Posted on March 27, 2017
I can’t really say I am a true “first timer” to Disney, BUT as a family, we were absolutely first timers! I think that last time I was at Disney was in 2000 and I was a teenager. I didn’t plan things then and SO much as changed since I was there last! Planning a Disney trip can feel overwhelming at first. BUT booking through an agent and booking early helped with making sure we got the most out of trip. Our awesome agent Kim helped us get everything together and helped me with my many unknown questions I had! Pinterest has a ton of awesome tips and trick and I encourage you to do your research before you go. I gave a brief overview about what was helpful in Part 1. But here is a more in-depth view of some things about the parks that I found SUPER helpful & fun!
We only went to Magic Kingdom 2 days, Epcot 1 day and Hollywood Studios 1 day. No Animal Kingdom this time.
FastPass+ – You can book your Fast Passes 60 days in advance of your trip. Do it! You get 3 fast passes per guest per day. Now this is where you need to think about the people you are with. Before I booked our fast passes, I looked at my Disney Experience App and got a feel for what the wait times were like through out the day at the parks. For our family, being that this was a first time and my daughter is 3 years old, we wanted to make sure she was able to meet characters that she loves over the big rides. But I knew we would want to still go on some of the rides she would be able to go on that have the longer lines, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan in Magic Kingdom, and we took what we could for the new Frozen ride at Epcot which was a 8pm timeframe, but totally worth not having to wait 90 minutes+! Hollywood Studios, we got a Fast Pass for the Toy Story ride since that can be an hour long wait at times.
Wait Times – Yes, the wait times can be a little overwhelming to look at, BUT if it’s 20 minutes sometimes even 30 minutes, it tends to go quicker than expected. Disney is really good about trying to make sure they are the most reliable wait times by tracking the crowds. We waited about 25 minutes for the Magic Carpet ride, but it went quick and it was a fun ride!
Food in Parks– Yes you can make reservations, but sometimes it’s nice to just go with the flow and eat where lines are short and easy. Our first day in the park we ate lunch at the Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. We went prime lunch hour and the Disney staff was prepped and ready to serve. Will feel overwhelming at first, but lines go quick! If there are a few of you, have someone grab a spot to eat before getting in line. Sometimes just grab and go eats is the way to go. They way you can continue to enjoy the park but still getting some food in.
Cinderella’s Royal Table – This is something that needs to be booked well in advance! But if you can get a reservation, I highly recommend it! Can be pricey but totally worth the $150 for the 3 of us. We booked breakfast for my daughters birthday and we had a blast! When you first come in you are greeted by Cinderella and get to have pictures taken with her. Now I did read before we went that the princesses do tend to change and not always the same. However we had Ariel, Aurora, Snow White & Jasmine at our breakfast! They have staff that watches the princesses to ensure they do not miss tables and get to greet everyone! Best part, they recognized it was my daughters birthday and our waiter brought out a cupcake with a candle and we were able to sing Happy Birthday to her which was a nice touch! Her reactions to when Ariel came out literally put me in tears!
Strollers – Yes there are rental companies you can rent from, but even if you think your kids is too old for a stroller I highly recommend bringing one or renting one. Smaller is better, is my opinion purely for the shuttle buses. Also make sure it’s one you can easily and quickly break down. We had a Summer umbrella stroller before and I loved it but folding it up was kind of a pain. I noticed they came out with a newer one that was super easy to fold and went for the upgraded Summer stroller for our trip. Then I also got this extra storage/drink holder so my husband and I had a place to put our water bottles. There is stroller parking everywhere! Just make sure you put it somewhere you are suppose to put it and don’t be alarmed if your stroller gets moved. Making sure your stroller is recognizable is super helpful!
Parades – Make sure you put time aside to attend 1 or 2! We only made it to the Move it! Shake it! Dance and play it! parade. My daughter loves to dance so I’m glad we caught this one! She was able to dance with one of her favorite characters Jessie. I wish we would have see the Disney Festival Fantasy Parade, but just with timing, it didn’t work out.
My Disney Experience App– My biggest pointer for your Disney trip would be to use the Disney Experience App!! Download it, play with it, learn it! It was really helpful to be in the park and to be able to see where characters are, what the wait times were like, and finding food that was close by if we were hungry. Yes you can just walk around and find things, but looking it up on a map and having the information right away was helpful with saving time and staying on track of what you wanted to do! If you need to remember what time your FastPass was for, you could check it on there. Best part if you bought the PhotoPass you can view them on the app if you link your photo pass to the app about 20 minutes after the pictures were taken! So awesome!
First Aid in Disney World – This should be a no brainer, but bring your insurance card with you! My daughter woke up our first morning with questionable puffy eyes, which I at the time was trying to be optimistic and thinking maybe it was just allergies. Well about 1pm we decided we needed to go to urgent care and get her checked out. But then all the questions started popping up. How do we get there? Should we Uber? Can Uber pick us up here? Where is the closets urgent care? Oh crap, what do we do?! First Aid! I knew there was one in the park. We I figured lets go there and get some of our questions answered! Maybe they will even have something for us. Unfortunately they weren’t able to help us medically, but little did we know (Disney is so amazing!) they were able to call a shuttle that would take us to Urgent care, FOR FREE! This was the bummer part of our trip that we missed about half a day, but we are happy we were able to go from the park to urgent care without a worry and then after we were done at the urgent care they were able to call us a shuttle to take us back to our resort.
Posted on March 21, 2017
I don’t know if I was considered the crazy planner when it came to our very first Disney trip, but I knew by my daughters 2nd Birthday that I couldn’t wait to start planning our Disney trip! My daughters birthday is at the beginning of March and it ended up working perfectly that we planned to go over her birthday when she turned 3 years olds. Luckily that time frame was right before the large Spring Break crowds!
Here a few quick things I’m glad I did while planning! It’s ok to plan early! It’s ok to be on top of things! My husband and I knew we wanted to plan early for a few reasons.
1. Budget $$$- We wanted to make sure we had this trip paid off when we could and early! Things can add up quickly when it comes to Disney. Between what hotel you pick & dining experiences planning early is super helpful to make sure you were able to do what you want!
2. Photo Pass – Being a photographer, I knew I would have my own camera with me, but spending the extra money on the Disney Photo Pass was important to me. My husband bought me an awesome “point and shoot” Fujifilm x70 (LOVE!) camera to take with me on trips so I wouldn’t have to luge all my gear with me. BUT my biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be in any of our pictures! They have people all over the park to catch your photo ops that you can just sit back and enjoy with your child without feeling obligated to take a photo.
3. Hotels – We ended up booking the Art of Animation resort and I know everyone has their on preference when it comes to hotels, but for our daughter it was the perfect option for us! She LOVES The Little Mermaid so staying in the standard Little Mermaid room was perfect! They have fun photo ops around the resort from Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars and of course The Little Mermaid areas. Best part, when you stay on a Disney Resort there are no worries about transportation! Disney Express to and from the airport and shuttles buses to the parks from your resort!
I will break down my trip more in another post about what I learned while in the actual parks! But hopefully this helped you a little. Research and PLAN AHEAD! It’s the best way to get the most of your trip!