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A Week at Walt Disney World with TravelingMom

I’m heading to Walt Disney World with TravelingMom today! We’ll be bringing you lots of great Disney updates around the parks all week long so be sure to follow the hashtags #TMOM and #TMOMDisney.

A Week at Walt Disney World with TravelingMom

The TravelingMom conference will be taking place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but I’ll be there a few days early with my little ones to explore. We’re going to be taking in some of the free things around the Disney World resort, like touring the resort hotels, attending a campfire and singalong and watching the Electrical Water Parade. Temperatures will be around 90 degrees so you can bet we’ll be spending plenty of free time in the pools too!

Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

My 1-yr old daughter, 5-year old son and I will be starting off the week at Port Orleans Riverside. We spent one overnight here several years ago and fell in love with the peaceful grounds. We even stayed in one of the beautiful princess themed rooms last time! We’re looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful resort.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

The TravelingMoms are staying at this beautiful resort this year, my first stay at a deluxe resort. Before we meet up for our first conference day, I’m going to be sure to take the kids swimming at Stormalong Bay (you’ll find me floating in the lazy river!) The kids and I also have an Advanced Dining Reservation booked for Beaches & Cream Soda Shop (“No Way Jose”, here I come!)

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Our final overnight will be at this colorful sprawling resort and I’m looking forward to the Fuentes del Morro pool. All dining establishments here going to be refurbished starting the following day of our visit, so I’m hoping that everything will still be operating business as usual (we’re planning on having Mickey waffles for breakfast here on our last day!)

Spending Time in the Parks and Beyond

For several days I’ll be with my two littles on my own. I’ve traveled to Disney alone with my baby before, so I’m not worried about that at all. And my preschooler has never had a meltdown at Disney, he’s always up for fun and adventure!

We’ll be hitting up Magic Kingdom for dinner at Be Our Guest, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. World Showcase at Epcot is something my aspiring world-traveler wants to explore more this visit and we’re hoping to see Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on this visit as well.

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review - 50's Prime Time Cafe

Walt Disney World- Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The decorated Easter eggs will still be on display at the Contemporary and Grand Floridian Resorts so we’re going to stop in and see them. We’re going to grab a Dole Whip at the Polynesian. And dinner on Tuesday evening will be at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, some place I’ve been wanting to visit for years!

I hope that you’ll follow me on social media this week. Please like and comment so I know you’re enjoying the coverage and I look forward to bring you more content about the Parks when I return from my trip!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK THIS WEEK

Walt Disney World Guide for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? A toddler’s emotions can go up and down quicker than a roller coaster! Is a trip to Magic Kingdom a good idea with your little one? I’m all for taking kids of all ages to Disney parks and I’ll give you the practical tips. Here’s your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day when visiting with toddlers at Magic Kingdom.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing tips to for taking toddlers to the Disney Parks.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom

Toddlers can be a fickle bunch. One moment they’re happily clapping along with Mickey during a meet n’ greet and the next they’re screaming in Pluto’s face when Mom tries to snap a photo. You might be wondering if it’s a good idea at all to take a toddler to Disney parks. I’ve been traveling to Disney parks all my life, including my very first visit to Disneyland when I was just one year old. I’ve been taking my children to the parks for years, including taking my then-6 month old daughter cross-country to Walt Disney World! I think taking toddlers to Disney parks is a wonderful idea and I’ll tell you why Magic Kingdom in particular is the perfect toddler vacation spot.

Of all the Walt Disney World parks, I think Magic Kingdom is tailor-made for toddlers. There is really so much that little ones can enjoy here including shows, attractions and dining. Many of the rides in Magic Kingdom do not have height restrictions, so toddlers can join their parents in the fun.

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

1. Do Your Research & Get Toddlers Prepared for the Trip

As noted, toddlers can be unpredictable. That being said, there is quite a bit you can do pre-trip to get them ready for Disney.

  • Brush up on which Disney rides your toddler will be tall enough for on your vacation. This list of rides that do not have a height requirement will be safe for everyone!
  • Order a Disney travel planning DVD and watch it with your child to show them what Disney World looks like.
  • Watch YouTube videos of the rides you think they’ll want to go on. They’ll be less stressed out or worried if they have an idea what to expect ahead of time.
  • Read Disney-themed books and watch age appropriate Disney films or Disney Junior programs to get toddlers familiar with some of the characters.
  • Create a countdown calendar that will count down the days until your vacation.

Toddler Tip #1: Find out from your toddler what their top three “must-do” things are for the trip. Whether it’s meeting a certain princess or eating a churro, put those things at the top of your vacation list and make sure they happen!


Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

2. Have a Well-Stocked Toddler Bag

Every great Disney day begins with a well-stocked bag. These are a few of the essentials you should consider packing in with you.

  • Disposable bibs
  • Snacks
  • Sipper cup
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Diaper supplies (changing pad, diapers, wipes)
  • Change of clothes
  • Wet bag (for storing wet or soiled clothing)

Toddler Tip #2: Choose a backpack instead of a diaper bag. You’ll be able to wear the backpack in queue and remain hands free.

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

3. The Early Bird Gets the Rides

If your toddler is an early bird, I’d recommend getting to Magic Kingdom at “rope drop”. Arriving early will allow you to experience many of the rides in Fantasyland with less of a wait than if you waited until mid-day.

One you’re inside Magic Kingdom, immediately hit Fantasyland. Rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world”, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo the Flying Elephant are toddler favorites.

Toddler Tip #3: Start the day with a quick snack in the hotel room. Something like fresh-cut fruit, a granola bar or even dry cereal (avoiding sugary snacks) will get toddlers on the right side of the bed in the morning.

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

4. Shows to Make Toddlers Smile

  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
  • Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it! Street Party

Toddler Tip #4: Most toddlers will enjoy a day that’s well-balanced with rides, shows, play and rest. Instead of rushing around the park tackling all of the rides, make sure to schedule in some downtime before and after some of the shows that will allow for a nap, free play or a snack.

 

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

Toddlers that are too shy for meet n’ greets might just enjoy waving to characters at the parade instead.

5. A Full Belly Makes for a Happier Toddler!

A grumble in a toddler’s tummy will make them turn from beauty to beast! Here are some dining tips to keep toddler bellies full and happy.

Children Under 3 Eat for Free (sort of) – You are welcome to share your meal with your toddler at no additional charge. You can also prepare them a plate at any buffet meal without cost. However if you order your toddler their own plate from the menu or something from the kid’s menu, you will need to pay for it.

Look for the Mickey Check – Kid’s Mickey Check meals meet Disney nutrition guidelines as a healthier meal. These dishes limit calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.

Full-Service Dining –

  • Plan ahead by making Advanced Dining Reservations for any full-service meals you wish to eat in Magic Kingdom (here’s how to get the reservations for the meals you want!).
  • Research menus ahead of your trip before deciding what restaurants will work best for your family. While you might be hungry for the Layered Ratatouille at Be Our Guest restaurant, your toddler may be less than thrilled at the Chicken Brochette. Make sure that what’s on the menu will be something your toddler will eat.
  • Plan on a much longer dining time at full-service locations. If your toddler can’t sit through a usual restaurant experience or fusses because he’s done and wants to leave, consider dining quick service instead.
Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

You want Disney dining & your toddler probably only cares about the corn dogs!

Quick-Service Dining – 

  • Quick service meals are often delivered fast, making them great for when your toddler is hungry RIGHT NOW!
  • Divide up the adults when in a quick-service restaurant. One adult can grab a table and high chair for the toddler and the other adult can place all the orders.

Character Meals – Toddlers may especially enjoy the buffet character dining in The Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends. One caveat: If your toddler is afraid of characters (or you suspect they might be), avoid booking character dining or risk having them cry during the entire meal!

