Top 10 Disney Vacation Planning Tips (Part Two)

 

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I am a Disney World fanatic.  I would vacation at the “Happiest Place on Earth” every year if I could.  Last week, I shared 1-5 of my Top 10 Disney Vacation Planning Tips.  If you missed it, check it out here.  Now onto 6-10!

 

6.  Prep Your Kids
 
Disney Vacation Countdown

 

Unless you are going to surprise your kids with a trip to Disney World (which I completely plan to do someday!), have fun getting them ready for your trip.  Excite them by counting down to the day you leave.  You can create your own vacation countdown or use mine.  This really helps with the never-ending questions of ‘when do we leave?’

 

Something else I’ve done to prepare my kids is to play Disney park music prior to the trip.  Especially with toddlers and preschoolers, I looked forward to the expression on their face when the lights go out on Main Street, they hear the familiar tune and then match it with the incredible parade. * MAGIC! *

 

My favorites to play are SpectroMagic, the Main Street Electrical Parade (which happens to be back at the Magic Kingdom right now), Walt Disney World Resorts and Magic in the Streets: Parade Memories.  The Amazon prices seem really high on some of these CD’s.  If you are going to get any, check around for a good price!  Once the SpectroMagic parade is back at the Magic Kingdom, this CD would be the most significant one, in my opinion.

 

7.  Plan a Swim Day

 

Typhoon Lagoon

 

If you are at the parks long enough, plan a swim day in the middle of your trip to break things up.  Relax at your hotel pool or head to one of the great water parks.  For Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, be sure to check into the tickets ahead of time.  The regular Park Hopper ticket doesn’t include water parks.

 

8.  Rent a Stroller

 

The City Double Stroller
from Orlando Stroller Rentals

 

With small children, strollers are a must!  I have used both the Walt Disney World Stroller and one from Orlando Stroller Rentals.  By far, I would go with the Orlando Stroller!  This is what I think about each:

 

The Disney World stroller is hard plastic and tips over if you have a bag on the handle without a child in the seat.  If you are renting a double stroller, there is no divider between kids.  You also have to roll up a jacket or something to create a pillow if they are going to nap in the stroller.  On the other hand, the biggest perk is that as you board the train in the different lands of the Magic Kingdom, you just leave your stroller at the drop and pick up a new one when you get off the train.  It is also nice not to have to worry about your own personal stroller when you park it to go on attractions.

 

The Orlando Stroller is cheaper and more comfortable than the Disney one.  It is very sturdy and can hold up to 50lbs per seat.  I was concerned about my son (95% in height), but he was fine.  I loved that each kid had their own seat which made for happier kids … and happier mommy.  The stroller is delivered to your hotel and surprisingly easy to fold up for all bus and train rides.  I will definitely rent this one in the future.

 

Incidentally, I picked up these Jeep Universal Stroller Hooks from Amazon for $6 before the trip.  They were awesome for shopping bags and my ‘diaper’ bag.  Unfortunately, I left them on the stroller when I returned it.  : (

 

9.  Earn Disney Dollars with a Disney Chase Visa
 

 

I want to tread carefully here because I am only an advocate of credit cards when they are paid off monthly and not causing extra spending.  However, I love my Disney Chase Visa.  You earn 1% back in Disney Dollars and during special offers, can earn as much as 3x that amount.  By using this card, I applied $300 Disney Dollars to my trip expense and also had $90 in souvenir money (yes, I have been using it for a couple years and throwing anything that accepted credit card on here).   That is a great savings!  Nearly $400 towards my vacation for free.

 

If you’d like to apply for the Disney Chase Visa card, use my referral code (Member ID code 17849340) to get a bonus $25 Disney Dollars for signing up.

 

10.  Have an Attraction Game Plan
 

 

When traveling with the kids, I always have an attraction game plan.  I list the rides that are “must do’s” as well as the rides that are age-appropriate.  This way, I make sure we prioritize with Fast Pass (I’ll explain this in a future post) the rides that I know our kids will enjoy the most and avoid time trying to figure out which rides we want to do.

 

The Disney website is a great help, but not always the most accurate if you have sensitive children or want to avoid rides in the dark, etc.  Use this link and select the park and age range on the left sidebar menu.

