I feel like after spending almost a week in the magical world of Disney that I should have earned some type of expert badge. Especially after doing it with a toddler and a 6.5 year old. I read tons of blogs and tips, but there’s nothing like being there.
So this isn’t my recap on the trip itself but it is my general tips for you if you ever consider going (which I totally think you should). I’ve got more detailed tips, but I’ll do those in another post. There’s so much to share!
1) get a travel agent. I’ll go one better: use BRYAN HARRIS (click HERE to visit his website). He was awesome! Bryan works with (but not for) Disney and you don’t pay him a dime. But he does make all the reservations and walks you through every step of the way. He mailed us our vacation packet before we arrived and filled us in on helpful tips.
Even when we arrived he was still there to answer my texts and calls. Even on a Sunday. When he was sick. Yeah, love him. He even had an awesome welcome surprise waiting for us in our room.
Moral of the story? Love him. Call him. You’ll be so glad you did. Promise.
2) Stay on Disney property. It’s so worth it. They pick you up from the airport, transport your luggage to your room, take you all around all the parks, and even have food courts and sundry shops on the hotel premises. Bryan can give you the low down on all the properties. I should’ve listened to him from the beginning.
3) don’t expect much from the Disney hotels. To say we were disappointed with our rooms is an understatement. I didn’t expect Ritz Carlton, but for a moderate hotel, I expected a bit better. I can’t imagine the value resorts. Let me break it down this way: the toilet paper was probably a step down from the toilet paper at the airport. So yeah. But everything was extremely clean and the property itself was fantastic.
Next time we will definitely stay at a better hotel. The convenience of being closer and having shorter bus rides or a monorail ride to the park would be well worth the money. I know you don’t spend much time in the room, but when you are there to rest and have down time, you do want to be comfortable. We probably could have gotten in extra time at the parks if we didn’t have to waste all that time on the bus.
4) For being the happiest place on earth there are lots of tired (and bratty) kids and lots of rude people. Ava got hit in the eye by someone on the bus to the park. With a hand, not even a bag or something. The jerk didn’t even apologize. People could care less if you have a baby on your hip, they’ll run you down. And don’t expect them to move for your stroller.
5) bring snacks and drinks. You’ll want an extra suitcase for junk anyway, so fill it with stuff that you’ll use during the trip. The rooms come with a mini fridge and I was so glad I packed ahead. It was so nice to have stuff for the girls to eat and drink without having to wait in line to buy $2 cups of Danimal yogurt. We would have spent way more than we did without them. Disney lets you bring snacks and drinks into the park. I even saw one lady had a full size box of cereal in her giant bag. Weird, but whatever.
6) bring panchos. It rains daily. It stops pretty quickly but you will get wet. Umbrellas are a pain in the ass so don’t bother with them. It’s a lot easier to maneuver wearing a pancho. Toss them in your backpack in the morning and go. Don’t waste extra money buying them at the park.
7) don’t kill yourself trying to do all the rides. Do what you want to. Don’t waste time in lines. There is so much to do and see, including shows in air conditioned theaters. Just take it all in. Especially for your first trip, the kids won’t know the difference.
8) don’t make reservations the first day you get there or too early the next day. We were delayed and didn’t get to bed till nearly 1am and had 9am breakfast reservations. We made them, but damn. Do make reservations if you want to do Disney dining or want an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Also don’t make dinner reservations if you have small kids. You may be too tired. Do breakfast or early lunch.
But do make reservations if you want to eat at the good sit down restaurants or you won’t get a table. Your travel agent ::ahem Bryan:: can walk you through all of this and make great recommendations.
9) don’t do the dining package unless it’s free or you have great eaters and plan to do sit down meals at nice restaurants daily. (Bryan usually has scoop about when the promos and deals are coming) Otherwise the cost savings just isn’t there. We mostly drank water at every meal (it’s hot and you’ll be dehydrated) and we never got dessert, so that wasn’t a “savings” to us. If you can do the outstanding restaurants where you can order steak dinner, then you’ll be able to make your money off it. Otherwise just skip it.
10) don’t bother getting all gussied up to go sweat. Shower at night then throw your hair in a pony tail, grab a t-shirt, sports bra and shorts and head out to the park. Save the makeup and slather on the sunscreen.
Most important: JUST HAVE FUN AND BE A KID!
If you have questions or want to know more about Bryan like exactly how awesome he is, just email me! For the record, Bryan didn’t ask me to write this. I wasn’t compensated by anyone. He’s just that awesome and I’m a,l about good customer service.