We have been to Disney World several times in the past twenty-one years that my in-laws have been Disney Vacation Club members. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m definitely not a novice either. However, I made some mistakes this year. Here are the 4 things I should have done differently at Disney this year:
- I didn’t plan ANYTHING in advance–I went in pretty confident, but really unorganized. With the hustle and bustle of school, sports, Vacation Bible School, and church camp, I just didn’t make planning a priority. I didn’t even buy my tickets until we got there. So…we didn’t have much choice when it came to FastPass or dining reservations. Luckily, we can be pretty flexible and we still made it work for us, but I’ll know better next time. Really, I knew better this time, but I still didn’t do it. Oops.
- I didn’t show up with a customized tee–there were so many cute tshirts when we went to Magic Kingdom! Families had matching ones made to commemorate their trip, there were monogrammed tees, and lots of funny ones. You can find some cute ones here, here, and here, but there are also a ton on etsy. If you need something fast, try the men’s section at Target–they have many cute tshirts as well.
- I didn’t pack enough snacks. You may know from previous posts that I’m frugal, but feel like living it up (sort of) on vacation. It seemed to me that food prices went up quite a bit since we were there last and we ended up spending way more than I wanted to on meals and snacks. Disney allows backpacks, so make sure you pack lots of snacks for your family, preferably things that won’t be squished in your bag (granola bars, fruit snacks, peanut butter or cheese crackers, etc). You can also take in bottled water and refill at the water fountains.
- I didn’t take enough pictures. Don’t get me wrong…I took several, but I was so intent on getting my kids to rides that I didn’t pause and get any great photos. We didn’t take one picture with a character. Not one. Luckily, my kids don’t really care about that, but it would have been nice just to have one or two for the photo book I like to make after our trips.
BUT….here are 4 things I did RIGHT at Disney.
- I relaxed and let the kids (and the app) guide us. I’ve mentioned before that I know we can’t fit every single thing in at Magic Kingdom so I make sure my kids each get to ride the one thing they’ve been waiting for all year. One chose the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, one chose Splash Mountain, and one chose Space Mountain. We did all of those (and many more) so I call that a success!
- I got a Dole Whip! I almost didn’t. It was late and the kids wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear. My husband knew I was torn (haha) so he sent me for the treat while they all rode the ride and I met up with them after. If you have never had one of these, you have got to try one. It was perfect.
- I took a long mid-day break. We left the park around 3 and didn’t go back until around 6, so we got a good rest period in there before we returned to shut it down. If you are staying on-property, I highly encourage you to stop in the middle of the day and let your kids nap or swim for a bit.
- I counted my blessings. Every time we go to Disney, I remind my kids how lucky we are to get to be on these trips. Not every family gets the opportunity to go as often as we do or even ever. The only reason we are able to go is because my in-laws are members of DVC. I want my kids to be grateful for our experiences at Disney and they truly are.
Have any advice for Disney newbies? Have any weird Disney experiences you want to share? Post in the comments!