Snacks – There are snack locations and carts all over Magic Kingdom with savory and sweet treats for toddlers.

Toddler Tip #5: Don’t think you have to rely only on the snacks sold in the park. Pack in your toddler’s favorites; you’re allowed to bring snacks in the parks with you! Be sure to balance out snacks with fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins to avoid mid-day crash!

6. Let Them Think They’re In Control

Disney parks puts toddlers in control of the fun. Some rides let little ones take control and everyone knows that toddlers like to take the reins! If your toddler likes to push buttons, turn the knobs and take charge of the wheel, check out these Magic Kingdom attractions –

  • Astro Orbitor
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade (for the cost of a few quarters)
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (32″ or taller)
Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

Let your toddler think he’s in control behind the wheel!

7. Sleepy Kids (aka: Avoiding the Meltdown)

If your toddler is accustomed to napping you might want to consider returning to the hotel before nap time to ensure that she gets the rest she needs before the dreaded meltdown ensues!

If your toddler can sleep despite the extra noise and excitement inside Magic Kingdom, start by winding things down a bit and enjoy a few mellow attractions like Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover or Liberty Square Riverboat. Then seek out a location where your toddler can rest in the shade of their stroller. I found a nook near Gaston’s Tavern to be a great resting place that included a seat in the shade for me!

Toddler Tip #6: Use a stroller, even if you think your toddler won’t ride in one. Little legs get very tired from all the walking and it’s great to have a shady place for them to rest or just eat a snack. If you don’t want to bring your own stroller, consider renting one during the trip from Amusement Park Rentals.

Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

8. A Place to Toddle

Take your toddler out of the stroller and let them roam in these fun and save environments (naturally, you’ll need to follow closely behind!)

    • Swiss Family Treehouse
    • Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station (bring a swim suit, towel and waterproof, slip-resistant shoes)
    • Tom Sawyer Island

9. It’s the Little Things

With a focus on the big shows and attractions inside Magic Kingdom, you might miss out on some of a toddlers favorite little things to discover. Toddlers often need more time to just watch and absorb the entertainment so make sure you’re taking this into account before pushing the stroller away. These little things might be your toddlers favorite too, so be sure to spend a bit of time checking them out:

  • Toddlers love to sing and dance. If you see Casey’s Corner Pianist playing or the Dapper Dans singing, let you toddler get up out of the stroller to dance and clap along.
  • Pressed coins. What toddler doesn’t love to turn the crank on the pressed coin machine and have a quirky souvenir to show everyone? Aim to collect several from around the park.
  • Save a souvenir to hand your toddler when you leave the Park. Something small like a race car or a bottle of bubbles can help prevent cranky kid meltdown at the end of the night (and also give them something to entertain themselves on the bus back to the hotel).
  • Electrical Water Pageant. Another great way to get your toddler out of Magic Kingdom, by showing them this simple and sweet parade that takes place each night outside the park exit.
Toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here's your Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day.

Back at the Port Orleans Riverside, dreaming of Disney!

For more advice on taking toddlers to Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Traveling to Disney with Toddlers Loop:

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations for the Meals You Want

Want to eat at all the best Walt Disney World restaurants on your vacation? Here’s how to get the Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) for the meals you want! Follow these 8 practical tips and you’ll soon be dining alongside Mickey, Cinderella and the Beast!

Getting the Best Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations

Disneyland regulars very rarely book ADR because most of the full-service restaurants are easy to dine in as a walk-up.  There are a few exceptions, like character meals, Blue Bayou restaurant and certainly during busier seasons and the Holidays.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

Walt Disney World is completely different however, and ADR are needed for most (if not all) full-service restaurants. Many of these restaurants are experiences in and of themselves. Guests can dine inside of a castle like at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table. Or step back in time at 50’s Prime Time Cafe or Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe. Watch fireworks from a rooftop vantage at California Grill or giddy-up at Hoop-dee-doo Musical Revue. And of course if you want to dine with Mickey, you’re going to need a reservation!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

So how can you get that Advanced Dining Reservation for the meal you really want? These are basic tips for newbies looking to grab a few ADR for their trip. Keep in mind that these “dining experiences” often take up a good amount of time so build them in to your trip. I only book 1 ADR per day, usually for dinner. This allows us to eat a light breakfast in our hotel room, grab a quick service lunch whenever hunger strikes and then enjoy our fancy ADR meal at dinner time.

1. Plan Out Your Itinerary

Before you start picking out ADR willy-nilly, you’ll need to plot out your basic itinerary. You don’t want to be booking The Crystal Palace for breakfast at Magic Kingdom on a day you’d planned on being at Typhoon Lagoon.

Likewise be sure to check the times of the attractions you wish to watch before booking an ADR. I almost booked a coveted Be Our Guest dinner reservation but stopped short after checking my itinerary and realized it fell right during the fireworks show we’d planned on watching.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

2.Book at 180 Days

Your best bet for getting the reservation you want it is to book the very day that you can, at the very first moment they open the reservations (either by phone or online). This would be 180 days out. That is how you’ll get the most coveted slots like Cinderella’s Table, by being the early bird!

3. Check the Website Frequently

Missed the 180 day window? You may still be able to grab the reservation you want by frequently scoping out the ADR website for openings. I was able to grab a reservation for 50s Prime Time Cafe five days before my trip just by checking the site several times a day.

Walt Disney World Restaurant Review - 50's Prime Time Cafe

Dennis the Menace

4. Search by Meals, Not by Exact Times

When checking for availability, search by meals instead of exact times. You’ll have a greater chance at finding a reservation if you use the more broad “meal times” instead of exact times.

Inside the “Check Availability” box there is a drop-down menu that will say Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (if the restaurant isn’t open for a particular meal, that meal won’t show up in the menu). If there is a time available there will be a button with the time available that you can click to reserve your spot.

5. Use a Travel Agent

Many agents will include booking dining as part of your vacation package. So instead of having to get up before sunrise to make those calls to Disney dining, your agent will do the work for you!

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

6. Use Touring Plans

If you don’t have time to be constantly checking for open ADR, there’s a site that will help you with that! Touring Plans offers a Disney World Dining Reservation Finder. You just plug in the details of the restaurant meal you want booked and Touring Plans sends you an email when a reservation opens up.

Naturally you have to be the first person to grab it before it’s taken by someone else, but it definitely saves time not having to stalk the website yourself! I used it last month to get a reservation for Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe. The email came through letting me know there was a reservation available and I was able to immediately go online and scoop up the reservation for the meal time I wanted!

7. Be Open to Different Times

How many of you would be willing to eat at Be Our Guest if the only reservation is for 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night? What if you had your baby and preschooler with you? I actually have this reservation set for my next visit and for us, it will work out great! Since we’re coming from the West Coast, I’m planning on keeping my little ones on Pacific Time so 9:30 pm (6:30 PST) won’t be that late of a dinner for them.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

Certainly, some reservation times just aren’t ideal for many families. But if you can be open to dining at a different time you’ll more likely be able to find a reservation. Consider pushing back lunch so you can have a later dinner. Then stay to play in the parks and sleep in the next day. Or if you find an early dinner reservation, eat a big breakfast, skip lunch, have your early dinner and then enjoy dessert later in the evening.

8. Last Minute Find

Even while on vacation, an ADR may open up for something you want on the trip. Many guests overbook and then cancel at the last minute (to avoid any no-show charges). This opens up an ADR for you! I was able to book a last minute Be Our Guest lunch the day we arrived. Keep checking the website on your mobile phone to see if an ADR opens up for the time you want.

What ADR tips do you have? Share in the comments!

