Ahhhhh…Disney World. The happiest place on earth. Unless you have a hangry pre-schooler who is overtired. And overheated. And overstimulated.
My family recently visited the Disney empire in early May. We got a really good deal on a four day, four park pass. And, I had enough Advantage Miles from American to get our hotel for free. Woot! We stayed at the Hilton Bonnet Creek and it was AWESOME! The pool is incredible – it has a lazy river, water slide, and food and bar service (great if you need to take a break from the parks). They also run shuttle service from all of the parks multiple times each day. I highly recommend it!
We had an amazing time at all of the parks, but there are some things I wish we would have thought about before we made the trek down to Florida. In order to do Disney right, planning is definitely a must. So, here are my basic tips to help you have the best Disney experience you can have.
- Bring a stroller. This tip saved our asses at The Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This may be a “thanks Captain Obvious” statement, but you’re going to walk….A LOT. Each day I clocked over 12,000 steps on my Fitbit. That’s really good for an adult. But that means it’s a TON of walking for little people. They do rent out strollers if you don’t want to bring your own. If you do that, the cost adds up quickly, especially if you are there for multiple days.
- Carry a backpack. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. I made the mistake of bringing a beach bag kind of bag. That was dumb, because it was awkward to carry. The backpack frees up your arms and hands, which is really handy when you’re trying to keep up with your little person. Just put all of your stuff…sunscreen, wipes, napkins, snacks, and waters…in the backpack. Which brings me to my next tip.
- Bring your own snacks and water. You can’t avoid buying overly priced food and drinks at Disney World. I mean, part of the fun of being there is eating a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar on a stick. However, you can bring snacks and water into the parks. This is really helpful when your kid’s blood sugar is plummeting and you need a quick fix. Or if your little one is getting overheated. Need a healthy snack idea, check out my rosemary garlic roasted chickpeas recipe. They’re really yummy and they don’t need to be refrigerated. Perfect for your backpack.
- Download the My Disney Experience app. You can manage all of your FastPasses and dinner reservations on the app. Also, after you go on some of the rides, like Splash Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you’ll see all of the photos on the app and you can order them off the app too. Another great feature is being able to see the wait times for the ride, which comes in handy when you’re trying to plan your FastPasses.
- Splurge on the Magic Band. I love the Magic Band because it makes getting on rides soooo easy. When you use your FastPass, you just tap your band to the sensor and go on in. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. When you first buy your tickets, Disney mails you a “credit card” version of a Magic Band. Seems like those suckers would get dropped or lost really easily (at least, I know my family would lose them). You can get the basic bands, or they have ones with Disney characters on them that cost a little bit more.
That’s it! If you’re planning to go to Disney for the first time, I hope these tips help. For the veterans out there – what other tips do you all have? Pop them in the comments, I’d love to hear them so I can use them on our next trip!