When we returned from the trip I particularly had many moms ask me, "How was it!?" "I am planning a trip soon...Do you have any tips for me?" After several lengthy emails and conversations I decided what better way to share my tips than write a blog post.
So here you go....here are MY tips (for the non-frequent, Disney-goer):
1. Stay in a Disney resort. It's so much easier with the bus and monorail transportation (but do know there is not resort-to-resort busing, only parks to resorts and vice versa...We learned the hard way). There are so many different resorts to choose from that you can really accommodate almost any budget. I mean if you're going to do Disney, "do-it-up right" the first time and treat yourself to the total Disney experience BUT also make sure you coordinate when they offer their free dining plan (another must-do) in my opinion.
2. Assuming you go when they offer free dining, use your 'table meals' for character dining breakfasts. Whether or not you are a morning person...it is really worth it to get a big breakfast early in the morning so everyone starts with a full belly. This will carry you through half the day and you only need your "snack points" for lunch. Then save your counter-service for dinner. PLUS it's a great way to get in the parks BEFORE they open. Avoid waiting in line with the crowds for the gates to open. After breakfast you can get on those favorite rides with hardly any waiting in line and then grab your fastpass, and even take pictures in the parks without all the crowds. Another good point to consider...you might not feel like leaving a park to make your dinner reservation at another park or resort.
- My two favorite breakfasts: Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary (meet the classic Disney characters), Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot (meet a bunch of the princesses AND it includes a FREE 5 x7 photo with one of the princesses AND it only counts for 1 table-service where the dinner in Cinderella's castle counts as 2 table-service meals).
3. If you have a little princess...I totally recommend the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique! The Crown package was really worth the money ($58)! We booked A's appointment early in the morning in Cinderella's Castle (right across from the princess breakfast) in Magic Kingdom. Again this was great because we got into Magic Kingdom early and took pictures without the crowds (Photo Pass photographers were there waiting to snap your photos too).
- MY TIP: Thanks to Disneyed's post, I bought an Aurora dress in our local Disney store, not telling A. I brought it down in our luggage without her knowing and took it to the boutique. When I got there, I explained what I had done and asked if they could place the dress in the dressing room for A to discover. This was awesome! One of the ladies came out and told A that Tinkerbell had made her a gift, proceeded to take her by the hand and lead her back to the dressing room. They pulled the curtain and her new dress was hanging on the wall! Little A didn't know what to make of it all. The maiden even fixed the dress straps to fit so the dress was not hanging.
- Later A was taken to a chair to have her hair (they give them 3 style choices), nails, and make-up done. At the end she received a sash & gift bag with her make-up palette, 2 nail polish bottles, and other goodies. All day long staff greeted her as "Princess." Again, in my opinion, money well spent! Oh and they had photo pass photographers in the boutique taking pics....
....which leads me to my next tip:
4. Buy the Disney PhotoPass CD before you leave for your trip. "Disney PhotoPass, gives guests the ability to view and purchase photos taken by Disney Photographers online and while visiting the theme parks. When visitors have their photos taken, they’re issued a “PhotoPass” which has the web address and a 16 digit ID number imprinted on it. If you've taken your own photos, you can also upload them on the PhotoPass website." (taken from their website). At the time of our trip, the price was still $99 pre-paid however now it is $119.95 but still worth it at least for one visit (in my opinion). They do make it a little to hard to find this offer but I have put the direct link here to make it easier. For once I have many pictures of the whole family and some with just my husband and me. I love that you own the rights to all the pictures taken. They even have some cute boarders to add when editing your photos. Photographers are everywhere so utilize them and ask them to take lots of pics. Let them know you've pre-purchased the photo CD so they take a few extra for you. I was especially glad to have pre-purchased the CD since they had photopass photographers taking pictures of Anna in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique AND a photographer taking pictures of Nick during Jedi Training. The shots are priceless!
Tip: Be sure to take a picture of your photopass card JUST in case you lose it....this way you have your 16 digit # so you can have a new card re-issued and you do not lose any photos!
Now check out our Walt Disney World tips part 2, found here. What tips would you add?