Monday, June 26, 2017

Doing Disney in Just Over One Day

In the beginning of June, our family had the opportunity to go to Walt Disney World. Our primary plan was to visit my grandparents but we also thought it would be fun to take a day or two to explore Florida. Our options were narrowed down between Disney and staying at a hotel and doing a few beach days. We ultimately decided to do Disney and once we decided that, planning was in full mode! Because we knew we would have limited time, we knew how important it would be to plan, plan, and plan!

We planned to leave my grandparent's house early Tuesday morning so that we could arrive at the park close to opening (9AM). That meant, we left around 6:15 as it was a little over a 2 hour drive from their house.

I would say that if you are only doing Disney for a short amount of time, maximizing the amount of time you have in the park is really important. Also, because we were only staying one night, we booked a hotel room at the Contemporary Resort which was a 5 minute walk to Magic Kingdom. The convenience outweighed the cost and for one night- it was affordable. If we were to stay longer, we would have chosen somewhere else, most likely that was more affordable.

We chose one park to explore while we were there and chose Magic Kingdom because we felt that park offered more of what would be interesting to our girls at the time. We also thought it would be a perfect way to introduce Disney to our girls in a short amount of time.

Because we were staying at a Disney resort, we also got Magic Bands which included Fast Passes. Fast passes allow you to skip the line. You are given three fast passes and then once you use those up, you are able to get another one. We did Fast Passes for character meet and greets and more popular rides. We also were able to plan our day around our Fast Passes- we got most of our Fast Passes in the morning so that we could use another one in the afternoon. The rest of the day was planned around ride waiting times.

I also got some recommendations on quick service places to eat for lunch and knew where they were located so we could plan around that too. For dinner on Tuesday and breakfast on Wednesday, we reserved a table at table service restaurants. I highly recommend doing at least one table service meal- it was an unforgettable experience for the girls! And let's be honest, it was fun for the adults too! :)

I will share what we did on each day and then I will bullet list a few resources and additional tips!

Day 1

Once we got to Disney, we went to our hotel. We were able to park and leave our bags there even though we couldn't check in until afternoon. We decided to take the monorail for the experience even though it was only a 5 minute walk to the park.

On the monorail! 

Once we got to the park, we lucked out and just happened upon a line to meet Merida. The line was short and we only waited 10 minutes.

She made an awesome Merida- even her accent was spot on! 

Then we headed to our first Fast Pass- to meet Ariel. The girls loved her and it was a great way to kick off Disney!

After that, we decided to do the carousel- it was only a 10 minute wait.

We then hopped in the line for It's a Small World- a 25 minute wait. The wait went by quickly as we were constantly moving, which helped.

All ready for It's A Small World (the girls still sing the song) 

We made our way to Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid- for our second fast pass. This ride was probably the girl's favorites! After Ariel, we decided to stop for lunch. I had a recommendation for Cosmic Ray's and it was quick, easy and had food for everyone.

 Once we filled our bellies up, we headed to the Mad Tea Party (tea cups)- it was about a 10 minute wait but the line constantly moved.

We decided to head to Belle's Enchanted Tales- which was a longer wait- 35 minutes. It started drizzling at this time too, but we were under cover as we waited- so it actually worked out well. I would say Belle's Enchanted Tales was well worth the wait. They only took in about 10-15 kids at a time and they got to "tell a story" for Belle, with props. Belle came in and they were able to meet her and get their picture with her. It was super sweet and fun!

A little drizzle didn't stop us! 

Saidey was the Wardrobe and Sophia was the pepper shaker 

We had our 3rd Fast Pass in the afternoon to meet Cinderella and Elena. Each princess was so sweet and the girls were mesmerized. We hit Aladdin's Magic carpet ride (10 minute wait) and walked through the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. We stopped and got a sweet treat and did a little shopping too.

The only Minnie we saw while we there

At this point, we decided to walk to our hotel and rest for a little bit before dinner. The girls rested and recharged and we headed back out for reservations at Be Our Guest. We got to meet the Beast, eat dinner, and tour the West Wing, Will tried the gray stuff and he thought it was delicious! =)

The Beast twirled them and it was the sweetest thing ever! 

Outside Be Our Guest restaurant

Since we had used all three fast passes, Will got another one for the Haunted Mansion. We rode that ride and then walked up towards the front for the fireworks and light show.

After that, we decided to do a few more rides. We rode Thunder Mountain (no wait!!)

and Pirates of the Caribbean before calling it a night and heading back to the hotel. (It was around 10pm)

Day 2

We woke up pretty early again as we had breakfast reservations at Cinderella's Table. Because we had reservations ,we were able to get into the park early. We got some great pictures since not a lot of people were in the park.

