Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Disney World Travel Tips...

So here are some of my favorite tips for traveling to Disney with kids.  We've been to Disney more without kids than with kids, but we've now been to Disney with our twins 4 times.  This definitely doesn't make us experts, but we definitely have found some valuable tips in our opinion. 

  • I like to pack each outfit (complete with socks, underwear and accessories) in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  This helps make getting ready in the mornings MUCH easier, especially if someone is helping you get them ready.  No digging in different places for socks, shirts, etc.  As they get old enough to dress themselves, my kids enjoy getting to pick their outfit for the day. 
  • Take an extra outfit per kid in a Ziploc bag (I really like using Ziploc bags!).  This keeps the outfit dry and it also provides a location to put a potentially wet/messy outfit back inside. 
  • Several of the parks have water splash areas (Magic Kingdom & EPCOT definitely), so I pack a swimsuit in a.... wait for it..... Ziploc bag! 
  • I also like to put our autograph books with their pens in a Ziploc bag.  Then I can keep them easily accessible in the back of the stroller and not worry about something spilling or one of the frequent afternoon rain showers that hit Florida ruining them. 
  • You can take a small cooler into Disney! No glass or alcohol is allowed, but other drinks, food and snacks are.  We don't pack lunch, but you certainly could.  We bring several bottles of water for the day, some juice boxes and snacks for the kids. 
  • If you want to eat in sit down restaurants or character meals.... MAKE RESERVATIONS and make them as far ahead of time as possible (up to 180 days in advance for most restaurants).  Due to the popularity of the dining plans it is quite typical for there to be no same day reservations available in the parks. 
  • Make a rough game plan for each day of your trip.  I usually make a chart of the park hours including the extra magic hours for each day of my stay.  If I will not be taking advantage of the extra magic hours.... I steer clear of that park.  (Extra Magic Hours - each day a different park opens early or stays open late for those staying on Disney property only)
  • Once I have this rough plan of how we will spend our days, I plan our meal reservations.  (Park hours usually are released 10 days prior to when you can start making meal reservations)  This is especially important if you won't be getting park hoppers because you do need to use a park ticket if you are eating in the park. 
  • I like to pre-order the Disney Photo Pass CD as you can save $50 on the price it would be after you arrive.  I would highly recommend this especially if you will be going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique during your stay.  On our first visit they took 87 photos of my daughter, some of these are surely photos that I could have gotten myself but they have a set that they take of the reveal through different mirrors and I certainly could not replicate those amazing shots!  I was able to get all of my photo pass photos downloaded instead of having to choose to print at $15 per photo through the Photo Pass site.  I have not yet upgraded to the Photo Pass + as I didn't feel we would use enough of the meal/rides that it includes to be worth the higher price.

  • The characters do tend to pay a bit closer attention to children that are dressed as them.  While this is not always possible for every character it is something to keep in mind.  It might be as simple as a private photo with a special pose or words like "oh I thought I heard my mice friends poking around my closet this morning, but it must have been you trying out one of my dresses".  Makes for a cute little memory!

  • Gift shops are a plenty in Disney World.  In fact, just about every ride dumps you into a gift shop.  What we have started doing with the kids is save up money in their piggy banks in the time leading up to the trip.  We then put that money plus gifts they received or a little extra from us on a gift card for each child.  That is their present money for the trip.  They can choose any gifts they want, but when the money runs out.... that is it.  It has really worked out for us with little to no meltdowns.  If I felt they were spending too quickly, I tried to explain how many days we have left and how many presents worth of money they had left.  Sometimes we even took pictures with my phone to "think" about an item. 
  • I have tried a few different Disney World apps.  I really love the new Disney Experience app put out by Disney (previous apps were by outside companies and not as great).  All your meal reservations are available within the app.  There is also a great "Here and Now" button that will give you all the current wait time and fast past distribution times for the rides you are near.  It will also give you nearby restaurants along with their menus! 
  • You can now fast pass the Princesses in Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse.  And I recently found out by talking to a cast member that a fast pass with Mickey Mouse does not affect your ability to get your next fast pass immediately.... because everyone should get to see Mickey!
  • If you've seen the parade and/or fireworks before or just don't think your kids will sit through them.... this is the best time to hit the rides.  Much shorter wait times in our experience. 
  • Last year we had some problems with being afraid of the "dark", which is not even especially dark.  But when you go from bright, sunny outside to dim lighted to keep you cooler inside lines it can seem darker than it actually is, which apparently freaked my kids out and eliminated a bunch of rides.  I thought about what I could do to combat this and came up with glow bracelets.  I bought several packages of them from 5 below and kept some in my bag each day.  I told the kids this was there own light if they got scared.  It really worked late.  This would also be helpful if you're out and about at night for the fireworks shows since the glow items sold in the park cost a fortune. 
Ok... that's all I have for now :)  I'm always happy to chat about Disney if you have any specific questions.... let me know! 

1 comment:

  1. Great tips!! Sophie was super afraid of any dark rides so we brought her light up sneakers, and every time she got afraid she would hit them to turn on the lights :)