20 Tips for Planning a Disney Vacation!June 11, 2017 |Hi Friends! How was your weekend? This was the first weekend in what felt like a long time where we didn’t have visitors, so we really just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Today, I’m partnering with one of my friends here in Charlotte to bring you a post that I know so many of you will be interested in. With Summer in full swing and a ton of people planning to head to Disney, I asked my friend Josephine (a Disney travel agent) to share her Top 20 tips and tricks for Disney amateurs! But first, how darling is this video that I had put together from our trip? I’ll treasure it forever…I mean look at Landry’s face when she sees each Princess..it melts me!I’m going to be honest, planning our trip to Disney scared the daylights out of me. Let me be clear in saying that planning *any*thing really makes me anxious and the thought of hotels, reservations, fast passes, park hoppers, etc etc really sent me into a panic. Nailing down specifics that far in advance is simply not my strong suit and that’s where Josephine comes in. She totally talked me off a ledge and shared with me that she’s planned 4 trips to Disney for her family of 5 and proceeded to give me some super helpful advice. Today she’s sharing that with YOU and there’s also a GIVEAWAY at the end of this post! Here are her Top 20 Tips for Disney Amateurs (my comments are in italics)…P.S. This is not a sponsored post, just something I thought that you guys would love. Josephine is with 101-Vacations visit their site HERE or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help planning your Disney vacay!1. You can make dining reservations 180 days out… If you have specific character meals that your littles ones have their hearts set on, book as early as possible. Schedule a character breakfast in the Magic Kingdom before the park opens, so you’ll already be there when the gates open. This is also a great time to get pictures in front of the castle without masses of people in the background. The best way to see as many princesses as possible is one of the characters meals, like Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom or Akershus in Epcot. You get to see, meet and have pictures taken with 5-6 princesses without having to wait in lines (or use a Fast Pass) and you are getting a great meal at the same time!I totally missed the mark on this. I wish that we would have booked one of the Princess breakfasts at Magic Kingdom, but they were all full by the time I tried to schedule them. Definitely plan these as far out as possible.2. Schedule down time at your resort. Kids always want to swim, even though most people have access to a pool in their hometown. There is something about Disney pools that kids can’t resist. Plus, it’s a nice break.My advice here is to splurge a little and stay at properties that have monorail access. Ours was a bit cheaper but only had bus service and that made it quite a bit more challenging (time wise) to get to and from the parks, thus we didn’t really give ourselves any downtime and we really needed it daily.3. Check for Extra Magic Hours. When you are saying at a Disney Resort, they have extra magic hours at different parks on different days. You can either go earlier to the or stay later… BUT it’s ONLY for Disney Resort guests.4. Get your 3 FastPasses per day on your My Disney Experience App. up to 60 days before your visit if you are staying at a Disney resort. After you have used your three, you can visit a FastPass kiosk in the park for more!I still don’t fully understand FastPasses…lol…5. Do not waste your Fast Passes on shows, save them for the rides!I totally agree with this! The only real time we needed a fast pass for a show was the Frozen show at Hollywood Studios.6. Download the My Disney Experience app on your phone so you can check wait times as you walk around the parks.This thing was a lifesaver!!!7. Take a stroller as long as your children will fit, up to age 7-8. Even if they never use a stroller at home, they’ll use it at Disney. Strollers provide a nice shady spot to escape the sun, they provide storage for snacks, cameras, and souvenirs, and kids have a great place to sit during parades.True story, we almost didn’t bring a stroller. We realized that we forgot it in our car as we were about to check in for our flight and actually contemplated going to get it or not. I AM SO THANKFUL THAT WE DID! It was an absolute necessity!8. Leave your selfie stick at home. They aren’t allowed in the parks and other travelers are always willing to snap a family picture for you. Disney is generally a very friendly place!We also always stopped to let the staff photogs snap a pic of the family as often as possible. Once they get the capture, they scan your magic band and the photos magically appear in your Disney app within minutes. It’s an easy way to be hands free from a camera and still make sure your memories are being captured.9. Take small flashlights for young children that might be afraid of the dark in some of the rides.Oh this is clever!10. Pin Trading is a fun distraction. You can buy them discounted on the internet before you go and then trade with Disney Cast Members throughout the park.How fun, I’d never heard of this!11. Bring a soft-sided cooler with snacks and water. You can bring your own food into the parks! Eating a healthy snack is a great way to pass time standing in line or keep little ones entertained.This was definitely something that I didn’t know you could do when first booked. I learned quickly what I would do next time…read about that in THIS POST!12. Bring extra sunglasses. You have no idea how many pairs of sunglasses are at the bottom of the water rides and the ones in the gift stores aren’t cheap. Take your own sunscreen to reapply throughout the day…. it’s pretty pricey inside the parks. Pack a few disposable ponchos if you or someone in your group will want to be dry after water rides. Bring plenty of Hand Sanitizer and Disposable Antibacterial Wipes… because kids literally want to touch every rail, surface and wall in the parks.Yes to all of this!13. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll spend a lot of time on your feet and walk many miles each day. I always wear tennis shoes or flip flops with lots of cushion.See everything that I packed (including some super comfy and stylish sneakers) in THIS POST.14. Get up early! Lines are shorter in the morning, weather isn’t as hot, and kids are generally happiest early in the day. 🙂Yes! We were at the parks when they opened each morning and were able to hop on the most popular attractions first thing before it got too crowded.15. If your little girl wants to wear a princess dress to meet her favorite princess (which is wonderful!) but make sure you pack a change of clothes! Even the girliest-girl will want to be comfortable (and cool) at the parks throughout the day.16. Bring something unique for the characters to sign. I’ve seen Chewbacca sign a Star Wars lunch box and princesses sign a pillowcase.17. Take something to exchange with the Jawa inside Star Wars Launch Bay, they have little toys in their pockets and it’s fun to see what you get!18. Use Rider Switch- if one child isn’t tall enough or doesn’t want to ride particular ride, one adult can stay back while the rest of the party enjoys the ride. Then when your party returns, the adult that stayed back with the child can enjoy the ride without waiting in the line! That way no one has to miss out on the fun!Oh wow, that’s cool!19. Do not feel last this is your only Disney trip. That is too much pressure on you and your kids. Enjoy your time and don’t push so hard to get everything down. You want to remember your magical trip as a great one with wonderful memories.20. ***Use a travel agent! Disney can be daunting if you aren’t familiar with the parks, the fastpass system, the different dining plans and the resorts. Travel agents are completely free of charge and know how to plan that caters to the needs of your family. Contact Josephine directly at email@example.comWant to win a Cars 3 Prize Pack, including 2 tickets to see Cars 3?? Simply enter the Giveaway below! *Hint it’s real easy! Also, keep scrolling for another (GUCCI!!!) Giveaway as well! a Rafflecopter giveaway Now for something else that’s super exciting! This week I am teaming up with an amazing group of ladies to bring you an INCREDIBLE giveaway. 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