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We are avid travelers, or at least we’re on our way there. When we went to Alaska last month, I was so confused by traveling with just Cassidy. We each checked one bag. We each brought one bag on the flight. There were no strollers to fold up, car seats to stow, or kid items to have on board – like extra snacks, books, and Pull-Ups! As much as it’s more complicated to travel as a family, it’s also priceless, and every single extra thought is worth every moment we have together – seeing the magic of Walt Disney World. There’s something new each time. I love learning as we go, and learning as we grow. Together. Here’s how to rock a Disney World vacation as an pro.
Like all good things, a family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort requires planning, but perhaps that is a big part of the fun. There is nothing to me quite like seeing our dreams come alive. And then making them align as a dream family vacation.
How To Rock Your Disney Vacation Like a Pro:
- Plan for more than one, or two, days there. We finally got to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the beginning of this year, and when we go in a few months, we will finally hit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As far as the Magic Kingdom, easily both kids’ favorite, there are times (often) in which we want the flexibility to be able to head to EPCOT for those incredible attractions. It’s also worth heading there for the ferry boat ride alone, and for getting to have a princess lunch at Akershus. You never know who you’ll meet!
- Get to the park early! In truth, you will not be let into the park until the gates open at the designated time, but there’s an area you can gather in the morning. And you do not want to miss the train pull in with Disney characters! I remember our first time seeing that show, and seeing Anna and Elsa in the back of the train waving to us. I felt a full gasp go up through my body, and my daughter’s smile when that happened can still bring tears to my eyes. Don’t miss it!
- Collect everyone’s bucket list dreams! This is the fun part of vacation-planning. We all have different desires within the Disney Parks but making those dreams come true together is FUN. If you give yourself ample time to plan, and plenty of time in the parks, you will be able to do everything you desire. You can make your vacation uniquely yours with the MagicBands and FastPass+, used in conjunction with each other. It’s so much fun to choose the colors and characters of your bands, and then to set your FastPass+ preferences, and watch the magic unfold.
- Use the My Disney Experience Mobile App. Ah, I LOVE this app. It’s a time-saving, private-planning mobile app that will allow you to schedule and/or change FastPass+ selections, always know the wait times on all your favorite rides, look at Disney Parks menus, and view photos immediately. It’s not to be missed! Just like this:
- Stay at one of the Disney Resort Hotels. If you frequently visit various parks and resorts throughout the year, you may be considering joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Check out reviews about DVC timeshare membership to see if this option is beneficial to you and learn how to create a timeshare rescission letter if this program is not serving you better.
We stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort earlier this year in a Finding Nemo suite. Well right after that visit, Des got OBSESSED with the movie Cars. So now I can’t wait to stay in a Cars Suite. Staying on property is fun and convenient and there is so much to do, with parties, poolside movies, campfires and s’mores, and the convenience of being close to the parks. I can’t wait to go back! Same with this kid:
- Furthermore, there is Rider Switch. If you have one child (and one parent) who doesn’t love certain rides, or isn’t old enough for them, Rider Switch allows guests to take turns waiting with little ones, then they switch with their partner without having to stand in line twice. It’s awesome!
- Find your happiness in inclement weather. Is rain on the forecast? Head to Disney Springs for shopping and entertainment galore. Is rain not on the forecast, but still happening? There are reasonably priced ponchos throughout the parks.
- Be prepared! (like that song in Lion King) Disney Parks have pretty much anything you can imagine, but there are comfort items and necessities you will need too. I also pack extra socks for the kids if they get wet. I pack extra snacks. I pack extra Pull-Ups, because I have traveled to Walt Disney World with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in my adult years.
Pull-Ups are a no-brainer for us. They have improved day & night protection, and now more coverage for a comfortable fit. They have an underwear-like design and are a great teaching tool for putting underwear on and taking it off. The designs fade when wet, and there are easy open sides for when you really need it. The Disney designs are a huge plus! Des gets so happy about his Cars Pull-Ups, and can’t wait to wear them in his Cars Suite at Walt Disney World Resort.
For more information about Walt Disney world planning, visit this wonderful link. And for more information on traveling to Disney World with a preschooler – like we’ve only ever done (and loved it, really!) – visit this helpful link.
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The Mad Mommy says
Oh man, I really wish I could go to Disney! Someday, I hope to go, but until then, I vacation vicariously through my friends.
That’s what I do with many things you do too! One day, I know you’ll go!
Janine Huldie says
What great tips and advice. You know ho much I love Disney and already have our summer vacation booked for next summer now. I wanted to get involved with this campaign, but no more pull ups here for some time so couldn’t apply. But still you nailed it my Disney loving friend!! <3
Ah, lucky! We do love Pull-Ups but I look forward to long nights without them. Scarlet got there and so will Des.
XOXO to you!
Allison G smith says
Great advice momma. I can’t believe you make an annual trip. We’ve only been once as a family. The trip wiped us out. We need to go back though. Cammy doesn’t remember it.
Oh boy, I know. We used to do St. Augustine for a few days and THEN Disney. Now we have learned to do Disney first and then literally do nothing in St. Augustine. A break after a vacation, of course.
Amanda Love says
You sure shared some great tips here and loved them. We’re already booked for next summer and will be there for 2 weeks in July and we’re super excited. We have no more need for pull-ups over here but if we did, that’s exactly what we would have been using.
Lucky! We still need them overnight. Luckily he loves them. I almost think he’ll have trouble letting them go!
April G says
I wish I could go to Disney again. I’d have to disagree with the reasonably priced ponchos though. We now have some in our Disney bag.
Yes, certainly packing them beforehand from a dollar store is key!!
you already know that as a Disney pro I agree with ALL of it! I am especially in love with the Disney mobile app. Probably one of the most intuitive and helpful apps ever.
