Heading to Disney World for the First Time?

Heading to Disney World for the First Time?

Are you heading to Disney World for the first time? For many people, that first Disney trip is filled with anticipation and also a bit of trepidation. A Disney World vacation isn’t cheap, so you want to be sure to get the most out of it and enjoy every minute, right? Here are five tips on how to have the BEST first vacation to Walt Disney World. Want to save money on your Disney vacation? Who doesn’t, right? Get your FREE copy of 5 Ways to Save on Your Next Vacation. Ready for the tips? Don’t try to do too much. You will feel a lot of pressure to “do it all” and “see it all.” Especially if you don’t plan on going back to Disney anytime soon. Please, please, please resist that pressure. Yes, you want to experience everything Disney has to offer, but trying to do it all in one trip is a recipe for disaster. Plus, the wonderful thing about Disney is that many of the magical moments happen when you slow down and just enjoy being there. I promise, you won’t regret missing a ride or two or not spending ALL day at the parks, but you WILL regret losing your temper or having everyone leave the park feeling cranky because they are tired, overstimulated, or hangry. Drink lots of water. It’s so easy to get dehydrated in the Florida sun, and often when you (or your kiddos) start feeling bad, you really just need more water. It’s easy to get a free glass of water at any counter service location – just ask. If...
Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for You?

Is the Disney Dining Plan Right for You?

Dining at Disney can be wonderful, but it can also be very expensive. For some folks, the Disney Dining plan can alleviate some of the stress of paying for all those meals. For others, it will cost more than they would typically spend on food. So, is the Disney Dining plan right for you? Delicious dinner at Saana What is the Disney Dining Plan? The Disney Dining plan is basically a method for pre-paying for your food while you are visiting Walt Disney World. It can help make your vacation feel like an all-inclusive experience. It’s available to any guest who is staying at a Disney property. You can use the Disney Dining Plan at multiple Disney Spring Restaurants as well as Disney restaurants at the Disney resorts and parks. If you decide to purchase a Disney Dining Plan, it must be purchased for every member of your party over 3 for the length of your stay. So, you can’t purchase it for just the adults, or purchase it just for 3 of the 5 days you are staying onsite. There are actually four different Disney Dining plans available. Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan This plan is the least expensive option but doesn’t include credits for any of the table service restaurants (as well as character meals). It includes: 2 Quick-Service Meals Per Night of Stay2 Snacks or Nonalcoholic Beverages Per Night of Stay1 Resort Refillable Mug per person Disney considers a quick-service meal to be one where you order at the counter. Some benefits are that it’s typically quicker, and each quick-service meal includes an entree and a drink...
5 Must-Do’s Before Your Next Disney Trip

5 Must-Do’s Before Your Next Disney Trip

Wondering how to begin planning your Disney trip? Whether you are planning your first or your fiftieth trip to Walt Disney World, there are certain things you must do to prepare. Taking a little time before you travel will improve the quality of your trip substantially. Are you ready to plan your Disney vacation? Here are my top 5 must-do’s before you leave home. Decide Upon a Budget I know it’s not exciting to think about how much you want to spend on your trip, but Disney can be EXPENSIVE. Once you are on vacation, it’s also really easy to let things slide and justify purchases you’d never make at home “because after all, we are on vacation.” Sound familiar? So, take even half an hour and think about what your spending limit is for areas like park tickets, food, lodging, extra activities, and souvenirs. Even if it’s a rough estimate, it gets you to start thinking critically about your expenditures which will help you think twice before making foolish purchases. Insider Tip: If you are looking for specific ways to save money for your next vacation (so you can do more!), check out my FREE guide 5 Tips to Help You Save Money for Your Next Vacation. Sign up for My Disney Experience when planning your vacation This website/app is a must for planning and executing your Disney vacation. It’s free, and you can start by signing up at My Disney Experience, but make sure to also download the app for your phone. Once you are in the parks, you can use the app on the go to...
What to Bring to Disney World