 

Best Books to Buy When Planning a Disney Trip

I’m all for doing my online research ahead of time. I search Google for everything far and wide so I can get the most information when planning a Disney trip. But there’s just something about having all the tips in one place – A book! To have a book in hand is invaluable; to be able to flip the page, see photos, tab and highlight favorite sections – That’s one of my favorite parts of Disney vacation research! See my recommendations for the best books to purchase when planning a Disney trip.

Planning a Disney Trip? Pick up a Book

Whether you’re just in the research stages, getting the kids familiar with Disney or looking for some background and history there is a Disney book for everyone in your family! You can even take some of these books along with you for the trip.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your group!

 

Research Books to Help You Plan & Stay Organized

If you read this blog at all you’ll know that doing your pre-vacation research is an important way to save money and time on your trip! These Disney vacation research books will help you properly plan and be prepared. The Unofficial Guide was my go-to research book when planning my first vacation to Walt Disney World.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017

Birnbaum’s 2017 Disneyland Resort: The Official Guide (Birnbaum Guides)

PassPorter’s Walt Disney World 2016

    

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner: A Complete Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake for Your Unforgettable Vacation

Frommer’s EasyGuide to Disney World, Universal and Orlando 2017 (Easy Guides)

102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World: Bonus! 40 Free Things to Enjoy, Eat, Do and Collect!

  

Books for Kids to Get them in a Disney Mood

Get the kids on board by supplying them with a few Disney themed titles. They can help with vacation planning or just get in the Disney mood with a few storybooks. My son owns several of these Disney Storybook Collections and they are a bedtime favorite leading up to our vacation day whenever we’re planning a Disney trip. My older kids have read and loved the Kingdom Keepers series.

Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World For Kids: The Official Guide (Birnbaum Guides)

Going To Disneyland – A Guide for Kids & Kids at Heart

Disney*Pixar Storybook Collection

    

Kingdom Keepers Boxed Set: Featuring Kingdom Keepers I, II, and III

The Mystery at Walt Disney World (Real Kids, Real Places)

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2018

    

Books for Little Ones

If this is baby’s first Disney trip you’ll want to make them familiar with characters. These sweet books are ideal. The encyclopedia is great for acquainting kids with the characters and you can take it with you on the trip to have each character sign inside!

Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters

Disney® Mickey Mouse “My First Books” (Set of 4 Shaped Board Books)

Disney Classics Little Golden Book Library (Disney Classic)

Disney Baby My First Colors

     

Books with a History and Background

Ready to dig a little deeper into Disney lore? You want a book with a bit of history or that gives you some background into the Disney experience?
I’m wanting The Disney Book for myself, it looks like an amazing read!

Disney A to Z (Fifth Edition): The Official Encyclopedia

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real

  

The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)

       

Books to Use When on the Trip

Once you’re on vacation, there are a few books that you can bring with you to maximize your Park experience. They also help alleviate boredom when standing in line or waiting in restaurants! I think my preschooler would get a kick out of finding Hidden Mickeys on our next visit!

Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets

The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Trivia Book: Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic (Volume 1)

The Disney World Queue Line Scavenger Hunt: The Game You Play While Waiting In Line

    

What are your favorite Disney books? Share in the comments!

20 Trusted Tips for Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney

Traveling with a baby has many challenges. Traveling by yourself with a baby? Even more to consider! How about traveling alone with a baby to Disney? I’m here to tell you it can be done! I’ve done it twice in the last year. With some advance planning and knowledge, traveling alone with a baby doesn’t have to be vacation-doom. Read on for my 20 tips for traveling alone with a baby.

Traveling Alone with a Baby

Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World for a conference with the TravelingMoms. With a 6 month old at home, I knew that I’d need to bring her with me for the 4 days I’d be out of town. I was feeling confident and excited. First of all, I was going to Disney World! Second, with only a baby in tow, it was going to be almost like a solo vacation (hmm, almost but not quite!)

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Starstruck by Chip

I had a lot to learn, it seems! I’ve outlined all the details you’ll need to consider when traveling alone with a baby, with special considerations given for Disney vacation travel.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase through these links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Travel Times

When considering booking your flight, take a look at your baby’s schedule. I chose to fly in the morning, which would fall during my daughter’s first nap of the day. She’s also in a much better mood in the morning than in the evening so I knew she’d be happier during the flight. I was flying from San Diego to Orlando which clocks in at just around 5 hours. I lucked out and she was able to sleep for about 2 hours on the plane while I wore her in the front carrier.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Choose a non-stop flight whenever possible. Getting on and off the plane with all your stuff and a baby is less daunting if you know you only have to do it once each way.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

2. Checked Luggage

One of the best things about a Walt Disney World vacation is that luggage is handled for you when you stay on-site. Check it curbside at the airport and the next time you’ll see it will be inside your Disney World resort hotel room! Yes, they take care of getting your luggage from the airlines and then deliver it directly to your room. One less thing to worry about for sure!

What do you need to pack with you for a Disney vacation? Be sure to check out these two handy printable lists, a list for mom and a list for baby! I’ll mention that I underestimated the number of wipes I’d need and had to buy more on the last day. Fortunately they sold them inside the Baby Care center at Epcot!

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: You’ll be lugging your luggage to the front of the hotel on check-out day so make sure you have one that rolls well and isn’t so impossibly heavy that you can’t handle it yourself.

3. Carry-On Bags

In addition to what you’d normally pack in a carry-on bag for yourself, you’re also going to need to carry everything for baby as well. This would include plenty of diapers and wipes, changing table pad, baby snacks, blanket, bottle or cup and at least 1 change of clothes (some babies have intestinal issues during air travel because of the increased pressure, so you might want to bring 2+ outfits!)

The baby’s #Disneyland outfits are done, we can officially go on vacation! #Disney #sewing #babyclothes

A post shared by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Consider making your carry-on bag a backpack. Not only will it be easier to carry through the airport, you’ll also be able to access your supplies easier when you can compartmentalize in a backpack rather than a cavernous tote bag.


4. Navigating the Airport

From checking your luggage, passing through security checks and making the long walk to your gate, you’re going to need free hands. Holding a baby and juggling these other tasks is tricky so make it easy on yourself and wear the baby so your hands are free. On my flight to Disney World I was allowed to pass through security while baby-wearing and didn’t have to take her off my body. I use a Boba Air Baby Carrier and wore it through my entire trip. Invaluable!

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Wear shoes that slip on and off easily without your hands so you won’t have sit and bend over to tie them.


5. On the Flight

My daughter sat on my lap during the flight, mostly held in her front carrier. I opted not to purchase a seat for her or bring her car seat because I knew that I would not be able to carry it on the travels by myself. Once in my plane seat, I used a sanitizing wipe to clean down any surface that my baby might touch (windowsill, arm rests and tray table).

Ready for takeoff! SAN to MCO #waltdisneyworld here we come #tmomdisney #Tmom

A post shared by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

I was blessed to have an empty seat next to me on the flight there and a completely empty row on the flight home! This allowed me to spread out a bit and use the empty seat to hold my carry-on backpack. You might not be so lucky and of course, space is tight on a plane. Pack your carry-on bag judiciously so you can reach in for what you need quickly when it’s at your feet.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Forget pulling out the laptop on the plane; with a lap-sitting baby you probably won’t have the space for it on the tray table. Bring a good book or magazine for when baby naps (or heck, take a nap yourself!)

6. Bathroom Breaks

When you gotta go, you gotta go! What do you do when you have to use the bathroom? Because I wasn’t going to have a stranger on the plane hold my baby, I placed her inside the front carrier and still had my hands free to do my business and properly wash my hands. When in the Disney parks, I’d simply roll her inside the bathroom in her stroller and use one of the large stalls. Take the changing pad with you and take care of baby’s needs while you’re in the bathroom too.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Changing diapers on the plane has it’s own challenges! Be sure to read this post with tips for changing a diaper on a plane from my friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes.


