This weekend my family and I went to Walt Disneyworld and had the best time!
Our children are ages 7, 4, and 4 months thus it was quite an exciting journey for them. As a resourceful Mama you already know I did months of research before planning our trip. From mom blogs, travel sites, word of mouth, and frequent musketeers; I was all ears for what and how to do this Disney thang and the one theme I continuously stumbled upon was it’s super EXPENSIVE!
Although this was not our first time as my husband and I went about 5 years ago with our then only child Addy about 2 years old and I 8 months pregnant with baby #2 at the time…YUP I was foolish AHA! We stayed at a Disney resort and it was amazing. She received a personalized phone call from her favorite character at the time, Goofy and we ate at the café daily. However, we didn’t really see the resort. There were shows, poolside movies, family game nights, shops, food and just DISNEY stuff on steroids all around the hotel. BUT we got up early, hit the parks, and returned to our hotel TIRED and worn out. We paid about $450 a night for a resort we barely were in.
Needless to say this played a major factor in our decision to try a less expensive non-Disney resort this time now that we went from family of 3 to family of 5. The funny thing is in total our trip (2013) nearly the same amount of $ as (2018) trip. The Disney 2018 Crew included Mommy Daddy Auntie and the (Triple A’s). How much you ask (coughs)* less than $1,500.00 (Lodging & Parks) for a 4 day trip. Close your mouths with awh and listen to how we #DidThat!
10 Mama Tips to Doing Disney
- Book A Non Disney Resort, Condos or VRBO
Our Stay: Blue Herron Beach Resort $175night The resort is an actual Condo sits off a residential street. With this it is surrounded by a Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts, CiCi’s Pizza, Dollar General AND Starbucks!The rooms at this place are huge, hotel is about 20 years old, and very clean! We stayed in a 2 bedroom & bonus room unit that included a full kitchen, washer and dryer, master bedroom, guest bedroom with two twin beds and a bonus room set up with bunk beds. In addition there were two full bathrooms and a living room about 850 sq ft. The property had a great pool, fishing off lake, and a tiki bar with great food and drinks. AND it was literally 3 miles from all of the parks!
- Don’t Pre Pay for Disney Park Tickets or Meal Plans Orlando hotels often sell tickets in their lobby so you have access to them at any time I found that it was less pressure to just grab tickets at the park. Who knows you might even run into a FLA resident who gets discounts.
- Don’t Waste Money on Park Hopper! The parks are so much fun and so big that by the time you all get all your fun stuff in you are NOT going to want to hop on over to another park. In fact doing so or trying to be on a schedule so that you can get it in, is going to be stressful and take away from fully enjoying what each park has to offer. With this it gives you all more of a reason to come back. It also makes it easy to not feel compelled to stay for a week! We woke up at hit the park when the gates opened at 9am, returning to our rooms around 6pm spending about 8 hours at the park.
- Only Eat “ONE” Meal at the Parks This is why it is important as a family to stay in a resort/condo that has a kitchen or kitchenette as it takes the pressure off eating while you are out all day. The meals at Disney can be expensive however each part has a mix of fine dining options and American on the go food like burgers fries pizza. The on-the –go “diner like options range about $12 per person. The fine dining about $45.00 per person. We did one day of fine dining as those normally include character experiences and the rest of the trip we did the diner type spots. This frees up money to eat ice cream and all the other yummy deserts your children are GOING to ask you to get along the way!
Also eat Breakfast at your hotel/condo, lunch at park and dinner at resort or in the area fast food restaurants. All and All save money by limiting food purchases at Disney!
- Travel In-between Holidays
Our family traveled the weekend prior to the 4th of July.
With this the parks were themed and things were already in alignment to Independence Day. The great thing about Disney is that they do Fireworks DAILY LOL so no matter when you go you can definitely experience the fireworks show
- Consider Extended Weekend vs Week
My family and I arrived on Thursday and departed on Monday.
Okoli Disney Itinerary Plan:
Thursday: Explore Orlando/Disney Board Walk
Friday: Epcot Theme Park
Saturday: Cocoa Beach
Sunday: Magic Kingdom Theme Park
Monday: Breakfast at local Orlando JewelMy advice to you, Be strategic! Try to map out your park day ahead of time. By getting one park in a day your kids will be worn OUT! Only to return to the resort tired and hungry willing to eat anything LOL. Once naps or chill time is over head out to the resort pool and enjoy the evening spending ZERO more dollars (Ha)
- Utilize Disney Mom & Baby Area Magic Kingdom
THIS RIGHT HERE WAS THE BEST PART OF MY TRIPLMAO Okay I am exaggerating but Moms if you will be traveling with an infant or little ones under the age of 3 this is a must pit stop. As you know it is hot at that park, tons of walking, tons of people hell just tons of every thang. And those little feet will get tired, and those little babies will get restless. So to keep baby happy drop into this FREE spot at the park.My baby boy is only 4 months old thus my husband and I deliberated hard on if taking him was the right thing to do. BUT thank God Walt had a plan because baby and I was not forced to weather those extreme conditions as we were relaxing inside an A/C filled building with tv, snacks, changing and nursing area. YES ma’am you heard me it was FREE, Clean, and totally necessary! On top of that it was minutes away from two fine dining spots, so I was able to eat adult food, enjoy a nice adult beverage, listen to nice adult music while enjoying a steak salad in PEACE.
- Purchase Disney Souvenirs OFF Site
Now of course you will want some “authentic” Disney items because hey its just not the same without grabbing those encrypted with those words. However, for the little stuff that you know your kids are going to love the hell out of today and toss in the nearest toy bin tomorrow, grab em at a local gift shop. For example mouse ears $7.99 vs $16.99. If your kido anint being selective about what they want and just want something make this your go to!
- Leave the Pool Toys at HOME! If your kids are like mine they want to be thoroughly entertained in the pool. They want floaties, noodles, bubbles, you name this that and everything else. However, if you plan to drive to Orlando I don’t think you want to make what is probably a long ride a stuffy one. As such leave those things at home as the hotels/resorts/condos have these things available. Some are at no charge (borrow) and others are inexpensive already blown up less than $20 floats.
- Grab Your BEST Credit Card Close Eyes and SWIPE!
Leave YO stressed, cautious SWIPer mindset at home! Yes I said it throw the whole damn mindset away LMAO. I say that because the last thing you want is be at the “happiest place” on earth worrying about money and how much you have spent. Cause guess what you is gona look crazy! AHAAHAHaWith this, budget accordingly check things out before you get there so you already have a pretty good idea of what each day will cost you. Let me tell you now, the way them park tickets are set up… your mouth will still be wide open once you engage in that first swipe don’t care how much you budgeted for it. There is just something about spending $600 plus dollars on a day at a theme park!
All and All Keep the kiddos in mind as you move through your time at Disney. Because Yes it is Hot & Yes it is Expensive BUT to your children it is MAJICAL… and that alone is PRICELESS!