Friday, November 8, 2013


We did it and we survived and we learned a lot and we had an AMAZING TIME!

Here is my first tips and tricks post for all of you thinking about going.

  1. DO IT- Just go - Get a good travel agent (I can recommend one for you) and just do it
  2. Stay ON PROPERTY - seriously they make it so easy when you are on property that you want to come back every single chance you get. 
    1. They will take your bags from the airport for you and deliver them to the hotel, (I screwed this up and we didn't use it and was so pissed when I realized my mistake) 
    2. The bus takes you right to your resort from the airport
    3. They transport you to and from the park every day with a little wait time (during NON PEAK SEASON anyway)
    4.  They have these Magic Band tickets that you wear on your wrist and you use to swipe for everything - it's your hotel key, your credit card, your dining plan, and your link to all the pictures they take of you to the park. It's AMAZING!!!
    5. If you stay at a Monorail Resort - you have tons of easy, really yummy options for food
  3. Suck it up and spend a little more and stay at a Moderate resort - preferably on the monorail (we will do this next time) We stayed at All Start Movies and it felt very cheap - no microwave or fridge and the food court was CRAP and it wasn't very easy to just hop over somewhere else to grab a bite to eat but you could if you were already on the monorail line.
  4. Get some gift cards ahead of time for your kids - you will spend crazy amounts of cash on souveniers (or in our case - new toys - you can't avoid it the stores are EVERYWHERE) but I decided ahead of time to give them $100 each and they could spend however much of it they wanted. Lucky for my kids - they picked a bunch of cheap little toys so they got a ton of new stuff which helped during long line wait times.
  5. Give yourself downtime if you can afford it. We only did 3 days of park tickets so we felt like we had to do as much as humanly possible in those 3 days - and the first day we got there - the weather was too cold for really swimming so we missed out on the pool and the poor kids wanted to go in so badly every day after that. Granted we got to do everything on our list except for 1 show at Hollywood Studios - but our kids were exhausted and it mostly ruined our second day because they were so sick of waiting in line and everyone was frustrated - we should have spent day 2 morning at the hotel pool and headed into the park after lunchtime to give them some downtime. 
  6. DON'T bring a booster seat on the plane - they aren't approved for air travel so you can't use them. We lugged that stupid thing all over to get it on the plan only to have them take it away and then we had to lug it around after that and it was ANNOYING!
  7. Bring stuff to entertain the kids on the plane. Our kids aren't really into electronics and only watch super young kid shows so the TV on the plane wasn't helpful and we had to work to entertain them for the 2 hour flight.
  8. Stay at a hotel where you can have a fridge and a microwave and bring some food with you. Seeing as how we were at the budget resort and spent 2 whole days at Magic Kingdom - we felt like we spend a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY on some REALLY CRAPPY FOOD. At least they give 2 sides with the kids meals - so we could get yogurt and grapes for our kids with whatever junk they were eating - but they certainly didn't eat right and my plan of making oatmeal got foiled when we had no microwave. Also, the lack of decent coffee was a HUGE bummer. Disney makes SO MUCH MONEY OFF OF YOU while you are there - I wish they would at least give you free coffee at your hotel. Jerks
  9. Plan your Fast Pass options ahead of time and make sure you maximize them. Fast pass is a way for you to preselect a time to go on a busy ride - they give you a one hour window and you return during that one hour and get right on. We fast passed Disney Junior show and then got in with little to no wait on our own - so were able to recycle that fast pass that we didn't use to get on something else with no wait. You can book these ahead of time online AND make changes in the park throughout the day. You are allowed 3 per day and they saved our lives and it wasn't even that busy there!
  10. Bring a book for the characters to sign. It can be anything - we just got notebooks from the dollar tree but it was lots of fun to collect all the autographs.

These are just a few of the things that we learned that we will be thinking about for the next time we go - which will be next year. We had such a great  time that we are excited to try to plan a return for one of the marathon weekends. Dave wants to do a half marathon - I'm considering training up for a 10K. Whether we take the kids back with us for that trip or not - we aren't sure yet. It was great to see Ben have such a great time and meet all his favorite characters but his age appropriate behavior certainly put a damper on certain parts of our trip and part of me wished we had left him at home - but this trip was specifically for them so I'm glad he got to come!