What I Learned at Magic Kingdom

Why parents have much to gain from a trip to see Mickey as their kids.

What I Learned at Magic Kingdom

My husband and I recently reached the inevitable cliff of parenthood: We took our daughters to Disney World. Of course, this is a parenting move that many of us will make, despite the threats of the world’s most annoying ear worms and being forced to hug sweaty, furry strangers who don’t speak only make giggling gestures. It’s all in the name of the children!

For the children it may be, but I learned a thing or two myself. And so, from a mom of two daughters who has now conquered her first Disney World trip, here are 7 things our Magic Kingdom experience taught me.

  1. The kids are willing to whistle while you…wait. I don’t really have a lot of room to complain. Between light February crowds and the blessed invention of the Fast Pass, there wasn’t much we had to wait for—except for the blasted Seven Dwarves mine roller coaster. And while our promised 70 minute wait time dripped into 80, 90, 100 minutes, I became increasingly impatient. Anxious. The other adults and I were leaning on ropes and checking our phones and huffing in angst. We are entitled to immediacy, apparently. My daughters upstaged me here. They didn’t know any different. “Oh, you have to wait at Disney? Okay.” They climbed rocks and sang songs and made friends in line, and were, for the most part, better behaved than I in the patience department.
  2. Coming face-to-face with the stars leaves everyone Frozen. If there’s one picture I will carry with me for the rest of my life, it’s the blush on the cheeks of my three-year-old when we finally made it to Elsa. She was awed, hushed. With nothing to say, they did a few twirls and smiled for photos, and I chuckled to myself at how giddy she was to encounter fame and beauty. Of course, we bumped into Aladdin shortly after, and I found myself short of breath. I guess we all get a little starstruck.
  3. Mary Poppins knew what she was talking about. I mean, you’re on vacation anyway, why not go for that spoonful of sugar? Gummy bears are a great distraction in the face of lines. Other discomforts are easily erased to the tune of a song. Plus, it’s Disney World—everything is dusted in magic. My faith in the nanny’s advice has nothing to do with her saying my children were angels, no doubt as a result of my parenting. She’s just smart, okay?
  4. It’s a small world after all. The “It’s a Small World” ride will make a lasting impression on you, not only because of it’s consistently long line, but also because its theme song will crawl into your brain like a parasite and nest there for the next six months. If you choose to skip this classic, all you have to do is look around: The population at Disney World is quite literally a cultural melting pot, I’d wager to say more varied than what you’d find right in Manhattan. (Plus, Epcot is one park away and you can travel the whole world over in a day there.)
  5. Moms know how to work it. You’ve probably mastered leaving the house with everything you need for your day tucked gingerly into environmentally-friendly containers, the kids dressed and groomed and in good spirits, and you’ve even managed to put on eyeliner while you’re at home. But conquering Disney is that kind of experience on steroids. By the third day, I was rearranging our Fast Passes, navigating hidden lines, and schmoozing princesses like a pro. I even scored an extra Fast Pass (the kind written on paper are like Golden Tickets) when it seemed a staff member had moved our stroller. Talk about feeling accomplished!
  6. Life, like Disney, holds unexpected surprises. Don’t forget to look for hidden treasures. For example, Mickey’s Philharmagic. A 3D movie experience, the wait is only ever 15 minutes. We kept skipping it, because who wants to sit in a movie theater when you’re at Disney World?! But needing to kill some time, we stumbled in right before a show began. It thrilled the girls, engaging their senses (literally: sights, sounds, smells, etc.) and giving them a chance to relax. Highly recommend.
  7. I AM NOT THE CRAZIEST. A parental endeavor such as Disney World can really bring out the mom-crazy. You’re on constant overload, with sore feet, finding yourself saying no more than yes. But if you stand in the middle of the park and hold very still, if you take a deep breath and remain silent for 15 seconds, I promise you’ll very quickly find someone crazier than you. Like, for instance, let’s just say, there’s a mom yelling at you to get out of your way because her 15-year-old daughter needs to take off her oversized princess gown and that justifies her skipping the line for the lou, even passing up your three-year-old who has been waiting patiently for 10 minutes. You know, just say that happens. Even if you verbally retaliate, for example, you are still not the crazy one. And doesn’t that feel good?

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We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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