10. Start a fun Disney savings jar, buy a Disney gift card once a month at the grocery, and get the Disney Visa to start earning Dream Reward Dollars to put toward your trip. Every penny helps.
9. Stay on property! Taking the Magical Express from MCO is the perfect way to kick off the trip. We have always had pretty good luck with Disney transportation between the parks and resorts and love the convenience of not having to drive, especially at the end of a long day at the parks. Not to mention the conveniences included, you just feel even more encapsulated in that Disney cocoon.
8. If you aren’t surprising them, let your kids involved in the planning. Start a fun countdown. Give them a few chores to earn souvenir money. Let them help make decisions about attractions and restaurants they want to mark off their Disney bucket lists. Kids get so much more excited (is that even possible!?) when we let them be a part of the planning process and it’s really a lot of fun for mom and dad too.
7. Remember that Florida weather is more than likely a little different from the weather anywhere else. Expect humidity, scorching temperatures (depending on the time of year), and sweating. Some tips to beat the heat – dress in light clothing that dries quickly, drink lots of water, take advantage of shade and air conditioning whenever you can, and for the love of Mickey Mouse, just buy the cooling mist fan (or bring your own). I’m not kidding – that thing was a game changer and worth every bit of $18.
6. The early bird catches the … mouse in this case. Lots of people seem to like sleeping in on vacation, but my kids don’t. We get to parks at rope drop and enjoy smaller crowds for a couple of hours while the rest of the “World” is waking up, eating a leisurely breakfast, and making their way to the parks. We get there early and knock out a couple of attractions, use our fast passes from 11-2 or so and then head back to the resort to nap or relax at the pool during the hottest part of the day before heading back for dinner, and maybe fireworks if we have any energy left!
5. Plan on going at a slower pace. If you’ve been to Disney before becoming parents or caregivers of young children (we used to go a lot before kids!), the change of pace might be eye opening. Kids tire easily, need more ‘stuff’ to be comfortable, take more potty breaks, and request lots of snacks and drinks. Even with strollers, you aren’t going to be able to zip through the parks like you used to.
4. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to be making payments on your vacation for a year afterwards.Book early by making a $200 deposit and then set a schedule for monthly payments (or whatever works for you) and stick to it so your trip is paid off before you even step foot on WDW property.
3. Do your research – and be realistic. Every trip and every family is different but it would be impossible to see everything during one trip to Disney World. Make the attractions that your family would enjoy the most a priority. Get those FastPasses and dining reservations for can’t-miss experiences so you’re not going home with a sweetie who is devastated she didn’t get to see Elsa.
2. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute. You can book dining reservations 180 days in advance and FastPass+ choices can be made 60 days in advance if staying with Disney (another great reason to stay on property!). A few days ahead of six months out would be the latest I would recommend booking reservations if dining experiences are a priority.
1. Finally, my number one tip is to use a travel agent and follow their advice! Your friends at The Affordable Mouse are here for FREE with all the expertise and information you could ever want or need. They will monitor any potential deals that you might be eligible for and will keep you up to date on the latest news and changes.
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.