8 In Lifestyle/ Travel

Disney Really Is The Happiest Place On Earth

 



Disney World really is the happiest place on earth. Get comfy for a second friends, because this one will be a little longer than normal. When it comes to Disney, there is so much to to discuss. While everyone has their ways of doing things, what I’m about to share with you are the tips that I have. These little tricks have definitely helped me navigate the park with the least amount of stress, all the while, maximizing on all the fun! Let’s face it, taking your kids to Disney can be super stressful and completely exhausting for everyone. Yes, no doubt it is magical, but that “magic” can turn into a full blown meltdown fast- especially when it’s 90 degrees out and the heat index is pushing 110. Shuffling the kids from attraction to attraction, only to wait in line for 65 mins. for a ride that lasts about as long as it takes me to do a messy bun (on comfy days). In past experiences, I did the Disney parks all wrong. By noon, the entire family was cranky, hungry, over the long lines, needing a nap, and missing out on the magical experience that is Disney. I felt like I needed a vacation at the end of that “vacation”. Despite all the stress, Disney has a way of wrangling you back in time after time.

Now, I have been to Disney for many years- remember, I have a 22, 20 & 2 year old. So, here I am, doing it all over again with the baby. We took her for the first time last June and it was a nightmare. Not only was she too small, but I will never return to Disney in the dead of summer again!! Way. Too. Hot!

So, since we had business near Orlando this January and it was off season for the parks, it seemed like the perfect time to take Fin back for round two. The weather would be much cooler and she was old enough to really experience everything Disney has to offer. We decided to extend our business trip and add a three day park pass for Disney. We booked airfare for Fin (our two-year old) and we also brought along my parents for reinforcements. I have to say, this was the best trip I have ever taken! This time, the whole experience was exactly what Disney should be- smooth, no stress, and truly magical. Below I give you some advice/tips on how to plan your BEST Disney Vacation and avoid those dreaded meltdowns in the middle of the park from your little ones.

  1. Start planning your trip as early as possible – at least 6 months in advance

    1. This is when you want to book your Hotel. My parents have a condo in Florida so we usually stay there when we go. However, this time because of our shortened timeframe we decided to stay at a Disney resort. Trust me people, this is the way to go!! Allow me to tell you all the reasons why.
      1. Magic Bands – They do all the work for you. Your tickets, credit card, everything you need (besides your ID) is linked to your band. You use it to pay for evverrythingg! SO.Convenient! Us moms have enough to worry about and keep up with. This allows you to enjoy the park with your little one, without being a pack mule.
      2. Those who have been to Disney know that the parking can be expensive – If you stay at a Disney resort, the parking is complimentary.
      3. Ok here is a big hack of mine- When you’re done, you’re done! What do I mean? Unfortunately, while visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot you park in a separate lot and still have to take the tram to and from the actual parks. Depending on time of year and day of the week you visit, these lines can be long too. It can add another 30 mins to an hour to you commute to the park, easily. HOWEVER, when staying at a Disney resort, they offer complimentary shuttle buses (I think they run every 15 mins) to the actual park. Minimal walking and NO TRAM. This alone is worth it for me.
      4. If you are staying close enough and have small children, it is very possible to take the kids back to the hotel for naps instead of an uncomfortable stroller.
      5. There are many different Disney Resorts to fit all budgets.
    2. DINING – if you do nothing else this early, make sure you book your character dining experiences way in advance, because they fill up fast. See my two favs below…
      1. Chef Mickey is a great one –  located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort
      2. Cinderella’s Royal Table – Inside the castle at Magic Kingdom Park
  2. My Disney Experience APP

    1. Make everyone who is tech savvy in your party download this app!! This app with allow you to do almost everything! Maneuver fast passes, book hotels, dining experiences, pre-order food so you don’t have to wait in line, check wait times for your favorite rides & so much more.With that being said, that brings me to my next tip…
    2. Pack an extra battery pack for your phone. You will use this app throughout the entire day and your battery suffer for it. You need extra juice for the rest of the day- trust me, finding a power outlet was virtually impossible to charge my phone.
  3. Travel Dates – Pick the time of year you travel with everyone in mind.

    1. I touched on this a little bit earlier in the post. I will never travel to Disney in the middle of the summer again. It just gets too hot, plus, that is peak season for most people because kids are out of school. October, Christmas, and New Years is also a very busy time for the parks. Now, I realize that most of you have school-age children so you this time might be the only times you can travel. If so, no sweat. You are still going to have an amazing time. After all, it is the most magical place on earth! If you have some flexibility in your scheduling, I would definitely try to stay between middle of January – first of March (before spring break). During this time, lines are shorter, temperatures are cooler, and mommas are more sane. Also, if you can, avoid hitting the parks on the weekend. Even during the earlier parts of the year, the locals like to visit the parks too! Save yourself some hassle/a mental breakdown and try to hit them throughout the week.
  4. Fast Passes

