WHAT + WHEN + WEAR + WHY: DISNEY WORLD

jeans | top | ears | sunnies 

jeans | top | ears | sunnies 

I am so excited for this week's Hey Landyn! Post because it is all about one of my favorite places on earth....Disney!  I have been asked several questions about Disney and how we do it and since we are actually going this week I thought now would be a perfect time to put together a whole post about all things Disney.  I am even enlisting the help of my right hand girl, Julia, because we both love Disney, grew up in Florida going all the time, and she is able to offer a different perspective about doing Disney with younger kids since her boys are 5 and 7.  Hopefully I will answer all of your burning questions.  If there is anything I missed, leave your questions in the comments below and maybe we will do another post down the road.


WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG?


First to answer one of your burning questions, yes I carry a back pack in Disney and so should you.  Let's be honest, we know that as mom's we are the family sherpa's on the best day and I promise at Disney it is one thousand times worse.  You are carrying basically enough stuff to be prepared for a doomsday scenario and you want to be comfortable while you are doing it.  Here is the great thing; back pack have come a long way in the design department and there are so many cute and stylish options out there. 

So what do I actually put in my bag?  Lots of things, but they are all pretty necessary.  Here is my list:  sunscreen, ponchos, hand saniatizer, baby wipes, stain remover wipes, bandaids, portable phone charger, my phone, bottles of water, small toys or activities to keep the kids occupied in line or at dinner, snacks, pain reliever, gum (they do not sell it in park), tissues and lotion.  Whew!  See I told you you will need a back pack.

So here are my thought process on some of these things.  Bring ponchos or rain gear for your family.  There is a very good chance it will rain at least once during your trip and trust me you do not want to have to spend a million dollars on cheap sheets of plastic in the park.  Did you know you can bring your own food and drinks into Disney?  Yep, you can bring an entire cooler full of stuff if you want to and no one will stop you.  They even have lockers where you can store all of it during the day.  It is a great option if you are looking to do Disney on a bit of a budget.  At a minimum have a bottle of water for everyone in your group and a few snacks to get everyone through the day.  Last thought, even though my kids are a little older I still keep a small toy or activity in my bag to keep my kids occupied.  There is a lot of waiting involved in a day at Disney-waiting in lines for rides, waiting for parades and shows to start, waiting for meals- and it is good to have some little boredom busters to keep the whining and meltdowns to a minimum.



WHAT TO WEAR


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I am not going to lie, you will see ALL types of fashion choices at Disney.  Everything from the rattiest of athletic wear to people in heels dressed to the nines.  It should come as no surprise that I do not take a trip to Disney as an excuse to let all sense of fashion and design fly out the window.  My biggest piece of advice for you is COMFORT IS KEY.  You can do comfortable and still look cute at the same time.  A couple pieces of advice.  First and most importantly, wear tennis shoes.  You will be doing a lot of walking- to the tune of 5-7 miles a day on average- and you will want the most comfortable, supportive shoes you can find. This is not the time you want to be breaking-in a new pair of shoes or trying something different then what you typically wear.  The good news is that tennis shoes are SO cute now and there are tons of great options that look good and keep your feet from killing you.  Another important thing to remember is that the outfit that you put on in the morning is going to be with you for probably 12 long hours during the day.  These trips are not the kind of trip where you are going back to the room and changing for dinner or freshening up, so you want to make sure that comfort is taken into consideration when you are dressing.  I know this is not new news to anyone, but Florida is hot, not matter what time of year you go.  You want to wear cool, breathable clothes that will dry fast if necessary and keep you from dying of a heat stroke.  You can never go wrong with athleisure or a cute t-shirt and jean shorts.  Here's the thing, you are going to get your picture taken a lot on your trip and you don't want to look back at all those pictures and think what was I wearing.  Trust me you don't want an oversized t-shirt and yoga pants to be the look that is immortalized in film.

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TOPS



SHORTS



HATS + GLASSES



SNEAKS



MY DISNEY MAKE-UP ROUTINE

I do not typically wear a full face of makeup when I am in the parks.  First off it is hot as fire and most of your make-up will be sweat off by the middle of the day.  Second, while I like to look nice my family does not want to wait for me to execute some elaborate make-up routine before we go into the parks.  The number one most important thing to remember is SUNSCREEN.  I always use my Revision Intellishade Matte because it has an SPF 45 built in and it is a tinted moisturizer.  I will set that with loose powder so it will stay like a make-up, but it is not as heavy.  I also typically bring it into the park and re-apply it mid-day.  Other than that I keep it really simple a little eyeliner, mascara, except now that I have my lashes {LASH Nashville} I don't need that anymore. Just some lip gloss and I am good to go.  Keep it simple. 


