Understanding Disney’s Magic

When it came time to plan my Family’s First Disney Vacation I was overwhelmed!  Not even after all of my Disney training, countless bookings, and complete knowledge, was I calm.  I did what all first time mom’s do (I think…)

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1) I interrogated all of my Disney friend fanatics and pooled all of their tips for traveling with a toddler to Disney

2) I pinned as many Disney Under 3 tips as possible and planned to read them all thoroughly before departure (never happened…) but number

3) listen to my best friend and follow her lead (she invited us on this vacation with her family AND is a Disney Expert in my opinion!)

The best advice I gave to myself before departure was to accept that Disney is a big place and it is impossible to do everything in one trip. We focused on the few things we really wanted to do and off we went on our first family Disney vacation!  The result? We had a FANTASTIC time! Here are some of the highlights, tips and tricks to how we made the most of our Disney vacation!

The Early Bird Catches the Worm!

I had two goals in Disney 1) have a great time and 2) make sure our son sticks as close to his sleep schedule as possible so that we all have a great time together.  I heard the nightmares, saw the kids crying and freaking out in the parks in desperate need of a break, and decided ahead of time that was not going to be us.  Best. Decision. Ever!  We all were in the park when it opened which gave us 4-5 hours of enjoyment at the start of the day.  Although we had Fast Passes scheduled, which I recommend thoroughly, we were able to get on at least 10 rides that we wanted to immediately without much wait time because of being there early.  That in itself was awesome.  It also allowed us to enjoy a great lunch in the park, treats, and by the time our son’s nap time came around, everyone was in the mood for a break.  My favorite ride personally was Soarin’ with Space Mountain as a close second.  Our son loved the Buzz rides and Nemo!  We also were sure to do all of the classics.  Here we are on Dumbo!

Characters are Awesome!!!

The other perk with getting into the parks in the early morning and/or late afternoon is having easy access to characters!  I literally one day walked right off of a ride and into Jasmine and Aladdin. There isn’t one character I can think of that we wanted to meet, and didn’t.  I was warned ahead of time about “summer being too busy in Disney” and that making it hard to meet characters.  Nope, not if you are in the park early! We even showed up to our Fast Pass for the Character Meet & Greet in Epcot 20 minutes early and got expedited in to meet Mickey immediately!  The only time we waited, by choice, was 15 minutes to meet Buzz and Woody which was a main goal for our family since our son is a huge Toy Story fan.  I waited about 15 minutes one evening by choice to meet Snow White too who is my childhood favorite.  Otherwise, those people who were waiting at 1 PM in the afternoon heat for 55-65 minutes to meet Mickey in my opinion were crazy!  While you were in line I was heading out of the park happy to have met a dozen characters already and not have waited in line to do so!  I even high fived Goofy (wish I had a picture of it!) on my way out and got butterflies while in line waiting for my Dole Whip and seeing Peter Pan nonchalantly skip past us!

Character Breakfasts!

We loved our Character Breakfast too.  Having the one on one time with the characters was absolutely awesome in all ways, shapes and forms. We chose to have breakfast at Cape May Cafe.  I know that there are other Character Breakfasts but this was what we found to be the best fit for our family and it was great. The food was fantastic.  We had chorizo eggs, wonderful veggie frittatas, Mickey waffles (of course!), sausage gravy biscuit, grits (my husband loves a good southern breakfast!) lots of fruit, etc. It was a good balance between gourmet and classic breakfast foods.  We were able to get in and out in an 1.5 hour meeting every character available, twice, and enjoying our meal.  It’s a fabulous choice for sure!

The Food Plan
The meal plan Disney offers you is a big savings. I absolutely find it to be a small miracle that I can still fit into my new shorts today, but the food offered was very good and plenty.  We did leave snack credits on the table, which I don’t recommend, but it happens. What we did enjoy though were the classics including the Turkey Leg, cinnamon rolls, Dole Whips, Mickey everything, anything I could get my hands on from the French Patisserie, etc. If you can get to Cat Cora’s restaurant on the Boardwalk before it closes, it’s WELL worth it and one of the best steaks I’ve had in a while!  Outside of the food plan though I would absolutely recommend the frozen lemon alcoholic slushy offered in France. I miss those the most LOL!  What I can tell you too is that, those of you who know me, know that I am always on a journey to improve and Advocare helped me through this trip for sure.  I’m happy I brought all of my favorite Advocare products along and was able to stay on track while enjoying myself. The walking also beyond helps.  We were doing 8 hours/day in parks and the battery on my calorie counter died on the third day it was working so hard!  I may do a blog post on how Advocare gets me through travel sooner than later, but if you want information on Advocare separately, you can email me at DinaSilvestriTravel@gmail.com

