Monday, May 4, 2015

Disney World Tips!

I received quite a few questions after posting pictures during our Disney trip on Instagram so I wanted to put together a post on some tips!  My heart hurts writing this because I want to go back so badly!  Disney is all about the details, and I am a detail freak so it is a match made in heaven.  I also have never had bad customer service at WDW - is that just coincidence??  It truly is the most magical place!

See way too many pics from our trip here and here.

Luckily, my SIL is even MORE of a crazy organized planner than I am, so we had our trip down to a science!  Granted, we strayed from our schedule here and there, but quite a bit of it we stuck to!  We both read tons of other people's Disney tips and blogs and kept notes on things we needed to do right away, or things that were ok to skip.  My Disney Experience is the greatest to really get you not only excited, but planned and ready to go!  If you want to spend money, the website touring is super amazing for really planning your trip.  This is what my SIL used and was perfection!  It helps you plan your trip around wait times and when things are the least busy, which is key at Disney!

I also read the Disney Food Blog to make a list of food I wanted to try.  You would never know which places to stop at without it!  Some of our must haves - Dole Whip from Aloha Aisle (MK), School Bread from Norway (Epcot), Pot Roast Mac and Cheese from Friar's Nook (MK), the list goes on!  I also searched different hashtags on Instagram like #disneyfood, #disneyeats, etc.  Everyone posts their delicious food finds and I am more than happy to check them out!

Getting a seat for Bradley was a no brainer for us.  Not only does he sleep well in his carseat, but hello - SAFETY!!  I can't imagine if we hit turbulence and my already anxious self being nervous, and then trying to figure out how to safely hold him so our heads wouldn't bonk or something.  Just go watch the movie Flight and then tell me you don't need a car seat for your infant (I am cray cray).  Yes, it is more expensive, but it is truly priceless to be safe!

Pack lots of layers! I'm so glad I am an over-packer - we went from semi chilly on Thursday at MK, to rainy but warm at Epcot, to 80s on Sunday!  The weather in Florida is unpredictable so pack it all. If you have a stroller, you can just store it all on there.  We were so glad we had layers, changes of clothes, two blankets, and my mom had ponchos!  

I know some people do, but I can't imagine going to Disney and not staying on property - that is almost more of the Disney experience to me than the parks!  The perks are endless for staying on property - everything is still themed so you feel the magic, free transportation to any of the parks, Downtown Disney, etc, and you get Disney customer service everywhere you turn!  Plus, if you bring your baby they have free pack and plays.  

We stayed at Art of Animation and it was awesome!  Considered a "value" resort, but we wouldn't have known that!  They have tons of pools that feel like you are at a water park.  We stayed at the hotel one of our days and just swam and enjoyed the resort!

Art of Animation is like a theme park with sculptures like this all over!  We spent a few hours and just walked the grounds one of the days to see everything - so cool!

Take the cute soaps - you paid for them!  Each day I put them in my suitcase so they would be refilled by the cleaning lady the next day.  Don't forget to leave a few dollars for your cleaning lady each day, too!

There are tons of rides you can bring your infant on, but luckily we have a Grandma that wanted to hang out with Bradley instead!  Some of the rides that they say you can bring your infant on, I probably would NOT bring them.  Like Peter Pan's Flight is one - ummm that is kind of a massive drop if your baby suddenly lunged or did something you weren't ready for?  Yeesh!  

But it really is SO easy to bring a baby to Disney!  They allow you to bring whatever want - stroller, snacks, food, coolers, etc, into the parks, and there probably isn't a better place on Earth to be super relaxed and not worry about a crying baby ruining other people's meals or experience. :)  Plus, we need Bradley to be as Disney obsessed as our family is, so start 'em young! 

Also, the Baby Centers are amazing!  Each park has a clean, quiet, place with lots of changing tables, quiet nursing rooms with rocking chairs, and of course you can purchase items if you forgot anything!  They also have cute grandmas staffed at these locations if you need anything.  Disney thinks of everything.

There are ridiculous amounts of things to get to make bringing baby easy, too.  Check out this cute high chair contraption my SIL brought for us! :)

You can also ship tons of things ahead of time - the SIL had bottled water, bananas, beer and other things shipped and ready waiting in her room!  She used  We will definitely be doing that in the future!

