1.) Did not have a plan for arrival day.
We had an early flight into Disney and arrived at our Hotel around 10:30am. I had pre-registered and thought we would get lucky and our hotel room would be ready when we got there. It was not, and it was not ready until hotel check in time. We explored our resort but we did not have bathing suits to use the pool. After exploring the hotel, we spent much of our time sitting in the hotel lobby, which was not the best use of our time. My kids had lots of energy from just sitting on a plane for two and half hours. It’s better to plan that your hotel room will not be ready if you have an early flight in. Pack your suits in your carry on or have some type of plan if you do not think you can explore your hotel for a few hours.
2.) Overbooked table services.
We overbooked table services. When we went with the Dining plan, of course we knew we would need to schedule the table service meals ahead of time. However, we felt so much more rushed and felt like we couldn’t change our plans because of table service meals. I felt more pressure by having to be in a certain place at a certain time. It worked better for us to not book as many table services and eat our table service at lunch or an odd time so we could have a bit more flexibility.
3.) Made my home flight early
Magical Express picks you up three hours prior to your flight’s departure time. Our home flight was a 6:00 am flight home. Magical Express picked us up at 3am. With two kids, this was not the best idea. Everyone was exhausted before even getting to the airport. Always keep in mind that your ride to the airport is three hours before your flight!
4.) Not taking advantage of Memory Maker as much as I could
We purchased memory maker so that we did not have to lug our “good camera” along with all our other stuff. We figured we would get pictures from certain rides and this would be great because with two kids, we already had enough to carry. However, after the first day or two, we totally forgot to use it. We had great shots from when we met the few characters that we did meet, but overall we could have taken advantage of it much more. Our next trip, we will be sure to remember to use it!
5.) Thinking we could show up a few minutes before entertainment starts.
When Wishes was at Magic Kingdom, we thought we could show up just a few minutes before it started to find a great spot. We had the same thought with nightly entertainment at the other parks, as well as the parades. We saw some people sitting and waiting close to two hours before a parade started and thought that was a waste of our park time. However, when we came back to find a spot, there was nowhere to sit. We basically had to keep walking on the sidewalk while the parade was going by and missed out on getting to sit and watch it. On our next trip we paid for a dessert party that had reserved seating and it was the best money I spent that trip.
6.) Not taking enough water with us to the parks every day.
I planned ahead and ordered water to be delivered to our hotel room. However, we were often in a rush in the morning to get to the parks and we forgot to pack our water. We found ourselves buying drinks because we ran out of water or totally forgot it. We had an entire case of water left at the end of our trip that we gave to a family coming in. Try to pack the night before for the following park day, so you don’t forget things when you are in a rush to start your day.
7.) Not taking the time to look closely around.
I realized close to the end of our trip that we were traveling from one ride to another. We were really not taking time to see the details of things that went into every park. We rushed through going to the things that we knew were already there. We did not take the time to really look for that hidden magic.
8.) Not packing cold medicine
On two of our trips, one of us ended up with a small cold and fever. I forgot our thermometer and Kid’s Tylenol and had to purchase both in the gift shop. It definitely does not take up too much room to just pack it in your suitcase. It will save you some money as it is pretty expensive in the gift shop!
Three Things I did Right during our Trip:
1.) Buying Dollar Store Ponchos.
You will often hear how much it rains in Florida. Before our trip, I went to the dollar store and bought a ton of ponchos. They came in a two pack. Now, these are flimsy and not like the thick kind you can get. However, each day I had 8 packed for us, which in return would be for two rain storms. I was able to pull one apart to fit over my little ones stroller and cover him and all our gear. While the other three of us wore ours. After the storm, I would throw them out. I was okay with this because they were the cheap $1 store ones. This was great for me because then I didn’t have to carry wet ponchos around.
2.) Took a resort day in the middle of our trip.
We took a resort day in the middle of our trip. We needed it from how much on the go we were. We took an afternoon break at the hotel each day, however, we really needed this resort day to help refuel us for the rest of the week. My husband and kids went to the pool while I did wash. Yes, wash on vacation! However, it made less wash for when I came home. While the wash was in the washer I sat outside and watched the animals at Animal Kingdom lodge and had time to myself. This helped us have the energy we needed to get everything else done that we wanted to do the rest of the week.
3.) Took a Picture of My Kids every Morning.
I took a picture of my kids every morning before we left the hotel room on my cell phone. This way if one got lost, I could pull out a picture of exactly what they were wearing that day. No one ever plans on losing their kiddos, but accidents happen. From what I have noticed, cast members are very good if a child gets lost. Disney is such a large place and if you have an independent child who wants to let go of your hand, their fast little running feet can get ahead of you. I always take a photo so in the heat of the moment you can remember what they are wearing that day. I find this to be a proactive tip, even if I have not had to pull out that photo, it makes me feel better that if I would ever need it, it’s there.