I thought I would share with you some of my most helpful informative places and tips to help you plan a trip to Walt Disney World!
All these tips apply to Covid-19 Times, but the resources I used are there and were very helpful.
So, let’s dive right in!
Smart Moms Planning Disney Facebook Group
This Facebook group was recommended to me by a friend and it was full of helpful info. Some of which I already knew (cause I like my trip research), some of which I didn’t. Including things you don’t think about, like what shoes to wear. This group is mostly aimed towards traveling families, but I still found the info helpful. Fair warning, if you join this group, your Facebook feed will fill up with the posts. I stayed in it because the info was helpful, but it was a little annoying at first.
Disney Food Blog-Blog, You Tube Channel, Instagram
This was by far the most helpful resource. AJ (who runs the site) has people at Walt Disney World every day. They are always trying new menu items and reporting on park news as soon as it’s released, which is great. But the You Tube Channel. Oh the You Tube Channel. Also known as DFBGuide, it’s almost daily videos are filled with tips and tricks and news and where to eat and how to do things. I watched those videos every time they popped up, and I don’t regret it for a second. The tips I learned there help make our trip a dream. They have also reviewed every WDW restaurant on their blog, so check them out.
Disney Vloggers-Pick Some, They Are Legion
Disney vloggers are a great resource for your trip. I really like The Tim Tracker. He and his wife (and now son, so cute) go to all the Orlando parks, not just Disney, and they try and give you as much info as possible, even asking Disney Cast Members questions while they are in the parks. One of the things they did that I found really helpful was a series of tours of all the Disney World resorts. I watched each one to help pick our original hotel! Anyway, Disney vloggers are great because you can find videos of rides, food, line times, parking info, hotel info. They do it all.
Small World Vacations-Disney Authorized Travel Agencies
Small World Vacations was the travel agency I used to book my vacation. They are Disney authorized, which is great. You don’t pay them, Disney does! Michelle, our agent, was helpful and knowledgeable. She was able to answer any questions I had that the previous resources weren’t able to.
On to the tips!
Plan in Far in Advance!
When I started planning I had a year and two months to plan for our original date. We booked our hotel a year out from our original trip date. Don’t wait! We got lucky with our trip this time. In fact, after we booked for April, the flood gates opened and the parks started filling up fast because of the new reservation system. Also, right now you have to book your restaurants 60 days in advance instead of 180. Still isn’t any easier to get into those places you want to eat at.
Do Your Research!
Y’all, I took 24 pages of notes. 24! That’s after I watched The Tim Tracker’s videos on the hotels and “all” the DFBGuide videos. I read blogs on all the hotels and included pros and cons from those blog posts in my notes. I did price comparisons, including how much it would be with memory maker (photo pass) and the Disney Dining Plan (not available now due to Covid). All this info, btw, is available on Disney World’s website. I also made lists of the rides we would go on for the Fast Pass system (also not available due to Covid).
Get In “Shape” Before You Go
No, I don’t mean work out to loose weight, you’ll look good in those pictures no matter what. What I do mean is that you’ll want to get used to walking before you go. A person can walk ten miles at Magic Kingdom and not realize it. That doesn’t count the time you spend just standing in line!
Don’t Over Plan
This is a real danger, and one I almost did myself. It’s real easy to want to go and plan out where you are going to be almost every second of every day you are there, but that sucks the magic out of it. Also, what happens to those plans if it rains or a ride goes down? That doesn’t mean don’t have a plan for the must do’s while you are there, just remember to take it easy.
Use the My Disney Experience App, But Don’t Neglect The Map!
The hubs and I made the mistake of not getting a map when we got to Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom. And we wish we had. The MDE app doesn’t show you everything, and you’ll need that map. Right now it shows rest areas where you can sit in some air conditioning. I don’t know if those are still available, but in that Florida heat, a break is nice. Those places didn’t show up on the app, by the way. You can find a map near the entrance to the park.
Now this one is a little weird, but dang was it good. I wore bike shorts nearly every day on our trip. The one day I didn’t I regretted it. Not cause I didn’t look cute, cause I did, but because of that darned Florida heat and humidity. To be fair, I had ordered bike shorts to be worn on that day, that’s just a long story as to why I didn’t have them. Anyway! If you are like me and are a plus sized lady or just someone whose thighs rub together, bike shorts are amazing. They are light weight, take up very little room in your suitcase, and can go with a variety of outfits. I’m a convert. In fact, I’m wearing Micky bike shorts right now!
Say Yes to the Sunscreen!
You think you won’t need it. Lies! We reapplied several times and I still got a sunburn. To be fair, I missed a spot during a re-application period. It happens.
There you have it, some of my useful tools and tips for planning a successful Disney World vacation. We had such a great time and I’m not gonna lie, I kind of want to go to Disneyland next!
Unfortunately, I can’t show you a lot of photos of it, because the hubs and I are in almost everyone of them, and the hubs has asked not to have his face plastered all over the internet. So, in conclusion, because I love my husband, you get very few photos.
But still. We went!
We arrived on a Sunday and had planned on dropping of our stuff at the hotel and going to Disney Springs right away, but thanks to a storm delay in getting our bags from the airport (almost two hours), we got to the hotel later than expected and we were starving. So we just grabbed a quick bite there.
We stayed at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, which was a great resort. We never would have stayed there if it hadn’t have been for the special on rooms Disney was running when we booked. It ended up being cheaper than the original resort we had booked for our trip back when we were going to go last year!
This view of the tress may not look like a parking lot view from our balcony (we had a balcony!!) but it is! I wish I had taken pics of the room, but I was too excited and we began unpacking our stuff right away. It really was a wonderful room. The staff was great too!
