In no way am I saying I am a Disney pro, these are just little tips I learned while going last month, some things that I wish I had done, some things I think we did right and some things I'll do next time;)
So, you're going to Disney? My #1 tip: Don't go in the summer! Ha! Just kidding.
These next few tips pertain to those going in the summer.
As we all know, Florida is H.O.T-HOT in the summer but I had no idea how hot I would be. It just happened that this was the best time for us to go so we did and don't get me wrong we had a blast but we were HOT. So some things I would have done differently are:
Wear better clothing.
I saw many women walking around in what I would call "running attire" which I am very accustomed to since I run and I thought to myself -if you're going to sweat, you might as well sweat in stuff you're used to sweating in. Wish I had thought of that! It's not like I wore pants or uncomfortable clothes but a sports bra with a cool tank and running shorts would have been much better.
Another thing I wish I would've thought of:
Bring our own cheap fans!!!
We were desperate people, as were the millions of others there and we paid a whopping $17 for this little fan that sprays water and cools you off at the same time. It was worth it but I over heard someone say you could get similar ones at Walmart for next to nothing. We were all fighting over this little gem and Mike wasn't about to buy another one- I don't blame him but it sure would have been nice if we each had our own.
Another thing that we could have saved a bit on:
It pretty much storms every afternoon in Florida in the summertime- I knew that but just wasn't thinking!! So we went to one of the many Disney stores there and bought our ponchos and again I overheard someone say you could get them at Walmart for next to nothing!
Bring your own ponchos if you're going in the summer!!
Okay, as most of you know we did not bring Bennett along and I'm so glad we didn't because again it was HOT! It was just too hot for babies but if you must bring your little bambino along in the summer months bring one of these:
A fan! Attach it to your stroller. We had one when we went to Dutch Wonderland in May. It helps a lot and you can get them at Babies-R-Us and I'm assuming Walmart. Oh and of course Disney sells them but you're going to pay a lot for it.
Now, on to some things that pertain to any time of year:
Are you on the fence about Bibbity Bobbity Boutique? I was because as girly as Ainsley is, she doesn't like her hair messed with a lot and pulled back tightly and Harper could care less so I was afraid that I would fork out all this money and I would hear complaining for the rest of the day. A couple of friends recommended a breakfast (do the breakfast-not the lunch-American vs. Norwegian food) at Epcot where you could see all the princesses. So we signed up for that and I decided to bring our own (much cheaper and perhaps not quite as nice) dresses for the girls to wear to the breakfast. They LOVED it! They got to see all the princesses, dress up for a bit and eat yummy food-what's better than that? No fussing over tightly pulled hair or "I'm hot in this dress!" I'm happy with my decision to forgo the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.
Here they are at the breakfast-only princess we never saw, accept from afar was Jasmine. I heard she is hard to see for some reason.
Now onto some hotel tips, fast pass tips meal plan and park hopper tips.
Hotels: we stayed at Caribbean Beach and really liked it. Several of our friends stayed there and liked it too. The pool was fantastic with multiple water slides and an awesome kiddie pool so for the summertime it was perfect. The rooms were decent-nothing spectacular but ours had beds that looked like pirate ships and other pirate looking things but you don't spend a ton of time in your room so to me that's not the most important thing.
If you stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort- try to get a room close to the food court. My friend Renee suggested that but we booked it too late I guess and we were a little too far from the pool and food in my opinion.
If you want to spend a little bit more or maybe a lot more- stay at the Grand Floridian! We had two of our character meals there and it's gorgeous. It's right next to the Magic Kingdom but again, you will pay more for this fancy hotel.
Meal Plan: We signed up for the meal plan and the thing we didn't realize was that the 4 character meals we had, counted as two meals so we ran out of meals by the end of the week and had to pay for a couple. So pay attention to the meal plan you choose if you're staying on property that is.
Character Meals: This is you and your kids preference. If you have little girls, I highly recommend the Breakfast with the Princesses at Norway in Epcot-again do the breakfast unless you and your kids like Norwegian food. We also enjoyed breakfast at the Grand Floridian where we saw Pooh Bear, Tiger, Alice, Mary Poppins and the Mad Hatter. Other meals I've heard were great that we didn't book in time were Chef Mickey's and Cinderella's Round Table- you need to book these way in advance.
Fast Pass: Mike was the fast pass expert but he said it really wasn't hard to figure out once you got there. Basically you go to the big rides, pick up a pass and it tells you to come back within a certain time frame but if you want another fast pass for another ride you have to wait until a certain time to get it-err something like that. He said the people there are very helpful and you just need to plan out your day a little so you can get back to some of the big rides that have long wait times.
Park Hopper: We did the park hopper and it's well worth it but for our kids ages, Magic Kingdom was by far the best place, followed by Animal Kingdom-we all loved Animal Kingdom. The park hopper gives you a lot of flexibility and if you have older kids it's definitely worth it.
Strollers: I had no idea how much walking we were going to be doing at Disney! Just to get from the bus stop to the entrance seemed like miles! So we brought one umbrella -mainly for Harper in the airport and then rented the double stroller for the week that they have there. Even though Ainsley is 5, you better believe she was in that stroller due to tired little legs. Near the middle of the week we started bringing the umbrella to the parks because Harper was so tired and did not want to walk from the bus station to the entrance! So we had the double and then I pushed Mike's book bag in the umbrella-it worked for us. Believe me, you do not want to carry a tired 3 year old after a long day at the park-the umbrella stroller was a life saver.
The Magic Height: We've determined it's 44". 44" will get you on just about every ride. Ainsley was 43" so she missed out on some good ones and I was hoping her bow would help but no such luck.
Some other little tid bits that seemed to help our trip was eating lunch and dinner and odd hours like waiting a little and eating lunch at 3- not as crowded or dinner earlier or later. Also, this may seem silly but I dressed the girls alike every day-1)because I'm like that and I think it's cute;) and 2) it really was easy keep track of them with so many people there- not like I let my children run wild but there are a ton of people at Disney World and to lose a child-I can't even imagine.
So there you have it. Like I said, no pro just tips friends gave me and things we learned while there. If you have the chance to go, there really is nothing like seeing it all through your children's eyes and every bit of money you spend is all worth it.