I’ve been meaning to write this post since we got back from Disney World in October. Yikes! Time got away from me. We had a blast during our short Disney trip and I wanted to share some tips we found useful while we were there.
But first, a little background-
My brother works for Disney, performing on a Disney Cruise ship. As a result, my family are kind of “Big Disney Peeps”. My parents planned a quick trip so we could see my brother while he was in port for a day, and so the boys could go to the parks for the “first time”. I say this in quotes because Jack actually spent a few hours at Epcot when he was 14 months old, after he and Jeff returned from a Disney cruise (long story, I wasn’t there because I was pregnant and the ship traveled into Zika territory…).
The trip was all the things- exhausting, exciting, fun, precious, and hotttttt. The parks were decorated for Halloween, but the weather was anything but fall-like, reaching mid-90’s every day we were there.
Where we stayed– we stayed one night at Coronado Springs, and a few nights at Art of Animation. The boys loved Art of Animation, we stayed in the “Cars” section, and they thought seeing Mater and Lightning when we left our room was so much fun (I’d been prepping them with the Cars movie for a couple months leading up to our stay). If you have little boys, I would highly recommend this hotel! With so many Disney things catered to little girls, this was a perfect place for little boys. We could have spent an entire day at our hotel, between the pools and restaurants there is so much to do. If we would have had more time, we would have loved to have visited parks in the mornings, gone back to the hotel for naptime, and then swam or relaxed in the afternoon. Since we only had a few days, we were constantly on the move. We really tried to make the most of our time since we knew we wouldn’t be back for awhile and wanted to see it all. Jack (age 3) doesn’t nap anymore- I know, it’s a tragedy, and we knew William (16 mo. at the time) would be able to nap on the go, so we opted to stay at the parks basically from open to close- ah! we cray, I know…
So, I’ll start with some travel/logistics stuff and go from there.
Travel- We really wanted to travel as lightly as possible, so we only packed in about 4 small-ish bags, including the boys plane backpack and my plane bag. I’ll kind of explain this a little bit because we also wanted to lighten our load a bit at the park, while also making sure we had all we needed.
I packed Jeff and my items in a suitcase, and packed the boys in our favorite Tom Bihn carry-on backpack. We used this in Europe about 6 years ago before we had kids and have used it almost every trip we have gone on since. It’s such a great hands-free option, especially when you have toddlers to chase, and strollers to push through the airport. We also packed in our Packing Cube Backpack because we thought it could be a good option if we needed an extra backpack at the parks, and we ended up using this to store our camera during the day.
We decided to take 2 lightweight strollers (we used these, and I love, love ours). We love our double Phil and Teds stroller, but the second seat is stacked below the top seat, and we wanted both boys to be able to see while we were strolling through the parks. We also knew we might want to split up, especially if William was napping and thought it would be easier to have 2. Would I do this again? I’m not sure. We loved how lightweight they were, but it meant both of us were always pushing a stroller, and sometimes it’s nice to have a break.
This brings me to my first tip:
Packing- We brought one bag for extra clothes, snacks, diapers, phone chargers, and other items we wouldn’t need much, and LEFT THIS IN THE STROLLER BASKET and another bag with money, phones, camera, toys for waiting in line, tissues etc. that we CARRIED while in line. This way we weren’t having to carry a heavy bag with us on all rides, and if the other bag in the stroller happened to “go missing”, it didn’t have valuables. Some days I also carried a fanny pack (ha!) so I had some items easily accessible while I was in line, or walking around the park. Here and here are some really cute ones! I actually really loved mine. I got the 2 bag tip from Marisa of Hello, Baby Brown blog. If you are going to Disneyland, here is her post. She has the most darling family, and they are Disneyland pros.
Food- In our stroller bag, we packed a ton of snacks and also some sandwiches each day. The sandwiches were a lifesaver, because while we always ate lunch at restaurants at the parks, the boys would often get hungry in the middle of a wait in line and we’d look at the time and realize it was way past lunchtime. We’d hand them sandwiches and they’d eat them while we waited. This saved on some major meltdowns. We used Amazon Prime Now grocery delivery service for some fresh groceries delivered to our room the first night, and it couldn’t have been easier. The resorts have lots of food options and markets for groceries, but if you have anything specific or food allergies, this is a great option and super reasonably priced.
GET THE MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP!!- you can order food, and pick it up when you get to a restaurant, this saves so much time and was a lifesaver. Also, it is a MUST for looking up wait times, characters, and other events like parades and shows, and for obtaining fast passes easily. Seriously, make sure you have space on your phone BEFORE your get to the parks so that you can take advantage of this.
Hopefully some of those tips were helpful!
I think I need to make this into two posts. The rest is yet to come!