I've lost my mind- 1 (busy) day, 4 8-9 year-old boys

overthinker

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
In lieu of a birthday party, my son requested a trip to Disneyland with his friends. At the time, this seemed like a good idea and now I am terrified.

We'll be headed to Disneyland this Sunday (11/10) with four 8-9 year old boys. At the time we planned the day, it didn't occur to me that it is the first Sunday that the holiday decorations will be up, all of the local annual passes (except Select) can get into the park and the weather should be good (but hot).

Due to the need to pick up the extra children at their respective houses, we can't plan for rope drop. I expect that we will arrive at around 9am. We've got reservations for Oga's Cantina at around 11am. We'll get MaxPass and are planning to stay until around 6-7pm. The boys are all into Star Wars and looking forward to Galaxy's Edge, but out of nowhere my son decided he was most interested in Space Mountain.

Help! How do I plan this day and not have a complete meltdown myself?
 

crystal1313

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
If Space Mtn is his #1, I would maybe try to grab a FP and then hop in the stand by line. I know at rope drop, the line moves pretty fast. We have gotten 3-4 rides on Space in before 9AM at rope drop before. Maybe start watching the app and see what the stand by wait is for Space around 9am? Maybe the FP time will be not too far out and you can use the FP and then pull another one for later in the day as well.

And just want to say, you are very generous parents and your son an the other kids will remember this trip for the rest of their lives! What a fun bday! Things might not always go as planned, but the kids won't remember that. They will remember being all together and having a super fun day. =) Have a great time!
 

mel2014

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
We'll be there this weekend as well and are expecting large crowds. I think as long as you go in with low expectations and enjoy the holiday atmosphere, you should be fine. You shouldn't have any problem getting at least one MaxPass for Hyperspace Mountain and, theoretically, the boys are all old enough to use the single-rider lines if you want (especially if you have two adults and can "sandwich" the boys so that one adult goes first in the single rider line the other adult is at the end). When all else fails, take refuge on Tom Sawyer Island and let the boys run and play.

Do you have an extra phone you could bring for the boys to share use for the Datapad in Galaxy's Edge and for Disney Play while waiting in lines? That might help with "I'm bored" or "I don't want to wait in this line"

Honestly, based on the reviews I've seen of Oga's Cantina, I wouldn't take a group wiggly-squirmy 8-9 year old boys there (I have a just-turned-9-year-old myself and he is a non-stop ball of energy; I watch his soccer coach trying to corral them all and it's like herding cats), especially since it takes time out of an already-short day. I might take the Tom Bricker suggestion of checking in for your reservation, wandering around without ordering anything, and then leaving.
 
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  • overthinker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2009
    Thank you, both! These are really helpful suggestions. I didn't even think about Tom Sawyer Island. It's one of my son's favorite places at Disneyland, it never gets crowded and we can just let them run around.
     

    Lumpy1106

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2010
    We took my son and a friend of his when he was about that age. It was a total blast! They were hilarious. One would say he wanted to do something, the other would say he wanted to do something else, and the next thing I knew we were doing something else entirely different that the both had agreed on. Go with the flow, take along plenty of adults to help corral them and enjoy!
     
  • Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    In lieu of a birthday party, my son requested a trip to Disneyland with his friends. At the time, this seemed like a good idea and now I am terrified.

    We'll be headed to Disneyland this Sunday (11/10) with four 8-9 year old boys. At the time we planned the day, it didn't occur to me that it is the first Sunday that the holiday decorations will be up, all of the local annual passes (except Select) can get into the park and the weather should be good (but hot).

    Due to the need to pick up the extra children at their respective houses, we can't plan for rope drop. I expect that we will arrive at around 9am. We've got reservations for Oga's Cantina at around 11am. We'll get MaxPass and are planning to stay until around 6-7pm. The boys are all into Star Wars and looking forward to Galaxy's Edge, but out of nowhere my son decided he was most interested in Space Mountain.

