It’s what’s up Wednesday and today I’m going to share what’s up when we go on a vacation. One thing is for sure, my family LOVES vacations. We try to pack in as many as we can each year. Since we go to Disney World often (at least once a year, if not twice… We can’t help it. It’s our favorite place ever. We can’t get enough) I’ve had a few people message me asking if I had any advice for planning a Disney Vacation. Now, I’m no expert by all means, but I’ll just share what works for us. The pictures below are from our last 3 Disney trips. (April 2016, August 2016, and February 2017)Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
tip #1: always stay at a Disney resort. We’ve stayed off the Disney resorts before and it just isn’t the same. Disney does everything outstandingly, even their resorts. There is so much to see and do at the resorts and the pools are fantastic (which is great if you have a little swimmer like me.)Disney’s All Star Resort
we’ve stayed at Coronado Springs resort, Disneys Art of Animation Resort, and Disneys All Star Resort. All of these are cheaper on the Disney Resort scale compared to their high end resorts, but they were all nice. Our favorite, by far, is the Art of Animation. We’ve stayed there twice and it doesn’t disappoint. Art of Animation features Nemo, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Cars and my girls just adore it. All Star has three sections (music, sports, and movies). We stayed at Music and that was nice as well. Tip #2: plan some pool time at your resort, especially if you stay on a Disney Resort. Their pools are just amazing. They are huge, heated, and the details in decorations is so neat. At the Art of Animation, their nemo pool has music playing underwater that you can hear. Ella loves that little detail! Here you can see some of the things around the pool, they also provide life jackets if needed, but we always take my girls’ puddle jumpers. They both swim well in them and dry fairly quickly. Tip #3: plan ahead! I can’t stress this enough. If you’re wanting to do a nice character dinner or anything of the sort then please plan this at least 4 months out. I would actually recommend booking reservations a good 6 months out. We adored the Crystal Palace where we met Cinderella, her evil step sisters, and Prince Charming. It was buffet style with plenty of options to suit everyone, a dessert bar, and the characters were great. They even had a little gathering and Royal parade with Cinderella and all of the kids before the dinner with dancing and all. It was nice and worth the time and money we put into it. This goes along with planning ahead: plan your make over at least 6 months ahead. If you have a little girl, you may want to sign them up for the Bibbidi, Boppiti, boutique or for Pirates League. At these places your little one will get her nails, hair, and make ups one to look like either a princess (at bippidi) or a mermaid (at pirates). We’ve only done this once and Ella wanted to be made into a mermaid so we went to pirates. It was fun and she enjoyed it… But
Tip #3- get you child in normal, comfy clothes and change them into their dress up clothes when it’s make over time. If your child is anything like mine, they will keep the costume on for half an hour and want to change back.
And a bonus tip to accompany this tip- purchase your dress up things and accessories (tiara, wand) before going on your Disney trip. You can get it cheaper outside of the park! Tip #4: plan your shows and parades in advance. As soon as we get to a park we grab a map and schedule (we don’t need the maps, I could get around those parks with my eyes closed, but it’s nice to have). We figure out which shows and parades we want to see and map our day around those. The shows and parades are AMAZING!Hollywood Studios has the best shows so get to that park in plenty of time to see them all. We love the parades at Magic Kingdom. Tip #5: bring a STROLLER. We could not survive without it. Ella only rides when she’s snacking or tired or on the way back to the shuttle so we can move quickly, but Adalyn rides most of the time. It makes keeping up with kids easy and makes for a great way to take other things.
Things we always take: a small cooler (very small- for yogurts, fruit, and 3 or 4 water bottles), crystal light lemonade packets (that’s all we drink and we just pour it into a water bottle and then put the lemonade in the girls cups. Drinks can be expensive at Disney and my girls are always thirsty), sunscreen, bug spray, chips and frackers, hats, sunglasses, nap blankets, and extra shoes.
I usually let the girls wear sandals to the park, but if their feet start hurting I’ll put socks and shoes on them, but sometimes they complain that their feet are hot, so the sandals go back on. Strollers are also the best for naps! Disney has this thing called “Fast passes” and if you want to avoid some long lines then I would advise you to download the “My Disney Experience” app and load your bands onto that. Then you’ll have access to 3 fast passes a day (3 per person) and this puts you close to the front of the line. We love the dumbo ride! But don’t fast pass it, the line doesn’t take long and it has a huge play area for the kids to play inside, when it’s your turn to ride they buzz you on a buzzer they give you when you get in there. Kind of like a restaurant. We also love the tea pots, this kid could ride them all day long.Tip #6: plan to meet as many characters as possible. Get a map and see where they are all located. You can fast pass them if you need to. AND bring an autograph book! You can bring one of buy one, either way you definitely need one. All of the parks have characters to meet, so plan some character time every where you go!Tip #7: ride the bus to and from the parks. If you stay at the resort then you have this option. Parking at the parks is expensive. These buses take you really really close to the front entrance and they go to all of the parks. By the end of the day your kids will be exhausted. So plan on them falling asleep on the bus. Most kids do 😉Tip #8: this may be the absolute most important thing I tell you. Unless you want to eat chicken nuggets every single day, plan where your eating. Plan this before you even eat breakfast! If you go the Animal Kingdom then you must eat the bar-be-que place. I’m awful at remembering the names of places, but it’s somewhat towards the front of the park. We did Dino land then crossed back over the bridge and ate there. It was yummy. At Magic Kingdom we eat the Mexican place in frontier land. It has good nachos.
In the above picture we are eating Chinese. I believe it was called Lotis Blossom and was at Epcot. It had amazing orange chicken and the portions are huge. We got 2 meals and it easily fed all 4 of us. And at Holly wood studios we ate fajita from a little cart on sunset Blvd right across from the Beauty and the beast over there by tower of terror. We always eat lunch and dinner at the parks, but we eat breakfast in our room. We go to Walmart once we get there and buy breakfast things and snacks. We take plenty of snacks to eat throughout the day, but always buy ice cream at least once a day. Because life is better with ice cream. Tip #9: of you can squeeze it in, go to downtown Disney, which is now called Dosney Springs. We usually eat dinner there one night and walk around. Your bus from the resort will take you there! And lastly, Tip#9: make sure to get plenty of rest. You and your kiddos will need it. I put mine to bed right after a bath when we get back from the resort and I let them slee until they wake up the next day. Them getting plenty of sleep is more important to me than getting to the park early. If you’re thinking of planning a trip, then do it! You can always make more money, you can’t always make more memories. We love Disney, but there are other cheaper and way fun vacations that you can take. Just always remember to have fun and enjoy your family time.
Shelby: The Mostly Manic Mama