Packing for your Disney World trip

 

I get a lot of questions from guests about what to pack for your Disney World trip. There’s the obvious things: clothes appropriate for season, comfortable shoes, toiletries, medications, etc. The biggest things to me are the lesser known options.

For everyone…

  • MagicBands – in your carry on luggage or easily accessible if you are driving.
  • At least one pair of comfortable, broken in tennis shoes. Disney is not the place to break in your new kicks. If you have 2 pairs of shoes, it’s worth bringing them both if they will fit. If your lead pair of shoes are rubbing and starting to form a blister, you can make the switch. Also great if you get a rainy day and your shoes get wet!
  • Moleskin or blister band-aids. I’ve tried both. They both work depending on how bad your blister is. If you purchase moleskin, either cut them ahead of time or BRING SCISSORS.
  • Extra socks. I’m talking double what you’ll think you’ll need. It gives you an opportunity to switch if they get wet from a ride or rain or just give your feet a cool off/dry off in the heat of summer
  • A good backpack for the parks. Good shoulder support, not too large, not too heavy. It will give you a place to carry any extra items you might need. Talk about sharing the load between family members!
  • A few good snacks. Dining plan or no dining plan, having a few essential snacks will help keep you going throughout the day. We like granola bars, and easily transportable items
  • Flavoring for water. Orlando water…blech! Sometimes it tastes worse than others. Buy some Mio, Crystal Light, anything that will make it taste a little bit better. You need to stay hydrated. No need for passing out or headaches.
  • Travel dish soap. You’ll thank me later when your refillable mug doesn’t taste like coffee AND diet coke
  • Hand sanitizer. Because…EW!
  • Ponchos. The ones in Disney are not cheap  so purchase them from a local store (go for the slightly more expensive ones vs. the $1 trash bags so you can use them more than once if necessary) and save the receipt. You can always return them if you don’t use them.
  • Gum. Disney does sell gum on property, so if it’s important, pack it!

For families with kids…

  • More snacks than you think you’ll need. Pack the essentials your kids will eat day after day. You don’t want a meltdown at a restaurant or in line because there are no goldfish crackers!
  • Any special cups – something with a lid, a straw, sippy cup, etc. based on your child’s age.
  • Bibs, hand and face wipes
  • Anything to make a foreign place to sleep more comfortable – a special blankie, stuffed animal, etc.
  • Mini forks, spoons, etc.
  • More clothes than you’ll think you’ll need
  • A cover for your stroller in case of rain

What about laundry?

“But Melissa, I’m not going to do laundry on my trip!” That’s what I thought on my short 5 night trip with my daughter. Well after getting puked on (TWICE) and getting almost an entire container of chocolate sauce from my dessert dumped on my leg at Epcot, I needed to do laundry. Several dollars later, I wish I would have brought laundry supplies.

A little insider tip for detergent: take the amount of soap you need and put it on a dry rag and put it in a zip lock bag (or multiple zip lock bags. When you’re ready to do laundry, pull it out and throw the rag into the laundry with your dirty clothes. Easy peasy!

The weather

Obviously look at the weather for your travel dates as time comes closer. If it looks like the lows are a bit chilly, pack accordingly. Don’t leave your winter coat and gloves in the car at the airport because it’s Florida and 40 isn’t that cold there. YES IT IS! Bring a hat. Bring a coat. The worst thing that happens is you leave it in the room because you don’t need it. You’ll still look cute in all of your Memory Maker pictures

Most of all, leave yourself time to pack. Don’t be like me and pack at the last minute because I thought I had things under control. That leaves you with a lot of bottoms and 3 tops for a 6 day vacation. Not super helpful! I ended up making a few purchases during our time in Disney. Not upset by my new shirts, but as a chronic over-packer, I failed at trying to pare things down!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney World WITHOUT kids: 10 things to do on an adults only trip

 

What? People go to Disney World without kids? That’s right. I’ve done it many times and it’s a totally different experience than going with and for your kids. Here are some of my favorite things to do while on an adults trip in Disney:

1. Stay club level. The deluxe resorts all have club level service which provides you with a concierge floor. For more information on club level, see my earlier post.