Breakfast was magical. We got to do a meet and greet with Cinderella again in her castle and then we headed up the tower to breakfast. Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, and Jasmine were there and visited each table. The breakfast was yummy and the experience was fun. It is on the pricier side but I think it was well worth it!

Another fun aspect to breakfast was when we were waiting downstairs, they called your reservation by the Royal Scholtes Family, Sir William and handed you a "ticket" aka- your invitation. When we sat down, they also gave all the kids a magic wand and wishing star and did a cute little ceremony where they were able to make their own wish. 

We then had our first fass pass to meet Tiana and Rapunzel and next, headed to our next Fast Pass- the Jungle Cruise.

We then decided to head over the Splash Mountain to see what the wait was- it was only 10 minutes so we got in line! It was super fun and both girls did great!

Do you spy our family!! Haha- the girls are both hunkered down! The lady in the red shirt is LOVING it! Coincidentally- this family was also from Iowa which was really fun! 

Then, we decided to stand in line for Peter's Pan Flight- when we got in line, it was a 40 minute wait- which was the longest we had to stay in line for a ride. But, while waiting, they announced it would be longer. We probably waited a little less than an hour. The ride was fun and the girls really liked it- I probably wouldn't have stood in line for that long for the amount of time the ride actually lasted.

When we got off the ride, it was raining fairly hard. The girls wanted to ride the Ariel ride again and so we decided to head over and wait in line. It was about 35 minutes but part of the wait was outside- in the rain. We had ponchos on but I think everyone was a little tired and we got a little grumpy at this point. The girls did really good the whole trip so I was thankful we lasted this long before the whining and arguing started. Once we got on the ride, everyone was happy and had a fun time.

We decided to walk toward the front of the park for our last fast pass- meeting Tinker Bell. We stopped on the way and did a little shopping. It was raining still by this time and while it was only a little after 1PM- we decided to call it a day after meeting Tinker Bell.

So, we didn't end up taking full advantage of our 2nd day but felt it was still a great way to introduce the girls to Disney World in a short amount of time. We got a lot done that we wanted to and it truly was a magical place. Seeing it through the eyes of Sophia and Saidey, was the best part for both Will and I.

Rides/attractions we missed but wished we would have done: Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (I should have Fast Passed this- every time we looked- it was between a 70-100 minute wait!).

A few tips 

Check out to get alerts on reservations at popular restaurants! You can make reservations as far as 180 days from your trip and they do book fast! However, people often cancel at last minute so don't get discouraged if a restaurant is booked. We didn't book our final reservations until about a week before our trip! Because we only stayed a few days, we didn't do the dining plans- so I don't know a lot of information about those- sorry!

Stroller rental- we decided to rent a stroller through Kingdom Strollers. We chose the date/time we wanted a stroller (you also pick which stroller you want) to be dropped off at a WDW resort as well as the date/time we wanted to return it. It was so simple and easy! I highly recommend it! It was $50 for two days for a double stroller! I also recommend tying a bright colored string to your stroller so that you can easily identify it in the sea of strollers in stroller parking.

Autograph books- if your kids love characters, then an autograph book is so fun! Each character will sign the book for you! I just got one off Etsy but you could easily make your own too! I saw some really cute ones as we were standing in line- people get really creative! I plan to print pictures of when the girls met each princess to add in their books as well!

Join the Facebook Group- Walt Disney Insiders- Get the Inside Story!  I got so many helpful hints and tips from the group members!

Download the Disney World app on your phone- you can check out wait times, photos, etc. there!
I recommend mixing up rides depending on weather- for example, if it's super hot- throw in some inside attractions- like Monster's Inc to get a break in the air conditioning.

If there's rain in the forecast- pack a few ponchos- the rain typically doesn't last long but it also could potentially mean less people and less waiting in lines! The first day we were there, it only sprinkled a little, around 3 PM and on/off the rest of the time. The second day was more often and harder and I will admit- a little less fun maneuvering through the park with ponchos on with kids.

I took a medium sized cross body bag and packed sunscreen, hand sanitizer, band aids (recommended through the Facebook group- and it was a genius recommendation as both girls wanted ( I will say want not need) a bandaid during our trip, water bottles, and snacks. I was able to carry it through longer lines and waiting was a little easier when we had a snack and drink of water.

So, that's how we did Disney in just over a day! The adults were EXHAUSTED at the end- which is why we didn't make it through Day 2. I have NO idea how people do it for an entire week. The kids faired well but we could tell that they were more than ready to head to the car as we ended Day 2.
I hope these tips were helpful and I KNOW there is a ton more, especially if you go for longer! We had an amazing time though and hope we inspire you to take the leap! It's a magical vacation for adults and kids alike!