Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Disney - here we come!

My family will be heading to Disney World in just a few short days  This time we are taking the kiddos ages 2 and 5.  Here are some things we are doing to save a little cash, time and frustration.

Having stayed both on and off the Disney World resort, we opted to stay at the new Art of Animation Value Resort this time.  While it may be slightly higher priced that hotels outside the Disney area, the ability to easily shuttle to and from the hotel room with tired cranky children is a must!  You can save on room fees by booking your vacation during the "off" season.   You can check on the Disney page for additional discounts.  We used AAA to book our trip and received about $200 extra off our package fees.

If you can swing it - go during the week.  This will save you some time in the park lines (they are slightly less busy on weekdays) and money on your airfare.  In order to reserve some of my husband's hard earned vacation days, we scheduled our trip around my husband's 2 paid days off.  Instead of using 4 vacation days, he only had to use 2.  Certain times of the year are also insanely busy - that is why we did NOT go during Spring break.

Small children CAN'T handle 4 days of theme parks!  I've done the parks as an adult and I was overwhelmed and tired.  I can only imagine how my little guys will feel after roaming the parks all day.  We bought 2 day passes and plan to only do the 2 theme parks best suited to small children, The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.   You can view lists of rides and activities that are age appropriate here. There is PLENTY to do in the Disney Boardwalk, Downtown and at the resort itself on those non-park days (including pools and activity centers!)   As a bonus, David is under 3 and gets in for FREE!

We are bringing a giant box of Cheerios.  Yes, it takes up nearly half a suitcase, but we will not be bringing it back.  I purchased Cheerios for $0.50 and my kiddos will eat this for breakfast every day (they love em!)  Our family suite has a kitchenette with a fridge and provides disposable dishes.  When we arrive we will purchase milk for the refrigerator.   My kids do not eat enough food in the morning to justify purchasing a meal each day.  They also get up very early, which is good since the parks open very early and this will save us time when rushing out the door.  Bonus: The empty space (where the Cheerios were)  in the suitcase will be perfect for bringing home a few souvenirs. 

We are renting a double stroller INSIDE the theme parks.  Double strollers cost $31 a day or $27 for multiple days.  While there are outside stroller rental services that will deliver strollers directly to your room at possibly lower fees, you are responsible for transporting it to and from the parks.  There is NO way I want to keep folding up a double stroller to get on and off the shuttles!  In this case I'm taking ease of use over expense.  *We are taking something bright and colorful to "mark" the stroller to make it easier to find in the sea of strollers when parked.
No, this is probably not a terribly expensive item, but we made our own Autograph Book from a clearance journal with blank pages.  You can download the Disney Font here if you would like it for any crafting such as birthday invites, etc.  *To upload a new font to your computer, unzip the folder, Control Panel, Fonts, Using File Button - Select Upload New Font.

Since I am dragging 5 people to the airport this time (and 2 have car seats) we will be parking at the Buffalo Niagara Airport. There is a printable coupon available here.

We are arriving at the airport very, very early in the morning.  To keep the kids from going crazy we will purchase breakfast within the Airport.  This will kill some time and keep me from having to chase my son around  for hours.  This is the first flight for both my children, since I have motion sickness, I am just going to assume the worst and we will all (with the exception of my husband) be taking Dramamine before we leave. There is a $1.00/1 Dramamine printable available here.   I have explained to my 5 year old about take off and landing so she will not panic when her ears pop and I have packed some Gummy Bears for them to chew on while we do so.  Yes, we are taking both the NOOK and the V-Tech.  They can each have their own and hopefully that will keep them quite during the flight.  We booked an entire row so we can put them by the windows and hopefully keep the little guy from bouncing around.

Wish us luck!  I know my kids are going to go nuts when they get there!

Some fun things you can request by mail if you are thinking of visiting Disney: FREE Customized Maps and FREE Disney Planning DVD.

To my  fellow Western New Yorkers: It will be 85-90 degrees when we get to Orlando - does anything else matter?

Have you been to Disney with small kids before?  Please comment if you have any tips to share!

1 comment:

  1. You are all going to have a wonderful time! Have fun making memories! Take lots of photos, and make sure you are in them too, not just taking them!