What to Bring to Disney World

So what should you bring into Walt Disney World? Now that the kids are older and I don’t need to bring along all.the.stuff. I like to travel light when I visit. I can’t quite make it without carrying anything (I have a food allergy so have to have an EpiPen on hand), but I’ve pared it down to a small wristlet. So what should you pack to keep the weight down but still have everything you need? Since I just have a wristlet on my arm, both hands are free! The Basic Items to Bring to Disney World for the Day For me, these include the must-haves: My EpiPen and a few Benedryl tabs.AdvilMoney, ID, one credit card, annual passholder card, DVC card, AAA cardCell phoneSunglassesPhone chargerReading glasses (a sad new addition …) The Extra Items to Pack These are the nice to have items, but I usually squeeze them in: Hair tie or clipA bandaid (although you can get these at first aid in each park).Pen A few essential oils (typically DiGize for stomach aches and Deep Relief for muscle pain)Hand sanitizerChapstick And that’s it, although I might transfer the DiGize to a tiny bottle and throw in a sunscreen stick if it’s a hot day. I use my cell phone as a camera (and it’s usually in my hand or back pocket). I’ve found it’s so freeing to be able to bring so little into the park and yet still have everything I might need throughout the day! My favorite bag to use is a Vera Bradley Wristlet. They have a variety of patterns (someday I’m getting...
5 FREE Things to Do at Walt Disney World

5 FREE Things to Do at Walt Disney World

Free and Disney just don’t seem to go together, do they? Let’s face it, Disney can be a super expensive vacation. It’s pricey to stay onsite, park tickets are crazy expensive and the food costs more than other Orlando restaurants. One way to make your trip a little more affordable is to include some free things to do. Add these 5 FREE things to do at Walt Disney World on your next visit and have more fun for less money! Electrical water pageant. Every evening, you can visit the beach at the Polynesian resort and see a FREE water parade. Set to music, this 15-minute show is a fun way to cap off a wonderful day at Disney. Picking up a Dole Whip or cocktail at the resort to enjoy while you watch can be a low-cost treat too! The times vary for this (typically somewhere between 9:00 – 10:00) so check the website or ask at the hotel before you show up. It can also be viewed at other various spots around the lake, but we love the feel of the beach! Resort Activities. I talked a little bit about this on my post The perfect non-park day at Disney, but it also totally belongs on a post about FREE things to do at Disney. Most Disney resorts have a weekly activity schedule with things like bingo, pool parties, campfires, and free nightly movies. You can easily spend an entire day at the resort participating (which we have done many times) in all these fun things to do for no additional cost. Some of the deluxe resorts have...
5 GREAT Spring Break Ideas for Families

5 GREAT Spring Break Ideas for Families

It may be cold and snowy where you are right now, but Spring Break will be here before you know it. If you haven’t started thinking about Spring Break yet, now is the time to do so – the one year I put off Spring Break planning until February was the year we ended up not going anywhere exciting – it was just too late to book what we wanted. So to help you out, here are 5 GREAT spring Break ideas for families: Go for Warm Hit the beach. After a long, bitterly cold winter, there is something extra special about a sunny beach. Living in the Midwest we tend to visit Florida beaches often. Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Pompano and Clearwater are all favorites. If you are closer to the west coast, consider the San Diego area. Even if it’s not warm enough for the adults to play in the ocean, I bet the kids will brave the cool waters. If you head far enough south, it will definitely be perfect for being outside and swimming in a heated pool. If you do decide to plan a trip to the beach, check out this post on Beach Essentials to make sure you bring everything you need for a perfect beach vacation. Theme Parks. Walt Disney World is an all-time favorite for my family. Even if we take a beach vacation, we often tack on a few days at Disney to help break up the drive (and get our money’s worth out of those annual passes)! If Disney isn’t your thing, how about Universal Studios or Busch Gardens?...

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