Top Tips for Travelling to Disney World

In July we visited Florida and spent much of our 2 weeks in Disney World. It was my 6th visit to Florida, the hubsters 3rd and J’s 2nd. This time we went with mum and dad, my sister and best friend for 2 weeks

We decided that Disney would have the best theme parks for J this time round and next time we visit Orlando we would look to explore the other parks

We do like to go off the beaten track as well, visiting nearby Celebration, Leu Gardens and Winter Park when we were there, and we also had a day at Aquatica, Volcano Bay and Discovery Cove but here are some of my recommendations and must haves for when we have visited a Disney park in Florida

Book your fast passes in advance

  • We weren’t staying on site and as such our fast passes opened up 30 days before we travelled (if you stay on site your fast passes open up 60 days before). You can book your fast passes for the morning, then once they’ve all been used, you can then book more for later
  • Even at 30 days prior to heading to the park many of the fast passes for the popular and newest attractions had gone (Pandora and Avatar at Animal Kingdom for example) so you can imagine the closer you get to your trip, the less likely you are going to have the fast passes you’ll want

Magic Band

  • They save you faffing with tickets every time you enter a park and every time you want to use a FastPass. We didn’t stay on site but you can load money onto them to save carrying cash, use them for your hotel rooms, have them for the dining plans (if using), and use the Photo Pass function for each photographer / ride photo
  • J particularly loved her yellow one and we all had different colours. They were $13 each and $42 for 3 may sound like a lot but it saved us hassle of constantly getting cards out of my purse every time we wanted to go on a fast pass ride or have a photo loaded to our account

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Take a pushchair

  • J is 4, she is an active child, she is outdoorsy, loves walking and generally climbs the walls if we don’t get her out of the house once a day. But… in 30-35C heat and with long days we knew she just wouldn’t last and instead of having constant moaning and whining to deal with, we took the buggy with us
  • She sat in it, we pushed her round (at times hoping she would nap – she didn’t!) and it really helped throughout the holiday, allowed us to stay later and let her sleep when she needed to (my phone health data showed that aside from the water park days we walked 65 miles over the 2 weeks!)

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Packed lunches can be taken in

  • I’ve been following a food plan to try and rid the problems that have plagued me for years and as such I didn’t want to stray too far from it aside from the odd ice cream (or 5). J is also one of those children who doesn’t really like fast food and only really drinks water, so we decided to pack a lunch every day and see how we would manage
  • Every morning we packed homemade sandwiches, chopped watermelon, grapes and the obligatory pack of crisps and/or pretzel in a cool bag I’d bought from the U.K. with frozen bottles of water. The frozen bottles served as cold packs, then a lovely refreshing drink in the afternoon when they’d defrosted. It saved several dollars, but also allowed us to spend a bit more on a nice dinner and snacks (see comment ref ice creams above!) and more importantly, served as a good lunch

 Ask for ice water

  • The hubster likes fizzy but that’s completely out of bounds for me so when we had run out of bottled water we asked for ice water for me at each of the food places. Some gave standard tap water, some from the soda points
  • If you can get your head round the tap water tasting different to ‘back home’ (my mum and dad struggled with this one!) it’s really refreshing and saves considerable $’s as the days go on. I do love a good ice water

See the parades and shows

  • If you want some real Disney magic then the street parties, parades are a must. I sat there open mouthed when watching the new Animal Kingdom show and I particularly enjoyed watching the involvement with J and the characters for the dance parade in Magic Kingdom

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Ponchos, ponchos, ponchos

  • I went to the local pound store before flying out and purchased ponchos and handheld fans for us all. The ponchos were an absolute godsend as we had afternoon storms on 12 of the 14 days we were there. In hindsight I probably should have taken a couple more out with me but I’ve never seen so much rain in all my visits there!

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Take your suncream out

  • The £ to $ ratio is much lower nowadays and I decided to purchase suncream when on offer here to take out with us. It used the extra baggage allowance and when we went to the stores for some essentials we were relieved to know that we had saved several pounds. We also freed up  luggage weight and space for the goodies we had purchased to take home!

Go off the beaten track inside Disney

  • 2 of our favourite memories have been at the Disney resorts, the first being Beaches and Cream Soda sharing the aptly named “Kitchen Sink”, and the other being at Fort Wilderness, toasting marshmallows on the campfire, dancing to music and watching an open air cinema on benches
  • The Fort Wilderness evening is such a relaxed and low key event that you don’t feel like you’re at Disney (aside from Chip and Dale making an appearance). Both times we’ve visited with J we’ve done the campfire and it is by far one of our favourite memories of our trips there

 

And there you have it. Some of our recommendations for visiting Disney. There’s loads of others out there, but these are definitely the ones I’d recommend with a young child. I just now need to encourage the hubster to take me again – having some serious Disney withdrawals here!

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