I am by no means an expert on all things Disney. Since we were just there, I thought I would write up some notes for the next time. IF we ever get the opportunity again.
1. Plan ahead.
You need to decide first, what kind of vacation you want. Do you really want to do it up and stay in a resort (trust me, just as magical as the theme parks but just as expensive)? Do you want to be more budget minded and stay off site? There are advantages to both. If you stay in a Disney resort, you get those perks like extra magic hours, and no parking--you just hop on a monorail. If you stay off-site, you can save a lot of money in food and personal items.
|Inside the Grand Floridian lobby. Awesome finger in the photo.|
This was a work trip so we didn't pay for it--we just enjoyed it.
I wish we had taken more pictures of the inside!
Disney really does a wonderful job.
|On the balcony of our room. Can you tell I don't feel well?|
I was pregnant with Nathan and very very sick.
Well, we didn't really do this. BUT if we had ....we could have saved some money. There are quite a few discount ticket sites that offer a few dollars off a person, especially if you are wanting to do a 3 or 4 day pass.
One reputable site is:
3. MyDisney app.
If you have an iphone (my BIL couldn't seem to find it for his android phone--but still, look, you never know), you can install the MyDisney app. Super awesome! It tells you wait times for rides and you can sort by area, which ones are closest to you, etc. You also can use this app to make reservations for dinner, plan your Fast Passes, and so on.
|My Disney app from my phone.|
|Check out the wait times!|
The Fast Pass is key--especially if you followed #2 and bought ahead. You enter your ticket numbers and can schedule your Fast Passes for certain rides up to 30 days in advance. This pays off if you really want to Fast Pass character meetings. Just be aware--you can schedule up to 3 rides at a time HOWEVER--you either have to use them all, let them expire or cancel them all before scheduling the next three. Our first day at Disney, we had Fast Passes scheduled for 5pm and later. Which was all we could do. Being more prepared for our second day, we had passes scheduled for 9 am and just kept on rolling from there.
Travelling with a baby? No worries! Disney accommodates! There are a lot of rides that everyone can go on, even an infant. For those when they can't, you just see the Fast Pass attendant (both parents and baby have to be together) and they will give you a Fast Pass. One parent stands in line, with whoever is riding with them, when they are done the other parent can FastPass their way through the line with up to 3 children with them.
6. Pack It.
If you are trying to be economical--pack it. Soft sided coolers are allowed in the park. So we packed water bottles, lunches, and snacks. We opted to eat dinner in the park simply because our stroller wouldn't have held much more. There are water fountains everywhere so refilling bottles is easy.
|Jacob circa 2007 at Disney--isn't he adorbs?!|
We didn't pack it that time and we learned our lesson.
|Again--we came wielding one teensy umbrella.|
Ponchos were a necessity. And a fortune.
The best thing you can do for a Disney trip is have fun! Yes, have fun! Go with the flow. Don't be too focused on ALL. THE. THINGS. Determine what is most important and do those things first. Then, everything else will be icing on the cake. Go into your time there realizing that there will be elements out of your control--weather, crowds, moods of your family. Just enjoy it for what it is--spending time together--and you will come home with great family memories.