Sofia the First just came on television, Kason started clapping, and before I knew it, I was getting a little teary-eyed. What in the world?! I’ll admit…I’ve cried during Disney movies before, but this was a first. Just the introductory song got me.
We spent last week at Disney World. It was also a first for me. Jared went when he was younger. Amber went when she was 5, but didn’t remember much of it. Westin, Kason, and I had never been before. It has been on my bucket list for quite some time, but I always thought it would stay there. Honestly, had it not been for my niece getting her Make-A-Wish granted to go…that is a box that I’m pretty sure would have never gotten checked off.
One reason I never thought we would go is because I thought we would never have the money. I mean, it’s Disney World. It HAD to cost an arm and a leg to even get a room. Then, we would have to buy park tickets, food, gas, etc. There was no way! BUT, there was! After researching, lots of Pinteresting (new word), and our cousins recommending an awesome Disney travel agent (FREE!)…we found that there ARE affordable ways!
If you have thought about it before, here are some of my personal opinions and tips:
• Go! Just do it. Don’t think twice.
• Plan ahead. Don’t wait until last minute. Give yourself a year or 6 months. Whatever. This way you can save, and pay payments, also. Not one whole chunk at a time.
• Get a travel agent. Trust me. There are travel agents just for Disney. You don’t pay them a dime, Disney does. I tried to plan myself and it will stress you out so bad. PLUS, you will miss important things you will wish you had known. (I can refer you if you don’t have one in mind.)
• Stay in a Disney Resort. We stayed in Pop Century, the cheapest standard Disney resort rooms. The only negative thing I have to say about it, the beds were not too comfy. Other than that, it was perfect. Atmosphere, pools, food, cast members, everything. You can spend more on resorts, but my view was…to save a little money, we weren’t going to be in our room, but to sleep pretty much. On the other hand…after walking so much at the parks, rest is very much needed. If you need a more comfortable bed to get adequate rest, spend a little more on a resort with nicer beds. If not, Pop Century will do the job. You also don’t even have to crank your vehicle once you arrive. They have a shuttle bus that will take you to each resort, and bring you back, for free. Because Kason’s stroller is so large, we chose to drive everyday, though, so I didn’t have to break down his stroller with each bus trip. Parking is free at the parks if you stay at the resorts, and if you arrive early enough, the walk from the parking to the gate is not so bad.
• Do the meal plans. We just did quick service meals, but it was PLENTY! We had leftovers most every time. You won’t have to wag around a cooler, money, or leave the parks to go eat. Money is on your magic band, the dining plans can be used at your resort, the parks, and Disney Springs.
• Arrive to the parks early. The crowd is not so bad then, meaning less wait time for rides and character meetings.
• Take ponchos and sunscreen. Every day. No matter what the forecast is for that day. It is Florida, you never know. Lol
• Wear tennis shoes. LOTS of walking.
• Get maps of each park so you aren’t wandering around, looking for a specific attraction or restaurant.
• Watch as many parades as you can, and firework or light shows.
• If you are limited on park days, I recommend parks in this order (our most favorite to least favorite): Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (unless you have an avid Star Wars fan, then I would put this as 2nd), and Epcot. Or, get a park hopper so if you get to one park and don’t particularly like it as well as another, leave and go to a different one. If we ever go back, Epcot would be one that we would skip out on. I’m glad we went once, just to go…but, it’s not one I’d care to go back to (except to do the Soarin’ attraction).
• If you drive to Orlando and plan on stopping half way, book a hotel AHEAD OF TIME! Again, trust me! We were exhausted and by the grace of God, found a hotel with one available room (that was not outrageous). Never again will I wait until last minute. I was in panic mode.
• NEVER venture off the planned road map to explore a beach that is not well known (or that you’ve never heard of). More than likely you will want to kick yourself in the hind end for doing that. Speaking from experience. 🙂
• Dress comfy and throw your hair in a pony tail. Like I said earlier, the amount of walking you do is unreal. You don’t want to be uncomfortable. And, after riding some of the rides…your hair will be a mess. 🙂 You won’t be underdressed. I promise.
• Spring Break is very crowded. Choose another time to go, or be prepared. 🙂
• Wear matching shirts. Even if just the same color, with no design. It’s easier to spot your group/family.
Disney World truly is a magical place! There is no other way to describe it. It’s worth every penny, in my opinion. The amount you spend is up to you. It can be expensive if you go all out, or it can be affordable if you plan wisely. Start saving and go! You won’t regret it!
Walt Disney said it best:
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.”
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”