Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Disney World-Final Thoughts and Videos

Last Disney post! Then I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming of weekend updates:)

Rob borrowed Pepaw's GoPro camera and it was invaluable for bugging me capturing priceless family memories.

A few videos:


The Barnstormer (Avery's favorite).

Meeting Tinker Bell.

Bus ride with Ben.

Meeting Ariel.

Expedition Everest.

Mermaid makeover.

Scary driver.

Some final thoughts on Disney for anyone that is considering taking a Disney World vacation:

-Plan ahead.  Plan, plan, plan. Research, then research some more.  This is not a vacation where you simply show up and wander around.  I mean, you could, but it would be a waste of your time and money.  Reservations can be made for restaurants and special activities up to 180 days in advance, and for FastPass (reserved times to ride popular attractions and meet characters with no wait) up to 60 days in advance.

-We went in "low" season and crowd volumes were still very high (at least in Magic Kingdom).  If that is low season, we would never consider going at moderate or peak crowd times.

-Expect to wait in line for everything.  Everything.

-The service is largely above and beyond.  The parks are meticulously clean.  You get what you pay for.

-The cheaper the hotel ("value" category), the farther away (longer bus ride) to most of the parks.

-Food and drinks are expensive, but you can take your own into the parks.  While it's probably not feasible (or fun) to bring all your own food and drinks in, whatever you do bring is a definite money-saver.  We ordered snacks and drinks from Amazon and had them delivered to our hotel (they accept packages on your behalf up to (I believe) two weeks before your arrival).  A bottle of water in the park is $2.50.  You can buy a case of water for about that on Amazon.  We also brought our own Goldfish, applesauce, snack bars, etc. into the parks with us.  When one of the kids was hungry (or needed a distraction) we were able to pull out something that we brought.  And while we did treat ourselves to ice cream and popcorn snacks, we were able to save a ton of money by not having to stop and spend $4-$5 on a snack every time a kid said they were hungry or thirsty.

-Stroller rental is awesome.  We used Orlando Stroller Rentals and had no issues.  They deliver and pick up from your hotel.  Even if you think your kids are too old for strollers, they probably aren't at Disney World.  There is no way Avery or Ben had the stamina to walk the parks all day.  Plus they're good for containing them and moving quickly when you need to get somewhere.

-Wear athletic shoes.  I know.  I didn't like it either.  But it really saves your feet and, in my case, back when you're walking 8-10 miles a day.  The one day I wore flats, my feet AND back were killing me by the end of the day.  Trust me, people are wearing all sorts of crazy outfits.  No one will look twice at your tennis shoes.

-Lastly, it's worth it.  Even when you do it on a budget, like we did, Disney is still an expensive vacation.  But it's worth the money.  There is no other place like it.  And to see your kids experience some of their favorite things in real life is so cool (even if Avery was often rendered speechless).  And who would have guessed Avery would love the thrill rides and that Ben would be so taken with Minnie Mouse?!  It was definitely a vacation that Rob and I will remember forever.  Even if we need our own beach vacation to recover...

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