5 Things to Plan Right Away For Your Next Disney Trip

We're back!!

Seriously, the best part about vacation is the MOMENT you leave work.  It's that moment when you've technically stepped into vacation, but you have the entire thing ahead of you.  The second best part about vacation is when you get home and everything's unpacked.  

I have so much to share with you.  

We've been to Disney World about every 7 months for the past couple of years.  We definitely didn't plan on being there that often.  I have to tell you, though, I cannot get enough of Disney World.  My heart is so full when I'm there or when I'm thinking about it that I've considered writing an open letter to Walt Disney about it.  

When I start talking with people about Disney, I realize that I'm really starting become kind of a Disney expert.

When you decide you're going to Disney World, there are a few things you should be aware of for timing.

  • " My Disney Experience "

Visit www.mydisneyexperience.com ASAP to get started planning your Disney trip.  I love this place.  You can link up to family members who are going, you can set up your reservations, your fast passes, your pictures - all in one place.  There is so much to say about this.  For now, just go check it out :) !  

  • Disney Maps

You can customize Disney Theme Park maps online and have them sent to you before your trip!  We always get excited when they arrive in the mail.  They're personalized with your family names and a list of all of your favorite rides (or a list of rides you want to try).  It's important to do this sooner than later, because it takes time for them to be created and mailed out to you.  Visit http://customizedmaps.disney.go.com/ to start making your family maps.

  • Magic Bands

If you're staying at one of the Disney resorts, more than likely you're eligible for the new magic bands.  It's a band that you wear on your wrist.  It's your ticket to get into the parks, it's your key for your room at the resort and you can even link your credit card up to it so that you can make purchases in the park without needing your wallet.  You will still need a PIN for the last one, so your kids won't be able to charge all that they want to your room.  You'll want to customize these.  Each family member gets to choose their color and you can have their name put on the inside.  For free :) !  Again, it takes time to customize and ship them out to you, so the sooner you're able to do this, the better.  Where can you customize magic bands?  At mydisneyexperience.com.  Once you have a Disney resort reservation, you can link it there.  Once it's linked, you'll get a notification encouraging you to customize your bands.

  • Make Reservations

You can make reservations up to 6 months before your trip.  If you want a spot for your child at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Pirates League - the sooner you call in for the reservations, the better!!  They go fast.  If we know we're going to eat out at Disneyworld one night, I typically will call in and make reservations at the restaurant, too, although it's not always necessary.  If you're going in a busy season, like summer, I'd say make a reservation to be safe!  Our favorite restaurants are in Epcot.

  • Fast Passes

If you have reservations at one of the Disney resorts, you'll be able to make fast pass choices on mydisneyexerpience.com as early as 60 days ahead of time.  Otherwise, the earliest is 30 days out.  Here are the rides I recommend getting a fast pass for, because they are notorious for having longer lines:  Magic Kingdom ... The Miner's Ride, Meeting Elsa and Anna, and Space Mountain.  Epcot ... Test Track, Soarin, the Character Spot.  Hollywood Studios ... Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Toy Story.  Animal Kingdom ... Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, and Nemo the Musical. 

I'm the worst when it comes to traveling by air.  I have no tips for you there!  I'm sure the earlier you book, the better.  I've heard booking 3 months out, and searching on a Tuesday night at midnight to find the best rates, but it has never seemed to work for me.  We usually choose to drive our family of four down, because it always turns out cheaper than our cheapest air option.  We're from Michigan, so that's about a 24 hour trip.  With two children, 4 & 1.  Thank goodness they travel well!



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Andrea Hartstein

Andrea photographs "Bellies, Births & Babies", specializing in birth photography in the Michiana area, on the border of Michigan and Indiana.  Join her as she recounts the stories of babies and their families in our area.
Learn more about her sessions and birth coverage at HartsteinPhotography.com



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