Thursday, August 22, 2019

Disney World Travel Diary

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Happy Thursday! I am so excited to share more about our most recent trip to Disney World! 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. This was the third time that we have taken our girls to Disney World and it was definitely the best trip ever! I think there are several factors that really made this trip the best so I'll share those first.

1. My kids ages. At age seven and nine, my girls can ride all of the rides. This makes a huge difference because no one has wait for anyone and no on feels left out (which was a big problem in the past). They are very much into the magical and fun of Disney but we can do it stroller free and they can keep up with walking all day. So, if you are wondering the perfect age to take your children to Disney, I think this might be it, lol! 

2. We had a dining plan. This was our first time ever having a dining plan and it was amazing. We've never had one before because I was being thrifty but Disney was offering free dining plans during the dates of our trip! Free is always the way to go. We had 40 quick service meals and 40 snack credits. At first, we weren't sure if that would be enough for our six days but it was actually more than enough for four people for the whole time. So much food! I can't stand wasting food so pretty much always share meals so we did this in Disney, too. This also allowed us to try way more different food places. Also, a quick service meal includes a drink. The drink can be pretty much anything, including alcoholic beverages. We got way more bang for our buck by using our dining plan for drinks. Also, you don't have to get kid meals. The kids can get regular meals which equals more food. We would use our snack credits to get the kids specialty drinks if they wanted them instead of getting it with their meal since you can't get a margarita with a snack credit, unfortunately, haha. I think we would get a dining plan next time even if it wasn't free because you just come out so much better with costs, especially if you are a foodie, like us.

3. We were able to park hop. Park hopping is amazing! I didn't really think I would love it as much as I did but it was great. It gave us so much flexibility and freedom! We went to at least two parks each day and we made it to three parks one day. Again, my kids ages and being stroller free made this pretty easy for us to do. It was also a nice way to break up the day and get a little rest.

Also, before I get into sharing photos from our trip, I wanted to share some more park insight that we have learned during our past three trips. Some of these things I really wish I would have known in advance so I'm hoping it's helpful for someone else!

Footwear. I am sharing this advice straight out of personal experience. I wore my Millers on our first day in Magic Kingdom when we visited the first time. 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 of that trip, 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. 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! Unless they are crazy comfortable and supportive sandals, I wouldn't recommend wearing them. I was so comfortable in my Nikes and Pumas (these are great for wearing with skirts and dresses plus they have memory foam) all week long on this trip!


What to Bring. A good backpack is essential for Disney, especially if you will be in the parks all day. You will need to be hands free plus you will need to bring some essentials. These were my must have items in my backpack:

1. Snacks. Disney allows you to bring in your own food. We filled our backpacks with crackers, nuts, protein bars, and other snacks. You can also save lots of money by packing snacks! 

2. Phone Charger and Portable Charging Device. Disney drains my battery!

3. Pain reliever and band aids. I never leave home without these items, especially after becoming a mother. A band aid fixes everything when you are any age, lol!

4. Ziploc bags. This might seem like a weird item to bring but I could have avoided a giant mess if I would have brought them! My youngest daughter's bottle of liquid medicine was in my backpack and it tipped over while we were at Epcot during a previous trip! If it would have been in a plastic bag, my leather wallet wouldn't have gotten ruined. 

5. Swell Bottle. With all of the walking, you will need to stay hydrated. Especially if you visit Disney during the summertime! You can get cold water at any counter service restaurant for free to fill it up. 

6. Ponchos or rain jackets. Buy ponchos in advance from the Dollar Tree because random rain showers are likely (it rained every single day during this last trip) and you can also use these to stay dry on water rides like Splash Mountain. 

7. Lip balm, lotion, tissues, and wet wipes.  You will want to be prepared with the must haves you typically keep in your purse. Always be prepared!

8. Change of clothes, especially if you have little ones. 

FastPass+. We utilized our fast passes to the fullest extent! The longest we waited for anything during our entire trip was maybe 30 minutes. Before you get to Disney, you will be able to choose three fast passes. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you will be able to select your FastPass choices 60 days in advance! So 60 days before your trip, use the My Disney Experience app to choose your picks. Once you have used all three of the your advance picks, you will be able to choose another one at a time. You can pick another fast pass while you are waiting in line to get on the ride that you just used a FastPass for. I did that every time and always had another attraction ready to go to by the time we finished. There are FastPass 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. I would recommend choosing your first three picks for morning times before noon so that you will be able to choose another one right away. You will get to do so much more by doing this!

Lodging. Staying at Disney can be expensive but I would definitely recommend staying at a Disney resort. We stayed at the Pop Century Resort previously and this time we stayed at the All Star Music Resort for the second time. They are both two of the lesser 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 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 if you let them know at check-in that you are celebrating something. 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, which I personally think is awesome!

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. 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 FastPass for those if you can. I felt like spending six days in the park was the perfect amount of time to pretty much get to everything with park hopping. I don't think I could have done any longer! We walked at least 10 miles and 20,000 steps a day!