The app is wonderful! It makes everything look so much more possible and exciting. Totally intuitive.
What great tips, Tamara! We hope to take our daughter to the Harry Potter experience in Disney World someday.
It is SO good! It’s in Universal, so you’d need to bank time for it because it’s not Disney. I love it all!
I am jealous. First you are already planning your trip and both your kids can fit in a car cart! Hopefully someday we can make out to Disneyworld and not just Disneyland. Long live Pull-Ups!!
ha! They are pushing it with the car cart, though. They like to pretend they’re still my babies and toddlers but I know better! Scarlet is so petite, though. We can still get her into five and under things. Not that.. uh.. we try.
Oh, my goodness. Des in his ducky poncho. Scarlet staring out the window. So many cute moments, captured on film <3 Thank you for sharing… Also I really REALLY want to go back to Disney. I had a BLAST with my brother and his gf last October, when they lived there briefly. My bro's gf was a Disney pro and knew which rides to go on when so we never had a line. EVER! It was amazing.
Duck ponchos rock!!
I remember when you went! I have SO much fun there as an adult, and it does help to go with a pro!
Nina Badzin says
This is fabulous! We’re taking our girls this fall for the first time. I CANNOT WAIT!
I’m happy for you guys!! That is so awesome!!
Sonya K says
I had no idea Disney had rider switch. That’s good to know. 🙂 As thankful as I am for Pull-ups helping both of my kids transition to being 100% potty trained. I’m even more thankful that we are past that stage and we no longer have to buy them anymore.
The Rider Switch is so helpful. Although it’s mostly that Cassidy and Scarlet want to go on rides together, and not Cassidy and me!!
Pull-Ups rock. We’re still in that stage but probably not for very much longer.
How fun! It’s been years since I’ve been to a Disney park, but I’m thinking maybe next year… 🙂
Ooh, I hope so! I’d love to hear your take.
These are such lovely photos! #client
Thank you, Melanie! It’s always a battle every winter, to decide what lens to bring there! And they take photos of you too – which means extra awesomeness.
Dr. J says
I’ve really enjoyed our Disney theme parks! The Disney organization really does a wonderful job for the most part. Since Orlando is not that far away, there have been several times when we’ve even driven there just for dinner at Lake Buena Vista.
Oh, so nice! I would do the same! I can’t wait for our upcoming trip, and of course – our trip after our trip to St. Augustine.
Yay Disney! We’re going again in March and I cannot wait. Your photos are the best.
Sigh. I so wish we could align one day.
I LOVE the Mickey check. We were at Disney and year ago and I was excited to see fresh produce being sold at the parks. I think rider switch is genius, too. WDW really does have amazing customer service.
Their staff is flawless. Magical, really. I hope they are happy because they make everyone so happy!
Oh it has been so long since we were there! Looks like you had a wonderful time! I had no idea there was a Disney Park App.
I’m relatively new to it, but it was helpful to us two years ago (even when we weren’t staying on property) and last year when we were. They are always making it better too!
Kimberly M (@momgosomething) says
The last time I went to Disney I was crammed in the back of my parents mustang with my siblings. One was puking, the other kept throwing his bottle at my dad. Good times.
Our son hasn’t even mentioned once about going to Disney *husband laughs maniacally as he grasps his wallet*
These are great tips though in case he ever catches the “magic” bug 🙂
Oh boy – carsickness? Out of the five of us, my sister got it, but never enough to puke. Just enough to make sure none of us got the “good seat” in the giant car. Punk.
Emily @ Joyful Abode says
This looks like an incredible trip! And thank you for so many wonderful tips. We are going to Legoland this weekend, and even though it’s different I’m sure I can use a few.
Oh, fun! That’s one of our goals. I hope it’s awesome there.
Wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas says
These seem like really helpful and informative tips for Disney World! I am hoping to take our two children sometime in the near future and will definitely plan for several days so that we can visit a few parks!
Yes! I used to think I could do it in one day or so, but man, there is just so much to wrap your heads around there.
maria @ close to home says
These are really great tips. It has been several years since we have been but doing it right can really make it more enjoyable.
It’s totally fun to be spontaneous too. I only wish we had more time for that, but usually we’re going during work and school. Oops! (worth it)
Wow I didn’t know you go every year! Nice! I’ve been meaning to the kids to Disneyland. And I also didn’t know the characters drove up in a train at the beginning. How awesome!
We started four years ago, and I guess it’s just become a thing. And every year we say we won’t do it, because of the money, but we find a way because escaping a New England winter is really important!!
The morning train is something I’ve learned not to miss!
Your photos are stunning and it looks like you guys had a magical time. I love this post so much because I was clueless on our first Disney trip. Getting to the parks early is so key!
Same exact. I was just like.. “You show up, right?” And their version of not crowded is still my version of crowded. I’ve had to learn to adjust!
Katrina Gehman says
looks like a blast. we are doing DL iin jan and can’t wait.
I have always wanted to go there!! One day. I hope you have a great time.
Bev Feldman @ Linkouture says
Wow, it is amazing how much more technically advanced Disney has become since I was last there (in 2002!). Charging stations and mobile apps to plan your trip? I will most certainly be referencing your post whenever I finally get down to Disney.
I agree. Even from going four years in a row, it’s changed a lot since we started when Des was a baby. I’d love to go when you do! Ah, life goals.
Mrs. AOK says
Oh this post made me want to go back!! It’s been too long.
If you go when I go, it would be a true dream come true. You and me and your kids and we all have Disney princess hair. (well, not your son)
I can’t wait to go with my family to Disney World…someday. This is all fantastic information that I will have to come back to when the time comes!