When we go again I will be able to look back at this and be glad I wrote it all down!
We went to Disney last October and I learned a lot of things! Some I learned from the internet but others just came from experience!
Here are just a few of my “advice”.
Strollers – I highly recommend getting a stroller for your trip!
·We used magicstrollers.com and it was wonderful! They cost a fraction of the price of renting one in the park and the wonderful bonus is that you can have them drop it off and pick it up at your hotel! That part was wonderful b/c standing in lines to get on our bus the kids could sit in their stroller and relax. It also helped me keep calm because the kids weren’t running around and possibly get hurt!
·If you do get a stroller I recommend that you bring something to personalize it! We hang a bright “scarf/bandana” and also took a half sheet of bright colored paper and put our names on it with the hotel on the back just in case it was mistakenly taken, they knew where to return it. There are going to be a ton of strollers that look like yours (or rented) and with a little personalization it will be much easier to spot yours.
·Getting a stroller would also make life easier for you because you can walk faster than your toddler so just having them get into the stroller and high tail it to your next event will make for less cranky children! It will hold all of your stuff too! It can be a lot to drag around with you all day everywhere you go (because children to come with a lot of stuff) so having something else hold it is amazing!
·Kasey hadn’t taken a nap in a year when we went and we got in line to see Tinkerbell, turned around and he was out! We just reclined the seat, put the sun visor up and he was able to take a peaceful nap without Tommy or I breaking our backs trying to hold him! We also got to see Jilliann experience Tinkerbell (if he was sleeping one of us would have had to be outside!)
·**if your stroller is not where you left it don’t PANIC. A lot of the cast members will move your stroller to accommodate the ride/show. (Another reason to personalize!)
Snacks – be prepared!
·Disney allows you to bring in soft sided coolers and snack sized food
·Buy sodas and waters at the grocery store and bring them into the park. A soda and bottled water can cost $1.50 so it can get really expensive, quickly.
·You can get a free cup of ice water just about anywhere you go so if you don’t want to lug around drinks, then bring in the individual powdered drink mixes (crystal light) or even Mio. You get a free flavored drink!
·For your snacks, I would bring dry cereal, crackers, and other snacks that aren’t messy and won’t melt! The last thing you want to do at the end of a long day is clean up a sticky mess!
·Please don’t bring cold cuts or anything really perishable… no one wants food poisoning!
·**no straws of any kind in animal kingdom!
·If you can get an autograph book before you go to the park please try! They are really expensive in the park!
·Spiral bound books work best since they are easy to fold back and give to the character
·For your pen try a sharpie click it. They are big enough for the characters to hold and you never have to worry about losing a cap!
·Leave the page next to the autograph blank so that you can add your kid’s picture with that character next to it.
·Make sure you keep your book with you at all times! You will never know when characters will appear. We were in line for a ride and Pooh Bear showed up! The book was in the stroller and we missed that opportunity!
Contingency Plan – prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
·Have a plan, have a plan, and have a plan!
·Kids should know what to do if they are to get separated from you! We taught our kids to walk up to a Cast Member and say I am lost.
·We put all of our kid’s information on a shrinky dink that we made into a pin and they wore it daily.
oAnother idea is to write their information on the back of the celebrate pins that Disney will give you when you arrive.
oBuy the white envelope labels and put your information on that and have the kids wear them on the back of their shirts. (not my favorite idea)
oYou can also make a shrinky dink and lace it on their shoes
·I know it sounds petty but have the kids or family wear matching colors.
oYou can spot each other easily and if you do get separated then you are able to tell the CM what color your child was wearing. We never matched as a family but I always tried to get the kids to coordinate.
·TAKE A FULL BODY PICUTRE OF YOUR CHILD DAILY
oIf you take a picture of your child daily then you are able to show the CM exactly what your child looks like and what they are wearing!
Dress Up- if you have children that loves to dress up….
·Bring your own dress up clothes, clothes in the park are super expensive and you can get comparable outfits at Wal-Mart and Target for much cheaper!
Souvenirs – this is a controversial issue in my house!