7. Using a Stroller

Since I was using the front carrier to tote my baby through the airport, I opted to leave our regular stroller at home. I had used Amusement Park Rentals in the past for my son and contacted them once again for a stroller on this trip with the baby. It was so convenient to meet them in the lobby, have the rental stroller for the trip and then have them pick it up at the end of the visit. They even included a rain cover for the stroller in case of showers.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: If you choose to bring a stroller with you, roll it right up to the entrance of the plane and the stewards will store it for you.

Heavy sleeper. @disneyland #disneybaby #Rollercoaster #Disney #Disneyland

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8. Take the Magical Express

One of the fabulous benefits of staying at a Disney World resort hotel is complimentary use of Magical Express. This is bus transportation that will take you from Orlando Airport directly to the front entrance of your Disney World resort. Babies can lap sit just like on the plane. If you have a car seat they will not allow it on the bus, it will be stored underneath the bus with carry on luggage.

Solo Traveling Tip: If staying off-site at a non-Disney resort hotel and unable to use Magical Express, bring a car seat from home for baby. Services like Uber and Lyft do offer car seats in some vehicles but they aren’t rear-facing seats for babies under 2.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

9. Transportation on Disney Property

Once on Disney property you’ll be able to get to and from your hotel to the parks and Disney Springs via transportation buses, monorail system and friendship boats. You’ll be in charge of carrying your baby, folding and carrying your own stroller and handling your own bags so consider this when packing for a day in the parks.

If you find yourself in need of help, ask someone standing in line with you for assistance. In my case, I always had someone asking me if I would like help or they’d even swoop in and grab my stroller to put it on the bus for me!

Solo Traveling Tip: During peak season and when mass groups are entering or leaving the parks, seating can be very limited. There were several times I had to stand on the bus and hold onto the rail. Wear baby in a front carrier so you can hold on to the rails. You do NOT want to take a tumble when the bus turns or stops.

10. Hotel Choice

The rooms at All-Star Music and Sports were on the small side but adequately suited for just the two of us. It had enough space for me to park the stroller in the doorway and the second bed allowed me to spread out luggage and use it as a changing table for the baby.

I was co-sleeping with my daughter so we simply shared one of the queen sized beds. However resort guests can request a pack ‘n’ play portable crib when booking your reservation. It would have been a very tight fit for a crib in the All-Star rooms so keep that in mind when looking at the resort hotel square footage.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

All-Star resort hotel room

Solo Traveling Tip: Getting back and forth from the hotel room to the bus pick-up, the time it took to travel and then the walking from the bus depot into the parks really takes a great effort when alone with a baby! Consider booking a hotel on the monorail line to cut transportation time and struggles.

11. Room Location Requests

On my visit, I stayed in three different hotels. Certainly not ideal but I was padding my stay at the conference hotel on each end of the visit with a Disney Resort hotel. Unfortunately the two Disney Resorts were All-Star Music and Sports, which are both very large resorts. The rooms I was given at each hotel were the furthest walk to and from the front entrance. It would seriously take me 15 minutes of brisk walking to get from my room to the bus each day. It took even longer on check-out day when I was trying to push a baby in a stroller, carry a diaper bag and wheel my luggage at the same time!

Solo Traveling Tip: If you’re traveling alone with a baby put in a request when booking the room for a location that isn’t such a long distance away.

Thankful for this sweet girl, who has been the best travel companion I could have asked for! #TMOM #TBaby #WaltDisneyWorld

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12. Consider Renting a Locker

If you’re packing in everything you’ll need for a Disney day including diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and baby food, consider renting a locker in the Park to hold items until you need them. No need lugging around all the diapers and food for the day if you can store some of them in a locker that allows in and out privileges.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

13. Dining at Disney

If your baby is big enough to sit inside a highchair you’ll find that they are plentiful inside restaurants, including quick service locations. I decided not to pack the highchair cover because it was just so big to lug around with me inside the parks. All of the highchairs I used were quite clean and had functioning buckles. I simply wiped the chair down with a sanitizing wipe before putting my baby inside.

Although children under 2 are free to eat at the buffet with a paying adult, I chose to skip the buffets. It’s next to impossible to hold two trays of food on your own as well as handle your baby! I also opted out of full-service dining on my trip as my baby wasn’t eating table food yet.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Definitely ask for help if you need it. Navigating inside the quick service lines with a stroller and balancing a tray of food through crowded seating areas is hard when you’re alone. I requested help from the server when I ordered, asking if I could have assistance with getting my tray to the table.

Solo Traveling Tip: Check out this post about feeding your baby at Disney, including what to pack (disposable bibs and stick-on place mats are a must!)

14. Taking on the Rides

There are so many rides and attractions to experience, even with a baby on board. Since you won’t be able to use Rider Swap on this trip if you want to go on a ride, you’ll have to take baby with you!

Pre-trip, check out the height restrictions on the Disney parks website. If there are no restrictions, you can bring baby with you onto the ride. At both Walt Disney World and Disneyland I’ve been able to ride dozens of things with my baby on my lap, even Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party teacups and the Haunted Mansion.

PeopleMover for the first time! #Tmom #MickeysNotSoScaryHalloweenParty #WaltDisneyWorld

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Sleeping baby in a front carrier? Ask the Cast Member at the front of the attraction if you can ride. I was able to hop on Dumbo the Flying Elephant while my daughter napped and she never woke up. At Walt Disney World on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh I was instructed by the Cast Member to remove her from the carrier and turn her forward facing with her legs under the bar. Keep baby in the front carrier through the queue waits…your tired arms will thank you!

Solo Traveling Tip: Use FastPass when you can to keep the line waits down. You’ll find that getting a FastPass for the non-thrill rides is pretty easy. I even used my choices for character meet n’ greets.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

My very cool travel companion.

15. Shows for All Ages

Certain shows (like Mickey’s PhilharMagic and It’s Tough to Be a Bug!) have extremely high volumes and may contain some frightening elements. Things like the fireworks spectacular may frighten your baby. If you’re far enough away from the action, she may be fine with the show (mine wasn’t fazed by the noise).

Other shows are very calm, like Enchanted Tales with Belle and The American Adventure. Some shows feature lively music or bright colors (like Finding Nemo-The Musical, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room or Country Bear Jamboree) that baby may enjoy watching the action. Of course the parades are all very fun for baby to watch as well. All of the indoor shows I saw requested that you leave your stroller outside.

Solo Traveling Tip: Read up on what show elements will be appropriate for baby in the books The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017 and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017. There are details on the scare-factor of each attraction.

    

16. Quiet Areas

Baby’s overstimulated? Or do you just need a quiet place to rest and recoup? Check out the Baby Care Centers. There is one located in each Disney Park and it’s a clean place to nurse, feed, diaper change, rock or just relax quietly with your baby. The nursing rooms are dimmed and some have rocking chairs. For more breastfeeding tips at Disney parks see my post on DisneyBaby blog.

Solo Traveling Tip: Bring your cell phone and charging cord inside with you. I found outlets inside the nursing rooms (for plugging in a breast pump) but you can use it to recharge your phone while feeding your little one (so long as someone with a breast pump doesn’t need it).

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Each Disney Park has a Baby Care Center.

17. Naptime Needs

Babies tend to sleep wherever and whenever, which is a great thing! However over-stimulation may result in naps that are delayed or skipped and shortened sleep schedules. Rested babies are happier babies so take time to make sure baby gets the rest she needs, even if it means returning to the hotel. I was able to get my daughter to fall asleep in the parks, usually after a feeding and then placing her inside the front carrier.

