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19 February, 2016

Planning our Disney Trip

A few years ago our friends took their daughter to Disney World for a surprise 5th birthday trip and I fell in love with the idea.  As we approach Evie's 5th birthday, we've been working tirelessly to plan the perfect birthday princess trip for her special day.

Having grown up a little over an hour from Disney World, my experience and memories of Disney trips are much different than Eric's, which did more of the week long family trip instead of the day trips, like I did.

Fortunately, I was at Disney a few years ago for the Princess Half Marathon so I saw a glimpse of all the changes that have taken place, most notably, the Fast Passes.

My head started spinning then at what the trip planning must be like for a family these days; a far cry from showing up after church on Sunday, sharing a few Mickey shaped treats with 3 other siblings, and watching the evening firework show as we ran to the car as to not get stuck in the mass exodus.

As soon as Eric and I agreed on this trip I began reaching out to friends to find out about using a trip planner vs planning on our own and quickly decided that using a trip planner is the way to go. They're FREE! (Disney pays them) and they have a wealth of knowledge, tips and tricks...and they do the dirty work, like waking up early to make your crazy dinner reservations. Already I've loved our planner's suggestions for planning strategic meal locations and times.

I am feeling so much more organized and at peace our spending so much money on a few days of vacation because I know I have someone who is helping me maximize my budget.  I'm sure future trips I'll be able to do this on my own, but I love having a human to talk to and not just rely on all the trip blogs for advice (and I've been doing my share of Disney blog reading!).

Things we've decided:

  • Staying at Art of Animation in the Little Mermaid rooms (Fall room/dining packages may change thing)
  • We're bringing my mom to help
  • We're doing the Dining Plan
  • We're not bringing cloth diapers
  • We're not doing Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (I know, I am a terrible mom!)
  • We are doing 2 days at Magic Kingdom unless Hollywood Studios is done with construction (or we can get extra tickets with the Fall packages)
  • We're keeping one day open to hang out and enjoy the resorts, recuperate, ride the monorail, etc

Things we're planning but are open to suggestions:

  • Day 1: Elizabeth, Eric, Evie at Magic Kingdom with birthday dinner at Cinderella's Table
  • Day 2: whole family birthday brunch at Chef Mickey's, day to play
  • Day 3: whole family day at Magic Kingdom with lunch at Be Our Guest. Eric and E stay for terrace dessert and fireworks party

I would LOOOOOVEEEE to hear from friends, family, readers -- 

  • What's worth carrying around, like autograph books, water bottles, extra snacks, ponchos, etc?
  • If at any given time you'll have 1, 2, or 3 kids with you (ages at time of travel: Evie [5] Maggie [2] and Brother [3 months]) what would you bring: single stroller with kick-board? side-by-side lay-flat double stroller? toddler Tula, Ergo, Ring Sling, and/or Moby Wrap?  Ideally we'd bring them all, but we are fitting 5 of us in a Honda CR-V as it is. (Keep in mind I hate schleping stuff around, like HATE it, but I also don't want to carry crying/lost/whining kids)
  • If you did Memory Maker Photo Pass did you still bring your DSLR? 
  • If you're not sure from if your kids are going to adore meeting characters or scream at the sight of them, did you book FastPasses for them? Or do you schedule a few character meals and call it a day?
  • Did your girls dress up in princess costumes? Did the dresses get annoying?
  • What surprised you the most on the trip?
  • What about your children surprised you the most on the trip?
  • What were your favorite places to eat?
  • Favorite restaurant to celebrate a child's birthday
  • After all was said and done and you came home, what remains your favorite trip memory?
  • What do you wish you brought from home or made or bought ahead of time to save money (for example, I hear to bring dollar store glow sticks for the parade)?


I am in total trip planning mode since our dining reservations are due in a few weeks, with Easter and Spring Break in the meantime.  Then we hit end of the school year, beach trip, Baby Brother Arrives, Back to School, and then our Fast Pass selections and final payments are due!  Just trying to get my ducks in a row so I can plan in plenty of time to shop/craft/order off Etsy while Evie isn't home, or while she's sleeping.  
Okay, and because I'm a little neurotic, but you knew that ;)

In all seriousness, it's so easy to get carried away, and I know that I have already.  We're not doing EVERY SINGLE THING this trip because we know we'll have other trips. We also don't want to raise the bar too high or set expectations we won't be able to meet every trip.

1 comment:

  1. I've never taken kids to Disney, so I am interested to read the comments too. And you sound just like me planning a trip, lol.


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