Recently, a woman who is in one of the blogger Facebook groups that I am a part of, posted requesting advice on how to plan a Disney vacation. Well… for those of you who don’t know me here’s a little fun fact for ya… I am a full fledged Disney-aholic. Like if there were Disney Anonymous meetings, I would go. I went once as a 4 year old, and have been 3 times as an adult. It never gets old.
So I thought I would put together a little series of posts of how to do Disney. Because let me tell you there is a right and wrong way. I guess I shouldn’t say “wrong” way. Because everyone enjoys Disney differently. But I view the wrong way as tired screaming kids waiting in line at a ride for 3 hours. There are ways around that, people! This will be my first post in the series which will just be a Disney World at a glance: places to stay, passes, vacation format, ect. There will also be a Ride Guide, Meals & Shows, Tips & Tricks, and a special post about my experiences. I’ll give you fair warning… these posts may be a little long… but I legit can’t get enough of Disney.
Let’s jump right in!
So you’re planning a trip to Disney!!! Meetcha there. First thing’s first. Where to stay. I can not encourage people enough to stay on site. There is a huge array of price points; anywhere from campgrounds (yes that’s a thing) for $55 per night, to Deluxe Villas for $571 (vomit) per night, and everywhere in between. Let me tell you, it is worth every penny. One of the biggest advantages of staying on site is transportation. Disney picks you and your luggage up at the airport and drops you off right at your resort. And when it’s time to go home you can actually check your bag at the resort then hop on the bus to the airport. You straight up don’t have to touch, or deal with your bags until you land back home. And while you are on enjoying vacation there is transportation to and from the parks, and transportation to Disney Springs! You save money by not having to rent a car, or pay to park ($20 per day at the parks). You also don’t have to worry about driving in crazy traffic, or trying to find parking. It really makes life easier, especially when traveling with little ones.
Another perk (other than it just being super fun) is Magic Hours. Each park has various Magic Hours throughout the week which only allow guests staying at a Disney resort to enter the park! Lines end up being about a quarter of the size as they are during normal hours. And a lot of the times Magic Hours start after the last show of the night… so around 9pm, then run until 11pm. Being in the park that late when there is no one around is such a cool experience.
The resorts also host fun little events throughout the week. My favorite being their outdoor movie nights with free popcorn! It’s a wicked fun way to wind down and enjoy new and classic Disney movies. There also tons of activities going on at the pools throughout the day for the kiddos, including Disney trivia! I may play… and get a little competitive with the toddlers…
Each resort has an easily accessible dining hall with meals of all sorts and snacks. It’s super easy and convenient! Most also have a sit down restaurant, but the dining halls are quick service and very kid (and tired adult) friendly.
Aside from all the “practical” bonuses to staying at a Disney resort… it also just changes the entire experience. It truly adds to the magic of the vacation. From the room designs, to the music, and activities. Like I said… worth every penny. I’ll share my favorite places to stay in my last post of the series!
Now let’s talk park passes! This is where you guys may start to think I’m a little insane. But trust me… there is a method to my madness. In my opinion you get the most bang for your buck with the 6 Day Park Hopper Pass. I know what you’re thinking… 6 days in the parks… how. EASILY. Being able to come and go as you please on 6 different days allows you to really slow down and enjoy your experience. It SUCKS trying to cram everything at each park into 1 day. Especially at EPCOT. EPCOT is broken up into two halves, Future World, and the World Showcase. Trying to get through both in one day is terrible. It is sooooo much walking which is exhausting on the little ones. It is way more fun and relaxed if you break it up into chunks. Same goes for Magic Kingdom. There is so much to do and see that you could easily spend multiple days in that 1 park. That being said Hollywood, and Animal Kingdom are able to be covered in just 1 day. They are much smaller and there are way less lines to wait around in. So this is typically how my fam formats the Park Hopper Pass:
Day 1: Animal Kingdom
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Day 3: EPCOT – Future World
Day 4: Hollywood
Day 5: EPCOT – World Showcase
Day 6: Magic Kingdom (always end the trip in the most classic Disney park)
With the Park Hopper, you’re not restricted to one park per day. We always start at Animal Kingdom, but we leave for dinner then head to Magic Kingdom to start our vacation with the firework show at Cinderlla’s Castle. There was a day on our most recent family trip where we hit all 4 parks in 1 day. Just for the hell of it. It was our last day so we Fast Passed our favorite ride at each park and bounced around the entire day. So much fun.
Another point that I can’t stress enough is scheduling breaks. Breaks in the day, and breaks in the vacation from the park. I know it seems like a lot of days to be on vacation, but this is really the only surefire way to ensure happy and rested family members. We always put a rest day in every 2 days. We just lounge by the pool, or take a bus or boat to Disney Springs and shop. Adding in those days keeps everyone from getting burnt out, which changes the entire experience.
The theme through this post is to plan the trip with a timeline. It seems a little overly dramatic and like a lot of work… but when you’re traveling with kiddos and with how much there is to see and do, it really will help make it a more enjoyable vacation. You hear horror stories of Disney vacations filled with overtired kids, long lines, and lots of sweaty people. But there is a way to make it incredibly relaxing. Trust me. If you have any questions or would like more specific recommendations please email me! I would love to be your unofficial travel agent!