There were times when my daughter was napping in her stroller. I took that time to browse the shops, stand in line for character meet n’ greets, eat a meal or simply rest and people-watch from a bench.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

My sleepy girl “meeting” Jessie & Woody at Magic Kingdom

18. Capture the Moments

You NEED memories of this trip so be sure to take a camera with you! Take selfies. Hand over your camera to Disney PhotoPass photographers. Get in line with the characters for a sweet meet n’ greet. Make sure to get in the pictures yourself, too! Take pictures of it all, you’re going to love looking back at your baby’s first Disney trip!

Solo Traveling Tip: Don’t forget to collect a “First Visit” button to document your baby’s first day at Disney!

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

19. Accept Help

I was checking out of the hotel on the last day and struggling under all my bags. I had acquired a few souvenirs for the kids back home and my bags were overflowing. I was wearing the sleeping baby in her front carrier, pushing a stroller loaded down with one bag and pulling a suitcase behind me. Suddenly someone came up from behind me and started pushing my luggage for me, a teacher from Minnesota who was on the trip with students. She’d seen me lunking that suitcase across the sidewalk and happily pushed it for me as we chatted on the way to the front of the hotel.

Sure, there are sometimes you really can do it alone but if someone wants to help, let them! It makes them feel good to help you out. I can still remember the conversations I had on the transportation bus with the dad of the adopted children from Africa who carried my stroller on board. And the smile from the Cast Member who carried my food tray to my table.

20. Go With the Flow

For sure, traveling alone with a baby is sure to be a vacation that’s different than any other. You’ll be dealing with diapers, tears and feedings all by yourself. Baby’s having a meltdown at the sight of Mickey? Believe me, it won’t be the first time a baby has cried in a character’s face! Don’t stress, just laugh about it.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

She woke up and the first thing she saw was Mickey’s face. She was not amused.

And just because you aren’t riding coasters and are going by baby’s schedule instead of your own, doesn’t mean you can’t have a magical time! Think of traveling alone with your baby as the perfect opportunity to do things on this trip that you wouldn’t consider otherwise because you’re at a slower pace. Before you know it, your baby will be joining you on the coasters!

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Save money at DISNEY WORLD!

Purchase discount tickets and Walt Disney World vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.


 For more ideas for traveling solo to Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Traveling Solo to Disney Loop:

Have you ever considered traveling alone with a baby to Disney? I’d love to hear your comments!

 

Disney Souvenirs To Buy BEFORE Your Disney Vacation

Disney souvenirs bought in the Disney parks can be expensive! Yes, there are sometimes exclusive Disney souvenirs that can only be found in the parks, but more often than not you can purchase them at home for a reasonable price. There are also some souvenirs that you can purchase ahead of your trip and take them with you on vacation to use in the Disney parks! Keep reading for my list of Disney souvenirs to buy BEFORE you go on vacation.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking and purchasing through my links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

Why Buy Disney Souvenirs Ahead of Time?

Why should you consider buying your Disney souvenirs before your vacation?

#1 is the cost benefit – You’ll save a great percentage buying items at home and bringing them with you versus purchasing them in the Parks.

#2 is that you’ll have more choices – Rather than be “stuck” with the limited choices available in the Parks, you’ll have the option of picking from the entire world wide web if you order them before you leave home!

#3 is that you’ll save precious vacation time – Why spend your vacation shopping for trinkets when you could be maximizing your Park time, swimming in the resort pool or sipping another Dole Whip float?!

No need to fill up your suitcases before your trip. You can certainly have souvenirs shipped to you at home or have them sent directly to meet you at your Disney Resort hotel.

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

From the Walt Disney World website:

If you intend to receive mail during your vacation, be sure the letter or package:

  • Includes the mailing address of your Disney Resort Hotel
  • Clearly features the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival

Please note that a $5 per package handling fee will apply to all packages that are received through the Front Desk or are delivered to your Disney Resort hotel room.

Souvenirs to Cover Your Head

Did you know you can get Mouse Ear hats before your Disney trip? And adorable Ear headbands too! Or choose a ball cap to shield the sun from your eyes or a warm Disney cap to keep you toasty. Wear your hat on the plane to save on luggage space.


Pins for Trading

Some of these souvenir pins are PRICEY! Purchase ahead of time and shop for individual Disney Parks authentic trading pins from Disney Store. You can also purchase bulk lots of authentic pins on Amazon (like this Disney Trading Pins Lot) if you don’t have a specific pin in mind and don’t mind a few obscure pins. This is a great gift to give a child before your trip to get them started on pin trading.

If you must buy them in the Parks, choose only those pins that can’t be purchased elsewhere or that are limited edition specials.


Misting Fan

It can get hot at Disney and as the sweat rolls down your back you’ll be eyeing these misting fans that many of the guests buy in the Parks. You can find a Disney Misting Fan on Amazon for a lot less than you’ll pay in the Parks.


Lanyards

Lanyards can serve multiple purposes from holding trading pins, paper tickets & FastPass cards at Disneyland or your medical identification. You can purchase these in the Parks or find them online. Some even have a coin purse or pouch to hold cash.

Disney Store has Park Authentic lanyards. I like the Disney Mickey Mouse Lanyard with Coin Purse from Amazon.


Souvenir T-Shirts

I saw a souvenir t-shirt at Walt Disney World that I was considering for my baby girl on my last visit…until I saw the price tag of $30! Yikes! You can get three for the price of one if you shop wisely beforehand.

Target, Disney Store and Amazon all have fantastic authentic Disney designs and you won’t be paying more than you should for one tee.


Souvenir Plush

Cute little stuffed animals in the Parks come at a premium price. Why not buy them upfront and take advantage of frequent sales and special offers, like the Disney Store online often has. You can still get Mickey and Minnie but you’ll likely get them for a steal when you buy them beforehand.


Snacks

Unless you’re using up your Disney Dining Plan snack credits, don’t use your souvenir money to buy pricey snacks. Tote in your usual snacks and if you must “Disney” them, pack them in a Disney-themed container.


Pretty Baubles

Okay, I’ll admit it, I can’t seem to stay out of the Pandora shop! I’ve purchased myself Pandora charms at both the tiny shop in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and the dreamy Main Street U.S.A. shop at Walt Disney World. Okay…and at the World of Disney too! These are the three charms that I have on my Pandora bracelet.

Pandora seems to have a set price on their charms so you won’t find that the price higher or lower by much. They do sometimes put them on sale at the Disney Store online (including the Disneyland 60th Anniversary charm).

Souvenirs to Light Up the Night

I’m a big fan of the Target Dollar Spot glow jewelry. Makes it easy to spot my kids after sunset. I use a few to wrap on the handle of the stroller so I can spot it in the crowd in the dark.

As soon as the sun is setting, the Disney Parks crew will pull out the carts stocked full with fun toys that glow and spin. Come prepared with your own light-up souvenirs for the kids, like the Mickey Mouse Glow Spinner.

For the Pool

Resist the urge to buy the new bathing suit, sandals, sunglasses or towel in the Disney Resort gift shop. I’ll admit that I bought my two older kids each a Disney-themed towel when I went to Walt Disney World and they cost me upwards of $20 a piece!

Get two for the price of one by purchasing Disney swimwear and towels before you leave home.


Souvenirs to Keep You Warm

Yes, I have several “souvenir” sweatshirts from day trips to Disneyland when the weather was chillier than expected! $50 later I wasn’t cold anymore but wow, I could certainly buy a nice sweatshirt or jacket for much less at home. Don’t forget to pack rain ponchos if showers are in the forecast!


Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

MORE Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

If you know me via this blog, you know that one of the BIG ways my family saves money at Disney Parks is at meal time. I’ve written about saving money on food at Disney on my popular post, 7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks. I’m back with MORE ways to save money on food at Disney parks…keep reading for my tips!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Save Money on Food at Disney

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase through my link helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

1. Customize Your Order

Even if the menu only shows “meal deals” that include a main dish, side dish and a beverage, you can (in most cases) request only the main dish at a reduced cost. So if you only want the burger but the deal comes with fries and a soda, request only the burger and ask about the cost (it should be lower).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

2. Be Choosy at Special Events

Special dishes can be found in the kiosks at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Festival of the Arts and Flower & Garden Festival and Disney California Adventure Parks Festival of Holidays. These plates of food are of high-quality and can’t be found outside of the event. And for that, you’ll pay a premium price!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

At the kiosks for these events you’ll be able to order fancy appetizers, small servings of a top-notch dish and alcoholic sips. And each one of these mini-delights could be almost the same cost as a full-sized quick service meal!  If you’re wanting to indulge in a few of these kiosk treats, stick to a set amount and choose wisely or else your meal budget could be eaten up very quickly.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Very expensive little dishes bought in Italy at the Flower & Garden Festival

3 & 4. Two Tips About Kids Meals

Kids meals sizes and prices are smaller than full-sized meals. And that can be a both a positive and a negative, depending upon your needs!

When I last went to Walt Disney World, I arrived to my hotel late. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat an enormous meal. I opted to order a kids meal burger that came with a smaller amount of fries and chocolate milk. It was the perfect size meal for me and came at a much smaller cost than the full-sized adult meal ($6.50 versus $14). I was traveling solo, so ordering this made sense (both portion and price wise).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A kids meal burger ordered by an adult to save on cost and portion

However on the flip side of this, when it comes to ordering meals for my kids I very rarely order them kids meals. I have two kids who are almost the same age so we’ve always purchased them one full-size meal to split between them. Now that we have more kids, we tend to just order several plates of food and then share between us. This offers us a good portion for each person and a greater variety of food as well, as the menu for kids is often limited.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A full sized burger meal to be shared (avocado on the side!)

5. This is Where You Should Eat Dessert

If you’re dining at a full-service restaurant, skip ordering dessert off the menu. The dessert prices are going to be considerably higher in the sit-down restaurants. Consider picking up dessert at a walk-up location that only serves sweets. There you’ll have a wider variety to choose from. Also the portions are often more generous as well, so you can share between two or more (but only if you want to share!)

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

These Lemon Meringue and The Master’s Cupcakes served inside Be Our Guest Restaurant are an astonishing $5.00 each! I can’t believe I spent $10 on these two (quite small) cupcakes! Especially when you can head over to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and get two huge chocolate chip cookies with generous scoops of ice cream for only a little over $5.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

6. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…in That Order

If you’d like to eat one meal full-service but are still trying to be budget conscious, consider sit-down dining for breakfast. The prices of the dishes will increase at lunch and raise even higher for dinner.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

The cost difference between breakfast and dinner is significant

7. Beware the Souvenir Cup, Straw or Ice Cube

Just about every dining location offers some sort of upgrade to your beverage in the form of souvenir cups, twisty straws shaped like Mickey’s silhouette or flashy glowing colored ice cubes. Naturally these add-on’s come at a steep price! Disney seems to hit pretty hard on the kids menu in this category.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

While a standard pineapple Dole Whip in a cup is priced at just over $4.00, the same soft serve in a souvenir tiki sipper will cost you over $10. I bought the sipper in this case for my brother, who collects tiki items. Make sure you work these add-on items into your souvenir budget!

8. Leave the Park

No reason to feel trapped with your park-only choices! You can leave the parks and head over a Disney Resort hotel for dozens of more options. Rather than eat inside Magic Kingdom, I hopped the Monorail and had dinner at Capt. Cooks in the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Pulled Pork Nachos plate was huge and just over $9. I couldn’t eat it by myself it was a very generous portion. There is also a Dole Whip location here, so that was a plus!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Downtown Disney and Disney Springs also have loads of dining options with budgets that fit everyone. There’s an Earl of Sandwich at each location and you can pick up a sandwich for a great price (they have delicious breakfast sandwiches as well).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

9. Eat with Discounted Gift Cards

Purchase Disney gift cards at Target to use when purchasing your meals. When you use your Target Red Card to purchase the cards, you’ll receive 5% off! That may seem like small savings but if you’re eating a lot of meals in the parks and paying for them solely with these Disney gift cards, you’ll be saving good money! Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Image Credit: Target


More Ways to Save at Disney!

Be sure to check out my other posts about how to save money on food at Disney!  7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks and What are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland?

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.


For more ways to save money at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Saving Money at Disney Loop:

How do you save money on food at Disney? Share your tips with me in the comments!


7 Top Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

Dining is an important part of a Disney vacation. You can certainly include all the fun restaurants and character dining experiences into part of your entertainment for the day, at a cost of course. But if you’d rather spend your money on something else, keep reading. Eating inside the Disney parks can be expensive! So how can you save money on food at Disney parks? Check out my expert tips how budgeting food, packing your own and even what to order that will help you save a lot!

Save Money on Food at Disney

These are my 7 top tips for how to save money on food at Disney. Try one or try them all, you will be shocked to know you could save hundreds off the cost of your vacation implementing just a few of these ideas.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

1. Stay Off the Dining Plan

Contrary to what Disney will have you believe, the Dining Plan isn’t the best bargain. True, it’s convenient to pay for meals upfront and not have to worry about paying the bill each time you eat. But unless you are eating at the most expensive locations and ordering the most expensive dishes every time, you won’t be getting the best value.

You’ll also be receiving a lot of food, including dessert. Depending upon your appetite it might be too much food. Also, everyone in your group has to be included in the Plan so there’s not opportunity to share. There’s more about why to skip on the Disney Dining Plan on TravelingMom.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Flatbread at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

2. Skip a Meal

I know, sounds odd that I would suggest that you DON’T EAT as a way to save money! But hear me out…here are several ways you can opt out of purchasing another meal and save yourself a chunk of money.

Instead of buying a restaurant breakfast, have your family eat a meal to go that you prepare in your hotel room. Run hot water through the coffee maker to make oatmeal with store-bought packs. Nibble fresh fruit while waiting for the bus. Tote crunchy granola bars or trail mix to munch on while you walk to the parks. Provide just enough breakfast to fill tummies before you purchase an early lunch in the parks.

Or consider this second way of meal skipping; Eat a large breakfast (perhaps indulging in a buffet at a character experience) that will stave you off until late afternoon. Enjoy a snack or two mid-day (something that you pack in), skip lunch completely and then eat dinner early.

We’ve also done this: Early breakfast that we packed in, eaten while waiting for rope drop. Several decent snacks throughout the day that you brought with you. Big lunch purchased in the park, something hearty that will fill you up, eaten past your usual lunch time (this is a great way to avoid the usual crowds during the lunch rush too). Then when you get hungry late in the evening for your usual dinner meal, enjoy a special treat instead like ice cream! Ice cream for dinner is one of our favorite ways to celebrate at Disney.

#Dinner is served! Gibson Girl #IceCream sundae #Disneyland #dessert #TMOM

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

3. Dine for Breakfast

If you really want to enjoy a Character Dining Experience, consider booking one for breakfast instead of lunch or dinner. The breakfasts are considerable less pricey and no less enjoyable. Sure you won’t get freshly carved meats but you’ll still get a hearty breakfast buffet and the same fun character interactions you’d find at dinner.

We’ve enjoyed the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier Hotel and Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn. At Walt Disney World you can even find a character breakfast at a non-Disney resort hotel (the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista) near Disney Springs for half the price of Disney parks character meals – Check out this review on Traveling Mom, Save Half the Cost on Disney Character Meal.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

Mickey waffles at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista for half the price of usual Disney character dining

4. Make Water Your Beverage of Choice

Skip the soda and ditch the juice. Water is your budget-friendly beverage option! Feel free to bring in your own bottled water or an empty bottle that you can refill at the fountains. Ask for complimentary ice water at any quick service restaurant. That’s a savings of at least $2 per person, per meal to just drink water.


