How to Experience Disney World Like the Johnsons Did on ‘Black-ish’
If the quintessential family vacation is heading in multi-generational mass to visit Disney World, it’s no surprise it pops up from time to time with our favorite television families, too.
On the season premiere of “Black-ish,” the Johnsons exploring the massive offerings of Disney World—with some extra help, a few tantrums and even an unexpected parade cameo. They may only be related on TV, but you can actually live Dre’s VIP dreams while also keeping your kids happy regardless of wait time, in real life, too.
Curious how to hire a plaid vested Cody for yourself, and keep your own parents, pregnant wife, and unexpectedly spoiled children smiling all week long in the happiest place on Earth? This is how.
Get a VIP Tour Guide
Andre Johnson wasn’t overreacting to his kids not appreciating their VIP Tour guide experience.
With rates starting at $400 an hour, a personal guide is truly the pinnacle of enjoying Walt Disney World with ease. Having a personal escort, breezing through lines, and not making any advanced plans is a dream, but the parts they didn’t show—like door-to-door transportation and behind-the-scenes park entrances—make it that much better.
Visitors to the park can hire the tour guides a minimum of seven hours, and can extend the tour for up to twice as long, meaning your magic line-cutting genie will never ditch you for the Gonzales family like Cody did. (That killer view they had for the fireworks? Keep your VIP guide on hand and they can easily make it happen.)
Set an Early Alarm
If a 25-minute wait makes your kids spiral into a tantrum like Dre’s, you’re in trouble—unless you utilize Disney’s golden hour.
By waking up extra early and hitting the parks first thing in the morning, your family can get in and out of favorite rides more quickly than Diane’s glasses flying off her face on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Schedule the earliest breakfast reservation possible at Magic Kingdom, too, and you’re likely to be the very first family on your favorite ride that day.
Not being able to ride Splash Mountain while pregnant and being too short to enjoy Space Mountain can be a bummer. Take a cue from Diane and note which rides your kiddos can’t board in advance to curb disappointment, while reserving FastPasses for the ones they can. (All height requirements are listed online.)
Having a bun in the oven doesn’t mean you’re forced to mope around Epcot avoiding anything that doesn’t have a “sharp tilt, turn, loop, sudden drop or sudden stop,” either. Bow could have easily hopped on Haunted Mansion or Jungle Cruise while her family whizzed and whirled about on Magic Kingdom’s more intense rides, both of which are pregnancy-safe.
Easily Avoid Crowds
Can’t handle Captain Jack Sparrow with a crowd? Neither could the characters on “Black-ish,” but fortunately there are other ways to steal away for some alone time, whether or not you have a human Disney guide.
Make Even the Family Curmudgeon Happy
Don’t believe Pops: Disney World is way better than the Chuck E. Cheese’s in Torrance. Truth is, if the less-enthralled half of the Johnson family could fall in love with a humid, crowded park on their way towards the exit, anyone can.
Stick to Disney’s most imaginative attractions like Mickey’s PhilharMagic or Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, and wow them with fan favorites like Toy Story Mania or Kilimanjaro Safaris. All but the safari ride are air-conditioned, which will help escape both heat and crowds.
Do Disney World Even Better
First things first: Whether or not you spring for a VIP tour guide, we don’t recommend showing up to the parks and completely winging it like the Johnsons did.
With Disney World vacations, early birds truly do get the roller coaster worm when it comes to reservations and rides, and having a general lay of the land and basic knowledge of how the parks run is essential.
Bow’s family did so much correctly—it definitely takes two people to chow on one of those massive turkey legs—but Dre’s biggest mistake was not utilizing the FastPass system. If he’d anticipated when to schedule rides at Animal Kingdom after their VIP tour, they could have continued cutting lines and avoided their big public blowout in the first place.
And, while regular visitors can’t hop aboard a float in the parade like Ruby, Pops and Bow gleefully did, you can be chosen as the family of the day and open the park, which comes with perks beyond bonding with your in-laws.