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A Military Family Goes to Disney

Meg Chaney

Over Spring Break, we suprised our kiddos with a trip to Disney. I don't know about all of you, but my husband's job in the military makes it hard for us to plan trips. We honestly didn't know if he'd be in town that week, or if he'd even be able to take leave. This makes it harder to plan a big trip, especially to somewhere like Disney. People make dinner reservations months out, and reserve Fast Passes for rides 1 to 2 months out. My perfecitonist/planner brain was going a little crazy with not being able to plan. 

But even this turned out fine in the end.

It was a great lesson in not worrying and not over planning for a trip.

Our biggest tip for the parks? Arrive early and leave at lunch time. We really took Disney in small bursts, made a few ride reservations (Fast Passes), and then left the park when those were finished. Or at some parks, we just enjoyed the sights, had a nice lunch, and then when back to our hotel. 



Shades of Green is a military resort located right on Disney property. The location really is ideal. Each room has either a balcony or a walk out. We were on the bottom floor, just around the corner from the splash pad, kid friendly pool, and playground. We've never stayed at a resort with such a nice pool! I also loved how close Shades of Green was to the Magic Kingdom! The shuttle bus was there in just a few minutes. It's also in walking distance to the Polynisian Resort, so a few times we were able to just take the short trek between the two resorts, and make use of the Monorail & boats that cross the lake between the resorts & the Magic Kingdom. Really, the location couldn't have been nicer! Only downside of Shades of Green? The buffet downstairs was just decent. Enough to fill us up after a super busy day, but not spectacular. But when it's close to bedtime, descent meal near your room is enough! But, their  little cafe serves Starbucks, so that may make up for it :)



I'm sure my little ones would answer Magic Kingdom, but my favorite park was Epcot. And honestly, my kids seemed to really enjoy our day hereas well.  The Flower Festival was in full swing! The displays were beautiful, and there were plenty of things for the kiddos to interact with along the way. They had a little passport book to stamp in each "country" we went too, and also enjoyed the butterfly garden and the musical playground. The kiddos were especially excited when we saw the Eifffel Tower in the French section! Epcot is the one place that I honestly could have gone back to for another day, I loved it so much!



We enjoyed two different character meals, Holywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios) & Tusker House (Animal Kingdom). The food was excellent at both, and the kiddos really loved meeting Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy & Goofy! It was fun eating, wondering when the next character would show up at our table! Definitely less stressful than standing in lines at the parks! The price of these meals wasn't cheap, but it really is a special experience, at least once.  I noticed at Animal Kingdom & Epcot that there were many quick dinning places with yummy sounding food. Next time, we may make less reservations and just depend on the quick service a little more! It's part of the adventure! 


I was really happy with our Fast Passes. The Fast Past+ system means that you can use the fast line for rides throughout your trip. You can only reserve 3 in advance, per day, and those 3 have to be in the same park. 

Our first morning at the Magic Kingdom, we used our Fast Passes to meet Princess Rapunzel, ride Dumbo, and hop onto the Buzz Light Year Ride (at lunch time, when lines were very long). 

After we used up our Fast Passees, we were able to book more. We grabbed up It's A Small World, right as the park was starting to get crazy. Then we left for lunch and naptime. 

The only thing I would have done different? I probably wouldn't have scheduled my first Fast Pass for 8:30 AM. The lines really weren't that crazy yet. The Fast Passes closer to Noon really were helpful. We came back to the Magic Kingdom a different afternoon for a few more Fast Passes.  People were standing in line for the Winnie the Pooh ride for more than an hour, in a few  minutes, we had seats. Definitely nice with littles! 




There's so much more I could share, but I'll leave you with this: as with any family trip, give each other a lot of grace. Remember that any given day won't go perfectly, little ones will still have meltdowns, plans just won't work out, you probably will all be a little tired at the end of your trip, such is life! But precious time was spent together as a family. That's really all that matters. I'm sure it it will be quite awhile before we try to take on Disney again. That time, our kiddos may not need naps, we probably won't be pushing a stroller, we probably will stand in line for thexample big rides. I'm excited for trips when they're older, but I'm treasuring those moments of wonder through their young eyes. My son may not give Minnie Mouse kisses the next time we go. Cherish each experience friends, even with it's ups and downs ❤