5. Share a Plate

If each person in your group orders their own dish, you’ll not only be stuck with a large bill you also may be stuck with leftovers! Since leftover food is unpractical (and depending upon the food, it could require refrigeration to keep it safe to eat), so it’s better to order just enough to enjoy fresh. Many of the platters in the Disney parks are large enough to share between two or more people.

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

We shared these generous platters of food in Epcot’s Morocco pavillion

You can find large platters at full-service and quick-service dining locations. Full-service restaurants may charge a plate-splitting fee. If you’re eating quick-service, request extra plates to divvy up the meal. One place you will be unable to share is at the buffet (unless you have a child 2 and under).

Be sure to read this post for exact recommendations on what to order at the Disneyland resort, What are the Best Meals for Sharing at the Disneyland Resort?

 

Sharing is a great idea when it comes to park purchased snacks and treats as well. Did you know that if you buy one of those enormous candied apples, they will slice it up for you to make it easier to share? And buying the Kitchen Sink dessert sundae is less expensive than purchasing individual ice creams. You can even buy cones separately if you want to take some of the sundae and put it in a cone (which is what I did for my kid!)

Top Tips on Saving Money on Food at Disney Parks

6. Get Groceries

Getting groceries is a practical way of stretching the food budget while at the Disney parks. This will allow you to keep food in the hotel fridge. Things like milk with cereal for breakfast, fresh fruits and veggies for snacking or even frozen dinners that can be microwaved (if you hotel room has one) are all great ways to save on the cost of restaurant dining.

If you’re visiting Disneyland, a grocery store or Target is just a few miles away so you can easily drive your rental car or take Uber to the store to supply whatever you need.

At Walt Disney World, there are many grocers that can deliver foods directly to your resort hotel. Local places like Garden Grocer and WeGoShop will deliver for a relatively low fee. You could also use Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry for your grocery needs and have them delivered to your resort. I used Garden Grocer on my last trip. I ordered mini boxes of cereal, a bottle of milk, fresh cut melon and a case of bottled water. The cost of buying groceries was significantly less than if I’d purchased meals in the Park.

7. Pack Snacks (or a Full Meal)

Yes, you can take in your own food to the Disney parks, just use common sense when packing in snacks or meals. Certain foods will require they be kept cool, like lunch meat so pack them in a soft sided cooler with a chill pack. We packed in a full tray of sandwiches from Costco on our last trip; we kept it in a cool bag underneath the stroller and it was good until lunchtime!

Bag up precut veggies or fruit. Pack items that won’t get crushed or broken in your bag (nobody wants that mushy banana, do they?) Crunchy granola bars, sturdy crackers, nuts and dried fruit are also good choices that will keep in your bag all day. That’s my kid, eating the Costco sandwiches and carrots we toted in!


Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation!

 

Mom’s Disney Packing List – FREE Printable!

As the main packer for my entire family when we vacation, it’s easy to forget my own things! While I’ve carefully coordinated the kids outfits in zip bags I tend to forget that I need to pack for myself and end up tossing things in the suitcase willy-nilly at the last moment (yes, I’ve forgotten my pajamas and my toothbrush before!) I created this free printable packing list so Mom can quickly remember all she’ll need for a Disney trip. Here are a few tips before you stuff your suitcase (keep reading for the free Mom’s Disney packing list printable).

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Day Bag

I love using a crossbody bag like my Baggallini Everything Travel Crossbody Bag when I’m at Disney. You’ll have everything you need handy and be hands-free. You’d be surprised what you can fit inside one of these compact purses. In addition to your usual wallet, pack your bag with a few things you’ll need for the day like lip balm with an SPF, a small nail file and hand sanitizer.

I dole out a squirt of hand sanitizer to each person in my family after each ride when we can’t get to the bathroom to properly wash our hands. If you don’t have a baby and therefore aren’t carrying a diaper bag with baby wipes, pack a small clutch with hand wipes when napkins aren’t enough to clean sticky fingers and faces.

Check the Forecast

Contrary to popular belief it does rain in California and it is occasionally very cold in Florida. Don’t assume that the weather will be in the 70s for your trip: Be sure to take a look at the forecast and pack accordingly.

If the weather is expected to be cool, I like the option of layers. A short sleeve shirt topped with a long sleeved tee. Add a sweatshirt and you can always tie it around your waist if you’re too warm mid-day. A scarf and fleece hat are good options on chilly days. And both are small enough that you can stuff them in a bag if you don’t need them.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Me and the boys with my Baggallini Crossbody Bagg

Hot and humid? Leave the layers at home and choose lightweight and breathable fabrics. Pack several shirts for each day so you can bring an extra into the park and change mid-day when you’ve turned into a sweaty mess.

Also, take a look at your outfit head-to-toe before you wear it under the hot sun all day. I bought a lightweight top a few days before my last trip and didn’t realize that it had a keyhole opening in the back. Yes, I applied sunscreen to my shoulders, arms and neck. But not knowing about the keyhole opening, I was left to cook and the result was a very strange sunburn!

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Block it Out

Sunscreen at Disney is a no-brainer, but consider the type you’ll need for a day in the Parks. I don’t like the misty spray-on types because the coverage just isn’t great and most of your sunscreen gets blown away in the breeze. For my face, I like a matte sunscreen that’s non-comedogenic otherwise I just feel oily and that dust is just sticking to my face (it probably is).

While we’re on the subject of blocking rays from your skin, let’s discuss blocking the sun from your eyes as well. A pair of comfortable sunglasses is a must. Bring a case or a protective sleeve to put them in when you’re on a ride. And don’t wear them on top of your head because that almost guarantees that they’ll fall off!


Cover Your Head

Nothing like having the sun bake on the top of your head all day to make you grouchy. How about a sunburn on your hairline part? That’s fun the next day, right? Try out several styles of hats pre-trip to find out what will work best for you.

If you plan on riding anything remotely fast, you’ll be taking your hat off and on throughout the day so keep that in mind. If I have a multi-day trip planned, I’ll bring at least two hat options so I can change them out from one day to the next. Baseball hat one day and giant wide-brim sun hat the next!

2015-05-11 10.42.43-7  2015-05-11 10.42.38-4

Don’t Forget Your Hair

Bring hair ties. Several of them, because you never know when one will snap or slip off the end of your braid while you’re riding Space Mountain! And bobby pins or something to pin back your bangs. I decided one Disneyland trip to wear my hair down and it was just about the windiest day EVER! My hair was a tangled mess by noon. Pack a small brush in your bag to detangle if you wear your hair down. My recommendations? A ball cap with a ponytail looped through the back and bangs pinned back underneath the brim. Or a big sun hat with your hair in a braid.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

This was the last time I wore my hair down at Disneyland…it was a tangled mess from the rides and the wind!

Keep It Cool

Though it does rain quite a bit in Florida and it can get chilly on both coasts, the general weather at Disney parks is on the warm side. Consider also that many of the ride lines will have you waiting in the sun and you’ll be ready to head indoors for A/C by 9 am! Pack a few items in your day pack that will help keep you comfortable. A squirt bottle or misting fan that you can refill at the drinking fountains can be wonderful on a scorching day.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

We like to bring a travel size shaker of Gold Bond Ultimate Comfort Body Powder. It soaks up excess sweat and helps prevent chafing. A cooling towel that you wet and then shake to chill is just perfect for wrapping around your neck. Something like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel really helps to bring down your body temperature (and this works better than wet paper towels from the bathroom!)

Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated. You can request ice water at any counter service restaurant and then pour it into your bottle.