WHERE TO STAY


Julia and I are both going to chime in on this because we have all stayed at different places with different price points and can provide different perspectives.  The great thing about Disney is that there really is something for every price point and budget when it comes to lodging.  We are both huge fans of staying on Disney property for several reasons.  The first reason is Disney transportation.  If you are staying at one of Disney's properties you get the benefit of free transportation to and from all the parks either via monorail, bus or ferry.  Second, you get to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, which are the hours when the park is opened, either in the morning or night, where only people who are staying on property get to be in the park.  The third is it keeps you in the Disney bubble.  Yes, it really is a real thing.  There really is something so magical about the Disney experience and part of it is their amazing customer experience.  Everything is so geared towards families and it is done so well and staying on property just keeps that whole experience consistent.

This year we will be staying at a monorail resort, but typically we have done Disney a little different.  A little known fact, we are a huge RVing family and we would always drive our RV down to Disney and stay at Ft. Wilderness.  We LOVE Ft. Wilderness.  They have awesome pools, you can rent bikes and golf carts and be in nature while still being at Disney.  They have tent camping, cabins for rent, and RV hook-ups.  The cabins are a great moderately priced option and perfect for large groups and families.  They have a bedroom, bunk beds, a family room, full kitchen and bathroom, and a nice front porch.  Best part, you can take the ferry and be at Magic Kingdom in 10 minutes.


Julia here, when we go to Disney we always stay in a value level resort- these include the All-Star Sports, Music, Movies and Art of Animation.  We always stay at All-Star Sports and absolutely love it for a couple of reasons.  First, my oldest is probably the biggest sports fanatic that ever lived so the themeing of the resort is perfect for him.  Second, it is on the Disney bus line, but it has its own bus system and doesn't share with the other All-Star resorts so the lines and waits for the buses into and out of the parks are not as bad.  Third, the cost.  We typically can get a room at All-Star Sports for less than what you would pay at a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn (the base rate is $100/night depending on time of year you go).  The rooms are small, but immcuately kept and perfect for our family because we spend very little time in our rooms or at the pools when we go to Disney.  We are park junkies at this stage in our family's life, so we literally are only there to sleep and get ready.  A couple of things to note about value level resorts:  there is a fast-food style food court only and no sit-down restaurant on property, the pools are large and well-kept, but there are no slides, zero entry, waterfalls, etc that you will see in some of the other Disney resorts, and only up to 4 "adults" and one child can stay in an regular room, so if you have a larger family or group you might need to explore other options or get two rooms.

DISNEY WITH OLDER KIDS


The way we attack a day at Disney has changed significantly now that my kids are 10 and almost 13. Julia is going to give you a great perspective on Disney with littles, but I want to share with you how we do Disney with pre-teens.  We typically like to take our time in the morning.  We sleep in as long as we want and then we generally hit the pool at the resort for a few hours.  We will then get ready and get something to eat for lunch.  We generally are hitting the parks around 3-4pm.  We usually get Park Hopper tickets and Epcot is our favorite place to eat so we usually start there and walk around the countries and pick out whatever looks good at the time and have some cocktails.  We then hop on the monorail and head to whatever park happens to have magic hours for the day.  We are generally strolling into the parks as the mass of humanity and children in various stages of meltdown are headed out.  After the fireworks displays at each park they usually completely clear out and you basically have the entire park to yourselves and can ride as many rides as you like.  Since my kids are older we generally stick to the thrill rides and our family favorites.  We are luckily past the days of having to hit it all and my kids are past the days of pitching a complete fit if they didn't see their favorite character or ride their favorite ride.  Once the magic hours are over we head home and get up and do it all over again.


