Disney Workout

Last week in this space I wrote about my reluctance to take my kids to Disney World. I must have sounded like a nasty, old curmudgeon (Stay off my lawn!). Suffice it to say, after 3 days in the happiest place on earth, I’ve been suffused with enough magic from the Magic Kingdom to become the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In fact, a wide, never-ending smile graces my face whenever I think of all the fun we had and the memories we created.

I learned lots on our trip — from how to save a few bucks (ask a Disney employee to take pictures with your camera to avoid buying the park photos) to a few insider tips (best time to visit is between Thanksgiving and Christmas because the crowd thins out.)

But the most important thing I learned is that I wasn’t in Disney-shape for our trip. If you’ve ever spent more than two days at the parks, you probably know what I’m talking about. My knees throbbed, my back ached and with every step my feet felt like Mickey Mouse was stabbing them with toothpicks.

So, in order to save you on your future visits to Disney or other theme parks, I designed a quick and easy Disney Theme Park Workout Routine. Begin practicing a few weeks before your visit and I personally guarantee that you will feel as good at the end of your trip as you do at the beginning.

Here goes:

Treadmill. Walk until you literally cannot walk anymore or your feet begin to bleed. Set the timer for 3 hours and that should be a good start.

Chest. Practice lifting your 40-50 pound child once every 5-7 minutes. While at the park, your child will beg you to either pick them up because they are “too tired to walk” or they will need you to lift them to see over the teeming masses of people to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates dispatch evil Captain Hook during the thrice-daily park parade.

Calf raises. This is crucial. Throughout the day, at a moment’s notice you will need to raise up on your tippy toes to see over the throngs in front of you to see fireworks/parade/or make desperate eye contact with the guy selling the last Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream bar in the park. Practice the calf raises with 20-lb dumbbells on either shoulder, as you will likely be doing the calf raises with a kid attached to your neck.

Full contact. Practice taking three small steps forward, then lean forward. This will require core work as you extend your body forward. The reason — the person behind you waiting 87 minutes for the “It’s a Small World” ride is absorbed by their phone and will walk directly into you once you have already stopped.

Shinguards. You will be run into by small children, some of whom are not your own. Protect yourself.

Triceps. Lift your right arm halfway up. Swing it to the back and bend at the elbow. Reach into your pocket and remove your wallet. Hand it to your wife. Repeat 10-15 times daily. This will be good practice for each time you pass a gift shop.

Zigzag walk. When the park is filled, you will begin to understand what life is like for a salmon, constantly swimming upstream. No matter how many people are heading the same direction as you, it will feel like you are walking into a wall of people heading the opposite direction. Start practicing walking two steps to the right, then making a sharp turn left, walking sideways two-and-a-half steps, then quickly dart four steps to the left. Repeat as often as you can without falling down.

Thumb stretch. Limber up those thumbs, people. You will intensely search the “My Disney” app for the shortest wait times for rides and check to see if you can immediately get a Fast Pass for the “Toy Story Midway” ride. Hurry! Your child’s life — and consequently, yours — depends on it!

If I had one suggestion for the Disney team — which seems to think of literally every need you could possibly have — it would be this: Have Goofy or some other Disney character parked outside every resort offering complimentary foot massage to all weary parents.

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The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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