    Help! How do I plan this day and not have a complete meltdown myself?
    I would totally skip Oga’s Cantina. Every kid I’ve ever seen in there has been either bored out of his mind or sitting on the floor with an iPad. The only exception are the kids I’ve noticed lucky enough to have one of the booths.... but those are hard to get. Most of Oga’s is standing room only.
     

    lcp9

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2016
    Bless your heart. I have 3 little boys and if our family goes to Disneyland I can't very well leave 3/4 of my kids at home. haha. Voluntarily taking a bunch of boys is next level. You're awesome! I agree if you use maxpass you should be able to manage things.
     

    theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Use the free PP with your MP as much as possible! You're going to want the memories of this day (and your son will, too)! Remember that the PP CMs aren't allowed to ask to take your photo, so if you see PP CMs standing around, ask them to take your picture! And losing your mind doesn't have to be a bad thing -- sometimes some of the best days happen that way! Have fun and wish your son a very happy birthday from the DIS Boards! (And don't forget to get him a birthday button and have him wear it all day!)
     
  • theluckyrabbit

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    OP: Do you already have your tickets? If not, get your tickets ahead online or on the DLR app so that you can go straight to the gates when you arrive. Skip the ticket booths -- that will eat up too much of your time. Since you will be getting MP, do you already have the app downloaded on your phone? Make sure you have the latest version and that the app works on your phone. Have a credit card on file so that you can use Mobile Ordering -- such a time saver!
     

    cruisehopeful

    Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    This is going to be great. I have faith in you! You can do it.

    It will be even more crowded than usual, but no worries. MaxPass for Space Mountain and spend most of your time in Galaxy'sEdge since that's what they seem to want to do. I'd probably add in the Buzz Lightyear ride, too. Mostly, don't plan to do everything. Just focus on the priority stuff you have planned and anything else is a bonus. Remember rides go down, so always have an alternate plan.

    I agree that Oga's Cantina is boring, but if they are all focused on Star Wars, I'd still go there and get everyone a cool beverage and then leave. You don't have to stay the whole 45 minutes. Read the menu prices. My husband ordered a non-alcoholic drink without reading prices and it was something like $35. because it came with a souvenir cup that we have nowhere to put.

    Can you ask parents to drop their kids off at your house or even at one of the other kid's homes? When I have to pick people up, it often eats up an hour of my park time.

    Just have fun and breathe deeply. No matter how packed the park gets, I can usually find a table at Hungry Bear and it's nice to look at the water there. If you need downtime, you can always plan for a meal or a snack over there.
     

    mcm574

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2012
    It’s not the same as Disneyland - but I recently took my 10yo to our local amusement park with two of his buddies, and they did maybe a third of the rides we’d normally do as a family in the same amount of time - they were just so excited to all be there together, they weren’t really focusing on what they did or didn’t do. These boys are going to have a blast - and so are you! Enjoy!!!
     

    overthinker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2009
    Thank you all so much for the tips (and general support)! I’m feeling much better about being able to survive tomorrow. We’ll definitely get the tickets ahead of time and make aggressive use of mobile ordering (with all these boys, I’m expecting constant demands for food).
     

    VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    Instead of Oga's Cantina, you guys can eat at Docking Bay 7. And make sure to download the Play Disney Parks app to your phone so the boys can run around using the "data pad" games on that app through out SWGE. The boys will love it.
     

    MonocularVision

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 3, 2017
    From previous posts from folks who have sent their kids to DL with other groups of kids (band trips, cheer troops), seems the kids just have incredible amounts of fun hanging out. I think it is a lot less about getting through some plan or accomplishing X number of rides. I wouldn’t stress at all. Just let them enjoy each other.
     

    Aurora0427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2014
    Thank you all so much for the tips (and general support)! I’m feeling much better about being able to survive tomorrow. We’ll definitely get the tickets ahead of time and make aggressive use of mobile ordering (with all these boys, I’m expecting constant demands for food).
    How was it?????? I thought about you when I checked the app and saw the wait times at 7pm. Really want to know how the day went!!!! I hope your son had an amazing birthday!!!
     

    overthinker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2009
    Thank you all for the help!! As you all predicted, the boys had an amazing day. And, I survived! The tip to bring an old iphone was genius. We unearthed and managed to unlock and old iphone to load with the Play app and Heads Up. It made the few (but long) lines much more manageable. The MaxPass (and refreshing for better options if the first list didn't work) was also key. Here's a rough outline of our day:

    1. Got to the Mickey & Friends Garage by 8:50am, but it took another 30ish minutes to get through security. Due to the tram lines, we took the new pedestrian bridge to the Downtown Disney bag check and then the Monorail into the park. The good thing about the Monorail, was that as soon as we had our tickets scanned, I could get our first Fastpass.