 

* * *

 

I have to say, I look forward to the planning of a Disney vacation almost as much as the trip itself.  All ages are great for Disney World!  My son was 20 months at his first trip and he loved it.  Granted, I will have more memories of the trip than he, but it was so neat to see his excitement.  And, I am looking forward to catching every  phase of my kids’ childhoods in such a fun and creative place.

 

If you are thinking of a Disney trip, be sure to check out my other Disney World posts below and call our sponsor, Beaches & Dreams Travel Co.  Their services are free and they specialize in Disney.  They can be reached at 1-877-R-DREAMS and be sure to say you heard about them here.

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. I’ll definitely keep them in mind when I’m planning our family vacations.

  2. I have read your tips from part 1 to part 2 and it is very much helpful. Thanks. Disney World stroller rentals

  3. We LOVE Disney! Agree with all your tips! Great post!

  4. Found your post via Angie’s Top Ten {Tuesday}. We are huge Disney fans. We’ve been to Orlando twice, Paris twice, and on the Magic. We are heading to WDW again next month, and have another cruise planned for December. (Yes, we are those people.) These are great. I especially loved the photo with Tigger from part one . . . the Crystal Palace is our first meal stop, and we have never been. I think I am more excited than all three kids combined. Love these tips. The only thing we do differently is ditching the stroller. We just find it easier in the long run not to have to worry about it on buses, in line, leaving it for shows, etc. We did 7 days when my second was 18 months and she did great. This coming trip my son will be 19 months, and we’re hoping it will work out again. (But we’re driving this time, so we’ll have the stroller in the car in case we change our mind :-)

  5. Momma in Progress, I am so excited for you!! That is great that you were able to go without a stroller on your last trip. With back issues, being able to carry one of my kids for any length of time isn’t all that possible, so a stroller is a must for us. But someday. :) How did Disneyland Paris compare? Have a great trip next month and on the cruise.

    • Yes, I could see how the stroller would be necessary then. We ended up carrying J a lot during that trip, but now the girls are 6 and 4, so they are good to go as far as a long day of walking, so it’s just the 1.5 year old and hubby and I can switch off if needed.
      Disneyland Paris was great, but different. They have only two parks (Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) so more do-able for a short trip. Everything in the parks (main street, the rides, the decor) pretty much looks exactly the same, in the same set-up. The shows are usually done in a mix of French and English, and the Playhouse Disney show does a French, English, and Spanish version at alternating times. (We saw all three!) Yet, it does have sort of a “European” and definitely “French” feel to it . . . it is a bit more “aloof” for lack of a better word (?) . . . not warm and fuzzy, and the employees, while wonderful, just don’t have the same above and beyond I’ve seen in Orlando and on the cruise.
      Ah, the cruise! Best. vacation. ever. Seriously, if you ever have a chance to do one, do it. We left out of Barcelona and had 7 port visits in the Mediterranean. The ship was fantastic, the food, the staff, the entertainment . . . and all those characters! One thing I really loved was because the cruise is more of a limited audience, the character meet and greets are more personal and they take more time. I think my daughter had a 5-minute conversation with Snow White in the hallway on the way to dinner. I have photos of my then 8-month-old sitting in Mickey’s lap. My other daughter sat and chilled with Peter Pan for quite a while, too. Some of the “busier” lines push you through like they do at the parks, but overall this was our best experience with characters by far. We cannot wait for our next cruise. This time the Bahamas. (We’re moving to Florida next week, which is how/why we have two Disney trips planned in the next 7 months, LOL.)

  6. Thanks for the tips! We are planning to have Disney vacation with my family and I’m very happy find this blog. Anyway your Tips in Renting strollers are very helpful to mommies like me.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do the same planning tips apply to DisneyLAND?

    • Many of the tips could apply to Disneyland too. I have never been to Disneyland, so I can’t speak justly to it, but I would assume so. Obviously, things like outside stroller rental would differ, but there are probably some good alternatives to the park stroller. I know they have the California park, so Park Hoppers would probably still apply. I am not sure if they have the water parks or not, though. Anyone else have any thoughts?