Sunday, May 17, 2015

Planning for Disney World with Kids.

If you have read any other part of this blog you know we love to travel and that we pride ourselves at being good trip planners, even for complicated itineraries. Yet, our Disney trip seems to be completely overwhelming.

A friend of mine is a Disney Vacation Planner and we ended up using her services and even for planners it has been an invaluable resource. Plus using a Disney Vacation Planner is totally free to you. Here is Lindley's page if you are interested, but keep reading for the other resources we used.

This is not our first Disney trip, but it will be our first with kids. While we were stationed in Georgia we ventured down to Disney World twice. We stayed at Shades of Green and had a lovely time enjoying the parks as adults. When we moved out to Southern California I was an annual pass holder for Disneyland and went with the girls, with the husband and basically anyone that came to visit us. While I was pregnant with my first I ended up at both DisneyWorld Paris and Tokyo Disney while on other trips... so like I said, its not my first trip.

Previously it was easy to anticipate what we would enjoy doing, eating, seeing. I could calculate how late we would want to stay up or get up in the morning. I have always found everyone on the phone at Disney to be helpful and I was easily able to make my own reservations.

Now back to present day... I've got two kids in tow, grandparents joining us and no idea what my kids are going to want to do. The park has had one of its largest expansions ever both physically, with the addition of new fantasy land, and technologically, with the addition of the magic bands and My Disney app. So even though I'm a good planner I was completely overwhelmed by options.

Lindley, guided me through all the decisions, but I still got to feel like I did the planning. (A total win win for my type A self.) I got to do all the fun research with none of the inconvenience. When my sister had a last minute change of plans, Lindley handled moving her reservation. Lindley woke up early to make sure we got our dining reservations. When they announced you could make lunch reservations at Be Our Guest, yep Lindley took care of it for us. I'm sure I could have done it all on my own, but it was nice to have it done for me.

Even with a Disney Vacation Planner there are a lot of decisions to be made - where to stay, where to eat, what to get fast passes for, what your touring plan is going to be. There are so many wonderful Pinterest boards out there you could literally spend days reading just about preparing for your Disney trip. Here is my Pinterest board for Disney.

WDW Prep School was one of my favorite pages to browse for lots of helpful tips on doing the parks with kids. I love the pro/con list for each resort. I love the focus on doing the parks with little ones. The articles are short and to the point so I can digest the information quickly. WDW Prep School has a podcast as well, but I could never get into it. I much preferred reading the blog.

Touring Plans is probably one of the most recommended pages. There is some information available for free, but otherwise it works on a subscription basis. This is great if you are going to try to maximize your time at the parks, or are a data freak like me. I love the crowd prediction calendars and you can tell the program what rides you want to do on a certain day and it will make suggestions of what you should get fast passes for. I love all the information you can get here, but several of my friends found it completely overwhelming and thus, not at all helpful.

My Disney Experience is the Disney run program and app. You can make your own dining and fast pass reservations or see what you have already done. All the menu's for Disney restaurants are also helpful here.  The navigation can sometimes be frustrating as you think you are logged in but may be asked to log in again for certain things. Overall though it is very user friendly.

Kenny the Pirate has a full list of (mostly) updated Disney World Resort Property recreation guides. These are perfect if you are planning to do some resort hopping and want to find out what is going on when.

I love to listen to podcasts when I am working out or doing housework. I downloaded a few Disney ones and enjoyed them. The DIS Unplugged and WDW Radio are two of my favorites. I like to scroll through the titles and pick the ones I am most interested in. I tend to prefer hearing about people's "Top 10" or something or the history of some of the attractions or resorts.

On Instagram I enjoy following Marvelousmerriment, FantasmicDreams, and OhYeaDisney for some fun Disney pics that are getting me excited for our trip.

You can see some of the crafts I've done for our Disney trip on the craft blog Peach Stitches.

This Disney trip is part of our "Farewell Tour" as we prepare to leave the country on our next adventure. We leave in just a few short days...stay tuned.

Here is a great list of other resources you may want to check out.

After getting through the planning phases I started to look into ideas on how to memorialize my trip and found this great blog: Capturing Magic. It has some great ideas on autograph books and picture opportunities.

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