day because some Pirate scared you while cruising the Caribbean.

1. Bring your own Glow Sticks/Necklaces/Bracelets – This is more of a money saving tip. For the price of one spinny-glowy thing in the parks, you can stock up on glow necklaces and bracelets at the local dollar store before you go and get enough that will last your little ones the entire trip. Each night my daughter looked like a florescent, glowing Mr. T weighed down by iridescent jewelry. Plus she got her “give” on and shared with other children randomly as we walked through the parks. Save money and teach a life lesson – WIN!

Do you have any random Disney tips you’d like to share? Do so in the comments below. You can reach us on Twitter @DisDadsPodcast, or me directly @dpjuart

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