We’re going to Disney! This family of five is going to spend spring break in Disney and we are, “to infinity and beyond”, excited. With five children total and two grandparents, we have quite the crew to share the magic with. Although I am very excited, this mom’s brain has been all about prep work for the trip. It’s a boring job, but somebody’s got to do it, right? I’m all about Disney tips to make this trip both affordable and enjoyable. I mean let’s face it, Disney is fun and magical . . . but, it’s not cheap, that’s for sure.
Fortunately, I have been to Disney a few times with my kids. I have also chatted with people who have recently been to Disney, to catch up on what has changed since I’ve been there. So, I have been brainstorming and taking my past Disney experience tips, as well, as other’s, to create a “master” Disney tips list to take along for the ride. This list is going to be my main, go-to, for this trip. And, lucky for you, once the trip is over, I will add even more tips and tricks I learn about while there.
Where To Stay:
Disney knows what they are doing when it comes to sleeping, playing and dining. We also know that pretty much everything you do at Disney, costs a pretty penny. With the advice from a family friend, we learned years ago about staying OFF Disney property. Yes, the resorts are gorgeous and convenient, but if you have a large family, renting a house or condo is the way to go. Windsor Hills in Kissimmee, Florida is a beautiful resort that offers a variety of large town homes and homes, perfect for your Disney stay. Only about 3 miles from the Disney parks, many of the homes even have “Disney themed” rooms, to make your stay feel even more, “Disney resort-ish”.
Now that we got the bread and butter of your stay out-of-the-way, it’s on to a “master” list of Disney tips to make your Disney experience a little more, stress-free.
Disney Tips and Tricks List:
- Plan about 6 months in advance. Schedule your resort/condo or house reservations. Remember: staying off Disney property may be more economical for larger families. If you decide to rent a house, head over to VRBO. As I mentioned above, I highly recommend, Windsor Hills Resort. We have stayed there three times three different houses and it’s been a wonderful experience. Research VRBO by checking out ratings and reviews before making your decision. Most of the homes and condos have their own pools and game rooms, so just being there is a vacation in itself. Also, there is a full kitchen in most, so you can avoid spending a lot of money eating out all the time.
- Download the “My Disney Experience App” where you can enter your Disney ticket information, dining reservations and plan your day. You can also schedule fast passes there, as well. Fast passes allow you to schedule a time to go on a ride at your scheduled time, avoiding long lines.
- Schedule at least one character breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. If you’re going to Disney with little ones, this is worth the money. There are many character dining places to choose from; but get reservations at least six months in advance.
- If you have a little girl, The Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique is a, “MUST”! Don’t bother spending money on any package other than the, “Crown Package” for $59.99. This package includes hair styling, makeup, a princess sash and nail polish. I promise, your little girl will be content just being among the fairy godmothers that will pamper her . No need to spend the extra money on fancier packages. The Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique is at both, the Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs. If you have a large group with boys, Disney Springs may be the way to go. This way, while your little princess is getting her makeover, the boys can walk around with dad at all the cool stores. Schedule your little girl’s appointment about six months in advance.
- Bring along your little girl’s own princess dresses or purchase one or a few online. Don’t wait until you get to Disney to purchase one, or you will be paying a much higher price.
- Decide how many days you want to go to the parks and which parks you want to go to. If you are staying off property, there are plenty of places to go besides the parks. If you have little ones, going to the parks every day is almost too much. Disney Springs is a great area with lots of cool stores and restaurants. It’s also just a nice place to walk around and explore.
- Purchase your Disney Tickets online ahead of time to save the time and hassle. From experience, I am NOT a fan of the park hopper passes. The parks are large, so it is overwhelming and tiring hopping from park to park. Each individual park really needs an entire day or more to experience the everything there is to see.
- Have a backpack filled with snacks and water to bring in to the parks.
- Rent a double stroller from Disney. I would say that if you have kids ages, 1-8, it’s worth renting. Little legs and feet get tired during the days in the park. Also, if your kids are not using it, it’s a great place to store your bags and belongings.
- Purchase an autograph book so kids can get character autographs throughout the park – an inexpensive and fun keepsake.
Disney Tips – What To Pack:
- This printable list
- Disney Tickets
- Enough clothes for your stay.
- Sweatshirts or light jackets for the evenings or cold restaurants.
- Toiletries (body wash, deodorant, hair dryer…)
- Bathing suits
- Princess Dresses & comfortable shoes to wear (don’t recommend the dress up shoes)
- Comfortable Shoes
- One or two “nicer” outfits/shoes for dining
- Any snacks from home for the ride and trip
- Backpack for the park
- Paper towels, coffee, toilet paper, sugar, coffee and any other “necessities” you may need if you are renting a house or condo.
- Camera/video camera
- Plastic ponchos for any rainy days in the park
- Autograph book
- Lanyard to collect Disney pins (again, cheaper to purchase ahead of time)