After 11 weeks of counting down with a 4-year-old, our family trip to Disneyland has finally come and gone and I have to say it was one of the most magical things I’ve ever done. I loved seeing the sparkle in my kids’ eyes as we experienced all that Disney had to offer. The princesses, the Mouse, the rides, the movies. . .
Ok, this is starting to sound like an unforgettable Trip Advisor review but let’s get to the brass tax: that had to be the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. Seriously. By the time our first day at the park was over, we had walked 10.5 miles, stood in line for approximately 6 hours and did all of it in wet clothes thanks to the ever-popular Splash Mountain. THAT WAS THE FIRST DAY! All because we love our kids, am I right?
Doing Disney as an adult is completely different with children than without (you can fully understand the difference when you see exactly ZERO adults wearing a harness cleverly disguised as a backpack); going as a solo adult or with a companion is the most fantastic type of vacation – carefree and full of churros. With kids, it’s basically a marathon to see what family can out-last all others before the witching hour occurs (I’m not talking Halloween, folks. I’m talking about that magical hour in which your kids turn from fun-loving, character-hugging sweethearts to angry elves whose heads rotate ALL the way around like the birds in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room. Sit in Downtown Disney between the hours of 7 and 9 pm and you’ll get a clear view of what I’m talking about.)
Everyone will do Disney at some point with littles, it’s basically a rite of passage like getting your driver’s license or renting your first car; whether they be nieces and nephews or your own ungrateful spawn, it will happen. And you’ll know the secret that all adults know. And you’ll come home with the best memories and worst feet of your life to show for it.
So in an effort to prep you for your sojourn into the “happiest place on Earth”, I’ve created a training program for you to adequately prepare your mind and body for what it’s about to experience. It’s critical that you don’t go into this cold – much like the “Couch to 5k” running program, this adventure takes time so please go at your own pace. If you don’t feel ready to move on to the next training phase, stick with the current one until you feel adequately prepared to up your game. If all goes according to schedule, you should be prepared to tackle Disney WITH kids in a mere three weeks.
Please note that I am not a doctor and in no way make claims that this training program is FDA or CIA or MBA approved. I do, however, guarantee that the following training regimen will, in fact, give you a little glimpse into what to expect.
Couch to Disney Training Program, all rights reserved
Day 1: Empty your wallet
Day 2-7: Walk for 3 hours (to increase the difficulty, try doing this with a stroller or with a dog. While animals are not allowed in the park, the pulling motion will accurately simulate the excitement level of all children under five once they get inside the park . . . or near the park. . . or think about the park. . . or hear someone talking about the park. A secondary option is to do this in wet clothes; also very effective.)
Day 8: Rest day. Rather than walking today, practice loading as many non-prescription medications onto your person as possible.* These should include Dramamine, Tylenol, Desitin or any other chafing medication that you can get in a travel-sized tube. Practice spilling them on the floor along with suckers and other children’s candy and picking them all up before anyone notices. Repeat 5-6 times.
*cargo pants are encouraged
Day 9-14: Walk for 10 minutes. Stand for 70 minutes. Repeat 8 times. (Increase strength and agility by having someone follow you with a stroller during your walking periods and try to dodge them running into your ankles. This not only adds some diversity and fun to your workout, but a little realism as well).
Day 15: Rest. And by that I mean find a thin rock wall somewhere that looks like it’s maybe wide enough for your butt to fit on but clearly not comfortable and sit there for two hours. Another alternative is to find a park bench in the scorching hot sun and “rest” there for a while, all while playing “It’s a Small World” on repeat.
Day 16: Walk for 30 minutes. Stand for 50 minutes. Eat a basket of fried chicken parts and fries and a super-sized cola product. Stay nourished, stay hydrated, folks. Repeat five times.
Day 17-21: Put all you’ve learned into practice. It’s go time, folks. Here we go: Walk 20 minutes. Stand 40 minutes. Walk 30 minutes. Stand 15 minutes. Crawl around on the floor for 10 minutes (hypothetically speaking, you lost a child’s shoe during a parade. Crawl like that.) Grab a stroller with a 40 pound weight in it. Walk 15 minutes. Stand 65 minutes with 40 pound weight on your hip. Stop for 15 minutes to eat chicken (yes, again) and drink a large cola. Stand for 10 minutes (ahhhh that was nice). Jog for 12 minutes (get that FastPass!), stand for 10. Eat a churro. Drop it on the floor and run over it with the stroller. Walk for 10 minutes. Ram ankles with hard object (simulated stroller) and continue to walk for 40 minutes but with an additional 80 pound weight in the stroller (the older kid that SWORE they wouldn’t need a ride is now riding). Repeat four times before covering yourself in everyone’s jackets and hats for the 30 minute walk home . . . with some chicken and a large cola.
Happy training, y’all.