My Disney Guide- Having a Blast in the Parks
A Disney trip can be a magical experience, or totally stressful if you are not prepared. The crowds and lines can throw anyone off there game and take away the fun. On our recent Disney World we figured out a few key tips and hacks to make the experience magical not miserable! We had so much fun we all can't wait to go back! Even the grown ups!
Crossbody is Key
You will be doing a ton of walking and don’t want a big bag that will weigh you down. I packed all of my essentials for the day (wallet, autograph books and pen, hand sanitizer, phone, sunscreen) in a small crossbody bag that I always had on me. Everything else we wanted during the day stayed in the pockets of or underneath the stroller. Next time I think I will wear a fanny back/belt bag to be even more hand’s free.
Pack Snacks and Water
While there is plenty of food at Disney World it can be expensive and far from healthy. Each morning be sure to pack a few bottles of water and some healthy snacks in your bag or stroller to get you through until lunch. I highly suggest taking a bento box to breakfast and filling it with fresh cut up fruit for a late morning snack!
Getting There is Half the Battle
Instead of waiting for a hotel shuttle take your own LYFT from your hotel to the parks. There are tons of them driving around and you can usually get there for less than $10. At peak morning times a LFYT can take 10-15 minutes to get to you so plan ahead and call the LYFT when you are starting to get everyone’s shoes on to leave.
The parks open at 9am and you will want to be there a few minutes before that to get through security and beat the rush of busses that arrive right at 9. The difference in the security lines at 8:50 vs. 9:10 is staggering. If you are there when the parks offer Extra Magic Hours (only available to guests at Disney Hotels) take advantage of them. The parks are much less crowded during during Extra Magic Hours and you will be able to get in a few extra ride.
Forget the Boat or Monorail and Take the Bus
While the monorails and boats into the Magic Kingdom are scenic they also have the longest lines and can be slow. If you want to get into the Magic Kingdom fast take the bus! Very few people line up for the bus and it is super quick. Don't worry, the busses only run one way so you will be able to get your monorail or boat fix on the way out!
Beeline for Your First Ride
Right when they parks open you will be able to get in a ride on one of the more popular rides without a Fast Pass (think Haunted Mansion, Pirates) before long lines form. Pick what you want to be your first ride of the day and go straight there, fast. It’s a push but totally worth it.
Check Fast Pass Often
Fast Pass availability is always changing so check the app often. You may be able to snag a last minute FastPass to a super popular ride!
Catch Characters After Their Breaks
Lines to meet characters can be long, especially for the one’s you can’t Fast Pass. The upside of this is that each character really gives kids individual attention-hence the long lines. Check the app for where the characters will be and try and get there a little before they are coming back from a break or starting for the day as the lines tend to be shorter then.
There is an endless amount of stuff to buy and treats to eat at Disney World so make sure you set limits with your kids before things get out of hand. We had a rule that they were each allowed to buy one thing (princess dress, toy, bubble wand etc.) and have one treat (popcorn, Dole Whip, Mickey Pretzel) per day. There were several days when we broke this rule but having it as a foundation was very helpful. It made them really think about what they wanted and not just beg for the first thing they saw. Hermione in particular really, really wanted a Buzz Lightyear doll and it was so much more special when we finally found one for her because she had waited and waited for it and forgone many other toys that day!
It’s OK to Split Up
There were several times when my kids wanted to do different ride so we would split up and take one to Ariel while the other went on Pirates. Not every moment of a family vacation has to be spent all together. It was special for Doug and I to have some alone time with each girl and fun to tell each other about our adventures when we met back up!
Take Advantage of the Park Photographers
If your family is like mine photographs of everyone together are few and far between. Take advantage of the photographers stationed around the parks and have them snap family shots. You can later access all of your photos in the Disney app and download them ( if you bought the Memory Maker).
Don’t Overdo It
Disney World can be exhausting so make sure not to push yourselves to the point of epic melt down. We found that leaving the park by 2 or 3pm was ideal and gave us plenty of time to relax and swim in the afternoon before dinner.
Leave Some of it to Chance and Have Fun
After months and months of planning be sure to leave plenty of free time in your schedule. Half of the fun of Disney is just walking around and seeing what you stumble upon. Sometimes plans are made to be broken!