Part of this "new blog" is going to be some personal posts! I hope you reading more about my life as a mom and business owner raising three young boys. They are 5 and under and sometimes life is a little crazy, but I think I finally have a good handle on work/life balance and i'd love to be able to share any tips I have with you along the way!
In November we went to Disney and it was the most fun trip we've had as a family! I had a lot of people ask us about how we did things and while there are SO many ways to do Disney, I probably researched it like it was a thesis that determined whether I would pass or fail something. We're talking I probably would be embarrassed if I counted how many hours I put in to Disney research. But it's EXPENSIVE. We never went on a honeymoon so we have never poured that much money in to something so I wanted to make sure I didn't regret anything.
Here are some things we learned/did while having the best week:
We flew. Spirit Airlines from Baltimore. It was only $60 per ticket one way and saved us HUNDREDS over flying out of Richmond. It was well worth the 2.5 hour trip up to Maryland. Now the thing with Spirit is they will charge you for any checked bag, but each checked bag you're allowed 40 pounds. I figured we could fit everything into 2 and we did that just fine! Everyone is also allowed a "personal" item for free, book bags work great for that, but they have to be under a certain size or you have to pay for them to be 'carry on' items. Sometimes Jet Blue will offer cheap flights out of Richmond for a non-stop to Orlando, but our experience was at that timeframe it would have been about $300 per person round trip. The crew was SO sweet and Eli + Luke even got to go in the cockpit at the end of the flight, they LOVED that!
Amazon Prime Now. So convenient. Delivers right to your hotel and you don't have to be there to pick it up! Water is SO expensive at the parks. Like, $4-7 a bottle. We utilized the Prime Now and saved a LOT of money on snacks and water for the park. I did our first prime order the day we were leaving before we took off, everything was at the hotel for us when we arrived.
Fast Passes, Use them! This saved us SO much time. We never waited in line for anything. Except Winnie the Pooh, oh my gosh we will never get those two hours back. I'm not even sure what took so long but every grown man in line had a 10 minute crying conversation with pooh, we got antsy but chalked it up to the magic of Disney and tried to not get grumpy. Everyone deserves their magical moments at Disney! We set up our fast passes back to back in the morning and the attractions were all close to each other so we weren't running around like crazy. As soon as your third fast past registers you can get a new one so we continually rolled them all day. I'll blog about our favorite Disney rides soon!
We have young kids so we didn't exhaust them. We were there 6 days and got park hoppers, next time we go we will skip the park hoppers. It's a lot to travel to a different park and the parks are so huge and offer so much, we never needed to hop. Because Brennan was only 8 months, when he gets tired he cries until you put him to bed, so we never got to stay late at night and that did mean we sacrificed the night parades but that will be something to look forward to the next trip! Our six days were 3 at Magic Kingdom and 1 at each of the other parks.
Take a stroller! I've heard people complaining that their stroller was moved by cast members but we never lost ours for more than a minute. We have a double bob and flew with it. Easiest thing ever. It meant the kids were contained at the airport when we needed them to be, and in the crowds at disney when we were going from ride to ride, we never worried about losing anyone. All 3 of ours fit in the stroller. Brennan and one in the seats and the other child sat at the point where the front wheel is.
Buy the memory maker! Would you think I was lying if I said I didn't take many pictures? Considering it's my 7-day a week job, I remember saying a few times, "wow I haven't taken any pictures today!" Any photo cast member will snap a picture for you, it's the easiest thing ever! And usually they are in prime spots so it's very much worth the money. It drops the photo (usually within 20 minutes!) right to your magic band account. Now, you CAN get them to shoot on your phone/camera, but this was one less thing to worry about.
Hotel advice: I can't offer much help here, we stayed at Shades of Green because David works for the DOD. If you are military or DOD you have that option and I definitely recommend it. It's right across from the poly so you can walk and use their monorail or catch a bus. The buses run all day and we never had to wait long for them. They have an amazing buffet dinner with a different theme every night that we utilized every day.
My Disney Experience App. This is what I used ALL day long at the parks. Since it was our first time we didn't really know where things are, this app has everything you need. From walking directions to a ride/restaurant to information about the rides/restaurants. It lets you know where the photopass photographers are AND wait times for rides! So if there's something you didn't get a FP for and you want to make sure it's worth walking over to, you just check that baby to see if it's worth it. This is also where you get all o your cute pictures from. I actually downloaded and started "using" the app about a month before we went so I would be familiar with it. I was a little obsessed with tracking wait times too to see what time of day we should ride certain things.. LOL see, I told you I was planning like a crazy person!!
Speaking of pictures, here are a few of our favorites:
Disney is EXPENSIVE. But it's soooo worth it. I made a commitment to leave work at home and go, something i've never done before. I did chat with ONE bride while I was there, there was an afternoon I did laundry and because brennan was asleep on me I was able to make a quick phone call, but other than that I was 100% devoted to my family. That alone was worth the trip.
You CAN go to Disney and not plan it like a crazy person, and the planning CAN be a little overwhelming. But I know MY kids and we are not the most patient people to stand in line for every. single. ride. for an hour. Plus, when you do that you are not maximizing your time OR money. So I wanted to plan it out to make the most of both. And it totally paid off! We had the most amazing trip and came away with great memories!