So every time I go to Disney World I leave thinking “Oh, I should have brought this or brought less of this or done this more efficiently” and just leave with all these random thoughts in my head that I usually forget. Therein starts the next cycle of regret…. So! I decided I’d share the tips I gathered from this trip on my blog because I actually finally wrote most of them down as I went! So here I have for you 8 tips that will make your Disney trip 10 times easier and more enjoyable!
1. Plan Outfits For Every Day
This is a little hard to orchestrate early in planning, but once you know what you’re doing when you’re there; plan outfits for it! Maybe it’s the fashionista in me speaking but there’s nothing more annoying than waking up groggy and tired with a 3 hour time difference and not having a clue what to wear. Not only that, but on those days that I did that, I look back at the pictures and ultimately regret my decision of not dressing cuter! I was actually more comfortable on the days I dressed cuter compared to the “comfortable” days. For example, how awesome is this picture because of the outfit planning? I mean, regretfully, I’m not wearing my Star Wars skirt, it’s my Marvel skirt, BUT I have my Vader ears on (from @JudyandPark on Instagram) and got so many compliments on them!
In general, it was also really awesome just to be matching with my dad! That’s another reason I think outfit planning is so important; you can get the entire family in on it! When people think “matching” for the entire family at WDW, their first thought is probably those obnoxious “Family Reunion” shirts, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you go with a general theme, your pictures will look better than if everyone is all over the place. Next time we go, I am going to figure out what character meet and greets are in what parks and maybe even plan an outfit around that. Or maybe, base the outfits on a certain movie (have each person Disney Bound a different character) or a color! Pictures are really important to me and after seeing 13 year-old me take a trip to Disney World wearing a lime green Hanes t-shirt, an Animal Kingdom safari hat, cargo pants, red crocs and a lime green bagalini to the parks… I don’t want to have to relive the embarrassment again. (That was a time where I was a SUPER Disney nerd and had ADRs down on the old Home Depot Disney Mickey shaped paint chips and carried a binder with me on the trip… Think Sue from The Middle when they go to Disney World. That was me. 100%) Also, seriously, if you haven’t watched those episodes of The Middle and you like Disney; clear your schedule and watch it right now!
2. Bring a filtered water bottle.
For some reason, Florida water just does not taste too good. So, a night before we left I stopped at target and grabbed this water bottle, the CamelBak Groove, to try out on the trip and it worked perfectly! We just filled up at water fountains and at counter service places and were good to go! I never felt dehydrated which is awesome seeing that we were running around so much and that’s usually inevitable for me. The only downside to a filtered bottle is not being able to add things like flavor packets. While it’s not of interest to me, I know a lot of people like to do it, so that could be a downside! Another thought, think of all the money you’ll save by avoiding buying bottles of nasty Dasani! I’m all for cheap Disney vacations and this is one of those #1 money-saving Disney tips!
3. Be Our Guest FP+
If you can get your hands on a BOG FP+ do it! A thousand times do it. The typical lunch wait for Be Our Guest while we were there a couple weeks ago was 75-90 minutes. What is Fastpass Plus? In regards to Be Our Guest reservations, you’re basically choosing the time you’ll arrive at the restaurant and what food you want before you get there! I learned about the Be Our Guest fastpass plus through the blog Disney Food Blog. It was great to be able to plan out the food in advance, go sit down and then have our food delivered out to us. Plus, we got to experience Beast’s castle without wrestling 180 days out for a dinner reservation! The food was really great. Everyone at the table crowned it as one of the best meals for cheap with an awesome atmosphere and said they would totally go back again. Oh yeah! Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!
4. Bring sandals to the parks!
If you have a backpack that you’re bringing to the parks, I would definitely advise bringing a pair of sandals if you aren’t wearing them already; especially if you plan on going on water rides. Nothing (literally nothing) is worse than walking around the park with wet shoes squeaking and making your feet feel ridiculously disgusting. Another reason for myself is that my feet get so tired, no matter what shoe I wear, but if I change into a different pair (even heels) it brings so much relief! So, it’s worth the weight of flip flops. Plus, they work really well in the rain. It might be a little easier to disregard this if you go back mid-day for a break, but it’s still one of my top tips!
5. Wear sunscreen!
I am saying this because I don’t want you to be that person. Even if you want a tan, please wear sunscreen. Protect your skin and keep yourself from looking like a stinking lobster! Nobody wants to look like a lobster. When you go to the parks, you are out in the sun way too much so keep your skin safe! I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to look like a shriveled up fruit when I get older. This is the nagging future mother in me, but I really had to say it.
6. Bring raingear!
Because it IS going to rain. No matter what the forecast says, be prepared (cue Lion King music)! I got a little rain jacket from Eddie Bauer that really came in handy, but even a poncho from the dollar store would work. I also brought an umbrella so I was certainly prepared when it rained every single day of our trip, sans 2 days, almost all day. Disney charges around $8 for ponchos, so if you’re lucky enough to be at a store when the downpour starts, you’ll probably end up being out some $8 a person… But if you’re not by a store and without protection, you’re in trouble! It stinks having to waste your day hiding under an overhang just because it’s raining or getting soaking wet, so just come prepared with something, be it a poncho, rain jacket or umbrella. At least something! And if you forget your umbrella? Best souvenir idea ever! I believe the umbrella my family bought was about $18. That’s honestly not too bad compared to what we can get at home! It’s a cute pink umbrella with Minnie all over it and I’m pretty sad I didn’t get one myself!
7. Memory Maker.
The tip? Get it! I found it to be worth it. Over a weeklong trip, we ended up taking 300 pictures. I love the borders that you can add to them and how great the photos turned out. Of course I could write an entire blog post about Memory Maker alone, but felt I definitely needed to touch on it here! Even if you bring your own camera, this package comes in handy in indoor character meet and greet situations. The lighting in there can be so wonky and it’s hard to adjust your camera quickly, even if you know how to! I love how anyone in our group could scan their magic bands and the pictures would end up on the website for us. Our party split into half a lot. Before, only one group could have photo privileges because of that, but now, thanks to magic bands, we all can! We never had trouble finding a PhotoPass photographer and the lines weren’t very long for the ones we found; even though we were there for one of the busiest times of the year! Plus, magic shots are so much fun! I got this picture of Chip and myself and I love love love it! He is seriously the cutest little cup.
If you have little ones, Photopass photographers also capture pictures from Enchanted Tales with Belle, so if your prince or princess gets chosen for the part; you’ll get the pictures from that as well!
8. Check out Tagalongs.
Okay, I feel ridiculous for dedicating an entire tip to these little cutie pies, but their cuteness must be shared with the world! Tagalongs are little characters that you can attach to your shirt (or hair, like I did) and wear around the park thanks to a magnet! I found the magnet to be pretty strong, depending on the stability of my top’s shoulders. Hair-wise, my Pascal stayed in quite well too! You obviously have to take them off while experiencing attractions, but they are so cute for photo ops and just having a little buddy on your shoulder while traveling around the park! I really hope they make a Tagalong version of the blue bird from Splash Mountain just so I can sing, “Mr. Blue Bird on my shoulder!”