Hey beauties! We were away at the most magical place on earth for the past 10 days, DISNEY WORLD! I have been planning this trip for a year! If you are overwhelmed at the thought of planning a trip to Disney (as I was a year ago) I am here to help! I am going to do a series of posts to help make planning a Disney trip a little bit easier, by giving you the best tips of the trade I learned along the way.
There is a lot that goes into planning a Disney trip. Stay on property or off? Rent a car or not? Fly or drive? Lots of TS (that means table service) or QS meals (quick service)? Magic hours worth the money or no? Hopper or no hopper? Is your head spinning yet?
Every parent wants their families vacations to Disney to be filled with magic & pixie dust. When I went to Disney as a kid, there was NO 180 days to book dining, or fast passes. My parents just kind of winged it and we didn’t know any better or worse, and loved every minute of it. It is a LITTLE different now. Dining must be planned (especially if you are doing character meals) 180 days out. Fast Passes must be booked 60 or 30 days out, depending if you stay on property or not (more on that to come).
Every decision must be made, and pretty much made in advanced!
Before you even get that far I will give you some pre-planning, pre-travel tips!
If you travel via airplane more than once a year with kids in tow, I HIGHLY recommend getting the known traveler TSA Pre-Check credential. It is worth its weight in gold. It is good for 5 years & what it gets you is through the security line MUCH MUCH FASTER. TSA pre-check has its own security line. In this line you don’t have to take off your shoes, you don’t have to take your laptop out of the bag, belt stays on. The line is so fast. Who wants to wait on line with kids and everyone taking every single thing off. It can take foreverrrrrrrrr. I have no patience for that. This paid for itself the 1st time we used it going to Aruba last year. SERIOUS parenting hack! Here is the info to register for it!
Another airplane tip regarding strollers. We always gate check our stroller. When we landed back in NJ this week, we saw our snack tray was broken. We found out that accessories like a snack tray are NOT covered by the airline, and they also do NOT tell you this! But the airline we flew, was extremely nice & gave us a voucher which was awesome! So make sure if you are flying, gate checking the stroller is easiest, and take your accessories OFF.
Many people rent strollers in Disney and do not bring theirs, but we never did that. We always just brought ours so we could have it in the airport. When they are older maybe we would rent one more accommodating to bigger kids!
Download the MDE app (haha another one, you will learn them all) My Disney Experience app! This will help you book dining, fast passes, see your Memory Maker photos (more on that to come) & all things related to the parks! It will make life much easier!
HEALTHY KIDS! The day we flew down, my older daughter woke up with FEVER, next day CROUP! Never a dull moment right? I ran to the store & bought elderberry vitamins, immunity vitamins. I SHOULD have been doing this months before the trip, really every day! Lesson LEARNED! Get your kids on some immunity vitamins ASAP! There are the ones I bought! They are now on my Amazon subscribe & save:
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Disney is full of people, kids, germs! Make sure you are prepping in the weeks before your trip to make sure your kids healthy. You never know what will happen but its the least we can do after all that planning is TRY to do what we can to make sure it all goes to plan!
Also, this is a general travel tip. DON’T POST PICTURES WHILE YOU ARE AWAY! I know everyone wants to show their pictures, show off, show their good time. DON’T DO IT. Wait until you are back. You never ever ever ever know. I will never post a picture of a vacation until we are back! It’s just good practice never to announce to the world you are not home!
Another note on privacy & safety, as much as I would love to, I do NOT get my kids shirts with their names on it for the parks. I really, really wanted to, but I did not. No names, no personal info. Again, I may be a little paranoid, but better to err on the side of safety in such a busy, hectic place.
My last tips for initial trip planning is decide the time of year you want to go. If you are free to go any time of the year with no restrictions I personally would go in January. The crowds are lower, the weather is good, not crazy hot, not hurricane season. We did a mini-trip in January & it was perfect. We picked October this time to attend the MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party). My personal worst time of year to go is summer, and the week of Christmas. Christmas because it is INSANELY BUSY. Like no room to walk busy. If you can go the 1st two weeks of December or sometime in November, you can see the holiday decor without all the crowds! Summer I hated going as a kid because it was HOT. It is HURRICANE SEASON, meaning it rains at least once a day. Its so HUMID!!! Humid x10000. Its just miserable. It is also crowded due to summer break. If that is the only time you can go, then do it, Disney is better than no Disney, but if there is another time to go, go the other time!
Next Disney post will be about deciding where to stay, and what the differences are between staying on property or off!
In the comments, leave me any questions you may have so I can try to help!