2. Go on a monorail pub crawl. There are two great ones in Disney World. First, the monorail tour. Start at Magic Kingdom and take the boat to Wilderness Lodge, then make stops at each of the Disney monorail resorts: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. I like to go later and stay to watch the fireworks from the Grand Floridian Beach!

3. Try signature restaurants. Disney offers 12 signature restaurants plus Victoria & Albert’s, the finest of all dining locations on Disney property. This is a great romantic setting and to try some amazing food! These meals often take longer than the standard table service, and offer many courses, wine pairings, and some amazing entree and dessert choices. One of the great things about signature restaurants, is many are located at resort hotels, so you don’t need park admission or park hoppers to visit them! Which leads me to my next point…

3. Take advantage of the Deluxe Dining Plan. This plan is not for the faint of heart, or the tiny stomach. Disney’s deluxe dining plan provides you with 3 credits per person, per night stayed and can be used as a table service or quick service credit. An upgrade to the Disney dining plan, this plan provides an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage for lunch and dinner meals (no appetizer or dessert for breakfast). It’s a great way to try multiple signature restaurants around Disney. While deluxe dining is expensive, it’s a great add on to an adults trip (or upgrade your dining when staying during a free dining promotion for more savings!)

4. Enjoy drinks around the world in Epcot. Similar to #3, stop at each country in Epcot and have a drink of the land. This works out best if you share a drink or if you break it up into 2 days, as there is A LOT to try. I haven’t found many people that can each have a drink and make it all the way around and continue their Disney day.

5. Take a carriage ride. A romantic carriage ride is offered at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside (for an additional feel of course).  Port Orleans can be reached by boat from Downtown Disney (a great end to a romantic night after dinner) or by bus from any theme park.

6. Enjoy a spa day. Saratoga Springs & Grand Floridian both have spas available for guest use. Call to reserve your service before your arrival and pamper yourself!

7. Enjoy evening magic hours. My  husband and I like to enjoy evening magic hours when we travel. It’s an easy way to see more in less time, especially when there are 2 full hours of fun. Families with kids start to dwindle as the hour gets later. We get up early, head to the parks, take a nice long break in the middle of the date, eat a late dinner and enjoy all the extra time Disney has to offer us!

8. Check out the evening offerings at BoardWalk. Disney’s BoardWalk has some fun things for adults including meals, street performers, and a piano bar (JellyRolls). This area is open later than most in Disney!

9. Spend a whole day in the park. While I don’t normally suggest staying in the park for a full 10-12 hours, doing it without kids is manageable, especially for a short trip. To let your feet take a break, park hop and the bus or monorail ride will be a little break. .With dining in there, you’ll be able to rest inside the park as well.

10. Pretend you are a kid again. Meet characters, go on water rides, do some character dining, and enjoy Disney like a kid! Just because you’re a grown up, you have no real responsibility. Enjoy yourself!!!


Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney World Tips and tricks: More time savers

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So you want to take a Disney World vacation in 2014. Now where to stay?

With 29 on property resorts to choose from, how do you decide? It’s the age old discussion of time vs. money. Typically resorts with multiple modes of transportation or those that are very close to the theme parks are more costly. It’s no surprise that the Deluxe resorts are located in close proximity to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. One of the major questions I ask my clients outside of budget constraints is what’s more important: time or money.

In Disney, you can save time and spend a little more money on your “home” location or you can save a little more money and spend a bit more time in transit. Depending on your resort and location of that resort, you can spend an additional 15-30 minutes either waiting for or riding the buses. Taking your own vehicle could knock off some of the waiting time), however you will still have to walk or wait for parking lot trams to take you to the front entrance of the park.

