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I’m a touring plan disciple, as you might be able to deduce from my writings on this blog. My family sometimes gets tired of my enforcement of the touring schedule, however, they always appreciate the number of attractions that we are able to visit because of that discipline. There is one thing that still causes us trouble during our park visits, and that is the difference in age and temperament of our children.
The differences could not be more pronounced. My son is nine, and enjoys most of the thrill rides, but especially Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. He loves Pirates, dislikes princesses and fairies and likes hitting as many rides as possible. My daughter on the other hand, is a girly girl to the max. She is very scared of things like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates, loves meeting characters and takes time to stop and smell the roses. So how can we reconcile these two varied personalities with one touring plan?
May I present to you the Whole Family Touring Plans. For those of you who are subscribers or use the plans, this is a plan specifically designed for people with young and older children in the same party, from infants to teens. There are a few different options to pick from, so on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom, I tried it out to see how it worked.
For this trip, I used the Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Younger and Older Children. As I said, there are similar options for parents with teenagers as well as groups with senior citizens and other mixed parties. On my plan, there was no splitting up involved, which was good, because I had the children solo for the day. The three of us tackled the plan in order, modifying as we went.
The beginning of this plan was relatively similar to most of the other Magic Kingdom plans – we began at Dumbo, then rode Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh. After a quick spin on the Mad Tea Party, the plan directed us to Snow White. Neither child was interested, so we simply skipped ahead to the next step, which was the Haunted Mansion.
While my son and I were very eager to see the new queue (it was awesome!) my daughter was rather scared. She’s been on the ride before, but recently has started becoming more scared of these sorts of things. It took much pleading to get her on the ride, since her brother really wanted to go. Had I been with my wife, I would have skipped the ride and let my wife and son go while I waited outside.
After a little break to recover from that trauma, we skipped Splash Mountain (no way to get the little one on that ride) and went over to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We topped the morning off with a trip over to Tom Sawyer’s Island before meeting friends for lunch.
So how did I rate the plan? As you might be able to see from all we got done, I give it really high marks. After all, we were able to tackle nine attractions between 9 a.m. and around 12:30 p.m. That’s a high mark for us. My daughter was exceedingly happy. If my wife had been with us, we probably would have been able to add either Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain to the list, and made my son just as happy. He was a little underserved because I did not have the ability to do a child swap, but that would be rare for us.
All in all, I highly recommend the Whole Family touring plans, because it can be exceedingly difficult to satisfy two children of varying ages, let alone throwing teens or other variables into the mix. This provides you a good way to complete a good number of attractions while keeping all parties happy.
What about you? Have you tried any of the Whole Family plans?