Tips To Plan and Enjoy Your Best Disney Vacation
For most families a Disney vacation is a big once in a childhood vacation. You will definitely want to make the most of every minute, and every dollar, so that you can create those magical memories you are looking forward to with the vacation. Some people are experienced Disney visitors and some of these tips and tricks you will already know, or have learned the hard way, but there may be a few ideas for you as well.
Our first set of tips and tricks is all about being comfortable. If you are uncomfortable you will not be able to enjoy the experiences as much and kids tend to get more than a little cranky when they are uncomfortable.
1. Dress for the park: Wear supportive tennis shoes, breathable fabric clothes, take your sunglasses and a hat. Also, a lightweight bag for the essentials that will fit across your shoulders or a backpack will make life so much happier!
2. Sunscreen: Apply before you head to the park but bring more with you to reapply during the day. Those vacation memories could be overshadowed but a sunburn if you don't take care of your sun exposure.
3. Misting fan: You can find this great little items at most big box retailers or dollar stores and you should have several for the park. You can buy them in the park but it will be so much more expensive. When the heat is getting you, or the kids, a nice little fan and mist in the face can do wonders!
4. Check the weather: Be sure to check the weather forecast for the days you are going to the park. If there might be rain grab a few cheap rain ponchos when you get your misting fans. This is another item you will be glad you have and not have to overpay for a little plastic poncho at the park.
Also it s worth noting that many of these items, and some more we will suggest, are great to create a type of emergency bag so you are ready for anything!
Food & Drink
After being comfortable the next major hurdle for a great Disney vacation is tackling the food and drinks issues. The parks have many, many food and drink options to tempt you and most will cost you a lot of money as well. Here are a few tips to not overspend in this area.
1. Pack snacks: Remember that emergency bag I suggested? Well this is another item for that bag. Pack snacks that your kids love and are easy to eat on the go. Some of my favorites are crackers, trail mix (no chocolate), small cookies, and pretzels. These are easy to pack in small baggies and help you avoid too many expensive snacks.
2. Water, Water, Water: You should pack at least one water bottle per person, more if you have a stroller and a cooler will make sense. You will become dehydrated quickly when you are walking all day so you need that water.
3. Don't Eat Meals: Don't eat full meals at the park anyway. Have a smart breakfast before you get to the park and save the big dinner for outside of the park. Disney does have some great places to eat but the prices tend to be high and overall you will get more for your food budget choosing a place outside of the park.
Some of our family favorite memories do involve food and we enjoy budgeting to allow us to try several of the parks famous snacks though out the day to go along with what we bring ourselves. This way we get to experience the food without busting the budget. A classic is the Pineapple Whip, check out the video to see how you can recreate this at home.
Make a Plan
Tackling the Disney parks is a big undertaking with so much to see and do if you don't do a little research and planning you will probably miss out on a few great things.
1. Make a plan: Do a little research about the park, or parks, and look at maps and read about rides, attractions and entertainment. When you know what is available and when you can make a plan to not miss any of the major things you want to enjoy. Sometimes plans go off a little but if you have done your research you will know what where things are and can recalculate so you don't miss anything.
2. Take a break: Make sure you account in time for taking a break! You don't want to rushing everywhere so much that you are too tired to enjoy the experience. Don't forget to relax and enjoy, remember you are on vacation not running a marathon.
3. Don't Overbook: If you want to visit more than one park you will need more days. You simply can't really enjoy and get your money's worth if you try to do more than one park in a day. This is all about planning. Also, be sure you give yourself time to go back to your hotel and freshen up before you head out to dinner you will be more relaxed if you do this step.
4. Don't Sleep In: I know it's a vacation but this a Disney vacation and the early visitors get the shorter lines! Get up early, have a great breakfast and have a fun day you will be ready to sleep at the end of it I can guarantee.
A Disney vacation is not inexpensive but if you plan ahead and make a few simple choices you can make your budget provide more vacation bonuses.
1. Disney Fastpass: This is basically a virtual line system that allows you to reserve times for certain rides and attractions before your vacation so you can spend less time waiting and more time enjoying. There are all kinds of videos and tips available about this system so you can get the most out of it and they are worth learning about before you finalize your plans.
2. Holidays: During the different holidays it can be easier to take time off work to make a vacation happen but if there is any way possible to NOT go during a holiday you will be much better off and enjoy your vacation more. The holidays are even crazier than regular days and the waits will be longer by far. My suggestion is to avoid visiting at these times at all costs!
3. Stay Onsite: I know this seems a little counterintuitive for savings money since the park hotels can be a little pricey, however, if you want to really maximize our park time and amenities it is worth the cost if it is in your budget. There are many themed parts of the hotels that can make the vacation more special and you normally get transportation deals included, and earlier access to the parks than those staying elsewhere.
As an added bonus you can reserve your fastpass tickets up to 60 days before your vacation rather than the 30 days everyone else has so you have better time selections to choose from and more time I the park enjoying.