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 or more! 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, the cart vendors and quick serve restaurants will give you free water or ice if you ask. We just kept refilling our bottle to stay hydrated. We saved a ton of money because we drank so much water. Like I mentioned already, we packed our own snacks from home. We filled our backpack with protein packed snacks to sustain our energy while we enjoyed the happiest place on Earth! Also, taking your daughters to BibbiBobbiBoutique isn't in everyone's budget. Its expensive! But you can go to Sir Mickey's store in Magic Kingdom and ask for Pixie Dust. They will sprinkle glitter in your hair! It's so fun that Josh and I also participated! This is completely free! You'll see a picture of the girls getting it done below.

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 would also bring a portable charging device. You will need your phone for FastPasses, 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. I found that Snapchat and Instagram Stories is one of the biggest battery drainers.

Kiddos. My girls are nine and seven and they love all things Disney! They really embraced the magic, Mickey, princesses, and the fun atmosphere. We used a double stroller when we went for the first time (they were six and four then) but we were able to do it last time (ages seven and five)  and this time with no stroller. If you are park hopping, I would say a stroller is a must if your kids are seven or under! When we did use a stroller, we rented it 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. Disney is so much more magical with kiddos! I love watching them experience it all!

Celebrate. Josh and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary while we were on our Disney trip back in 2016. 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! Disney is the best place to celebrate!

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!

Next, I'm going to share some highlights from each park... and tons of photos!

M A G I C  K I N G D O M

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I had so many questions online and in the parks about my Minnie Mouse ears. I can't stand wearing headbands in general because they always hurt behind my ears. I had bought a pair of Minnie Mouse ears in the park back when I traveled to Disney Land when I was in college. They hurt my head so bad! So now I always order my ears from Etsy. I loved the look of the rose gold ears from the parks so I found a great Etsy shop that sold comfortable ears for way cheaper than the park. I honestly couldn't even feel that I had these on my head. They are so comfortable to wear and are seriously adorable! I would absolutely recommend getting a pair of these for your next trip. You can even customize the ears and bow! How cute are these leopard ones?!


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This is the free pixie dust that you can get at Sir Mickey's! It's so much fun! Be prepared to have glitter in your hair for days, even if you wash it. Haha!

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Enchanted Tales with Belle is always one of the highlights of our trip. This time Julianna got to act out the part of the Beast and got to dance with Belle. It was precious!

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Don't be afraid to ask people to take your picture. We actually had someone offer to take this picture for us! I love how it turned out.

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I spy Mickey and Minnie.

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This was actually our first time ever riding on the People Mover and I actually really loved it. It was so neat riding through Space Mountain! It's also a really good break.


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Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite places for food in the Magic Kingdom. We got this savory chicken and waffles sandwich and the churro ice cream sandwich below from there.

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You can use snack credits from your dining plan for Starbucks! 

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A dole whip in Adventure Land is essential! So delicious and refreshing.

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Be Our Guest is our favorite! You can use your quick service dining plan for breakfast and lunch here. We ordered adult meals for our kids and there was so much delicious food! It's such a great dining experience.

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E P C O T 

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I had to find this pretty wall. Such fun colors! It's at the exit of Spaceship Earth.


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Accidentally running to Belle in France might have been my favorite moment! She literally came up to the bench that we were sitting at. I was like a little girl meeting my favorite princess!

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The crepes in France are delicious!

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Don't overlook the places that are tucked back into the country areas. This gem is in France and has the most delicious treats!

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This Mexican food was my favorite during our last trip and I loved it again this time! It's so delicious! You can find it at Choza de Margarita. You can get even get a margarita with a black ant salt rim (pictured above)! Josh even tried grasshoppers and tequila instead of the Mexico pavilion!

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Don't leave Germany without this delicious caramel popcorn. It's so good!

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A N I M A L  K I N G D O M

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I loved matching with my girls for Animal Kingdom!


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We were all able to ride Expedition Everest this time and it was so much fun. This is one of my favorite rides at Disney!

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This delicious margarita is close to the exit of the Avatar ride at a little place called Pongu Pongu. They also have a non-alcoholic version and green beer there!

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These delicious fries and dumplings are located in Asia. I loved trying the different dipping sauces!

H O L L Y W O O D  S T U D I O S

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Rock'n' Roller Coaster is the best indoor coaster I have ever riden! So much fun!

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Toy Story Land was better than I ever imagined! The details were so impressive. I loved all of the rides, especially Slinky Dog Dash.

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These totchos are yummy! We actually got them on two different days and also don't miss out on the grown up lemonade at Woody's Lunch Box.

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I don't really buy many souvineirs when we travel but I did take home this fun spirit jersey! I couldn't resist the pink, the tie dye, and the rose gold glitter!


Thanks so much for visiting! Let me know if you have any questions. 
I hope you have a magical day!

S H O P  T H E  P O S T:

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