I've been pretty quiet these past few weeks and it's because we WENT TO DISNEY last week!! My daughter, my husband and I went, along with my sister-in-law's family, plus my mother and father-in-law. We had a blast! Of course, there are some things I'd do differently, if we were to go again and I will get to that, plus some tips further into this blog post (general tips, not just tips for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique). We went to all 4 parks, but I only brought my camera to Magic Kingdom. My daughter and niece were signed up to have a princess makeover at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, then lunch in Cinderella's castle, plus I wanted to have my camera for the fireworks!
At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, the girls were allowed to bring their own dresses, which is perfect, since they got some gorgeous Belle gowns from Santa they wanted to wear! The first thing they did was go into a dressing room to get dressed, then when they sat down in their makeover chairs, they each had their own Fairy Godmother to turn them into princesses!
According to the Fairy Godmothers, Cinderella doesn't always come into the boutique, but she did the day we were there!
Tips/things I wish I knew/things I would do different at Disney are below. But, I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about anything. I just want other Disney newbies to know these things, since I had never been to Disney, until last week!
• Parking. Parking started at $20 on weekdays and $22 on weekends. BUT, if you go to 2 parks in a day, save your parking receipt for the next park! If we didn't know any better, we would've paid $44 to park, the day we went to 2 parks.
• Reservations. We made reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and for a few restaurants in the parks. I heard that making reservations is a must for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but I'm not so sure about all of the food places. Granted, we went in February, mainly on weekdays, before President's day (a 3 day weekend), so it wasn't as busy as it could've been. The only problem we ran into with reservations was, we were either having too much fun in one area of the park to go to the next area, we saw things we wanted to do, while walking to our reservations, or we were too tired to make our late dinner reservations! We tried to cancel a dinner reservation, but they wanted to charge us $10 per person to cancel same day!
• Bringing items into the park. Yes, we were able to bring the girls' dresses into the park, BUT our plan was to take them to the car when they wanted to wear regular clothes again. I didn't realize you have to basically go over the river and through the woods to get to Magic Kingdom from the parking lot! Seriously. You take a tram from the parking lot to the bag check, then you can pick between a ferry, or the monorail to get to the park from there. Since none of us were making the long trek to the parking lot to drop off the dresses, we all took turns carrying a dress bag, stuffed with 2 big and fluffy dresses lol! So, this is something to think about when lugging large items around Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is the only park, out of the 4, that has a long-ish process to get to and from the parking lot.
• Food and drinks. You are allowed to bring food and drinks into the park! I carried a backpack, with water, snacks and sandwiches. I was also able to fit my camera in there, the day I brought it.
•Time of year to go to Disney. My mother-in-law researched the best times of the year to go and came up with the first few weeks in February. It's supposed to be a slower time, plus the weather is warm, but not awful. The only problem is my daughter and her cousins had to miss school. I didn't think it would be a big deal for a kindergartener to miss 5 days of school, but I had to fill out paperwork, requesting her absence, after I alerted the office of her upcoming trip.
• We didn't stay on Disney property and it was great! We stayed in a house at Windsor Hills, on Comrow street, in Kissimmee, Florida. Each bedroom had it's own bathroom, Disney was less than 5 minutes away, along with lots of restaurants and shopping. Plus, it cost thousands less at this house, than it would for 10 people to stay at a Disney resort. It even had a pool and hot tub!
• Get the Memory Maker Photopass. For $169, any photo a park photographer takes of you, or any photo taken on a ride, you get to download to your phone, or computer! We were able to purchase 1 photopass for all 10 of us! Each time we rode a ride that showed us our photos, or anytime a park photographer snapped some shots of us, we scanned our magic bands, then we were able to download them from the Disney app almost immediately! It was awesome.
• Get the Disney app and turn on location services, for the map. We made the mistake of not turning on location services, when looking at the map, on the Disney app. When we turned it on, it was so much easier to find where we wanted to go lol. With the app, you can also see wait times and assign fast passes.
• Fast passes. If you get a magic band, you must get a fast pass for the popular rides! We had a fast pass for Space Mountain, in the Magic Kingdom, the Kilimanjaro Safari, in Animal Kingdom and the Test Track, in Epcot. Those were the most important rides to get fast passes for, in my opinion. We had fast passes loaded on our magic bands for other things too. Just like with the reservations though, think about what the kids will see and want to ride, while walking from one ride you have a fast pass for, to the next. I feel like we missed out on some things in between, that we never went back to. Now we know!
• My favorite parks and my not so favorite parks. Not that I didn't like Hollywood Studios, but there wasn't much to do there for young children. We did go see a show with Beauty and the Beast and a show with The Little Mermaid, but that's about all there was for them there, that we saw. At Epcot, the girls really liked, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, plus the totally awesome aquarium next to it. There was a show with Elsa there, but we didn't go see it. At animal kingdom, the safari was the best part and was worth going to that park for. There is also a huge play area for the kids at Animal Kingdom. My absolute favorite park was Magic Kingdom. I'd love to explore that park again because I know I missed some magic! There are lots of rides for children and adults, plus a lot of the princesses are there. And, just seeing the castle is breathtaking.
That's all I can think of for now.
Thanks for Looking!!