    1. Go ahead and pre-schedule your fast passes in advance. They can always be changed out, even the day of. However, keep in mind that they only give a certain number out per ride, per day. It can be extremely difficult to get fast passes for more popular rides the day of your park adventure.
    2. Make sure you are very strategic when planning out your fast passes.
      1. Schedule your fast passes around kids naps, parades, and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. Otherwise, you will be scrambling to switch out your fast passes at last minute and run the chance of none being available.
      2. Treat these like GOLD and DO NOT BE LATE. These will keep your wait down to under 15 mins on hot, busy days.
      3. Choose them for the most popular rides. Those are usually the ones that have the longest wait.
      4. In my opinion, especially at Hollywood Studios, don’t waste a fast past on a show. You will still get into your desired show, just make sure to line up early.  You still have to arrive 30 mins early with your fast pass and in most cases, that does not guarantee you a better seat. For example, Fin’s nap time was off the day we went to Hollywood Studios. We have a fast pass for the Frozen Sing-a-long. We were told to arrive at 2:00 pm and show was set to start at 2:30. We did just that. Once we arrived, we were shuffled to the doors in a big open area. Then, they allowed the non fast pass line to merge with the fast pass holders. We had a decent seat, but so did the fellow next to me that merged from regular line. Fin, unfortunately, fell asleep and I was devastated because this was the one show she had talked about for weeks. After her nap, I decided I was going to try to get back in for the 5:00 pm showing. I couldn’t leave without her seeing her fav characters and singling along while the snow falls. So, I geared up and braved the once again, BUT this time in the regular line. We actually got a way better seat this time. No Joke!!! Here is my theory, these shows only hold so many people anyway. Get there early, line up in regular line and you will get in without wasting a fast pass. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
      5. If you have young kids (under the purchasing ticket age) that want to meet several characters, splitting up the fast passes is the way to go. For instance, Fin is 2 and didn’t need a ticket to get in the park, therefore she doesn’t need the fast pass either. My husband, both parents, and I all split our fast passes up so we could take her to see as much as possible. Do the math- 3 fast passes potentially turned into 12 and she got to see a ton (best parent award!!). Hence, the reason everyone in your party should have the app downloaded in order to keep up with their own fast pass times.
  5. Snacks

    1. The food can be expensive and you are walking a ton which means, you are going to be hungry more often. Food can also help keep the kids occupied in a long line.
  6. Clothes

    1. Don’t forget your littles favorite princess gown / character attire or you will be spending an arm and leg for one in the park. Lots of the kids wear them to meet their fav character or for when dining with them.
    2. Bring an extra change of clothes because, as we all know, accidents happen (often) and there are plenty of opportunities to get wet.
  7. Bring Reinforcements

    1. If the grandparents are available, bring them! Its a lot of work navigating a park with kids, especially more than one. My parents were a huge help and it was great for them to be able to share this time with Fin. The more (help), the merrier!
  8. Bring Electronics

    1. Last but most certainly not least- probably the most important: Bring something to entertain the kiddos. We have never done this until this last trip and it made a huge difference! We brought our iPad and downloaded a couple kid movies and Scooby Doo cartoons. We pulled this bad boy out while in the long (non fast pass) lines. She was as good as gold. As a matter of fact, other kids would actually come over and watch with her. You are welcome other parents – Ha. If you are wanting to come out of the park with as much hair as you had coming in, this is a must!

Is your brain hurting yet? I told you, its so much info!! However, don’t let Disney intimidate you! This is suppose to be a fun time making memories memories with the fam. Regardless of my tips or yours, one thing is for sure, you and your family will have a magical time. I would love to hear your hacks, tips, or reviews on the parks in the comments below.

See ya real soon (cue Mickey Mouse voice),

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Alex
    January 25, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Wow! For anyone planning a trip to Disney World, this is a gift from god! Disney World really is the happiest place on earth, but the planning of it can make you dread it before you even get there. This post provides all the info to ensure a magical trip!

  • Reply
    Natalya
    January 25, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Wow that is a lot of info! Last time my family went to Disneyland was in September with 2 toddlers, definitely would have helped to read some of these tips. The only thing we had pre planned was getting fast passes eveything else was last minute or planned as we went.

  • Reply
    Van Cast
    January 27, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Great tips! ♥ We’re planning to visit Disney next December, so I’m going to bookmark your post. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Jamie
      January 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Yes- great idea! Good luck!!

  • Reply
    Chelsey
    January 28, 2018 at 7:44 am

    This is real cool! A lot of information. I have never been to Disney. Maybe one day I will go there.

    • Reply
      Jamie
      January 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      You totally should. Even as an adult it’s so much fun!

  • Reply
    Lady Kalamity
    January 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Great Article on Disney! Lots of great information for travelers. I love Disney so much also and there are some great tips here!

    • Reply
      Jamie
      January 29, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks! These are just a few… so many to share but we had to narrow it down.

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