So if you know me at all, then you know we are a Disney Family. Full Blown. My kids have asked a million times if there are job openings so we can move to sunny Orlando and Ryan and I have both searched through their job postings on a regular basis-I’ve even applied before-but we just don’t feel like that is what we need to do. Especially now with the farm (which I will link a great post to at some point soon) here in Texas.
So we are just over 2 weeks away from jumping on our 6 am flight to meet the mouse and I have been getting stuff packed and ready between school lessons and diaper changes and dishes…and coffee.
I am a crafter. And I am that mom. I make us match and I lay out everyone’s outfits according to which park we are in that day. This time I am crafting up some Mickey ears because the last time we bought a pair they were $29+ and I can’t do that for 4 children (the 2 littles are staying home in Texas this time).
I have friends ask me a lot about planning a trip to Disney, and I know there are a MILLION different places online to find advice and tips and such but I figured I would share mine anyways. Afterall, isn’t that the beauty of having a blog-someone to read my inner thoughts and feel like we are friends. We are friends. So let’s do this.
Where to start?
Well, first off, I can tell you so much about the planning but my biggest tips are set a budget and decide what you don’t want to miss out on. I would leave a little wiggle room because Disney is the king of magic and something will come up that you want to spring for. I can pretty much guarantee that, friends. Also, don’t think that you are not a Disney fan. When you spend this kind of quality time with your kids and you see their faces and the overall professionalism and thoroughness of Disney, you will be sold. If not, you are heartless. Just kidding…kinda. Actually, to be fair, 2 of my closest friends are not sold on Disney and thats ok-I ignore that part. I will convert them one day!
There are so many different ways to save money or budget. I use a Disney Visa because you get no interest on vacations and you also get cashback which I use for all of our souveniers onsite so that I don’t spend any additional money. I also like using Kroger to buy giftcards to pay for the trip because I can then get fuel points-so it’s not direct savings to Disney but it is a roundabout way to have savings related to our trip.
We also use points for all of our flights through Southwest so I have virtually no travel expenses at all. Flying 6 people is not cheap. Ever. So this is a huge perk for us. Ryan and I haven’t paid for a flight in years other than the roundtrip taxes of $11.60 per person.
I also get an email about free dining offerings through our Visa. So we get a free dining plan when we book in the window they offer it to cardmembers. There’s a lot of controversy about Disney Dining Plans. We love it. My kids can order what they want, I can order what I want. Can we do food for cheap? Yes. But I don’t pay for a Disney vacation so I can skip out on the Princess Meals at Cinderella’s Royal Table or the high fives with Donald at Tusker House. Those are some of the best experiences we have, and I only pay the tip (with a giftcard from cashback redemptions on my Visa) since the meal is covered by our free Disney Dining Plan.
So where do you stay? This is a simple answer. Where ever you want. I would recommend on site, especially now that they have started charging to park at the hotels even. Why rent a car, why deal with transportation at all? It is all included in your stay-from airport to resort, to park to resort, between parks, between resorts, back to airport. Guys, they even print out your boarding passes for you and you don’t even have to wait for your luggage-it magically arrives in your room. They have it down to a science, really more of an art. And how fitting that this trip is checking off a new hotel: The Art of Animation. I plan on telling you guys a little more about each hotel and our personal review of them soon (they will be linked to each of them on the list as I complete them). For now, here are the resorts we have checked off:
Fort Wilderness Cabins
Art of Animation
Port Orleans-French Quarter
One of our favortie things to do is walk around and explore the resorts so we can pick where we want to stay next. The design and theme of each one is spectacular and it is so much fun to walk around and check them out. Plus, we take our refillable mug (included with your Disnay Dining Plan) and fill up (since they only work in resorts) for free and enjoy some of the many activities offered. We’ve listened to the orchestra and watched Cinderella and Prince Charming waltz at the Grand Floridian, Pin traded and sat on the lawn at the Polynesian, watched the boats from the Contemporary, walked the boardwalk with a sticky bun at the Yacht Club and surrounding hotels…and the list goes on and on. Transportation is provided but can be tricky sometimes depending on times and where you are going but we’ve spent entire trips never even going into the parks because we stay busy exploring! Some people spend days at the pool, which we’ve done a number of times as well, but the resorts (especially at Christmas time! sigh) are wonderful!
What resort looks like it fits your family best? What are you looking for in your stay?