It’s hard to believe we’ve been back from Disney for almost a month already. Life got crazy real quick on our return and I’m just now coming up for air. But I am excited to say our house is all healthy and we sure did have a magical time at Disney. So I thought it would be best for me to share with you some of my favorite things we learned along the way that made life over the week so much easier to do Disney World right.
Overall things you need to know!
Bring a duffel bag - You will want to bring an empty duffel bag to the park. We used this under the stroller. It was perfect for anything we stored under the stroller because we could put everything right into the bag. I love this because you often have to fold up your stroller and then you're left with all kinds of things to carry that have been stored in your stroller. This helps with checking into the park and with any little things or big things that we picked up throughout the day. Added bonus - the extra bag was perfect for a carry on for the way home with all our extra goodies.
A stroller is a MUST - No joke, kids legs just get tired and there is a whole lot of walking. We brought our double stroller and both boys spent lots of time hopping in and out to keep them going. Plus our youngest napped inside the stroller every day!
Multiple shoes - With all the walking you will be doing trust me when I say you just don’t want to wear the same shoes everyday. I rotated my shoes to help my feet stay happy.
Bring your own water bottles - Yes, with the Disney meal plan you get your own travel mug, which we did use at the resort. But you guys this is not a water bottle and doesn’t do the job for throwing under your stroller like a water bottle does. We brought two of our own water bottles that we filled throughout the days at the parks. This saved on buying water and you just need to make sure you all stay hydrated!
Blanket - We brought one to keep the boys cozy at night. It also worked perfect for nap time and on the busy rides back to the resort.
Have your phone number somewhere on your little one - This one I honestly didn’t even think about until we found a little girl who was lost and balling her eyes out. My inner teacher came right out and my mama heart poured out for this five year old. I quickly took her to the closest Disney employee and the first thing they asked her was if she knew her parent's phone number or if she had a card with their number on it. It was like a light bulb went on, I know Enzo didn’t know our number and we really hadn’t come up with a plan if he had just wandered off…which in a place this busy isn’t shocking to have happen. To tell you the rest of this story, the little girl knew her mom’s number after several attempts we got it right. I let her dial and I promised her that we wouldn’t leave her side until we found mom. Within 10 minutes we found her mom and everything was all good. But that sure was scary and eye opening for everyone in our group!
Bring a change of clothes - As a parent this seems like a no brainer…right?!? But with older kids you sometimes skip the extra clothes. This is just one thing you want to have with you because having to buy all new clothes isn’t what you want to do or need to do!
Take a taxi - I know this sounds kinda silly since Disney provides shuttle services if you're staying on the grounds. But let me tell you the luxury after a long day at the park with tired kids to just get into a cab and drive directly to your hotel, no waiting in line, no cramming in or standing as you drive home it’s the best $20 we spent and I would no joke do it every night for our next trip.
Let’s break it down by park!
Here I am going to break it down. First, we booked fast passes per park for rides and in the order that worked out best for us. A few things to keep in mind - Enzo, our oldest, just turned 5 and is not a huge fan of anything dark and big drops are a no go for us. Although Enzo is tall and could go on almost all rides. Next, I will add places we booked reservations (table services) for ahead of time and ones we ate at for counter services (Quick Service). We did use the Disney Meal plan and I will share some tips we found worked best for us at the end too!
This Park by far has the most rides for our kid's ages. We spent 2.5 days here. I put small notes next to each ride too!
Tomorrowland Speedway - Both boys loved this ride. Enzo wasn’t tall enough to ride alone but he could do all the driving while I pushed the petal and Ziggy could’t get enough of the car.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - This ride was fun for everyone!
Peter Pan’s Flight - At first Enzo wasn’t sure of the dark and small drop but once he saw all the magic the ride provides he was all for it.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin - The boys loved the game part of the ride. Although they weren’t the best a shooting just yet!
Pirates of the Caribbean -Although it’s dark and had a little drop in the beginning Enzo loved seeing all the pirates!
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - We didn’t make it on this one. But everyone else seems to love it, so I think we would start here for the small thrill rides.
Aloha Isle - Hello DOLE WHIP! This is a must.
Casey’s Corner - I love just starting our trip out here. The classic hot dog and fries.
Columbia Harbour House - This was the perfect lunch spot. The lobster roll, mac and cheese and the frozen lemonade was perfect for our crew. We substituted the sides for apple slices which was a major win with the boys.
Be Our Guest - Get the most for your money with dinner. It has characters and you can get an adult beverage...one of only two places in the Magic Kingdom.
Tony’s Town Square - Another solid dinner option. We split the salmon which was delicious. The pasta dishes looked amazing too. Bonus - you can get a glass of wine here too!
Cinderella’s Royal Table - We didn’t make it to this. But Enzo made sure to let us know he was disappointed we didn’t eat inside the castle. So it will for sure make our list next time.
Kilimanjaro Safaris - We love this ride and it’s worth going any time of day because it is always different!
Avatar Flight of Passage - So this ride Enzo was so excited about and it was a total fail. He screamed the whole ride and is still talking about how much he NEVER wants to go back to it ever again.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends - Both boys loved this one.
Test Track - We couldn’t get Enzo to ride. There are dark parts, it is very fast and there is a hill that I’m not sure he would have loved.
We love the around the world experience at Epcot. I think my favorite is to go to each country and get a quick service or snack. We skip America because it’s just doesn’t do it for me. But it’s fun to try them all!
Teppan Edo - I love this place so much! Enzo couldn’t get enough of watching the chef cook right in front of us. We ordered steak and sea scallops. Ziggy was obsessed with the miso soup!
Coral Reef - The aquarium here is incredible. Our kids couldn’t get enough of watching the sharks, turtles and schools of fish!
San Angel Inn - I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD and this place is perfect for just that. I got the most expensive margarita you guys and it was SO worth it!
Toy Story Mania! - This was the only ride we made it on and my kids absolutely loved it! I cannot wait till the whole world opens this summer!
Hollywood & Vine Disney Junior Play’m Dine Breakfast - This breakfast was perfect. You get into the park early and it’s got all the Disney Junior characters.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater - Good for lunch or dinner. Burgers, fries, milkshakes, beers…need I say more?!? Oh and built in movie entertainment all while inside a car.
50’s Prime Time Cafe - I love the classic 1950s home vibe in here all the way down to the waitstaff. The food feels just like home cooking too.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano - This place has a cute Italian home cooking feel.
Let’s talk about how a Disney Meal Plan really works!
Again you guys I am clearly not an expert on this topic, but I am sharing how we made it work for us and my thoughts on it overall. To be clear I am going to chat about Regular Dining which includes (per day)
- 1 table-service meal
- 1 quick-service meal
- 2 snacks
- 1 refillable mug
So here’s what we learned. First the portions are large. So sharing worked really well for us. This gave us more table service meals and quick service to use over the course of our stay and we loved that! That meant we could use a quick service for breakfast and share a big meal. We also found to get the most for our money having a alcoholic drink is worth it’s weight in gold. Another thing to look for is items on the menu that are more expensive…duh! We also liked to ask if we could substitute dessert because we aren’t huge on sweets and really didn’t need one with every meal.
For snacks, two a day over your whole group adds up quickly. So we found it was better to use your snacks when you wanted that way you weren’t left with them to spend at the end of the trip. Speciality coffees counted as snacks and for us that was a big one. We also used them for pretzels, ice cream and popcorn. The most you can spend on a snack is around $5.
Alright so I am going to leave it at that. I’m pretty sure I could write a novel about this and I am sure I’ll add more posts over time! Please let me know any questions you have! I’d be happy to answer in the comments!