I never grew up a Disney kid. While all my friends were watching Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, we were watching Little House on the Prairie and Doctor Quinn. Once I was in college, my friends sat me down and forced “Disney Movie” marathons on me. I have come a long way since those days… and let me share with you what I now know about Disney.
Where to stay
On property // Staying on Disney Property is an experience in itself. During our recent trip, we stayed at the Swan Resort, which was so much fun! We love this particular resort because it’s essentially three resorts in one. It has a boardwalk that attaches it to the Dolphin Resort and Boardwalk Resort. So that’s triple the pools, restaurants, and just overall things to do!
Off property // World Quest is a great option for large families. It’s fairly close to Disney (approximately 10 minutes) and for roughly $160 a night you can get a two bedroom apartment style room overlooking a massive resort pool or lake.
There are so many amazing Airbnbs to stay at right outside of Disney property too. Almost all of them have pools, transportation, and are super affordable! We love Airbnbs and have always had great luck finding ones that are gems. A good tip is to always select “Super Host” as a filter, as these are proven hosts. By doing this, you will definitely take a lot of the risk out of an Airbnb.
Where to eat
This is by far one of my favorite insider tips! When at any Disney park, be sure to do a sit down meal during the day. The day can often be stressful due to waiting in lines, battling heat exhaustion, and just the shear excitement from all the parks have to offer. A sit down meal gives you a chance to sit and relax in air-conditioning, eat a great meal, and maybe even drink a glass of wine or have a beer. We have eaten at five or six of the various sit down restaurants available and always had a great meal by any standard.
One of our favorite things we’ve done for our kids was attend a character breakfast at the Floridian Resort. They host this buffet style meal at 1900 Park Fare, and it is absolutely amazing. Characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Alice and Wonderland, Mad Hatter and Tigger, just to name a few, come directly to your tableside for autographs, photos and just to say hello! Overall I can’t recommend this experience enough!
Grab a drink
Imagine an entire Disney themed downtown area with Disney style attention to detail put into all the bars and restaurants! Sounds great right? Well, this place does actually exist, and it’s called Disney Springs. You’re able to slowly explore massive Disney stores, all while strolling along with margaritas in hand (or whatever other drink you fancy). One of our favorite drink spots there is The Hangar, which is an Indiana Jones themed bar on the lake! Every restaurant/bar we have visited there has been top notch, and the best part is that the kids were excited about the restaurants as much as we were, especially with the various different themes to wow them.
Things to do
Every park has amazing rides. My biggest tip here, if you’ve never been to Disney, is to simply download the Disney App and select three fast passes for each park/day you’re at a park. I promise you will feel like you’ve cheated the system as you walk right past all those poor souls in line and hop right on the ride. If there is a ride that you really want to ride, but it’s not available, I would highly recommend you get to the park when it opens and make a B-line right for that particular ride. Typically, the line won’t be too terribly long (can’t promise that though).
What to bring…
STROLLER // Bringing a stroller is a must at Disney. However, there are a few things to consider when choosing the best stroller to take with you. There will always be crowds, and you will always struggle with pushing your babes through them. I’m going to start by telling you what stroller NOT to bring. Do not bring a double BOB or a side by side stroller for that matter. Lord, I feel badly for those parents pushing those through Disney. Listen, there are no hills you’re going to be contending with, and I guarantee you there is no jogging you will be doing once inside the Disney gates. So, there is no need for those joggers. You can make your life a little easier by bringing an umbrella stroller that reclines all the way back, so your little one can take a nap. Or bring a stacked double. Here are some of my suggestions.
CLIP ON FAN // It doesn’t matter when you go to Disney; it will be HOT! Bring a portable fan to clip on the stroller, along with extra batteries. This little sucker has kept my kiddos alive at Disney (and myself).
BACKPACK // You will be parking your stroller for every ride you take. There are designated stroller parking spots, and don’t worry; your stroller will be there when you return. However, your stuff may not be… Make sure you bring one backpack for all your loose items and throw them into your backpack, so you can grab and go before jumping on the next ride. Having too many bags will become cumbersome, so really getting everything into one bag is KEY (insert praise hands).
So what’s in my backpack…
Spare batteries for fan
Change of clothes for the kids
And remember the most important thing is YOU’RE AT DISNEY! Have fun and enjoy it to the fullest.