So, you're doing it. You're going to Disney World! If you've heard it's the happiest place on earth and completely magical then you've heard right! There is absolutely nothing like a Disney vacation to make lifelong memories with those you love most.
I decided, since I'm in the process of planning a short visit for our family, a little guide of tips and advice would be a great resource to have for my own family as well as all of you readers considering a Disney trip yourselves.
First things first, start some research on the various resorts on Disney Property.
We've enjoyed staying at different resorts both of our visits. It's so convenient to use the Magical Express bus that takes you from the airport to your resort. They even get your bags for you! That's just the start of the perks that come with staying in a Disney Resort. You also receive busing to and from the parks. It's so wonderful, especially after a long park day, to sit back and relax and not worry about driving.
Another perk is when Disney offers extra magic hours. They're exclusive to guests in Disney resorts only and give you either a couple extra hours before the park opens or after it closes to enjoy the rides and attractions with a smaller crowd. The best way to learn about which parks have extra magic hours on what days is to check out a couple of informative Disney blogs. One of my favorites for this information, and so much more, is wdwinfo.com . The "articles" section on the website has many blog posts from various people compiled into one easy to navigate spot. The reviews make planning your trip that much easier.
Now let's talk about park options. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom! How do you choose? Well, Magic Kingdom is a given. A Disney vacation just wouldn't feel right without a visit to Magic Kingdom. Depending on how long your stay is, each of the other parks have various attractions and rides that make them all exciting to visit. One thing I learned our last trip was how big Epcot truly is. If you plan a day there make sure you give yourself time to get from one place to another. Hollywood studios is a smaller park, but still full of tons of fun! It's a must for any Star Wars fans. Animal Kingdom has a couple must see shows, and the Safari ride is just incredible. The animals are majestic walking around the land while you observe. Each park has such different things to offer, spend some time researching which ones you think are the right fit for your family. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com provides details of the rides, attractions, shows and food available at each of their parks.
Now let's make those fast passes! If you are staying on Disney Property then at the 60 day mark before leaving for your trip you can start making your fast pass selections. If you're visiting from off property you can still make fast pass selections 30 days before you leave. This allows you three various choices at the parks for rides or attractions you'd like to enjoy without waiting. For our family fast pass was a lifesaver! Our kids aren't awesome at waiting in lines without major whining. Another great feature about fast passes is after you use your first three you can go on the "My Disney Experience" app and grab more for the rest of the day. I like to make ours as early in the day as I can so I can try to grab more easily later in the park.
That leads us to the app you must download if you're going to Disney. The My Disney Experience app is the best thing you can get for yourself to plan your trip easily. It has features like "wait times" which gives you an estimate of ride wait times in real time in all the parks. It has easy and quick ways to make your meal reservations, fast passes, see which rides may be closed for refurbishment and so much more. If you choose to add memory maker, the professional Disney photo service in the parks, to your vacation you will get your photo to view almost instantly on the app as well.
Paying for a Disney trip can sometimes be a little hard to swallow. Although, you very much get what you pay for, it's safe to say a Disney vacation is not cheap. When we took our twins for their fifth birthday we learned a money saving trick! Disney gift cards from Sams Club! You can buy $150 worth of Disney gift cards at Sams Club for just $143. That $7 savings really adds up when your trip is in the thousands. You better believe we paid off our $5,000 trip with those cards two years ago and it saved us a big chunk of money to do so! The few hundred dollars we saved using the gift cards gave us extra spending money at the parks! That had to have been our personal favorite Disney tip.
Whether you are planning a long Disney stay and visiting multiple parks multiple times, or just a quick visit, Disney is excellent at helping you have the most magical and memorable time of your life. Talk to friends and family for their experience and advice, download My Disney Experience, and start reading up on the rides, attractions and food Disney parks all have to offer. With a little work and planning in advance, Disney will become your happiest place on earth in just one visit!
Have fun and SEE YA REAL SOON!