DISNEY WITH YOUNG KIDS


Julia again.  We do Disney a little bit different based on the ages of our kids.  On our first family trip to Disney, my youngest was 2 and my oldest was 5.  They are now 5 and almost 8.  My first piece of advice is to either take a stroller or rent a stroller no matter how old your kids are or how well you think they can handle walking.  We always rent from Orlando Stroller Rental (they are awesome) and we rent the largest double jogging stroller on the market and my kids ride in it everywhere we go.  As Landyn mentioned, you are typically walking 5-7 miles a day and that is really hard on kids and I believe can contribute quite a bit to meltdowns from being over tired.  Also, there is nothing worse then walking about 100 yards down Main Street and then the chorus of my feet hurt, will you carry me? begins.  I also highly recommend getting to each park as close to opening as you possibly can.  Let's be honest, it's not like your kids are not going to be up anyways, so you might as well enjoy the parks when they are at their least crowded throughout the day.  At Magic Kingdom specifically, I recommend heading straight to Fantasyland as soon as you get in the park.  You will be able to ride almost all of the big rides your kids want to see before the lines get too long and the crowds get too bad.  In terms of dining, we typically eat our meals earlier when the lines for food are less and dinner reservations are easier to get.  We typically are eating lunch around 11-11:30 and dinner around 5:30.  This keeps the hunger meltdowns at bay and then we are able to ride some of the rides when they are less crowded during typical eating hours.  If you have young children (under 4ish), I recommend leaving the park in the middle of the day and going back to your hotel to rest and take naps and then coming back into the park before your dinner reservation.  This will allow you to stay in the parks longer and experience some of the special night parades and shows that Disney offers.  Other then that just remember that it is not worth pushing your kids to their breaking point for the sake of another ride, another picture, or another character greeting.  Listen to your kids and consider what they can handle depending on their age and you will have an AWESOME vacation!


 FAVORITE THINGS


This is another one that Julia and I will answer separately to give you a good range and examples of things that are great for all age kids. 

Favorite Meals:  Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, Askerhus Princess Meal at Epcot-great if you have a princess lover/Cinderella fan in your group, Vila Napoli- Italy at Epcot. Magic Kingdom- turkey legs as big as your head. Mickey's Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness. Tappan Edo- Japan, La Hacendia Angel- Mexico, Chef Mickey-oh, those Mickey waffles get me every time and sometimes we just want a nice bottle of wine and a steak, either Yachtman's Steak House or Shula's at the Dolphin Hotel, order the bbq shrimp. I die.  

Favorite Treats:  The Mickey ice cream bars (even though the dairy kills my stomach), cupcakes from the bakery on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, and just about any pastry you get in France at Epcot. Here's the deal...my FAVORITE park is Epcot, The World Showcase to be exact. It's where I want to end my day. It's so fun to stroll through the countries, grab a mommy beverage and wind down from an exciting day. 

Favorite Ride:  Our family's favorite ride is Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios.  We also love The Land at Epcot, Soarin', Big Thunder, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. 

Favorite Out of Park Activity:  We love going to Downtown Disney, that is now known as Disney Springs. It has great restaurants, great shopping, an arcade, bowling alley, movie theater, nightlife, basically all the things. And my kids favorite, Goofy's Candy Shop. 


Julia reporting again.  Our favorite things are a little bit different because a: we have younger kids and b: we have two boys, so they are not as in to the princesses as the girls may be.

Favorite Meals:  Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort (the quintessential Disney Character Meal experience), 50's Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios, Chip and Dale's Garden Grill breakfast in Epcot, Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest (lunch and dinner) at Magic Kingdom, and Teppan Edo in Epcot.

Favorite Treats:  Ice Cream Sundae's from the Main Street Ice Cream Parlour, any pastry in France at Epcot, the Gray Stuff at Be Our Guest, cupcakes and rice krispy treats at the Main Street Bakery.

Favorite Rides:  My absolute favorite ride in all of Disney is Test Track in Epcot.  My five year old's favorite rides are Barnstormer and Dumbo in Magic Kingdom.  My 7 year old loves all the Magic Kingdom rollercoasters, but Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is his absolute favorite.  My husband loves the thrill rides, so he love Misson to Mars at Epcot and Rockin' Rollercoaster.  Some of our favorite family rides are Toy Story Mania, Enchanted Tales with Belle (even your boys will like it), Soarin', and Haunted Mansion.

Favorite Out of Park Activity:  My favorite out of park activity is just visiting all of the other resorts on property.  We always try to schedule a character dinner at a different hotel each time we go to the Disney.  I love seeing how the resorts are decorated and themed.  Disney just does such a great job with that aspect and I love seeing it in action.