One of the top priorities on our itinerary was Starbucks!  Yes, we are obsessed.  If you want to get Starbucks at a park, be one of the first to get to the park and head to Starbys first stop!  I read online that the lines can be hours long, so we literally RAN to the Main Street Bakery.  I am still kind of sad I didn't get the $80 tumbler for my unsweetened black iced teas as a souvenir. :(  It was magical looking (not really $80 but definitely not cheap).

We signed up for the Memory Maker and it was worth every penny!  It seems like a lot, but we got over 200 pictures and could have gotten hundreds more if we stopped every time we saw a photographer and covered everyone in our group.  It includes all of your ride photos, which surprisingly are way more fun than we thought.  So glad we have them!  It is cheaper if you purchase before your trip, too.  Definitely recommend!

They include pictures of places you stop at of characters, too!  Like we received the picture below because we stopped and took pictures on Main Street with the photographers, and received professional pictures of Spaceship Earth scenes because we rode that ride.  Really crazy and cool how they track all of that!

If you don't do Memory Maker, there are still tons of places to take your own pics.  Just don't forget to document your memories! :) 

Rent or bring your own stroller - worth it!  I kept reading everywhere to bring an umbrella stroller because they are light, but I highly disagree!  We don't even own an umbrella stroller because we are too tall for them, but I cannot imagine not having our big, easy to get around stroller with a huge basket underneath.  We were able to put our purses, diaper bag, toys, snacks, extra layers/change of clothes, purchases, leftovers, etc. all in the basket and not have to worry about carrying!  I'm an over packer but I discovered I had packed two of Bradley's blankets under our stroller and we used both the chilly day at Magic Kingdom.  

My brother and SIL rented one from Kingdom Strollers (included free grocery delivery!) and were very happy with it.  She said to make sure to ask for the rain cover!  If you don't have someone to watch your stroller, probably best to rent it and to NOT leave valuables in your stroller.  If you leave your stroller places they might move it without you knowing and then you have to search for it in stroller corrals like this:

Midwestern stroller meat at Disney. :)

Fast passes are the greatest thing ever.  Some of the lines can have a crazy long wait, but if you have a Fast Pass you can get right on the ride!  Book your fast passes as early in the day as possible so you can add more for the afternoon once those are up (can use a kiosk or the Disney app).  

Rider swap we never tried out since my mom was amazing and hung out with Bradley if we went on a ride, but looks awesome if you don't have a dedicated Grandma with you! :)  

Souvenirs are EXPENSIVE.  I read a lot of tips on other blogs that said to purchase some items and pack with you, then introduce a souvenir each day so kids don't want everything they see - so smart!  Since Bradley does't beg yet, it is more for me. :)  We had to purchase just two - a cute one piece and an Ewok because it looks like our little girls.

One of the best parts of Disney World is the character dining!  We had reservations at Crystal Palace for lunch and it was probably all of our favorite meal from the trip!  The buffet was awesome and they are so good at planning it out that you almost always have a character at your table.  The boys (and my mom) loved it! :)  We wanted to get into Chef Mickey's but because we planned our trip so late we couldn't get in.  Next time!

Stay longer!  We planned a long weekend - Thursday to Monday and it wasn't enough!  Next time we go we want to at least go for 5 days - one day at each park and then a pool day.  My dad said we need seven days. :)

Obviously these are all just tips from our personal experience - you can't go wrong with a Disney vacation!  Keep in mind everything is expensive at Disney, but you are paying for more than the item you are getting.  Your simple sandwich might be $10 but you are in an atmosphere unlike any other and the person serving it to you is from the country that sandwich is from and can tell you all about it!  We cannot wait to go back!

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  1. Yay!!! I would add...RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS. I just went with girlfriends and we ended up eating a lot of crappy burgers and fries because the other restaurants didn't have openings. The My Disney app is awesome, but you definitely need to get reservations before you get on property.

    1. So true! We had a giant group so we didn't do as many reservations, but totally agree!!

  2. Where did she get the highchair thing? I could use that for an upcoming vacation! So cool!

    1. Isn't it cool? So useful! Search "My Little Seat Travel High Chair" on Amazon! :)

  3. Do you think Disney would be fun as a couple (pre-baby!)?

    1. That would be a dream!! I tried to get Nate to go here for our honeymoon but he wouldn't. :( There is SO much to do and beyond fun for all ages!! Do it!!!