    2. We got onto Buzz Lightyear right a bit before 10am. I think it helped to get the first right taken care of quickly.

    3. We then got Fastpasses for Big Thunder (at the request of a couple of the other kids) and tried to locate churros or popcorn while we waited. The churro carts for the flavors they wanted were not open yet and we learned that the holiday popcorn buckets really add to the popcorn lines! The lines were well over an hour at several of the popcorn carts, but we waited for only about 20 minutes at the cart by the Haunted Mansion. Upon finally receiving our popcorn, one box was immediately spilled all over the ground, but a cast member very graciously replaced it for us with no issue.

    4. After Big Thunder (which was enjoyed by all and for which all effects seemed to be working- which may be a first for me), we went over to Galaxy's Edge.

    5. It turns out one of the boys is an extreme Star Wars fan and was especially interested in interacting with all of the cast members, so that was pretty fun to watch. One of the boys may or may not have called Kylo Ren a "butthead" (his mother was later informed).

    6. About 50% of the group enjoyed Oga Cantina. I had hyped up the bubbling dry ice drinks, but apparently they don't do those any more, so that was a bit of a disappointment.

    7. We opted not to do lunch in Galaxy's Edge due to the nature of the food options. I wish they would incorporate some slightly more kid-friendly options for non-adventurous kid palates. Fortunately, Hungry Bear is very close by, so we mobile ordered cheeseburgers for all. In a true sign of an extremely busy day, there were no tables available anywhere when we arrived, but we eventually found one in a corner on the lower level (with some duck visitors, who entertained the kids).

    8. After lunch, we went back to Galaxy's Edge and waited in the standby line for Smuggler's Run. Although the wait was 70 minutes, it went by pretty quickly thanks to Heads Up and the Play app. My son got to be a pilot, which he was dying to do and two of the kids really wanted to be gunners. Since we had a group of 6, we got one cabin to ourselves and everyone had a great time.

    9. After Smuggler's Run, we kept up the Star Wars theme with a Fastpass Hyperspace Mountain. The boys absolutely loved Hyperspace Mountain. They immediately wanted to go again, but the Fastpass return time was 11:30pm and MaxPass wasn't much better.

    10. We then went over to Tom Sawyer Island with a brief stop at Bengal Barbecue for some beef skewers. I learned that you can get them with the sauce on the side, which worked perfectly for a couple of the pickier eaters. Mobile order worked great and allowed us to get our food much more quickly. Despite the crowds, there was seating available for all of us.

    11. The boys ran around for a while on Tom Sawyer Island while we waited for our Fastpass time for Star Tours. And, while they were running around, I managed to get another Fastpass for Hyperspace Mountain immediately after Star Tours. The boys were overjoyed (one of them actually gave me a hug).

    12. We did Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain in quick succession, and then planned to do a final trip to the Jolly Holiday to get a sweet treat and sing Happy Birthday. But, the boys had other ideas, all proclaimed that they did not want any sort of "pastry" and all wanted candy instead. So, we got bags of candy as the final treat and headed out of the park. (As a side note, we also had Fastpasses for Haunted Mansion Holiday at this point, which is a favorite of my husband's and one thing he really wanted to do. Unfortunately, there was no amount of convincing that could be done to explain to 3 of the 4 boys that it was not going to be scary and we decided it was not worth fighting that fight.)

    13. We left around 6pm, which I think was perfect. It was dark at that point, and much more difficult to keep track of them in the dark- even with the glow sticks/necklaces we brought just for that purpose. A couple of them were also starting to show signs of exhaustion and it was pretty clear that things might fall apart pretty quickly if we did not head back.

    All in all, it was a great day. Thank you all so much for helping make my son's birthday trip such a success!!
     

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