Thursday, June 9, 2016

Disney Tips and Tricks

I was super excited to take the kids to Disney, but I was also nervous about the idea of taking three little ones there.  Because I had done my research, our trip went really well.  Here are a few tips and tricks that helped us along the way:
  • Magic Bands - I hadn't been to Disney since 2000, so I had no idea how wonderful these Magic Bands would be!  Our tickets, credit card, fast passes, and photo pass information were all on there.  With one little swipe, we had everything we needed and didn't have to carry around as much stuff that we were afraid to lose.
  • Backpack - In our backpack, I had a change of clothes for each child, medicines, snacks, water, wipes, tissues, rain ponchos, the kids' Disney books, and a few other essentials.  This bag really came in handy and helped to ensure a much more enjoyable trip!
  • Wheelchair Access - We were able to get a sticker that allowed us to use Gavin's stroller as a wheelchair.  This helped with his legs and allowed us to take the stroller in line where most strollers were not allowed.  Sometimes, we went in the wheelchair line and got preferential seating.  Most of the time, we only took Gavin's stroller and put Lilah on top of Gavin if needed. Sometimes, we brought an additional umbrella stroller.  I'm so impressed with how well the kids held up because that is a lot of walking and we were always on the go!
  • WDW App - If you have a smartphone, this is an absolute must!  It keeps your wish list and schedule for each day handy.  It also tells you approximate wait times for every single ride.  We used this to maximize our time and were able to do way more than I ever imagined we would.
  • Memory Maker Photopass - We purchased this ahead of time and it was worth every penny.  You save about $30 by doing it ahead.  Every time there was a professional photographer, we were able to get the pictures they took by scanning our magic bands.  We also stopped and had several mini photo shoots with the photographers standing around because the pictures were included.  This helped with characters and on the bigger rides.  I was even able to link Allie to our account so we got her pictures too.  Next time, we are all going to link up and split the cost!
  • Daily Outfit Pictures - I read a blog that suggested taking a daily picture of what the kids were wearing.  That way, if we were separated from them, we would easily be able to tell Disney employees what they were wearing.  Thankfully, we were never separated from our children, but I will do that again in the future.
  • Fast Passes - These have come a long way!  They are very helpful when getting on popular rides with long wait times.  You are able to schedule your fast passes 60 days ahead if you are staying on Disney grounds and 30 days out if not.  You are also able to change your fast passes if your schedule changes.  I recommend you booking them and not using them versus not booking them and needing them!
  • Bernbaum Books - My mom bought the kids Bernbaum Disney books and the kids loved them.  Not only did they look at them to help plan the trip, but they also served as their autograph books.
  • Must Dos - With 5 of us and little kids, I wasn't sure how much we would be able to do.  To be sure that all of us got to do what we wanted, I asked each person for 1 thing (2 in Magic Kingdom) that they really wanted to do in each park.  I planned our days and fast passes around those requests.  We missed one or two things due to weather, but overall we were able to do everything we wanted to do!
  • Nap Time - Most days, we got to the park the earliest possible, came back and napped in the afternoon, and stayed past bedtimes in the park.  All five of us napped those days.  We had a MUCH more enjoyable trip because of this.  We didn't have set times, we just played it by ear each day.  Disney is so much fun, but very exhausting.  The middle of the day is the hottest and most crowded time at the park.  By doing this, we ensured that we would enjoy our time and prevented a few meltdowns!
  • Credit Card Rewards - Credit card rewards are controversial.  We are very frugal people, but we have found that the Disney Credit Card is worth it for us.  We pay it off each month and so we racked up a lot of points.  Those points paid for several days worth of meals for us.  This was a huge savings and we are already saving for our next trip!

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