*ahem* Feminine Needs

Did you know that stress can cause your “monthly visit” to start unexpectedly? Even if you’ve checked the calendar and aren’t expecting to start, you might want to pack feminine hygiene products just in case. Disney does sell these items in the bathrooms (about 50 cents each) and you can also purchase them at the Baby Care Centers and in some hotel gift shops.

Pack an Alternate

It’s a good idea to bring in a second pair of socks to change into if you get them wet or they’re just sweaty. Or have a pair of waterproof sandals that you can wear on wet rides instead. I like to bring in a second t-shirt with me too so that when I’m sweaty or I spill something on it, I have a fresh shirt to change in to. Though you could always buy one in the gift shop and call it a souvenir (I’ve done that too!)

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Break ’em In

Don’t even think about heading to Disney wearing brand new shoes! For the love of all things, break your shoes in before you spend 15 hours wearing them through the parks. And I recommend taking in a second pair to switch into when your feet start to ache. I’d also say you should give your outfits a “trial run” at home. You’d hate to be wearing something that was uncomfortable all day.

Pregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Crocs Womens Women’s A-Leigh Floral Flip Flop (Amazon)

Keep in Touch

A phone charger and cord is a must. Not only do you want to be able to reach others in your group, there are also Disney park apps that will allow you to check wait times and book dining reservations. Besides you also want to be able to take pictures and share them to social media throughout the day!

EasyAcc Monster Power Bank (Amazon)

Be Prepared

Blisters are a Disney nightmare. Though you can get basic items like bandages at the park First Aid, you should consider adding a few things to your personal first aid kit. I swear by New-Skin Liquid Bandage because it’s waterproof and stays on all day. My kit also includes ibuprofen, headache reliever and antacids. Just make sure you store all the meds in a place where little hands won’t get to them (or keep them in child-proof containers).

Back at the Hotel

I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the parks I sweat like crazy under the sun. And that means that my bra is usually saturated by the end of the day…yuck! Make sure to pack at least 2 bras to alternate every other day. Bring a sample packet or a travel size bottle filled up with laundry detergent. Give your bra a quick wash in the sink and then hang it to dry so you’ll have a fresh one to wear each day.

Make sure you give your bathroom a top to bottom when packing to make sure you don’t miss packing any essential toiletries. You’ll want to remember to bring your make-up remover, hair brush and products, contact lens solution and case, etc. If you prefer to use your own shampoo and soaps pack travel size varieties, though they do offer very nice complimentary products at the Disney resorts.

Don’t forget your swimsuit! You won’t need to bring a towel if you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel, they have them at the pool. A pair of flip-flops and a cover-up are a good idea too.

Here’s the FREE PRINTABLE –  Mom’s Disney Packing List

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!


All packed up, Mom? Here are more Disney packing lists!

Disney Trip Free Printable – Packing List for Kids

Packing List for a Baby in Diapers

Expectant Mom’s Disney Packing List

What’s In My Disney Parks Diaper Bag?

Disney Trip FREE Printable - Packing List for Kids    Traveling With a Baby in Diapers - FREE Baby Packing List Printable! #Ad #SuperAbsorbantPregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important NeedsThese are the baby travel essentials you should bring in your travel diaper bag.

For more Disney packing printables,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disney Packing Printables Loop:

 

12 Things to Do Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

I’d venture to say that not too many people enjoy standing in line. That’s why they invented the FastPass, right? If you have to wait in queue though, there are some constructive ways you can spend the time. Here are my 12 ideas for the best use of waiting in line at Disney parks.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

A quick pic in line at Autopia

Apply Sunscreen

Outdoor queues can make you feel like you’re cooking under the sun! Waiting in line is a great time to reapply another coat of sunscreen. If you’re sweating, pat off the sweat with a napkin and then apply.

Skip using spray-on sunscreen while standing in line though. The quarters in queue are a bit tight for that (and not everyone wants your sunscreen mist in their eyes!)


Study the Map

Where are you headed next and how will you get there? Now’s the time to pull out the map and plot your course. The map key will let you know where the nearest bathroom is too, in case that’s your next stop. Or try a little game with younger kids and see if they can find certain icons, like “Where’s the carrousel?”

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Board with wait times at Disneyland. You can get these times on the free mobile app too.

Have a snack

Dry goods that you pre-package into snack-sized bags are perfect for waiting in lines. Things like nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, chopped veggies or sturdy crackers work well. If you finish the snack, you can dispose of the baggie (there are always trash cans in the queue for this). Or if you reach the end before your snack is done, just seal up the bag and put it in your pocket.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Heimlich never misses a meal – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Play a Game

Pictionary – Keep a small spiral-bound notebook and pen handy for quick games of Pictionary. The artist can come up with the idea (Disney movies!) and everyone in the group can try to guess.

Who Am I? – This is our family favorite in the car too. One person chooses a Disney movie character and the others have to ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no answer (ie: “Does this character have fur?” or “Does this character sing in their movie?”)

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

In line for Star Tours – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

There are also Disney travel games that you can tote through the line and they’ll easily fit in your day pack. Games like World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game are quick to pull out and play while in queue.

Disney Mobile App

Thinking about hitting up Splash Mountain but want to know the wait time before traipsing across the Lands? Need to know where Mickey is meeting & greeting? Have to get a dining reservation on the fly? Check out the free Disney Mobile Apps for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Plan Your Next Meal

If you didn’t make any Advanced Dining Reservations (and you don’t really need ADR at Disneyland), you can figure out where you’ll be dining next. If you already have a restaurant decided on, I highly recommend figuring out what you’re going to order. It really saves you time that would be spent in the restaurant perusing the menu if you plan your meals ahead of time.

I like to print out the restaurant menus so we can look them over in line and have everyone decide ahead of time. This way one adult is in charge of ordering for the group and it expedites the process.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Themed sculptures in line for Radiator Springs Racers – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Journal Your Memories

A small hard-backed spiral-bound notebook is perfect for jotting down special memories throughout your trip. This is also a great activity for when you’re waiting for a meal to arrive at the table service restaurant. Pass the journal to a new family member to write in for each queue. For little ones that can’t write yet, have them draw a little picture of their memories.

Look for Hidden Mickeys

They’re everywhere! You’ll probably be able to find a few on your own (Imagineers hid them in plain sight in many of the line queues!) but if you need help, check out this book Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets or the Disneyland version, Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets.

     

Take Pictures

No better time when you’re smooshed together in a queue than to snap a full-family selfie! Some line queue have interesting props to pose with along the way, so get out your camera and capture the moments.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Taking a photo of the kids in glasses from Toy Story: Midway Mania is a must!

Take a Nap?

Well, if you’re a baby, maybe! Pop your little one in the front carrier and let them nap while you wait. You can always grab a Rider Switch pass too so that the grown ups can take turns with the sleeping child. Here are more tips about traveling to Disney with a baby.

Play with a Toy

Young kids tend to get pretty squirrelly waiting in line so give them something to occupy little hands (so they’ll resist climbing on the rows of bars, squabbling or hanging all over each other!). A small action figure, doll or race car can keep an imaginative child busy. Handheld light-up spinners are always fun (especially at night).

Hold a small bottle of bubbles for them and let them dip in the wand and blow! Avoid any toys that need a lot of space, like a light saber or a toy that will annoy other guests, like a balloon that may hit people on head.


Plot the Next Adventure

My kids always want to know what we’re doing next. Decide where you’re headed next and brush everyone up on what’s to come so when you hit the exit everyone knows what to expect.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

The talking and moving Buzz in queue – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Looking for more?

Check out these books, Lots to Do In Line: Walt Disney World and Lots To Do In Line Disneyland. Tons of things for kids (and adults) to spot while waiting.

   

What are your favorite things to do while you’re waiting in line? Share in the comments!

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks