Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A guide to the White House Easter Egg Roll

A few years ago, after five years of entering the national lottery for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll, I finally won!  I won six tickets for me and my family to attend the 135th annual Easter egg roll event.  This is the longest running White House tradition, and only 35,000 people are allowed to attend each year.  This was our first year being a part of this tradition, and along with our excitement, we went in with a ton of questions about what to expect.  I had a hard time finding answers to my questions on-line before the event.  The event does have a facebook page, but I didn't find out about it until after the event and it still didn't provide answers to all of my questions.  So, for those of you who may attend in the future I have decided to provide a guide to what our experience was like that year.

1.  Be prepared to wait---There is a lot of standing in lines at this event.  There are lines to get tickets scanned, lines for secret service check point, lines to enter the grounds, lines to do activities, and meet characters...lots of long lines for everything.  We spent about an hour just waiting to get in to the event.

 This was the first line we waited in, just to get to the ticket scanners.  The tent to the right, was the next line for the security checkpoint.  The tent in the way distant center was, the next line to get admission to the White House I said, LOTS of waiting!

2.  Arrive early---It says on the ticket to get to the event about 45 minutes early.  If you plan to participate in the egg roll itself, or to do a photo with one of the characters at the event I'd get there even earlier.  If you want to maximize your time on the grounds, I would get there an hour to an hour and a half early.  This would allow you to get toward the front of the lines, and allow you to get into the event at the start and do the activities you'd like to do while there.

3.  Bring a stroller---This is really helpful for all of the waiting.  It was nice to have a place for my kids to sit while we waited over an hour just to be admitted to the event.  There is also a great deal of walking, and the stroller was great for their tired little legs.

4.  Pack a back up camera---This event allows for so many cool photo opportunities, so make sure to bring an extra camera, just in case something happens to the first one (dead batteries, malfunction).  It would be a shame to get their, and not be able to get a pic with the White House, or any of the other cool kids characters that are there.

5.  Bring a few snacks and water---You are not allowed to bring food or drinks in to the event itself.  However, we packed just a small bottle of water and a couple of small bags of pretzels for the kids to munch on while we waited in the line to get in.  By the time we got to the gate to get in, the food and drinks were gone, so it wasn't an issue.  If we hadn't packed anything, my kids would have had to wait an hour and a half to two hours with no snacks or one would have been happy then.  They did have free snacks and drinks available, once we were inside the event.

6.  Everyone needs a ticket---This was a big question I had.  My son was five months old when we went, and I had a hard time finding out if I needed to use one of my six tickets for him.  I found out at the gate that EVERYONE regardless of age needs a ticket for entry into the event.  So, whether you're one day old or 150 years old, you need your own individual ticket or you will not be admitted.  I also verified this on the White House Easter egg roll facebook page.

7.  Prioritize your must see/do's---There is so much going on at the event, from character visits, storytimes, live music, and other various events, it is hard to see everything in the short amount of time allotted for each session.  Again, be prepared to wait in long lines for any of these attractions and events inside.  If I had it to do over again, I would have looked at the schedule and picked a few of the things we really wanted to do/see, instead of running around like crazy people trying to see and do it all.  My middle daughter spent most of her time photo bombing other visitors, because she just wanted to see it all.  It also resulted in my husband hearing a lot of "Sir, there's a line for that!".

8.  Don't be afraid to utilize the volunteers---The event can get kind of crazy, and crowded for sure.  There are volunteers working the event that are glad to help, whether it be giving directions to a particular attraction or character you may want to catch, or snapping your family photo in front of the White House.  We asked one of the volunteers to take our family photo in front of the White House, and he was so happy and eager to help us get a great photo.

And most importantly, remember to enjoy and savor this amazing moment!