The kiddos and I just returned from the most magical place on earth. While my tattered and worn-out body is back home, I think my heart stayed behind at Cinderella’s castle. If you are a Disney fanatic like I am, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Gaaaaaah, why didn’t I just push that freezer full of Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars back home?
In the past, out of necessity, my family has opted for two or three bedroom suites at Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and the Tree Houses. With Hope and Charlie, my two youngest who have Down syndrome, we’ve always needed those extra rooms. Up until fairly recently, both battled major sleep issues. Especially Charlie. So if I wanted any sleep at all after walking 15,000+ steps a day at the parks, I had to have some separation from them at night. A door to close. A reliable lock. And my own bed.
Things in the sleeping department are finally looking up with the little hooligans, though … Praise Jesus!!! So this time, my crew stepped out of our comfort zone and visited Port Orleans Riverside. It was finally our time to be close to all the action, so I requested that we be put in the middle of it all. And let me tell you, the action was awesome!
Steps away from our room was:
- a huge swimming pool with a slide
- an excellent food court that serves create your own pasta, burgers, salads, and ice cream sundaes
- a nice sit down restaurant with live entertainment
- a General Store that has everything from aspirin and peanut butter to flips flops and jewelry
- a water taxi that sails regularly to Disney Springs
- and a running/walking path
If we’d had more time, we could’ve roasted marshmallows over an open fire while catching a movie on the expansive lawn. Again, only steps away from our room. The downside to our stay, of course, is that we didn’t have as much space. But who goes to Disney to stay in a room? The price difference? $250.00 vs. $700.00 per night. Let me tell you, the savings is still feeling really good.
As annual pass holders, we go to Disney at least three to four times a year. It’s like our second home … the one I love far more than my primary home. I couldn’t count the number of times we’ve been even if I tried to piece it together. As a result, people are always asking me for Disney advice. And since it’s one of my favorite subjects to talk about, I’m more than happy to oblige.
Summer, because kiddos aren’t in school, is typically known as the time of year when the parks are the busiest. However, from my experience, the parks are always hopping no matter the season. By following some simple tips, though, Walt Disney World can be thoroughly enjoyed without a lot of stress and anxiety. So put on your mouse ears and listen up:
- Pack light
- Wear comfy shoes
- Visit every park and thoughtfully take in all the nuances that make each one unique
- Say no to the dining plan unless your family, as a group, eats a whole heckuva lot
- Learn to use the Fast Pass system and stay on schedule
- Reserve your spot at a Disney Resort — the benefits are worth the extra $$$
- Utilize every single extra magic hour
- Go to the pool during the heat of the day while everyone else is melting in the parks
- If your child has special needs, get a Disability Access Pass
- Opt for the magic band and load a credit card on it to save time
- Eat at the resort … snack at the parks
- Bring a back pack into the parks to carry bottled water and snacks
- It’s worth the wait to visit the characters
- The fireworks, shows, and parades are a must
- Ride every ride at least one time, except Mission: SPACE (you’d have to be crazy to ride that ride!)
- Eat the Mickey Ice Cream Bar
- Leave your troubles behind and allow yourself to escape to another world … Walt Disney World!
What shoes to wear?
In warmer months, I wear these Taos sandals to Disney. True to form, I wore them this last trip. In three days, I walked nearly 50,000 steps and my feet didn’t bother me once. Some people refuse to pay $100.00 for a pair of sandals, but for the sake of your feet, it’s at least something to consider. This is my second pair of these exact same sandals, by the way. In the summer, they are my go-to when walking long distances. They come in multiple colors, but I prefer the pewter color because they match everything:
What clothes to wear?
Shorts, of course … OR. YOU. WILL. DIE!!! Seriously, ladies, you’ll die.
As for shirts, I pack tops that don’t require a bra. haha. But that’s how I roll. For me, less is more when the temperature is reaching for that one-hundred degree mark. American Eagle has a conservative version of the tube top right now. They are super soft, priced right, and fit perfectly. I’ve purchased two so far (see photos below). I wore them for hours at Disney. Stayed cool. And didn’t have to tug at them once. All of my clothes on this trip were from American Eagle:
As for the kiddos, I pack a very good fitting pair of sneakers for each and loose clothing. In addition, I throw an extra set of clothes into the backpack for Hope and Charlie, just in case they need to change in the parks. You never know. Big spills happen. Most important is the obvious: hydrate, hydrate, and keep hydrating is the key with children during the summer. Florida sunshine, concrete, big crowds, and long lines mean you heat up fast.
In three days, we rode every ride on our list while still spending a couple of hours at the pool each day. It’s possible if you utilize the extra magic hours, the Fast Pass system, and stay on schedule. Also, to make the most of our time, we ate every meal at our resort. The food was so yummy. To top it all, even though we ended each night by dividing a ginormous triple scoop ice cream sundae, I still lost two pounds. Walt Disney World truly is a magical place!
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney
Just my thoughts,