The Magical Meltdown: Prologue

by 9/07/2014 05:14:00 PM 3 comments

I'm a father of 3 boys. I've got an 8 year old, a 9 year old and a 14 year old. My wife and I decided during 2013 that the summer of 2014 would be the year we finally took the plunge and had a Disney World vacation. It sounds like fun when you say it, "Hey, let's go to Disney World!". It gets even better when you go to the Disney website, order the planning DVD and gather around the TV to watch it. It's even exciting to browse all the properties and pick your resort and set the dates. But once you click the button and get an email with your package confirmation the realty sets in. You feel the weight of an entire week's worth of happiness and joy resting squarely on your shoulders. What started out as a trip filled with fun and magic just turned into a mission to ensure everybody in your family has the best Disney experience possible. This is the beginning of the Magical Meltdown.

This blog isn't a place to come find the best tips and tricks to maximizing your time at Disney World. You won't find reviews, ratings or on-ride camera footage of the attractions. I don't know anything about Disney Magical Express and couldn't tell you where to find Princess Tiana for an autograph and picture. This isn't that kind of blog. What I can do is give some details on what I went through as a complete Disney noob in planning this trip. I can tell you what went wrong, what went right and what I would have done differently knowing what I know now. So with all that out of the way I guess we can get started.


You always hear people say that, those adventurous spirits. They're the ones that have never had to drive 3 kids and a wife across 5 states for vacation. What a bunch of whackadoos. When my wife and I sat down to plan our travel for this trip it became clear quite quickly that this was going to be a rather long and drawn out affair. We decided from the start not to fly. Partly to save money (OK, entirely to save money) and partly to ensure the arrival of our belongings. Oh yea, and kids.

From our home on the western edge of Arkansas, it is a 16 hour drive if you don't stop. With 5 bladders needing emptying, 5 stomachs needing filling and 10 legs in need of stretching, trying to make the trip in one shot just wasn't going to happen. We decided to pick a spot about 2/3 of the way to Disney to spend the night. This would leave us with just about a 5 hour drive the next day to our resort, should put us there just after lunch.

I really feel that if you drive with a family, stopping on the way to rest is essential. We ended up actually leaving out from our house at around 4am. My wife decided to drive the first leg while the kids and myself slept. This was very beneficial to myself as I didn't get but about 3 hours of sleep the night before (side note: I work third shift so sleeping at night can be tough on me), We traded off every 3 hours when we would refuel and just kept going. To help save time (and let's face it, some money), our first meal was sandwiches and chips we had packed picnic style before leaving the house. I found it very handy being able to just grab them out of a collapsible cooler and pass them out without having to slow down. I would recommend this to anyone else making the trip by car.

We also had goodie bags for each of the kids. These bags had some treats, candies, activity book (not so much for the 14 year old) and hand held video games. This is what helped keep sanity for 32+ total hours of driving. Having snacks and candies at their disposal meant less interruptions to our driving schedule. However, it did have one drawback. When we did finally reach our hotel on day one, the first meltdown took place.

I had dropped my wife off at the front of the Holiday Inn to go check us in. While she was in the lobby dealing with the desk clerk that couldn't find our reservations, my 8 year old decides to loose his entire lunch and a pound of red twizzlers all across his door and window. If you're having difficulties imagining this just think of putting a ham and cheese sandwich in a blender...and you see where this is going. It was bad. It went down the window and into the door panel bad. I don't handle stuff like this too well. There were tears. There may have been some shouting. I do know that the entire vehicle was evacuated while he leaned out his door and continued his assault on the hotel parking lot.

The positive to come from that was the hotel clerk, who had a bit of an attitude with my wife regarding this missing reservation, ended up having the glorious task of rinsing off the twizzlegoo from the hotel loading and unloading canopy.

The rest of the trip went without incident, barring a missed detour and subsequent scenic route through some of the Florida panhandle. We arrived in Orlando and drove through the Disney World sign, slowing to snap the picture that everyone takes, and on to the All Star Sports resort. Truthfully, Disney has done a great job placing signs so you can find their different properties fairly easily. I was really impressed.

And with that, we reach our destination and our journey is concluded. Next, we'll look at the All Star Sports resort and why we picked it.


Mikey Whisenhunt

Pseudo-blogger, Dad, Husband, Disnerd

I'm Mike. I'm a married father of 3 boys. When not at work I spend my spare time talking my wife into Disney trips.


  1. Awesome!! Can't wait for the rest!!!

  2. I can't wait to read about your Disney adventures!