We went to Disney Springs that evening for dinner and ate at Everglazed, the donut shop. I got a grilled cheese on a donut, because why not. It was…interesting.
The first thing we did at a Disney park? We built lightsabers at Savvi’s Workshop of course!
It was an epic experience and, I kid you not, I almost cried. It was absolutely worth doing if you’re a Star Wars fan. We spent all day on Monday at Hollywood Studios and loved it. We even managed to get on a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance first thing! It was great! I gotta say, Slinky Dog Dash was our favorite roller coaster of the whole trip!
Magic Kingdom was day two and we had a great time. My favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion, and unfortunately (fortunately?), due to Covid, they have it as a walk on ride. The stretching room isn’t being used, nor is the interactive queue. But, the wait time was only a few minutes, so that was nice.
Of course, we did see the princesses! Twice. They are running cavalcades right now instead of parades, so you never know when the characters are going to pop up!
Day three was a day at Disney Springs! And it was great because we met up with the hubs’ parents! They live very close to Disney so they were able to meet us for two days. We ate at the Boathouse for lunch, I highly recommend the Lobster roll, and at Wine Bar George for dinner, the Iberico pork and the buratta were great. We had a nice, relaxing day exploring the Springs. And the company was amazing!
Epcot was next, and the Flower and Garden Festival was going on! We were once again joined by the hubs’ parents, and we had a great time. We rode Soarin’ and Living with the Land and ate. Oh did we eat! The food was great! And the topiaries were so pretty.
Our last day at Disney was spent at Animal Kingdom. Flight of Passage is an amazing ride and you should definitely give it a ride when you are there. I also really loved the safari ride. We went first thing when we got there, so the animals were active and out. It was great. On a side note, I happened to complement a gentleman on his fine Star Wars shirt and found out he and his family live in my old neighborhood in Memphis. What a small world!
Saturday was our day to return home, so nothing exciting there. I will say the Orlando airport is crazy. If you are checking a bag, maybe give yourself an extra hour (or two) for getting that taken care of. We got lucky and our airline opened a new check line right next to us, so it took no time at all. We ended up killing time in a restaurant while we waited for our flight.
We did use Disney’s Magical Express, and I gotta say, I’m sorry that they will no longer be using it after this year. It was easy to use, the driver was friendly, and the ride was nice. RIP Magical Express.
After all is said and done, we will be going back. We really enjoyed our time at Disney World and want to do everything we missed this time. Like all the food and the rides!
We are doing it this time! We are really going to do it!
What are we going to do? Well, once we are done being vaccinated (after our two week waiting period), we’re going to Disney World!!!
It only took a moment for us to decide to make the trip. And three and a half ours after that decision, I had contacted our original travel agent at Small World Vacations and we were booked! I even had plane tickets and restaurant reservations done. And parental visits scheduled for our days at Disney Springs and Epcot!
Now I just have to take care of all the minor details, like planning cute outfits to wear and deciding whether or not to buy those cute mickey ears off of Etsy.
So I turned 40 a few weeks ago and the hubs turned 40 a few days after that. Go us!
We decided that since our original plan of going to Disney was cancelled due to Covid-19 that we should still do something local. So we planned a staycation.
We had some very exacting standards that had to be met, like all the rooms had to be accessible from outside, not inside, the main building. The location had to have a small number of rooms, so a small amount of guests! And we could eat in the room, not the main dining room. Also, masks all around!
After hours of searching we finally managed to find a place! And by we I mean me. I did all the searching and then the hubs agreed to the locale.
We found Elm Creek Manor! This little B & B met all of our requirements and had the added benefit of being a farm to table location too! They are located about two hours north west of Dallas, TX so the drive there wasn’t too bad.
I must say, we were not disappointed at all. This quaint little B & B was everything we hoped it would be. The room (which I forgot to take pictures of) was comfortable, and the bed was great. The sheets were super soft. Not typical hotel sheets at all.
I totally forgot to take pictures of the food, by the way. I was to busy eating it. But the food was amazing. Home grown arugula salads with fresh picked tomatoes. Farm fresh eggs with breakfast for the hubs because I am allergic. And the dinners! Country ham with pink peppercorns and tomato risotto. Roasted chicken with hominy and roasted veg.
It was so good.
We took a little hike/romantically cheesy scavenger hunt that took us all over the property. This was part of the package we had selected. This package also included a massage. The masseuse wore a mask the entire time and I felt safe with the precautions she took for us.
When all is said and done we are considering going back in post Covid times when we can experience the town of Muenster, TX, which is where this B & B is located. We spent all our time reading.
So our trip to Disney might be over before it’s even begun!
See, Disney recently announced their plans for re-opening Walt Disney World starting in July. And that came with a lot of restrictions and cancellations.
What got cancelled, you may ask? Well, all of our Disney Dining reservations, including the ones for making the lightsabers! I woke up at five in the morning to make those! They cancelled those for everyone through the end of the year. They will let you make new ones 60 days out from your trip date, but that just means getting up in the morning to do it all again.
They also aren’t going to have parades, fireworks, or any shows that may draw large crowds. Since our trip is still months away this may not affect us, but with the way Covid-19 is looking right now, it may still be this way. This may also mean that there is going to be no Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year, which I was looking forward to.
They have also currently cancelled all Fast passes so they can use the lines for social distancing waiting for all the rides. We shall see how that goes.
Of course, this is just phase one of a phased re-opening. Disney is sure to have more up their sleeves in the future. We just get to play a wait and see game for the next few months.