Monday, July 11, 2016

Disney 101

Happy Monday! It's back to reality and work for me today after Disney, visiting the in-laws in South Carolina, and a long weekend at the beach. I've had so many questions about our trip so I thought I would put together a post to answer your questions and share some of my own personal tips. I am by no means a "Disney expert" but I do have some good advice to share that I hope can help out someone else. Some of these tips were shared with me by friends and it was great advice so I definitely want to share them with y'all. Feel free to ask any other questions by leaving a comment here on the blog or by sending me an e-mail. I am always happy to help if I can! 
Footwear I am sharing this advice straight out of personal experience. I wore my Millers on our first day in Magic Kingdom. I wear them all the time and I never have any discomfort so I thought they would be great for walking at Disney. Um, no. They were fine for the first couple of hours but after three hours in, the bottoms of my feet were killing me! It was bearable but I wouldn't recommend them if you are planning on staying a full day like we did. Our second day, we were in Epcot so I wore my Converse shoes. Again, not a good idea because I wore them sock less like I normally do for a non-Disney day. They may have been okay with socks but it was terrible without socks. I got the worst blisters and could barely walk by the end of the day. By our third day, my feet looked awful but thankfully I had packed my trusty leopard Sole Society slide sandals for Animal Kingdom. I wish I would have worn them every single day of Disney because they were so comfortable, even on my beat up feet. Pick comfy footwear for Disney because you will be on your feet for 12+ hours. Even if it means wearing sneakers and socks. You will enjoy your days so much more when your feet don't hurt!

FastPass+ We utilized our fast passes to the full extent! The longest we waited for anything during our entire trip was 45 minutes to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Before you get to Disney, you will be able to choose three fast passes. Once you have used all three of the your advance picks, you will be able to choose another one at a time. The My Disney Experience app would not work for me anywhere at Disney. I know other people who had the same problem so have your Disney account logged in on your phone browser so you can pick another fast pass while you are waiting in line. I did that every time and always had another attraction ready to go by the time we finished. There are fast pass kiosks in the parks but it's so much easier to do it straight from your phone instead of wondering around trying to find a kiosk.

Lodging Staying at Disney can be expensive but I would definitely recommend staying at a Disney resort. We stayed at the Pop Century Resort and we loved it! It's one of the less expensive resorts but we personally don't need anything fancy for a family vacation. Especially at Disney because you are in the park all day anyway. Our resort was themed out for different time periods and the decor was awesome. Our room was super clean, the pool was amazing, the staff was very friendly, and we got fun messages from Mickey on our phone each evening. You also get free transportation to the parks when you stay at a Disney resort so you don't have to worry about parking spaces or fees. 

Dining We chose not to invest in a dining plan because we were only there four days, including the day we got there. My kids also eat like birds so I kind of felt like it was a waste of money for us but I know other people who loved having the dining plan, especially if their kids were big eaters. We brought our own breakfast and snacks, and then just ate a light snack and our dinner at the park. Some of the best restaurants require reservations so you will need to reserve your first choices in advance. The only place I absolutely had to go was Be Our Guest. A month before our trip I was able to get a 9:55 PM reservation... which was definitely not my first pick. The day we traveled to Disney, I was randomly able to find a better time and we got a 5:30 PM reservation! So don't give up if you can't find a time you want at the place you want to go. Keep checking, even on the day of!

Prioritize You won't be able to do every single thing and this was hard for me! I really feel like you need three days to really see and do everything in the Magic Kingdom, especially if you have small children like I do. I wanted to see and do everything but with the heat and tired children, we just couldn't. Before your trip, make a list of what you really want to see and do. Rank the list in order of importance and focus on those things. The things you really want to do the most, definitely get a fast pass for those if you can. Enchanted Tales with Belle was my most important experience so it was our first activity of the day and it was definitely my favorite! Meeting the princesses was also high on our priority list because the girls are all about the Disney princesses right now. We were able to meet almost every single one of them during our trip without waiting in long lines!

Save Money My husband often calls me cheap (I prefer to be called thrifty) but when you are on vacation, that trait can definitely come in handy! In Florida, they often have an afternoon rain shower so go to the dollar store before your trip and buy at least one poncho for every person and take them with you to the park. A poncho in the park is $10! Bring a good water bottle. My Swell bottle came in handy and was a must have for us! Bottled water is so expensive, at least $3 a bottle so fill your bottle with ice before you arrive. While you are in the park, most of the cart vendors will give you free ice if you ask. We just kept refilling our bottle with ice and a little bit of water fountain water. We saved a ton of money because we drank so much water. It was in the upper 90s while we were visiting so we had to stay hydrated! Like I mentioned already, we packed our own snacks from home to save some money. We filled our backpack with protein packed snacks to sustain our energy while we enjoyed the happiest place on Earth!

Cell Phones Being at Disney will drain your cell phone battery so fast! Fully charge your phone and bring your phone charger with you. There are many different phone charging stations throughout the parks, just ask a cast member for the closest spot. I brought one of those charging packs with me but it didn't give me much charge before it died itself so definitely bring your charger as a backup because you don't want to lose cell phone power. You will need your phone for fast passes, pictures, and meeting up with your group if you get separated. Also, keep your phone in airplane mode when you can and keep your apps shutdown after you use them. Snapchat is one of the biggest battery drainers.

Kiddos This was my first ever Disney trip as a parent. I went to Disney World when I was about 12 and Disney Land in my early twenties so I had never taken on the task of Disney with kiddos. My girls are six and four and I really think it was the perfect timing for their first Disney trip. They really embraced the magic, Mickey, princesses, and the fun atmosphere. I actually don't even own a stroller anymore because we never use one, even for our zoo trips but Disney was different. Even my six year old really needed to ride in the stroller to be able to keep up with us. My four year old usually relies on riding on my husband's shoulders so it was also a must for her. She even fell asleep in the stroller at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Disney makes for exhausting days for the little ones! We rented our double stroller at the parks each day. You can get a discount on your stroller rental if you rent for 2+ days so be sure to ask about that when you are renting it the first day.

Celebrate Josh and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary while we were on our Disney trip. At our resort at check-in, we let them know that we were celebrating our anniversary and the girls' first time at Disney. They will give you buttons to wear at the park and the cast members are awesome at acknowledging whatever you are celebrating. They really do pay close attention to your buttons so wear them everyday. Josh and I even got a free Mickey pretzel for our anniversary!

Enjoy My biggest tip is to just enjoy every little moment! This can be hard to do because you will want to see and do everything. Take breaks when you are tired and go get a Dole Whip in Adventure Land. Disney is definitely the happiest place on Earth so just enjoy it all!

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

disney, disney tips, walt disney world, disney 101

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