Yesterday, I rambled on about all of my favourite Disney trip planning tips. Today, I have some more to pile on your plate, and while I definitely suggest reading them all before you go (get off your phone and enjoy your vacation dude!) these tips are more for “on the day.” If you haven’t already, check out Planning a Trip to Disney: Part 1!
Do you have realistic expectations? Are your dates picked? Do you know what parks you’re doing each day? Have a list of your must-see attractions, shows, parades, and characters? Then walk right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. with me and read on!
(Okay, that was lamer than I expected. Yes, I could just hit the little delete button on my keyboard but I’m keeping it because you’re allowed to be super corny on a Disney post okay? And also, it reminds me, if you have kids you absolutely must watch Disneyland Fun. YouTube it. I mean… borrow it off of a friend who is as lame as me and just happens to keep VHS tapes from the early 90s lying around. It’s glorious. *Maui voice* You’re welcome!)
Even in Disney, stuff happens. Be prepared for the worst and keep a positive attitude. A ride may be unexpectedly closed. A thunderstorm might roll in. Don’t let it ruin your day. Try to plan as much as you can, but know that once you’re there all bets are off. If you plan your day right you won’t be waiting in line for long, but you can still utilize that time by looking at wait times for surrounding attractions and deciding where to go next. Download the Disney app for the park that you’re visiting and you’ll have all of the information you need.
Get there early
I mean early people. Plan to be there at least a half hour before rope drop. This way, your tickets will be scanned, your bags will be checked, and you can run towards your favourite attraction the second the gates open. I know that Disney World has recently changed their rope drop procedures, but all the more reason to get there early since you can now browse Main Street and get Disney-fied before your day even starts! The crowds generally don’t roll in until late morning, so you can usually get a good part of the park done before it’s starts getting congested. In January when we went, we finished all of Fantasyland (minus Peter Pan which we decided to skip this trip- blasphemy, I know, but it was one day! Priorities, people!) by 10:30! Now, how all of this is going to play out with our trip to Disneyland Paris, I don’t know. There are extra magic hours that morning and the park doesn’t open to the public until 10am, so we’ll what happens. But yes- that is the type of stuff I pay attention to when I book Disney. Also, some people say leave in the afternoon and take a nap – I say sleep when you’re dead. Our worst days were when we went back to the hotel in the afternoon. You know your family best. If your kids (or you!) need a nap or a noontime dip, do it. But for those of you in the minority like us, with kids who hate naps and can go, go, go ’till they drop – I’m giving you permission to shut. her. down. Yes, even with kids.
I know a lot of advice says to bring a Mary Poppins style bag with you when you visit, just in case. I say don’t. If you need a bandaid, I guarantee a cast member will be able to get one for you. Yes, rain ponchos are expensive, but I’ve only ever boughten them once in my entire Disney-going life and the thought of lugging them around with me just in case… no. But I am a minimalist. The heaviest we packed was when our son was 3 which was a backpack with a change of clothes, some fruit for snacks which went uneaten, water bottles (my only must!) and the baby wrap. We didn’t even bring a stroller, because I am that hardcore.
That being said…
Prepare for weather
Just because you’re going to Florida, doesn’t mean you’re going to be in sweltering heat. Just because you’re going to California, doesn’t mean it won’t rain. I mean, yeah, it’s always sunny in California but it has rained once or twice. Check the forecast before you go, but pack for the extremes. Just don’t lug it all to the park for the day with you.
Seriously, just smile while you’re there. Take a deep breathe and get swept away in the magic. Don’t take yourself too seriously, there is nothing serious about Disney World. Play it up with the characters. Sing the songs. We all know that you know them. The more fun you have with the day, the more you’re going to enjoy it. You won’t get everything done. It’s impossible. But don’t get too caught up in going from attraction to attraction because then it might feel like any other theme park. Talk to the cast members. Stop to say hello to the characters. Watch a parade or a show. Look for hidden Mickeys. Be on the lookout for hidden magic like the party line phone in the Chapeau shop. Read all of the writing and look for jokes and puns. There are so many details… I still discover something new every time I go!
And that’s what keeps us going back.
Are you planning a trip to Disney? Is there a question you have that I didn’t cover? Leave a comment below!