Tickets were another thing we needed to consider. We were only visiting for a long weekend so we settled on three day park hopper tickets so we could try and fit in as much as we could. If you have time to plan: look into the costs of the different tickets offered and see what you’d like to see in each park. If you’re on a deadline: start off with admission for each full day of your visit. You can always upgrade your ticket if you need additional days or want to “hop”.
I will proudly say that I’m an over packer and going to Disney is no different. That means having a good bag for the parks is a must for our family. Disney allows you to bring in snacks, food, drinks and other items (check here for the complete list) which is both a curse and blessing. If you have time to plan: look over the list of items not allowed and figure out what you’d like to take into the parks. Once you know what you’d like to take, you’ll know what type and size bag you will need. If you’re on a deadline: generally speaking, a backpack type bag should work for your family. Try to find one with lots of space (pockets are good to keep you organized) and comfortable straps.
Lastly, but probably most importantly, is food. Disney offers tons of options from counter service to table service to snacks. As I mentioned, you’re allowed to bring in your own food and beverage as well which can help save quite a bit of money. This will also help save your sanity if you’ve got a picky eater or someone with specific dietary needs. If you’ve got time to plan: take a look at Disney’s offerings. There are sites out there with the menus from Disney’s restaurants and snack carts to give you an idea of what’s available as well as the costs. Take a look at the Disney Dining Plan to see if it can save your family some money during the trip. If you’re on a deadline: plan on eating one meal a day in the parks and figuring out the rest - either off property or on your own with food you’ve brought with you. If you want to try and eat at table service restaurants, make a stop at Guest Relations when you enter the parks to see if they can make an Advanced Dining Reservation for your family. Sometimes you can have great luck this way!
There are so many more things that could go into planning the “perfect” Disney trip but these things were the most important for our family and are a good starting place for your family as well. One thing I read over and over and made the mistake of discounting was that you won’t be able to do everything on the first trip. I truly had no idea how big Disney was and all the things for us to do while we were there. You won’t be able to do it all and if you try, you and your family will be miserable. Take time to enjoy yourselves and know when to take a break. Enjoying the time with your family is the most important part of the trip.
Lynn Wiltse is the mom of two boys and a princess and is always planning a Disney trip. Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Lynn is also the creator of My Pixie Dust Diary.