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Hi! I'm Lacey!

I am a full-time working mom from North Alabama. I love my family, my friends, and my God!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tips and Tricks I Learned from Disney

So as you are well aware by now, we visited Disney World a few weeks ago.  I love Disney World but there is just so much that goes into planning a trip.  There are so many things to see and do and it really is just impossible to do it all.  We only stayed a few days and had a lot of extra stuff going in with the runDisney stuff so this visit was a little different than most.  I have people all the time ask me for tips and advice and questions about "how we do Disney" so I figured I would share a few things.  I do not consider myself an expert or junkie or Disney fanatic by far so I am sure some are reading this like nope that's not the best idea but it's just some things I have learned along the way!

On planning - Start early!  The earlier you book, the better.  As soon as we decided to go, I started planning with everyone in our group about what the big things we wanted to do were and which days to visit which parks.  You can set up a My Disney Experience account and add all your friends and family to make things easier. You can make most dining reservations up to 6 months in advance and for people staying at a Disney resort, you can pick your fastpass reservations up to 60 days in advance.  I typed out everything we wanted to do including times for things such as FP, parades, and reservations and printed for everyone in our party.

On eating - I have never done a dining plan.  I hear they save lots of money but I personally get tired of "fast food" and don't want to be tied down to a bunch of eating reservations so I have never done them.  We usually just try to book at least one or two character dinings when we go and then the rest we just kind of eat whatever.  I take lots of breakfast, sandwich, and snack stuff with us and so we usually only actually buy a meal or two each day.  This trip, I loaded our suitcases with waters and Gatorades as well!  Bags of popcorn, pretzels, apples, nuts, peanut butter, and granola bars all travel well.  I also throw in a bag of ziplocs and some plastic spoons and knives.

On fastpasses - Like I said before, I try to have "our plan" figured out and everyone set up in my account a few months before we go so as soon as our time comes, I can log on and make FP selections for the times we want.  There are a million different planning blogs that have better FP suggestions but you can read my previous posts to see the ones we do.  As the girls get bigger, our selections will probably change to more of the thrill rides but I was pretty happy with the ones we had this time.  We didn't have to wait more than 20-30 minutes for anything that we didn't have a pass for.

On resort choice - There are so many different types of resort at Disney that it can be super hard to choose which one.  They are all very unique and there are so many details and creativity that really go into each one.  Out of the ones we have stayed at, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness were my favorite.  They are a little bigger than just a hotel room and have an actual kitchen in them.  The value resorts are good if you are wanting to save some money and are still full of character (but they don't have a coffee pot in the room).  They have all plenty of bus transportation to make getting around pretty easy and they each have their own food courts with plenty of eating options for everyone.  I am dreaming of staying at one of the Magic Kingdom area deluxe resorts one day but my pocket book isn't quite there yet.  I hear you can buy Vacation Club points or whatever to make that a little cheaper but you will have to find that information somewhere else. 

On clothes - I go completely for comfort at Disney.  My daily outfit consisted of shorts, tshirts, and casual tennis shoes.  I packed a few cardigans and sweatshirts for the cooler mornings and nights too.  I haven't mastered the whole "athleisure" look but that would definitely be a good option to go for as well.  I did see several dresses, cheap flip flops, and wedges though but I am pretty sure they were miserable.  For the girls, I went for just a tshirt and either leggings or shorts.  You will see kids dressed in everything from smocked dresses to tank tops without pants but I wanted to make sure the girls were comfortable and had on something that I didn't mind getting messed up or dirty (thank you chocolate Mickey Mouse popsicles) so we went the play clothes route.  There are so many cute and expensive Disney clothes options all over the internet but I didn't want to spend much money on a bunch of Disney clothes that we didn't need so we just hit up Kohl's and Target for a few tshirts and pretty much just let them pick what they wanted.  Some days they just wore non-Disney clothes as well and that is just fine!  They walked a lot as well so it was tennis shoes for them as well.

On packing - I am the single most forgetful person in the world so I made a very long and detailed packing list (maybe I will get around to cutesying it up and sharing it one day as well).  I listed each bag I planned to take and what went into each one well before I began my actual packing.  For the plane ride, we each had our own bag.  The girls had little backpacks filled with snacks and entertainment and Jarrod and I each had our own bag as well to carry our extra snacks, waivers, resort information, and travel documents. I tried to pack pretty light so we took lots of small travel size toiletries and only wore a couple of pair of shoes each.  Mostly clothes, toiletries, shoes, and food went in our checked luggage and our running stuff and things for the afternoon at the park (camera, sunscreen, magic bands, etc.) went in our carry-ons.  I did somehow manage to forget Hadley's panties and ended up having to buy $20 panties from the gift shop though so I don't recommend doing that at all!  

On running Disney - SUBMIT A PROOF OF TIME!  This was our biggest regret for sure.  We enjoyed the race but it would have been a little nicer to be a little closer to the starting line.  Plan plenty of time to spend at the race expo and allow lots of travel time to and from each event.  Bring a throw away pullover whether you think you really need it or not.  I made sure to pack everything we needed for the races (including clothes, shoes, watches, sunglasses, headbands, icy hot, etc.) in a carry on duffle bag in case something happened with our luggage.  Slow down and enjoy the race.  I was so glad to not be running for time on this race.  I made sure we stopped for plenty of photo opportunities and really slowed down to take everything in instead of just running as fast as we could.  And take advantage of the freebies they give out after the race.  They are full of goodies you may have never tried and might actually really like.  You paid a lot of money for this run.. you might as well take full advantage of it!

On some other stuff - You will spend lots of money when you get there so plan for it!  We had Disney reward dollars and gift cards to use for most of it but having plenty of cash on hand made it easier as well.  I am a big budget person so it was nice to not have to worry about money while we were there.  I budgeted what I thought we would spend and went to the bank and got cash before we went so there was no questioning if we were overspending.  Also, those little portable battery chargers for your phone are a life saver.  My phone was drained all day long and they had plenty of spots to recharge them around the parks too.  We used our phones for maps, fastpasses, and finding each other in the crowds so it was pretty important to keep them charged.  For me, purchasing the memory maker was totally worth it!  You got so many fun pictures and I even got to be in some instead of always being the one behind the camera.  I took my nice camera (on a good sturdy and comfortable strap) and used it a lot but it was so nice to have those more professional photos to go with the ones that I took.

There are so many other little tidbits I have learned but I won't bore them with you here.  Like I said, I am no expert and there are a lot of people much more Disney World savvy than me but I always like to share things that have helped me!


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