Saturday, May 27, 2017, 9:27 pm…Punkin Lakeside RV Park, Hammond, LA
Goodbye Walt Disney World!!! Sadly, today we had to say goodbye to Fort Wilderness and Walt Disney World. I can truly say that we have had a magical time while in Orlando.
As a first time Disney-goer here are some things I have learned:
- Do not try to do 7 days in a row in the parks. I know you want to try to fit it all in but 7 days in a row is hard, both on the parents and the kids. In our case I had us scheduled to go, go, go from the time we arrived until the time we left. Everyone in our party was begging for a break about mid-week. We finally took that break on Friday, the last day there. Staying at Fort Wilderness meant that we had a whole extra “park” to explore. There were pool parties, carriage rides, horse back riding, campfire sing-a-longs, outdoor movies, biking, beaches, playgrounds etc. Basically, staying at the Fort can be an event in itself. My kids were grateful for the chance to hang around and enjoy these things on their last day.
- We definitely got our money’s worth out of the dining plan. Remember, every meal in Disney is expensive, it is a theme park after all. It was great to be able to enjoy the dining experiences (and they were experiences) without worrying about how much it was going to cost. Honestly, my kids were so excited that we were eating out and I was letting them order something other than water to drink. 🙂
- Take advantage of your dining plan snacks. Honestly, you end up with more than you will ever be able to use so don’t hesitate to buy the ice cream or slushy when the kids ask for it. Also, remember that at the end of the trip you can go to the gift shop and load up on Disney themed snacks to give as souvenirs if you have snack credits left (and every quick service meal you don’t use can be converted over to 3 snacks).
- Florida is hot and humid, deal with it.
- Fast-passes are a MUST and you should be purposeful in how you schedule them. Schedule all of your fast-passes in the mornings if you plan on staying at the park all day. You can pre-schedule up to 3/day. Then once you use your last one you can schedule another one and so on. I read this a hundred times but still forgot and had ours spread out all day. This meant that we didn’t take full advantage of the system.
- Don’t expect your kids to be happy all the time. They are going to get tired, hungry, hot and on and on and on.
- The fireworks at Magic Kingdom (and Hollywood Studios for that matter) are a must see. Yes, you will have to fight huge crowds but it is worth it. The fireworks are mesmerizing.
- I know I’ve said it before but…schedule down time.
- Figure out the transportation system early on. I had read up on some of it before we arrived but honestly, I’m directionally challenged. Thankfully, my hubby is not and he quickly figured out the best ways for us to get to every location.
- I’m a mom, I like princesses. I have a daughter, she likes princesses. Our Disney planner (use one!) has 3 daughters, they like princesses. By the end of our trip, my husband was begging me not to take him and the boys to yet ANOTHER princess dinner or meet & greet. I say this to say, make sure you schedule things for your whole family. My boys would have enjoyed more “boy stuff”.
- Finally, like I briefly mentioned above, use a Disney travel planner. Ours came highly recommended from a lot of friends and she walked us through everything. She answered all of my silly questions, made our reservations, then made our dining reservations at 180 days out. She also made a few of our fast-pass reservations at the last minute because I had messed some up. Then, once we got to Orlando I kept texting her questions that she quickly answered for me. If you have a good Disney planner, your trip will go much more smoothly.
I’m sure I’ll remember more tips for a first-timer but for now, this is what has been on my mind.
As for travel, thankfully today has been an uneventful travel day. We were on the road for about 13 hours before we decided to stop. Unfortunately the RV park we have ended up in seems a bit “shady” but it will work for a good nights sleep. We should be rolling into Hot Springs sometime tomorrow evening.
Good night all!