You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging lately. In full transparency, this has been a very challenging year professionally.
As much as I wanted to blog, I realized I couldn't do it all, and well, blogging was the easiest to put on the back burner.
HOWEVER...it's summer, I have made some changes, and...I'M BACK!! To celebrate finishing this school year, we tagged along with Brooke's family and my mom for a quick trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disney World!
Here's our trip through pictures. I'll also answer a few questions I often get about visiting Disney World at the end of this post.
How do you pack for Disney?
I wish I was classy and had beautiful packing cubes, but I prefer two-gallon Ziplocs for packing because I can write on them. I didn't make us all match this time, but I did recommend "color coding" to the boys. When we pack our clothes, we pack everything for the day in one bag: outfits, socks, undergarments, everything except shoes. This packing strategy makes it easy, breezy in the mornings, to pull out the bag for each of us. We used Sharpie markers to write on the bags. Whether by plane or road trip, this is how we pack for every vacation, and I highly recommend it.
Here is an example from our vacation a few years ago.
Do you stay on the grounds or off the grounds?
We like to stay on the grounds because we don't like driving to the parks. We like the luxury of using the buses, the monorail, ferries, etc..to travel to the parks because we usually get park hopper tickets. My family stays at the Saratoga Springs Resort. We have stayed there every time we have visited Disney. It's right across the pond from Disney Springs and absolutely beautiful.
We have rented both single rooms and a condo. The condo was big enough for both Brooke's family, my mom, and my family comfortably. The single room was perfect when it was just the four of us. I have no complaints about either room. This resort has multiple pools, an excellent restaurant, and plenty of entertainment for the boys if we need a day off to relax.
Click the picture below for the link.
What is your favorite park? What would be a good schedule for Disney?
My favorite park is Magic Kingdom. I love that it's traditional, but it also has so much to do that you only have a slight wait time between rides and shows. Also, the firework show makes me cry every time I watch it. You leave the park thinking you could conquer the world.
Our schedule was fast and furious, this time only three days. I highly DON'T recommend that!
Most times we stay for five days. We only do some rides/shows, so don't take this schedule as a "How to Visit Disney Successfully" plan, but this is how my family has done it in the past, and it worked well for us. Many people I know stay for seven days, and they think this is the "sweet spot." I feel it depends on the age of your kids and what parks you want to visit so family discussions before hand will help with scheduling. Here's what our schedule usually looks like.
Day One: Magic Kingdom morning, nap/rest around 4ish, and go back to Magic Kingdom until it closes.
Day Two: Animal Kingdom, nap/rest around 4ish, hang out at the pool & dinner at Disney Springs (we are usually exhausted from the long Magic Kingdom day)
Day Three: Hollywood Studios, nap/rest around 4ish, either go back to Hollywood Studios or go to Magic Kingdom, depending on what the boys want to do.
Day Four: Sleep in, Epcot rides, walk around Epcot, nap/rest around 4ish, return to Epcot for dinner, and watch the firework show.
Day Five: Magic Kingdom once more with ice cream during the fireworks show to end the trip.
What is your favorite ride?
Oh...that's a tough one! I don't know if these are the "real" names, but you will know them.
Magic Kingdom: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Animal Kingdom: Avatar
Hollywood Studio: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
What is your best advice when visiting Disney?
I have a few.
One: I used to want to be the "all-American mom" at Disney with matching outfits, get lots of cute pictures, and carry an entire Walgreens in my backpack. My advice, in the words of Elsa, "Let it go!"
I did try to color coordinate with the boys this time, but I let them choose whatever they wanted to wear. They were comfortable, I was relaxed, and we had a great time without anything monogrammed. (Yes, I usually monogrammed their outfits too, and yes, they are 16 and 13, but I don't care.)
I carried this fanny pack which can hold a TON, for only $10. The link is at the bottom of this post. I managed to squeeze in sunscreen, a few rain ponchos, my phone, hand sanitizer, and a couple of packages of goldfish. It was just big enough to carry essential items.
Two: Ride the scary rides for your kids! I'm not too fond of roller coasters. I have never liked them...I'm a MAJOR chicken!! However, I want you to know I sucked it up and rode the scary rides. I was terrified, screamed my head off, and closed my eyes the entire time, but that's what you do when you love your kids, right? I'm so glad I did it and for the memories! Therefore, even if you are scared, ride the rides with your kids! You won't be disappointed. However, this only goes for Disney (wink)!
Three: Plan the night before the rides you want to do at the park for the next day, and be flexible when you are there. It can be overwhelming with everyone walking around and not knowing what to do next. Having the entire family on the same plan will save you many arguments.
Four: Be comfortable, stay hydrated, and make time to rest! Don't even think about wearing cute shoes. We averaged about 9 miles a day. Wear comfortable running shoes that you know won't give you blisters or make your back hurt. Drink a ton of water and rest. You can't enjoy the trip if you don't care for yourself. We learned this lesson. We tried to squeeze everything in without resting this time around, and it about killed Cam and me, so always plan time to regroup!
Links to What I Wore
I hope this helps if you consider a trip to Disney this summer. If you have any questions or need some advice, please don't hesitate to DM me at @theoldrivernest on Instagram. I would love to help.