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February 23, 2019

A quick guide to Disney

I'll start by saying that this was the first vacation we spent a lot on since our honeymoon - air travel for 4, many days at the hotel park tickets, $3.50 waters, etc.  But it was a great trip and we loved it.

I love taking notes, so here are some brief, hopefully helpful notes on seeing the mouse.

Dates:
6 months out you can make reservations for fun princess and character experiences.  We liked:
*Perfectly Princess Tea
*Cinderella's Royal Table
*Disney Hollywood Studios breakfast with Sofia and Doc McStuffins

Starting with this, I did it all through the Disney app (My Disney Experience), linked to our room reservation number (we stayed on resort - it's nice being on the monorail with the Magic Kingdom - you can do that with Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or The Contemporary)

Get the app.  You gotta just do it now.  We'll wait.  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.disney.wdw.android


2 months out, you can start booking your Fast Pass.  Some rides that we really needed it for were:
*Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (this is amazing - was my kids' first fast coaster and they loved it)
*Space Mountain (Lulu went on it!)
*Thunder Mountain (lots of fun!)
*Soarin' around the world (Epcot)
*Toy Story Mania (really fun target shooting game at Disneyworld Studios - though Slinky Dog looked good too)

You can go from the airport right to resort with Disney's Magical Express.  It's great - do it.  They take your checked bags right from the plane and they magically show up in your room.

Once in Orlando, we enjoyed:
*Rides in the morning - if you're staying at one of those hotels, you can show up at 8am and the lines are short; it's also not too hot then
*Eating at our hotel - we loved Gasparilla Island Grill (we also picked up snacks from there - hard boiled eggs, apple slices, carrots)
*Napping during the day
*Pool, then park and rides (note that if you spend your 3 fast passes in the morning, you can sign up for another tough to get ride at night - refresh by clicking the time button on the app)
*Watching the fireworks (at 8pm)

We also really enjoyed this food:
*Dinner at Be Our Guest (with the Beast - the food is amazing.  And we got to be late for a Fast Pass with the receipt from there!)
*Churros
*Citrus Swirl ice cream in Adventure Land


Honorable Mention rides (worth doing once):
*Tea Cups (so much fun for our family!)
*It's a Small World ride
*The Carousel in Fantasy Land (Prince Charming Carousel)
*Peter Pan ride
*Dumbo and Aladdin Flying Carpet (very similar rides); spinning 15 ft in the air.
*Barnstormer (roller coaster for little ones)


We heard great things about, but didn't:
*Book a VIP Tour (front of line for rides, but super-expensive)
*Go to Animal Kingdom
*Spend a lot of time in Epcot
*Ordering food on the app and just picking up at the window
*Go to the castle just before the park opens for a daily princess opening ceremony

Other good things we did:
*Bought strollers
*Wore hats and sunblock (in February!)

Two mistakes we made:
*Polynesian luau dinner isn't the best for young mousketeers
*Epcot is a lot for little ones, especially in a day with other things.  It's also not super-easy to get to.

There are lots of other resources too, like:
https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/06/10-healthful-choices-at-magic-kingdom-park-at-walt-disney-world-resort/
https://www.dadsguidetowdw.com/
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2019/01/21/dfb-video-16-must-have-treats-in-magic-kingdom/
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2018/12/27/dfb-video-the-best-walt-disney-world-rides-for-toddlers/

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