The Zip-A-Dee-Dos And Don’ts Of Disney World

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The Zip-A-Dee-Dos And Don’ts of Disney WorldA few weeks ago, we took our 2.5-year-old son to the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth,’ and not only did we survive the experience, but we also thoroughly enjoyed it! The days were long, the planning was a little stressful, but my son had SO much fun. We already know that we’ll be going back to Disney with him in the future.

This was my first trip to Disney World with a child, and my first visit to the theme park in more than 10 years, so I learned a lot of tips that I want to share with you.

If you’re visiting the Mouse House soon, here are some dos and don’ts to consider:

Dos:

  • Use a certified Disney World travel planner. I reached out to my friend Olivia, with the Travel Agency, Inc., and she handled all the pre-planning for me. From quoting properties, to booking reservations, to helping me secure Lightning Lanes (more about that later), she was so helpful. AND her services are at no additional cost to you!
  • Stay at a Disney World Resort property. While there are many great hotels and resorts in the Orlando area, nothing beats staying on property while visiting Disney World. It makes it so easy to get around to the different parks, and the different modes of transportation are another bonus for littles. The ferry boats and the new Disney Skyliner were a huge hit with my son, and we weren’t event at the park yet! Also, as a Disney Resort guest, you get access to early entry or extended evening hours for different parks. This was a huge plus for us. We would get into the parks early and be in lines for the popular rides before the public even got access inside. My personal favorite resort: Disney Yacht Club or any resort in the Epcot Resort Area.
  • Purchase Genie+ each day. One thing that was completely new to me was the Disney Experience App. I highly recommend downloading the app and getting familiar with it before your visit. There’s so much offered in the app, but one thing that I recommend is purchasing Genie+ each day. Genie+ provides you access to booking Lightning Lanes (previously called Fast Passes) for the most popular rides. The whole process is a little intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, Genie+ will be your best friend! Here are some helpful videos to learn more about the service.
  • Splurge on the Memory Maker! Disney has professional photographers located throughout the popular locations in the parks to take your photos. While I have avoided this service in the past, I am so glad we purchased Memory Maker for this trip. This takes the stress out of moms and dads having to take 100 photos to get the right one and we’re always not in the photo. These professional photos upload instantly to your phone, and you can download all of them at no additional charge. And, using Bluetooth,  action photos taken during rides instantly upload to your phone as well. So worth it!
  • Check for special events. We went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and it was a blast. From trick-or-treat stations, to a Halloween dance party with Sully and Mike Wazowski, to a ‘spooky’ Halloween parade, it was well-worth the extra cost of admission. Also, only ticketed attendees had access to Magic Kingdom past 4pm, so the crowd was a little lighter for rides.
  • Bring your own food and water. This surprised me, but Disney allows you to bring in your own food and drinks! We didn’t know this, and it would have saved us a ton of money. I would recommend packing quick lunches and bringing in waters and juices. This will save you time and money!
  • Take a nonstop flight. Working at the airport, you know I have to say this, but it really was so convenient. We flew nonstop from Knoxville to Orlando-Sanford on Allegiant, and we were in Orlando in two hours. We (my travel planner!) hired Away We Go for private transfers to and from the airport, which worked out well; they also had car seats so we didn’t have to lug ours around the airport.

Don’ts:

  • Bring your own stroller. If you’re flying or packing your car, leave your stroller at home. We (again, my travel planner) rented a stroller from Kingdom Strollers, and it was waiting for us at our resort when we arrived. It also came with a cooler, cup holders for adult and child, and a stroller poncho (which unfortunately came in handy).
  • Overcrowd your schedule. If you’re a Type-A planner like me, I had a color-coded itinerary for each day, which listed the rides we wanted to hit and when each show was scheduled. That being said, I had to constantly remind myself that I was making this schedule for a two-year-old. Some things didn’t go according to my plan, but guess what? My son had no idea!
  • Miss out on meeting characters. You can use a Lightning Lane (LL) to meet characters, but we never had much luck with that because we wanted to use our LL for popular rides. So, a great way for my son to meet characters was during a character dining experience! We stuck to breakfasts because it was easier to plan, but he absolutely loved meeting multiple characters, and we loved sitting down and taking a break to eat breakfast. We made reservations for the Tusker House Restaurant and Hollywood & Vine.
  • Forget the sunscreen or ponchos. I forgot my son’s sunscreen in the room one day, and we had to dish out $20 for spray sunscreen, so don’t forget it! Also, ponchos are a must because the park is still open even in the rain.
  • And finally, don’t forget to pack your patience! We went during a lighter crowd time of the year, and it was still relatively crowded in my opinion. If you’re going to Disney World, know what to expect (a lot of people and lines) and try to have fun no matter what!

What dos and don’ts would you add to this list? The more tips the better to help make your trip to the most magical place on Earth a truly magical experience.

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I am a local public relations professional by day, but my most important titles are ‘Mom’ to my rainbow baby, Clayton, and ‘Wife’, to my high school sweetheart, Louis. I have worked at McGhee Tyson Airport in the public relations department for the past ten years. I manage the airport’s website and social media accounts, but what I love most about my job is the ability to help passengers have a safe and enjoyable experience at TYS. After becoming a mom, it became even more important for me to share travel tips and ‘mom-hacks’ that make traveling with children seamless, stress-free, and maybe even fun! As a born-and-raised East Tennessean, I am a fan of (orange!) all-things Knoxville. I love seeing our area continue to grow by offering unique, memorable experiences for all ages and interests. When I’m not singing a Blippi song that’s stuck in my head or kicking around a soccer ball with my son, you can find me traveling, reading, or reading about travel.

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