We are back from five days at Disney World & we are all beyond exhausted! But, we had a magical trip & I wanted to share a few tips we discovered along the way. Just in case you are thinking about traveling to visit the mouse any time soon. This trip was planned rather spontaneously & was booked 3 weeks before we left… and apparently, you are supposed to book a Disney Vacation about 180 days out! Oops. Well, when I first bought our tickets & started making plans, almost everything was booked. No character meals, no princess reservations, no Bibbity Bobbity Boutique… I was a little bummed, but knew we would still be able to make some magic happen.
Over the few weeks leading up to our trip I literally stalked the Dining Reservations & was able to snag a Breakfast reservation at the new Be Our Guest Restaurant (it is in the Beast's Castle). This reservation not only got us into the castle, but it also granted us entrance to the Magic Kingdom early. Not bad for her first Disney experience. I have to say that the three Adult meals we got (the Meat & Cheese Tray, the Croissant Doughnut & the Open Face Egg & Bacon Sandwich) were great! Chloe's Crepes were less than stellar….
Since we were there early, we were able to meet Cinderella & Rapunzel. Chloe was literally speechless upon meeting Cinderella & when I asked her what they talked about she said "I have no idea!" And fyi… apparently Rapunzel just got new shoes. Chloe asked why she wasn't barefoot.
The princesses were beyond sweet & took their time with Chloe. Which was much nicer than just a quick picture.
If your little ones are looking to meet the characters they have made the opportunities so much easier than when I was a kid. I think over all of my previous trips, I may have met 2 or 3… Chloe was able to meet with about 15! Be sure to keep your eyes open while walking around the parks too. They have added special meet and greets throughout the park, I saw Princess Tiana under a gazebo, with nobody in line to meet her & she and Chloe talked about Gumbo & what it was like to be a frog for quite some time. She may have been my favorite interaction… she was Tiana!! Down to the accent & mannerisms.
If you are looking to meet these guys too, I recommend the Character Spot at Epcot. The wait was about 20 minutes for us, and was in a very nicely air conditioned space. Plus they show original Mickey Cartoons to keep everyone from getting bored. Very important with the little ones!!
The one thing we did that I never expected to do was rent a stroller!!!! Chloe is almost 5 & hasn't been in a stroller in a few years. But with the average person walking 9 miles a day in the parks, in the heat… the stroller was literally life changing! She could sit back and rest and we didn't have to carry all 42 pounds of her.
Luckily for us, it rained on us at the Magic Kingdom. Yes, I said luckily. This meant that the majority of the crowds left the park & once the rain died down we left our ponchos on & were able to hop on just about any ride we wanted. We did all the classics. Dumbo, the Carousel, Tea Cups, went to Ariel's new Grotto & watched Mickey's Philharmagic. We also went on Splash Mountain a few times, which was both of the kids favorite… despite Chloe's face in the picture. She really did love this one. These pictures always crack me up.
Here are a few more tips we picked up along our trip //
Download the My Disney Experience App. This organizes all of your reservations, FastPass schedules & Tickets. It also has an updated list of wait times for each ride as well as a map of where you actually are in the park. It automatically updates as to which park you are in too!
Spring for the Magic Bands… These are fairly new bracelets that you upload all of your information to. They become your tickets into the park, grant you access into your reservations at restaurants, allow your to pay for anything & are also contain all of your FastPass info. And a bonus if you are staying on property, they are also your room key.
In terms of food, here are a few little gems we found if you aren't looking for a $15 Burger & Fries while in the parks //
At Magic Kingdom I recommend the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad at Peco Bills. It was really flavorful with a little heat thanks to the jalapeño corn relish.
We really liked the lunch at the Starring Rolls Cafe. Rob got a Turkey Sandwich on Focaccia, I got Sushi that was made in "Japan" that day in Epcot's World Showcase & Chloe got a PowerPak lunch which was my favorite Kid's offering the entire trip. It was a box filled with a Yogurt, Apple Slices, Carrots, Goldfish Crackers & a Fruit Bar. It was only $5.25 & since they were all prepackaged, you could store them for snacks later.
And the last meal tip was the Chicken Salad Sandwich & Spicy Potato Salad at Animal Kingdom. It is at a little food service booth right before you cross the bridge to Africa. It was so nice to avoid the heavy greasy food and enjoy something other than fries.
Also… you can get your Dole Whips with Booze at Animal Kingdom. That was a nice perk for us. Especially on our last day.
One last thing I would recommend is to take advantage of the Photographers on site. It is so much easier than trying to get everything set up on your camera while you are standing in line. But if you do want to take your camera as well, they are happy to use your camera for the shot at no charge.
This trip was a long 6 years in the making & we are so glad that we made the decision to go now and let Chloe experience the Magic at this age.
I'll be back Monday talking about Home Decor again, but felt that I could have used some of this info before traveling & hope that it might be helpful to a few of you too.
xo - Kristin
This post was in no way sponsored by Disney or any other company. This is simply my honest review & a few tips I found helpful during our stay.