Disney World Preparations
We got back from our big Disney trip a couple of weekends ago and we are finally getting back into the swing of things. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing our trip report and sharing tips for travelling to Disney World with little kids. Before I share what we did each day, I thought I would let you in on what we planned beforehand.
1. Lodging. We were very lucky in that my husband’s parents had a place to stay near Disney World. It was not on property but it was super close and we were able to stay in a 2-bedroom suite, complete with a kitchen and a washer and dryer.
2. Tickets. We were originally going to only go to the parks for three days but realized that the tickets for 4 days were only around $30 more a person, and if you bought 4 days, you got the 5th day free. So we ended up with tickets for 5 days that my husband’s parents bought us for Christmas. We also opted not to do the Park Hopper. Honestly, there is so much to do in each part, it would be hard to justify leaving one park to go to another, in my opinion. Unless you had dinner reservations at a different park or wanted to see a show that was only playing a certain day or something like that, it made more sense to just do one park each day, especially because coming and going does eat up some of your time.
3. Transportation. We thought about flying but decided that it would still be cheaper for us to drive, even if it meant staying in hotels on the way there and back. If we flew, we would have had to rent a car and it was just much simpler to take our own vehicle.
4. Fastpasses. These are free with your tickets. It is silly not to use them and I would get them scheduled as soon as possible for the best times. If you are staying on-site, you can get them 60 days beforehand. If you are staying off-site, it is 30 days. Don’t wait on these, especially if you want to get fastpasses for popular things, like meeting Anna and Elsa. Because we stayed off-site, we couldn’t do it until 30 days before and some of those things book up within hours, starting at 60 days before.
A few things we did beforehand…
- We booked two character breakfasts. One was at Tusker House (Animal Kingdom) with Donald, Mickey, Goofy, and Daisy. The other was a princess breakfast at Akershus in Epcot. We thought this made the most sense, because Animal Kingdom wasn’t as full of a day as Magic Kingdom was going to be, and there wasn’t as much for the kids to do in Epcot and this gave them something to look forward to that day.
- We purchased the Memory Saver plan, and we highly recommend it. If you purchase this plan and link everyone’s accounts to yours, everyone in your party can have photographers scan their magic bands or park tickets and you get all the photos taken of you and can download to do with what you want. Also, if you purchase it at least 3 days before you use it, it is cheaper. We were in the parks for 5 days and had over 400 pictures by the end of our trip. We plan to use the pictures for a travel book we are making. This plan also ensures that everyone is in the pictures since the photographer can take them for you instead of someone in your party having to stand out of the picture to do it. Some of the photographers do “magic” pictures, too. We have several pictures of things like Anya holding a crab in her hand or Felix holding a bunch of balloons.
- I purchased a subscription to Touring Plans. It is around $13 for an entire year, but I got it at a discount and only paid $10 and some change for it. It allows you to completely plan your day based on expected crowds and lines. It absolutely blew my mind how accurate their predictions were.
- We downloaded the Touring Plans app and the Disney World app. You will need these to be able to check current waits for rides.
- I came up with a tentative schedule for each day, using Touring Plans. I knew we wouldn’t follow it to a T, but it was nice to have some idea of what order is good to go in.
- I pre-ordered souvenirs. So much of the stuff in the gift shops can be bought in other stores or on Disney’s online store, so I ordered a bunch of things I thought the kids would like (Disney-themed flip flops, pajamas, t-shirts, autograph books, sunglasses, etc.) The Easter Bunny also brought the kids things to do in the car (Disney coloring books, etc.) as well as glow sticks for nighttime events. I truly believed this saved us a ton of money and the kids LOVED getting their surprises when we were there. Anytime anyone comments on Anya’s shirt or her shoes, she tells them “it was one of Mommy’s surprises at Disney World.”
That’s all for now….stay tuned for details about our week at Disney!