We took the kids to DISNEY WORLD in May and I’ve never felt such a great feeling of accomplishment than what I felt getting on the airplane to come home.
We had a great time, and really designed this trip to align with things we knew we would care about.
Justin and I invited my parents to come along, not only for an extra set of hands but also to experience Disney with the kids. I’m so glad they joined us and made these memories with us!
We stayed at an AirBNB about 12/15 minutes from the parks. I cannot express how pleased we were with this decision. I waffled between staying on property in a suite, and staying in an airBNB, and I can say, hands down, that the choice to stay off-property in an AirBNB was right for us. Not only did it save us many thousands of dollars, it gave each child their own bed, as well as a private room for Justin and myself, as well as my parents. The house we stayed in had a pool in the lanai, and that felt fantastic after long days at the parks.
The thing about visiting Disney is that there are almost a crippling amount of choices to make, but if you’re looking for the push to stay off property — this is it.
We planned to visit 3 parks, 1 park a day (aka no Park Hopper). We planned to eat all breakfasts at home, which we did, and grab lunch at whatever park we were at that day. We ate dinner either at home, ordering carry-out or popping in to a casual restaurant.
All of this meal planning went swimmingly, and I’m very glad I didn’t feel rushed at a park to get to a pre-made reservation. If there is one thing about visiting Disney, it’s that you must be flexible! It worked for us to keep the goal reasonable (and that goal being to visit the parks) and let everything else just happen as it did.
We rented a 7 passenger van which allowed our whole crew to pile into one vehicle for parking. Parking is well organized and easy.
We rented a stroller for each day we visited a park and that was essential. Not only did it stash our stuff, but Emily was pretty weary from all the walking around. We used Genie+ to pre-plan a few rides we wanted to make sure we hit and while it took a pretty good deal of prep work to try to understand the system, it ended up working fine. Disney Cast Members were incredibly helpful and kind whenever we had questions about anything on the My Disney Experience app or with Genie+.
The most popular rides had long lines, as expected, but we found that the top of the morning was the best time for shorter lines. We’re all early risers so it made the most sense to visit the parks in the mornings and stay until we were tapped out. There was a notable change in crowds and heat by about 2:00pm each day, and that was just around the same time that we had exhausted ourselves and were ready to leave.
The only thing we skipped out on was returning to Magic Kingdom for the fireworks at night. We were all exhausted and I truly didn’t think my kids cared enough about fireworks to make it such a late night for them. Not to mention the crowds would be enormous and trying to access the parking lot at the close of the park sounded a little stressful.
Beyond that, we had a great time and I was truly blown away by how great my kids did. It was *hot* and sunny, and we did a ton of walking around. All 3 of the kids rolled with whatever was happening, and had a really great time. I’m so grateful for that.
To be honest, I thought that I would leave this trip being ready to plan our next visit back to Disney but I’m surprisingly feeling very satisfied with this trip and would be happy to call it a day with Disney trips. Of course, things change and as the kids get older their interest in visiting Disney may grow, so we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there.
Quick Notes about the things I’m glad we did:
-Genie+ is very helpful for reserving rides
-Memory Maker package is nice because you can rely on the pro’s to capture images throughout all the parks.
-Dress for a work out. Athletic shorts and tank tops. Sneakers. Minimal or no makeup. Disney is a mission, and I am *so* glad I didn’t have to fuss with running mascara or uncomfortable denim shorts on the water rides.