So you’re planning a trip to Disney! Or maybe, you’re daydreaming a trip to Disney, as most of us do when we’re not there! As new “Floridians” and first time passholders, I’ve learned a lesson or two in our first few visits there and I’ve got some tips for the beginner. By no means have I reached my peak of “Professional Princess,” but here are some things that you need to know when heading to Disney, that will make your planning (and playing) easier!
1. Book a room on site.
Especially if it’s your first time going, book a room at one of the many resorts on Disney property. If you’re staying a night or more, it’s worth it to stay right on site, wake up and be ready to head to the parks. The atmosphere is awesome at every resort we’ve been to (we tend to choose the Port of Orleans resorts because it reminds us of home, but want to try out Animal Kingdom Lodge for the littles next go round). Our Disney resort was the first place Eli slept through the night! There’s definitely magic in the air!
2. Catch the shuttle to the park.
Which leads me to tip #2. If you’ve driven in and are considering driving your car from the resort to the park— don’t. Maybe you’re fed up with waiting on the shuttles or just think it’d be easier to pull right up to the parks instead of catching the ride, but trust me, the shuttle is worth it in the end. We decided to drive in to the park on our last visit to see which option is best. After waiting to get into the park entrance at the main gate, we were directed to a parking spot and still had to catch a shuttle, which was full of wayyy more people than the resort. Once we thought we had caught the shuttle to the park entrance, we then had to take the ferry to the actual park entrance, and then needed to stand in line once again to finally enter. The whole process took much more time and effort than just catching the resort shuttle right up to the park entrance.
3. Bring the stroller.
And if you have two kids, make it a double. You can also rent a stroller at the park but if you have a favorite that folds easily and you know it’s easy to maneuver (which you want one that is), bring it! The kids will get tired of walking at some point and even if they don’t, there will come a time when you’ll want to get them to places quicker than they can walk themselves. We always bring along our Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double. 3 wheel “jogging” style strollers are the best. You can also stash baby essentials, snacks, water and more without having to carry it all yourself. There are plenty of “stroller parking” stops throughout the park. Label your stroller with your info and be mindful of your belongings. You can also bring a stroller lock if it makes you feel more comfortable parking it.
4. Download the app.
The “My Disney Experience” app will be your very best friend while visiting the parks! You can book and view reservations, reserve your fast passes (up to 60 days in advance if you have a Disney Resort reservation), view the entire map of the park, see wait times, get directions, order food, spot bathrooms & much more! It puts the park at your fingertips and makes for a much smoother experience.
5. Prepare for the sun and rain.
It’s Sunny Florida most all year round and with the sun comes heat and sweat! Some of the parks are very open and get pretty hot to walk around during certain parts of the year. Bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, hand towel if you sweat easily and water. A portable fan that clips to your stroller, like this one, is a great idea as well! You may not need all of the above but it’s great to be prepared just in case. (Pro-Tip: bring along frozen water bottles if you can, they will melt throughout the day and remain cold for drinking or cooling down the kids).
It also rains a lot in Florida, albeit sometimes it’s not for very long. It may start raining pretty hard at the park for a few minutes and then become sunny again. Bring along ponchos for the family and a rain cover for the stroller, just in case!
6. Breastfeeding Mamas: Utilize the Baby Care Center
If you’re nursing or pumping and want to sit somewhere cool, calm and convenient, there are Baby Care Centers at all of the parks. It’s a great place to get out of the heat or get off of your feet.
These are just some starting tips for visiting Disneyworld. There is so much that we learn with every trip and each time feels like the first time! As we continue to visit, I will add to my tips and tricks list, but for now, I hope these tips help when you’re planning your trip to Disney! Don’t forget to catch the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom! It’s my favorite part!