What I Learned

  • My first tip is a car.  Renting a car was a MUST for us and I don’t think I would ever go to Disney without doing so. We were in and out of the park very quickly and it helped us to again beat crowds and get to where we needed to go in a timely manner.  I do have many ways for my clients to get great rates on a car when they book their Disney packages through me, so be sure to ask!
  • Secondly, all of those people who shared their opinion about it being too hot and my son being too young I have to call you out and say, you were so wrong!  Three years old was the PERFECT age for Disney.  Sure, he won’t remember all of it, but the days filled with smiles and giggles and he enjoyed making memories with his family was priceless.  He was able to go on every ride with the exception of a few and enjoyed them SO much!!  I am so happy we agreed to this trip and I wasn’t scared off by the inaccurate warnings.
  • Thirdly, yes it was hot but absolutely not unbearable. We hydrated, enjoyed rides in the air conditioning and took breaks for our son’s nap from 1-3 PM during the height of the afternoon heat. We then headed back into the park (usually Epcot) and enjoyed the evening!  Our son only one time said he was hot and that ended up being a record setting day in Orlando, so his commentary was justified!
  • The FastPass / Magic Band system has a LOT of kinks that Disney needs to work out.  I won’t get too into the details but my clients will now be even more prepared after some of my own negative experiences with the system both before, during and now after travel.  I am sure once Disney works it all out that it will be a great system. It was though frustrating at times but nothing detrimental.
  • Absolutely FastPass the Mine Train.  Otherwise you are waiting 90-120 minutes for a 3 minute ride. Make sure you know (I provide this information for my clients) when to book your FastPasses and Dining and do so as SOON as you can.  Otherwise, you’ll be left in the dust!
  • Frozen is all the rage and there is SO much to do if you are a Frozen fan.  We haven’t seen it yet (gasp, I know…) but the parade in Hollywood Studios was fantastic.  Somehow we accidentally ended up front row (tips are available exclusively for my clients on how to do this too!) and could have reached out and touched the characters.  The ice skating was enjoyed by my beautiful Jules (shout out!) and there is even a special firework show in the evenings for Frozen lovers.
  • Book through a travel agent so that you can financially plan accordingly.  I treated my Disney trip the same way that I encourage my clients to treat all of their vacations. Booking through a travel agent is FREE and YOU CAN MAKE PAYMENTS TOWARD YOUR VACATION TO US at your leisure leading up to Final Payment.  We even came home with money in the end because we left enough time to plan, budget, and pay for our vacation. I’m here as a travel agent not only to help you get the best price on your trip but also provide you ways to afford your vacation that doesn’t mean breaking the bank!
This trip truly and sincerely redefined what Disney meant for me. I went into the vacation very nervous and almost allowing all of the ‘nay sayers’ scare me out of even agreeing to bring our son before he was in Kindergarten. What a mistake that would have been!! Disney for me was a place where my family could come together with our closest family friends and make memories that will last us a lifetime. We planned a relaxing Disney vacation that included ensuring we all were able to experience what we wanted without tiring our kids and selves out in the process. This allowed for a really great flow to our vacation and the ability to enjoy it. I didn’t come home exhausted, I came home rejuvenated, and excited to plan our next family vacation.  I encourage all of my Disney clients to remember to take that Disney Magic on every family vacation you have me plan for you!  I know I will be doing the same!DinaSilvestriTravel@gmail.com
This blog post is dedicated to our friends who have truly become our family, the Mariano’s. Thank you for hosting us for our first Disney trip! We had the best time not because of where we were, but who we were with.  Love to you all and forever Hail the Royal GuGally!!

Tengo 1 valiosa opinin, pero me encantaria leer la tuya.

  1. I so love Disney!… I want to take Emma there, she will be thrilled getting to meet all her favorite Disney Characters!!!
    XOXO

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