The Padgett’s Go To Disney {A few tips, tricks and trials}

Let me tell you, Disney is a can. not. miss. vaca for young {and even older} families.  The magic that happens through a child’s eye is something that a parent will NEVER forget.

Yes, it can be on the more expensive side, but there are cost savings here and there that will help out in that area.

My family of 4 recently took a Disney dream vacation.  We spent about 9 months preparing and getting amped up for the big event.  I personally spent a lot of time reading blogs, doing research and basically putting my excitement to use to create a stellar list of “must dos” before we arrived.  Although we did not get to every single “must do”, we did make a list of our favorite things that made some spectacular memories.

My top ten list of “must dos” when you are taking a Disney vacation:

10. Invest in a meal/dining plan

I have to admit that we did not do this, but after adding up our personal cost on food, we wished we would’ve.  We figured out ways to share meals, but the food is expensive.  With the different meal plans you get a refillable mug that can be refilled at any resort (not at any of the parks).  We will be doing this next time!

*One thing that we really liked to purchase for our kids was the Power Pack for Kids.  They are only $5 a piece and include:

  • Strawberry Yogurt
  • Carrots
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Some sort of cookie bar
  • Cheese
  • Milk, juice or water

9. Stay in a suite on Disney property

We stayed at Disney’s Art of Animation.  This is a value resort, so the prices are lower than the moderate and deluxe hotels.  I can only speak on behalf of this resort as I have not stayed on other Disney properties, but it was fantastic and perfect for us.  One tip that I have if you stay at this resort is to stay in the Finding Nemo family suite.  This suite is in the best location on the property, right in the action.  This suite sleeps 6 adults – a pull-out couch, a table that transforms into a bed {super easy to set up!} and a separate bedroom with a queen bed.  It also has a microwave, sink, mini fridge, two televisions {we did not watch too much t.v.}, two bathrooms with a tub and a shower and as I mentioned a table with 4 chairs.  We also stayed in the Little Mermaid Suite.  This type of room is meant for 4 adults and is more along the lines of a “typical” hotel room.  It did not include a sink or a microwave and was much further away from the hotel lobby, but did include a mini fridge, as close to a pool and was Little Mermaid themed.  This resort includes 3-pools, a quick-service dining option, lots of interactive play equipment that is Disney themed.

Perks to staying on site:

  • Bus transportation to all parks and Disney Springs {we did not use our car once since the day we arrived}
  • Extra hours at the parks on certain days {AKA Magic Hours}
  • Disney Characters visit the resorts
  • Magic Bands are included and sent to you before you arrive
  • Activities such as nighttime movies, pool activities, etc.

If you do choose to stay off site keep in mind:

  • $20 to park at the parks
  • The Magic Kingdom is a process to get into {It takes about 20ish minutes to get from the parking lot to the gate}
  • You don’t get extra Magic Hours

8. Visit Disney Springs {formally know as Downtown Disney}

Disney Springs is another part of Disney but guess what? It’s FREE!  Well it is free to visit and offers various attractions for everyone.  TONS of shopping offered here!  There are a variety of stores, many of them offering Disney merchandise, but there are also boutique-like stores,  There are a few places where kids {or adults} can play in the water.

*If you want a cheaper, yummy meal and you like warm sandwiches I suggest Earl of Sandwich.  It was a fairly inexpensive meal and I have to say very tasty.

7. Go on Peter Pan’s Magic Flight {and really anything in Fantasyland first}

This is something that we learned a few years ago when our daughter was 18-months-old.  I had been to Disney World many times but kind of just went with whatever my parents had me do, not too concerned with lines or big crowds.  In my opinion this is not the best ride at the Magic Kingdom but for some reason the line becomes OUTRAGOUS by noon!  This was our first ride of the day, we basically were able to get right on.  It is worth going on if you can get right on, but as I said not the best ride therefore I would not wait in the long line that forms as the day progresses.

*Fantasyland seems to get EXTREMELY congested throughout the day.  Try to visit the rides and attractions that you would like to first so you don’t have to wait in lines, we did and we were happy that we did!

6. Bring snacks, drinks & trinkets into the parks {they let you do it!}

When we booked our Disney vacation I started stocking up on Disney apparel and little trinkets.  It was the “Twice Upon A Year” sale that I took advantage of to buy a few princess dresses and a shirt, a bathing suit, etc.  I also bought glow sticks, lollipops and Disney themed items throughout the year as I saw them at the dollar spot at Target, The Dollar Tree, and Five Below.  Instead of spending $5 on a big lollipop at the parks, I purchased one for each of my kids for a $1 each and they did not know the difference.IMG_5684

5. Take you’re princess to the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique

This is something that I contemplated back and forth about because my daughter is only 3-years-old and I wasn’t sure she would get a lot out of it, but I decided to go for it and was not disappointed!  She was extremely serious as she got her makeover, enjoying every second of it.  The way that the Fairy Godmother {the person who does her make-up, hair, nails, etc.} has a way of making each little princess feel as though they are a princess.

*If you are planning to have your princess participate in becoming a princess at the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique:

  • Make your reservation EARLY! Call as soon as you book your trip.
  • There are two locations where you can have this done.  My suggestions is at Disney Springs on  a day when you are not going to the parks, but you can have it done at the Magic Kingdom as well.  We did not want to take away any time from the attractions at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Buy a dress beforehand!  The Dresses are expensive at the Disney Store there, but if you get one beforehand you can save a little extra money and again, they do not seem to know the difference.

4. Take a day {or two} off from visiting the parks

Not only if you have little ones, but this tip goes for ANYONE and EVERYONE who wants to spend a few days at Disney World.

3. Plan your day around the parades {A-maz-ing}

We spent one day at the Magic Kingdom and wanted to take part in all the magic that happens there.  We went to two different parades, but wished we could’ve gone to more {our kids are a bit young to see all parades and they were too tired to make it to the close of the park}.  We went to the Electric Parade at nighttime and one during the day that took place on Main Street.  The way the characters draw you in and make you feel as though they are winking, smiling, pointing to you is just an added touch.

2. Arrive at the Magic Kingdom before the park opens

Along with #3, there are a few reasons why you should arrive at the Magic Kingdom before the park opens.  I had read this on a few blogs and decided that I wanted to try it out and I was SUPER PUMPED that we went for it.  One reason to arrive early is to beat the lines, but we wanted to arrive before the park opened to see the opening show.  It occurs right outside the park.  The characters come in on the train above where they sing, dance and basically get you PUMPED to be at the Magic Kingdom.

1.Go to Club Mickey at Disney’s Hollywood Studio

This is a brand new attraction and I have to say one of the BEST ones for a brilliant character experience.  My 3-year-old would NOT leave once we arrived at this one.  Basically its a club-like setting where 4 Disney characters dance with guests continually.  When we were there it was Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy OR Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Chip and Dale.  They would dance for about 30-minutes and switch to the other 4 characters.  It was a TON of fun and you never had to wait in a line, super interactive.


Disney is a magic vacation that I would suggest to anyone looking for a fun {not very relaxing} vacation for all ages.  We had a TON of fun, made wonderful memories and can not wait to go back!


Thanks for stopping by!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Danielle says:

    So fun! We’re taking the kids to Disneyland for a couple days in May since we’re visiting family in San Diego…but I can’t wait to introduce them and Mike to WDW one day! I’ll definitely hit you up for tips!


    1. KPadgett says:

      That’s exciting! I have never been to Disneyland, but my sister lives in CA and goes there often. Have fun!


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