Sunday, May 27, 2012

Things Learned from going to Disney World

Sorry I've been MIA from my blog for most of the last couple months.  I've been kind of obsessing over our upcoming Disney World trip. We just got back and had a great trip.  I will probably have several more posts about different things around Disney World and none of them will be in anyway associated with parties or crafting (sorry).  I wanted so badly to make matching Disney shirts but my husband would not agree to wear them so I gave up that idea.  So here is my list of things that I learned from our recent Disney World trip.  I hope it helps you while you plan a trip for your family.

1.  Plan, Plan, Plan.  Go to Disney World with a plan in mind of what parks you want to go on which days, what rides you want to go on and different places you would like to eat at.  This makes a lot of difference when you are in the parks so you know where you want to go and aren't just walking aimlessly around.  BUT also plan to not have your plan work out totally.  I had planned to do parks in the morning and then go back to the resort in the afternoon then back to the parks in the evening to see the fireworks.  After going to Animal Kingdom the first day and staying until midafternoon time (no nighttime fireworks here) then the second night going to Magic Kingdom and leaving early afternoon then going back early evening until mid-fireworks the kids were worn out and we decided that nighttime at the parks were just too much for our kids.  So we ended up leaving the parks for the next 3 days early afternoon and doing activities around our resort and had a lot of fun.  We didn't get everything done at the parks that I wanted to but, oh well, happy kids are more important.  (I saw way too many kids throwing fits because they were too tired and the parents did not look like they were having any fun.)

2.  Take advantage of your resorts free activities.  We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and my daughters favorite activities were the nighttime "Campfire on de' Bayou (Marshmallow Roast) and the "Movie Under the Stars".  Both activities were free (well I'm sure they add it into the cost of the room but other than that it's free)  So check out the activities that your resort offers and take advantage of them if you have time because being able to do things the kids will enjoy and saving money at the same time is awesome.

3.  Go to the parks early.  One reason is because the food courts at the resorts are really busy for breakfast.  I could not believe how much more busy they were in the mornings than any other time of the day, it was crazy.  Another reason is because you will get in shorter lines and get better fast passes if you go earlier.  So get your plan out that I talked about above and go to the major rides early in the day or get fast passes for them because some rides the wait time gets crazy later in the day or the fast passes may run out (The Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios was out of fast passes by midday and there were a couple things at Epcot that were out of fast passes early also.)

4.  Some rides/shows are scary for kids.  There are a lot of rides/shows at Disney that are in the dark for part or most of the time or have things that kids with sensory issues may have a problem with.  Both my kids had problems with some of the rides and I even had to take my daughter out of two shows before they were over because it was just too much for her (It's Tough to be a Bug and Muppets in 3D really upset her think it was a combination of the dark, loudness, air/water being sprayed at you and the 3D)  So you may have to change your mind on what rides/attractions to do depending on how your kids react to the rides/shows.

5. Keep sunscreen out of your kids eyes because it will ruin your day.  I accidentally got sunscreen too close to my daughters eyes on our last park day.  This caused her to be close to miserable and make me feel real bad because her eye would not stop watering and was getting red because she was rubbing it so much.  So be careful when applying sunscreen or buy the tear free kind if you can find some.

6. The quick service meal plan is a lot of food.  I got a pin for free quick service meals for our Disney trip and I was worried that it wouldn't be enough food and that we wouldn't eat enough to cover what I thought I was going to save by using the pin because Disney recently changed the plan to only offer 1 snack per person per day from 2 and took away the extra drink you get if you use a meal credit for breakfast.  I found that the meal plan would have cost us $563 but when I looked over my receipts it looks like we got $687 in meals/snacks/resort cups not including tax, so we saved more than I thought we were going to.  And my fear about not having enough food was also unfounded.  The meals were so large that we shared several meals which let us eat 3 meals some days instead of just the 2 that were included in the plan because we had extra credits and we had 7 snack credits left the last day that I did end up using, but I never thought I would have that many left on the last day (I don't know how people used all the snack credits when Disney offered 2 per person every day. That would be a lot of snacks.)

7.  Penny pressing machines are mainly in the souvenir shops.  I really wanted to do several pressed pennies in each of the parks but the first day at Animal Kingdom we didn't see any penny machines.  It wasn't until we were leaving that we went to a souvenir shop and found a machine.  I'm still kicking myself for not getting more pennies pressed at Animal Kingdom.

8.  Boat rides are loud.  We took the boat ride from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney several times and while I did enjoy the ride I was surprised how loud the boats were.  So don't sit at the very back of the boat unless you like the sound of a motor really loud right behind you.

9.  Fastpasses are awesome.  They save you soooo much time in lines so make sure you make use of this free service.  When we were at Magic Kingdom we got fastpasses to see Mickey and the Princesses at the same time.  It was great to skip the lines and go right in because my daughter wasn't wanting to really do it so getting her in there so fast so she could see them was a lifesaver otherwise I don't think I would have gotten those pictures or autographs for her. (oh and Minnie was with Mickey BONUS, she loves Minnie). Then when we got fastpasses for rides it was great, we always got right on and didn't have to wait in any line at all!!

10.  Make sure to buy all your souvenirs before you pack and check your luggage with your resort for airline check-in.  I thought I was being well prepared by packing the night before and check-in my luggage in the resorts airline check-in early the morning we were going to leave until I bought some mickey ice cubes and realized that I could not take them on the plane because they contain water.  So I had to return them :(.  I was going to see if the airline check-in place could let me stick them in one of my bags but by that time the lines for check-in were really long so I didn't even try.  I think I will just have to buy them online at the Disney Store some day.

11.  Last but not least.....Again when you pack your stuff the night before don't forget about the liquid medicine you have in that carry on bag.  I was just walking through security not thinking about a thing when I got pulled to the side and patted down and had my bag searched.  I was really confused because I thought my bag just had souvenirs in it until he pulled out a big Ziploc bag full of several allergy medicines that I had put in it.  I was so embarrassed I totally forgot that I put that in there and I apologised to the security man that went through my bag.

Hope this information helps you in planning for your Disney trip.  And be on the look out for several more blog entries about Disney World in the upcoming weeks.


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