June 18, 2014

Things I learned from Disney....

We took our first BIG family vacation to Disney World last month and it was an amazing experience. We all had a blast and made memories that will last a lifetime. Being the first time Disney guest I really didn't know what I was getting into because there is SOOOO much to do and see. I didn't know the "in's and out's" like frequent Disney visitors do so it was all trial and error for us. First, our situation was a bit different because we are military so we got a special rate but that doesn't include the "coveted" Disney armbands that most long for. We also didn't stay on a Disney property because we had 6 in our party and I wasn't about to fork over $600-$1000 a night for two rooms just to stay at Disney. I found a 3 Bedroom/2 Bath very nice condo in a gated community 5 minutes from the main gate for $85 a night.....that was a no brainer. Without rambling too much here is what I learned from our week at Disney.

- If you have a child that is 5 or under be prepared to use a stroller. It's a lot of walking and if you go in the summer your child will melt and later have a full blown meltdown. We didn't bring one but quickly learned the first day that our stop after leaving Downtown Disney would be to Target to purchase a cheap stroller for Brody.

- Carry a backpack or camel back and stuff it full of water bottles and snacks. Your wallet will thank you. Your body will also appreciate the fact you are keeping it hydrated. It's nothing but the sun and pavement so you can quickly become dehydrated. There are tons of fountains placed throughout the park so you can just fill your water bottle up when it's empty and it is FREE.

- If you don't stay on the Disney properties you don't get a nifty little armband aka Magic Band....NO WORRIES!!!! They sell them on site for less than $20 and you can link your tickets, fast passes and memory maker to them. You don't have to feel like the red headed step child in a sea of Magic Bands.

- Fast Passes can be your friend or foe. I had a love/hate relationship with them because in MOST cases I could stand in line for a ride and get through before my Fast Pass time. It does come in handy if you want to visit with the Princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall because every day we were there the wait was over 2 hours! Also FP's were already gone when I tried to get Brody hooked up to see the Frozen Princesses.

- I can't say anything good or bad about the Character Dining because we didn't do those but Brody didn't seem to care or notice.

- We purchased the Memory Maker and I felt it was a good investment. We paid $150 and got about 150+ photos so I paid $1 for each versus $15 for one.

- Alcohol is not sold at the Magic Kingdom (that I saw) so if you want to get your drink on Epcot is the place to go.....and there are tons of places to choose from and you can taste beer, wine, liquor and whatever else your heart desires from all over the world. I wish I could have eaten at every single restaurant there.

- Since we didn't stay on a Disney property we didn't have a meal plan option and honestly it was OKAY. We didn't spend a ton of money on the property and it wasn't that we were being cheap it just wasn't what we did. We ate breakfast before entering the park, packed snacks but still purchased a few during the day, we did eat lunch on the property all days which cost us around $8-9 each and then we did dinner on the way back to the condo. We did do a nice dinner at Epcot one night and it was expensive....each entree was $20 and our margaritas were $15 each. So, for us, I don't think the meal plan would have been beneficial.

- At least one morning you need get there early enough to see the Magic Kingdom Welcome show. It's a lot of fun and Brody loved seeing them open the park.

- At least one night you have to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and watch the PHENOMENAL Fireworks afterwards at the castle. We had Fast Passes for this event but we scratched that idea (and I am glad we did) and decided to watch them on Main Street. The Fast Passes would have had us set up right at the castle and we were afraid it would block some of the fireworks. The parade starts at 9 and we sat down on the side of the street around 6:30 to save our spots. People start lining up before that but we took our chances and it worked out.

- If you do Animal Kingdom you need to get there first thing in the morning before it's too hot or you won't be able to see a lot of the animals. I highly suggest the Safari because it was neat to see animals that you typically do not see at the zoo. I was impressed.

- Personally if you have small children I wouldn't waste time going to Hollywood studios because there wasn't a whole lot there for smaller kids. The only rides there are for older kids and adults. This is just my opinion but I didn't enjoy it as much as the other parks. However, we did enjoy the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Disney Junior Live on Stage. I do wish that we could have seen the Fantasmic but we didn't have enough time the particular day we were there because the fireworks didn't start until 9:30 & 10:30 and we already had plans to see the ones at the Magic Kingdom.


- You will spend a ton more money if you have a little girl....a lot of things are geared to your little princesses.

- Disney is a melting pot of people from ALL OVER the world. 

- With that being said.....clothing trends are all over the place. 

- Europeans wore the least amount of clothing....and provocative clothing at that.

- Asian cultures really love themselves some Disney. I mean, decked out from head to toe. 

- Deodorant must be optional in come countries - Yuck.

- You really do feel like a kid again when you enter the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

- If it's your child's first visit they will have sensory overload and possibly meltdown as soon as they step foot in the park.

- Americans are actually very polite when it comes to Disney....can't say too much about others. But all cultures are different in that respect.

- Take tissues for the fireworks, they are beautiful and you will cry or at least tear up. It's amazing.

- You could stay 2 weeks and still not do everything you wanted to do at Disney.

- I don't get the whole "Hidden Mickey" thing but maybe I just don't pay enough attention or get intrigued with that sort of thing.

- As an adult I still enjoyed all the kiddie rides and would ride them even if I wasn't there with Brody.

- I brought a camera but only used it a handful of times. I also DID NOT bring my nice Canon as it was too bulky, I opted for a smaller digital camera.

- Download the Disney app on your phone as it is your friend.

- I barely used my phone while I was there because I was having too much fun.

- If you do bring a stroller make sure you mark it with something so people KNOW it's yours. So many of the strollers are the same name and make. Ours was mistakenly taken (and returned) while we were on a ride and it caused a 30 minute cardiac arrest as our backpack was with it and it contained our car keys.

- Disney must give their workers some type of happy pill because it's seriously the "Happiest Place on Earth" as all of the workers smiles and were super polite. It was like visiting Chick-Fil-A all day....kind of creepy in a way.

I am sure there is a ton more I could come up with but that is all I could come up with right now. We will definitly plan another trip within the next two years and eventually Brody will beg to stay at a resort so we will. You can count on your trip costing a pretty penny ($3k+) if you aren't Florida residents so make the most of it! It truly is an amazing place and I can't wait to go back. 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know they're now selling Magic Bands, even if you don't stay at a Magic Band property! They didn't have that option, yet, last Nov. AWESOME!!! You just don't get to book your FastPasses months in advance then, right?