Okay,so technically I won’t have a toddler for another couple of weeks, but with this little one’s attitude, I swear we are already battling the terrible twos.
We took Libby to Walt Disney World in early June to celebrate her upcoming birthday. It was without question,the best time I have had at Disney World, and I have been a lot. I’m a planner, a list maker and an over researcher, is that a thing? I thought I had this trip in the bag. We’ve been so many times, I know the parks like I know my daughters bow collection (am I right girl mamas?!) SURPRISE, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Here’s some things I learned this trip and what the hubs and I swear to change for next.
1.Fast Pass, its a thing, USE THEM
When FastPasses first came out, they were a whole lot different than they are now. Walk up to the ride, take a ticket, come back at your scheduled time. Okay maybe not a whole lot different but with the use of phones, it feels a lot different.
Disney now offers FastPass+ which allows you to book a scheduled time for a ride or character meet and greet up to 30 days in advance! I wish that we would have known about this before we went. It would have made the first day that much smoother.
MY TIP: Plan your whole trip using fastpass+. You get three a day (per party). I planned our parks the day we got there and I’m so glad we did. The regular line to meet Mickey and Minnie was over an hour. We waited 5 minutes, and with a baby, that was a gift from the heavens.
2. Weather (water bottles, umbrellas, stroller fans)
I should have remembered this one from my years of living in Florida, but the weather is unpredictable. The days were hot while we were there, super hot. So I brought the usual stroller fan and figured we would buy water whenever we needed it in the park. Wrong, very wrong on my part. It rained unpredictably throughout our stay, and if you’re not from Florida, the “rain” will feel like a hail storm. We each ended up buying an umbrella. Disney is smart on that kind of thing so they were $20+ umbrellas (we’ll cherish them forever).
MY TIP: Bring your own water bottles, they allow you to refill in the park. Sometimes you’ll use a water fountain but most restaurants had ice water they allowed you to use. Don’t forget a rain cover for the stroller(thankfully we did not) and umbrellas(or ponchos!), you’ll thank me later.
Just like the Fastpass+ option, I wish we would have made dining reservations in advance. Thankfully, we were able to schedule reservations at all the restaurants we wanted, but It would have made the day and the trip smoother and easier. When hunger strikes in a group of 6 people, I can guarantee not everyone will agree on what to eat. At least that was the case with us. It would have been so much easier if we had made plans early in the morning or even the day before.
MY TIP: Have everyone pick a restaurant and schedule reservations in advance. That way everyone eats at the restaurant of their choice and you don’t wander the parks aimlessly and end up begging the hostess to please let you eat without a reservation.(guilty!)
4.Go During an off Season
If you have any choice in which time of the year you go to Disney World, schedule it in an off season time. We didn’t have much choice in our time since it was the only time everyone could get time off work around our daughters birthday. But if we did, I would have checked Disney World off season calendars online like they were going out of style.
MY TIP: April is the least busy and probably, besides “winter”, the best time to go. We’ve been plenty of times in the spring. The crowds are small and the weather isn’t scorching.
With the new Disney bands and My Disney Experience App, having pictures taken is quick and painless. We didn’t know about this until halfway through our trip, but once we did, we stopped at every photographer we saw. Once our trip was over, I bought the PhotoPass plan and had unlimited downloads of every picture taken in the park for 30 days. We have tons of beautiful pictures of my husband, daughter and I. I am more than thankful for these because, if I’m being honest, it’s usually me taking the pictures!
MY TIP: Stop at every photographer you see and use them to your advantage. Have them take tons of pictures any which way you want them. Even if you don’t end up buying the Photo Pass (which I more than recommend) the option for great pictures didn’t pass you by.
6.Be Open to Changes
I spent weeks leading up to our trip planning and mapping out our days to arrive on the first day and have nothing go as planned, and I mean nothing. The day was hotter than I expected, lines were long(even for water and bathrooms). Restaurants were fully booked and my daughter was afraid of the stroller fan, go figure. I wouldn’t change a thing about our trip because it was our daughter’s first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. However, I would allow myself to be ready and prepared for things to not go as I had planned.
MY TIP: Don’t stress too much on plans and scheduled times. Be in the moment and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.
Taking a toddler to Disney for the first time was a huge learning curve for everyone in our party. It was truly the most special and meaningful trip we have ever taken. We are still reliving our trip on the daily! I had so much fun writing this post and I hope our trip will help some other Disney crazy mamas out there!