·I say bring your own! They are super expensive in the park and 99% of the time the kids will never lay eyes on it again.
·Some people have the park fairy and she comes in the middle of the night when the kids have been good to deliver presents. We stashed one for each kid that was wrapped in our bag and at the end of every night that we visited a new park we would pull them out and they would have their very own gifts. We did Magic Kingdom twice and they only got one present.
Fast Pass – USE IT!
·You stick your key card into the kiosk and you get a ticket that tells you when to return (it usually gives you an hour timeframe: return between 11:20 and 12:20)
·Go get in line for another ride, finish, and then jump into your fast pass line!
·Wait times are reduced and the kids don’t get as cranky!
Photo Pass- BUY IT!
·Buy it before you go for the $99 instead of after for the $149
·They include awesome extras and even include special characters on your pictures!
·It doesn’t matter how many pictures they take you get all of them, and heaven forbid something happens to your camera and you lose all of your pictures!
Glow Sticks – BRING YOUR OWN!
·Night parades and shows are amazing to see and experience. However for $15 they can get expensive.
·We go to the Dollar Store and get the necklaces and bracelets and the kids get something of their own. Target usually has an awesome glow toy in the kid’s $5 section and we would hide ours until the guy selling the toys would come around! We would pull these out and the kids never mentioned wanting their own!
Entertainment – lines are boring!
·Lines can be long and boring so bring something the kids can do while they wait.
·Bring bubbles, sticker books, and a pocket game, anything that can fit into your small bag and are able to pull out to prevent the boredom meltdown!
Baby Stations- even for those that don’t have babies!
·We loved using the baby stations even though we don’t have babies.
·It is a quiet and air conditioned place to go!
·They have little people toilets and also have games and cartoons playing for the siblings that are waiting.
·Make sure that you take the kids to the bathroom every so often! The worst thing in the world is to have to leave the line because they can’t hold it anymore!
Have a Plan – no aimlessness!
·You can’t walk around the park aimlessly with toddlers – that equals meltdowns.
·Go first thing in the morning when the park first opens, also consider leaving the park from 1-3 when it is the hottest and the busiest.
·When you go to the park start to the left, most people go straight or to the right
·Grab a map from your hotel the night before. It will show the schedule of events for that specific park along with the hours its open
Bring a bag that zips – no spills please
·The worst thing is getting on a ride and having your bag spill over and then holding the line up to put all the stuff back in.
·Bring a bag that zips and you can essentially throw it around and not worry about losing anything!
Bring PJ’s – crazy but true
·When you plan on staying late at the park, pack the kids PJ’s.
·The light show at Magic Kingdom didn’t finish until after midnight.
·Have them change after the show before you leave the park (they also get to use the potty!) you can put them straight to bed when they fall asleep on the way home! Give them their bath the next morning.
Extra Clothes – you might need them!
·Pack a change of clothes for your kids in a Ziploc bag.
·When the kids get wet they get to change into a dry pair or clothes. The wet clothes go into the Ziploc and no one has to worry about your stuff ruining!
Misc. Item to Pack – you will be surprised…
·Wipes – they work great cleaning up little messes and cleaning hands before snacks
·Extra battery and SD cards for your camera
·Sunscreen – it’s hot and sunny
·Band-Aids and Neosporin – someone may fall and get a boo boo and you don’t want to pay the crazy prices for a first aid kit
·Tylenol- no one needs a headache
·Hat and sunglasses- it’s hot and sunny
·Hand sanitizer – Disney is clean, but there are a lot of people touching a lot of things
Entry to the Park – this will save you time!
·When you get out of the parking lot or off the bus don’t put everything in the stroller!
·You have to get your bags checked when you enter the park, so have all of your bags open and ready to be checked.
oWe had three bags so each kid had one, I had one, and tommy pushed the stroller (they look in the pockets of the stroller too!)
·Once you get into the park, pull over and organize. While you are organizing someone can grab the map and get a head start on the day!
FINALLY - remember you will not be able to do everything! Take your time and remember that know matter what someone will have a melt down, child or adult! Just go with it and HAVE FUN!