Travel Tips

A Disney vacation can be expensive. As of today, it got a little more expensive. My family loves vacationing at Disney World. We have been enough times that I feel like I can offer some tips to other Disney travelers. We have visited different times of the year, with different size groups ranging from just the 5 of us to a group of 18. The tips I have are designed to save you time and money before you leave and once you arrive. I can't stand it when people take their families to Disney World and then come back and complain that it was crowded and expensive. These are things everyone knows! Just be armed with information before you leave and you won't have a bad experience.

My top 15 tips for traveling to Disney World

  1. If you can afford to fly, do it! We have only driven to Disney World once and vowed to never do it again. You don't need a car, Disney transportation is amazing. And navigating the parking there is a huge pain and takes a lot of time. There is the Disney Magical Express to get you to and from the airport as well. 
  2. PLAN, ORGANIZE and RESEARCH everything you possibly have time to do. Do not arrive at the parks without any knowledge of what you have just gotten yourself into.
  3. Stay at a Disney Resort. We have stayed off site, very near by, and stayed at Disney Resorts. It is very worth the extra money to stay on site. Again, you save so much time and trouble. 
  4. Get your park tickets before you leave. You DO NOT want to wait in line with 100's of other people!  If you have a membership, you can get 10% off park tickets.  And full priced tickets are available at your local Disney store. 
  5. When you start planning your vacation, which I recommend doing more than 6-10 months in advance, start watching the Disney website for deals on tickets and lodging. I recently booked a vacation and by watching the website was able to save 20% on my hotel. 
  6. Get the Dining Package. This will save you a lot of money. Check it out on their website.
  7. My family's first rule of vacationing in Disney is that no one is allowed to go that is still wearing a diaper. Now, this doesn't apply to my family at all anymore, and hasn't for many, many years. But it was a relevant rule for a while and one that I have passed on to many families whom I have given my Disney tips too. There is just no reason to take a baby on this magical trip. It will be so much more enjoyable for your older kids if they don't have to wait around for you to feed and change the baby. Leave the baby with Grandma and Grandpa, they will enjoy it more.
  8. Disney World is the ONLY place that it's okay to wear a fanny pack of any sort. You will not be judged. If your kids are young and excited about getting autographs, have them wear their own fanny pack that is big enough for their autograph book. Don't use a backpack for this, it's too much of a pain to get something out of a bag that is on your back, or over your shoulder. 
  9. A note about backpacks: all adults should have one. In varying sizes. It should be big enough to hold your rain gear, camera, water, snacks, phone and small souvenirs you will be picking up along the way. 
  10. About the rain: we went in July one year and it rained every single day, for many hours each day. We wore the crap out of those Disney rain ponchos. I've been in September and October and have not seen a drop of rain. You just never know in Florida.
  11. Take lots of pictures. But not so many that you feel like you have been to Disney but only saw it from behind the lens of a camera. This happened to me on one of our first trips. Back in the day when I took pictures of each and every parade we watched. A parade is a parade people. Put the camera down, enjoy the parade with your kids. 
  12. If you are staying on site, and I assume you are because I recommended it, find out which parks are opening early and which ones are closing late and plan accordingly. Know exactly where you will maximize your time and money. If Magic Kingdom stays open until 1:00 am on Wednesday plan to be there after lunch and stay until it closes. Visit another park in the morning and make your way to Magic Kingdom later, knowing you will be getting your money's worth by staying the entire time it is open.
  13. Know your kids stamina before you leave. A lot of Disney guide books will tell you to take a break during the day by going back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. I can tell you we never did this. My kids didn't need to take a break, at any age. Our breaks consisted of stopping and getting an ice-cream or other snack and then we were back at it. 
  14. If your kids are the right age (7-10) surprise them with the Disney vacation. It was the greatest trip I have ever planned by surprising my then 8 year old daughter with a Disney vacation. My three friends and I pulled this off by getting the girls new (matching) clothes to wear and packing after they went to bed. The four girls got a lot of attention that week in their matching outfits. And we could find them easily. Best trip ever.
  15. The best advise I have is to dress comfortably. This isn't a time to pull out your most favorite sandals. You will be walking and standing more than you can imagine. Plan to walk many, many miles each day.  I assure you Mickey doesn't care what you are wearing and other people are judging you in your wedges.  

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