Melissa’s insider tip: If you have the funds and are willing to spend a little extra money, especially on a first trip or a trip with little ones, I would suggest staying at a resort close to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. This will help save you from additional lines and any travel confusion using your own vehicle.

New Discounts available to general public on Monday

That’s right, a new discount is available to the general public as of Monday, January 6th. A sneak preview was given to all Disney Visa card holders. For the details, check yesterday’s blog post. For those value hunters, a 5-night Disney World vacation for 2 adults and 2 children can be less than $500 per person. This includes 5 full days of park tickets (one free thanks to Disney!) While booking is available via the web, sometimes the system is difficult to navigate and can be confusing. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether you have a discount (or the best discount) applied for your vacation package. Your other options: call Disney or contact a travel agent to do all of your heavy lifting. Obviously I’m a little bias towards option #2!

Disney sent a reminder e-mail to all travel agents reminding them that January and February are the busiest times of year on their phone systems, especially with a new special offer. Those who already have their vacation packages booked must now call and have the offer applied to their account which leads to long wait times and bogged down web servers. It’s not uncommon for Disney’s servers to have intermittent outages which can be extremely frustrating to new and seasoned users alike.

Melissa’s insider tip: Let a travel agent (especially one who works specifically with Disney) help you book your dream vacation. We can often provide insider information and ensure that you are not only getting a discount, but the best discount that Disney has to offer. If additional discounts become available, we will continue to save you money.

When NOT to travel to Disney World

It’s common knowledge that the time between Christmas through New Year’s is a busy time at Disney World. For my knowledge, I commonly review my Disney apps which show current wait times in the Disney parks. On New Year’s Eve it was common to see wait times in both Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the 2-4 hour range. Yes, FOUR hours for Test Track! To me, that doesn’t sound much of a vacation or a fun experience.

Melissa’s insider tip: Be aware of peak travel windows. For the best times to travel, check an earlier blog post. If you have the ability to stay away from peak travel times such as Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving (and the week leading into Thanksgiving), and the majority of the summer months, you will save time AND money! And we all know time is money.


Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Top Reasons to use an authorized Disney vacation planner

I get it, using a travel professional takes away the control in vacation planning. If you are anything like me, you like to know exactly what’s going on in your vacation plans. In my last Walt Disney World Vacation I considered booking with a travel professional but was scared to let go. After several weeks of research on my own, I reached out to a nationally known authorized Disney vacation planner. It was suggested to me to slightly alter my travel dates for both cost effectiveness and volume of travelers. What an AMAZING suggestion and decision! We we able to extend our vacation an extra day and got through almost every single attraction at Magic Kingdom on the first half day we arrived!

Reason #1 to use a  Travel Professional: KNOWLEDGE!

Did you know that some of the most popular Disney Restaurants can be completely booked 180 days in advance? Your best bet is to wake up at 6 am EST and get advanced dining reservations online. For you west coasters, that means 3 AM! Unless you have a newborn that’s already awake, that’s no fun for anyone. As part of my Disney Travel Experience, I take care of all of your planning needs, not only resort and ticket reservations, but also Dining and Fast Pass + reservations (full roll out scheduled in 2014).

Reason #2 to use a Travel Professional: CONVENIENCE!

Your ideal resort or room sold out on Disney’s web site for the promotion you were hoping to get? Well never fear, check with a Disney Travel Specialist to see if their access allows you to book your dream vacation. Also, Magical Vacations is the Home of the Minnie Box, a special gift that arrives on top of all the other goodies that Disney offers when you book a vacation package! Also, I am offering limited time promotions for bookings before the end of the year on top of these already great benefits!

Reason #3 to use a  Travel Professional: SPECIAL BENEFITS!

Did you know that using a travel professional is absolutely 100% FREE? You read that right! Having someone else do all the heavy lifting, waking up early, and being available for questions costs nothing! PLUS, you have the peace of mind that everything is taken care of before your departure.

Reason #4 to use a  Travel Professional: FREE!

Ready to get started planning your 2015 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!