let me go back about twelve months where the planning for this whole trip started. my bonus mama called to let us know that she had an annual conference at the grand floridian in june of 2016.
that was about all any of us needed to hear, and we were on the planning wagon!
i know there’s tons of advice out there on how to plan a disney vacation (which we totally used), but since we were doing ours attached to a conference + group rate, there were some interesting things we learned about the ticket process + disney dining plans. plus, i have a few hints + pics to share!
the disney stay + dining experience:
1. group rates can be awesome. seriously. if you have an opportunity to stay at any disney resort as part of a conference, do it. staying on property, and staying on the monorail or ferry boat line, is really a great, great thing. plus, conferences usually get some pretty great rates on rooms at the resorts.
2. so, if you’re going with a conference + you book your room(s) directly through the hotel, that means you’ll have to purchase your park tix separately. which is super easy to do through the mydisneyexperience.com site. make sure you set up an account the moment you decide you’re going to the happiest place on earth.
3. but….from what we learned, if you’re staying in the park as part of a group, you can’t get the disney dining plan. but, i think we came out close to the same cost by just buying food at the parks (we think).
kid-tips for disney:
1. for this trip, we slated just three days at the parks. it was our youngest’s first trip to disney, and after a not-so-great first trip four years ago with our oldest, we were a little skittish about trying to do too much. and we didn’t do park hopper passes because i figured with three days, we should just concentrate on the places our boys really wanted to go. so we focused on magic kingdom + hollywood studios. and, it worked out really well!
2. fastpass, fastpass, fastpass. use disney’s fastpass. use it for rides + use it for character meetings. use it for your parental sanity.
3. if you have littles who are stroller-sized, either bring a stroller or rent one at the parks. even if they don’t ride in it 100% of the time, just like in non-disney life, it’s a fab tool to hold your stuff.
4. autograph books. so, any shop within any of the parks or hotels sells those adorable, disney autograph books. yep, they’re totally cool. but for our oldest, we ended up using his disney journal (check out the idea here) which was perfect for him to gather autographs, write about his trip + add stickers to that he collected around the parks!
5. disney photo pass. okay, so this costs $169 to add to your package, but it is totally worth it. with kids, trying to manage a camera or even an iphone to get pics can be just enough to add the right amount of hot messiness to your trip. and, besides it ensures your whole family is in the pics, and it doesn’t require you to have to pass off your good camera or phone to a stranger to take a pic.
now, want to see some pics? (and, yep these are all from disney photo pass!)
|our joyful day at magic kingdom!|
|meeting mickey with a little fistbump!|
|woody + buzz lightyear!|
|monkey see, monkey sit!|
|giving pluto a little pat on the nose!|
|huge moment: our oldest faced his fear and met mickey!|