Do You Have Any Disney World Tips?

We’re going to Disney World!!!!!

Can you feel my excitement? It is directly proportionate to the amount of exclamation points I use.

So yeah, there is a lot of excitement!!!

We weren’t actually planning to go to Disney World until Jack was much older, but there was a perfect storm of Disney planning and we jumped on it. I’ve been working with Jenn Hart from WDW Guru Travel, who has been nothing short of amazing. She has personally visited Disney World more than 70 times and has been an invaluable resource. Not only has she given me some amazing tips for which parks to visit on each day and where to find the best snacks, she’s also put together itineraries to match our specific needs. Oh and her services are complimentary. I’ll be raving more about her in my ‘we just got back from Disney’ post.

So, WHY did we decide to go to Disney now?

Did you know that kids under three years old get to enjoy Disney World for FREE?! That’s right; if your child is under the age of three you don’t have to purchase a park ticket OR a meal plan. This even holds true if your child turns three while they’re on the trip.

Since Jack’s birthday is coming up in mid-February and he’s OBSESSED with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Pirates, Doc McStuffins and more, we figured we’d celebrate early. He gets to enjoy the parks for free, he stays in the room for free, he eats off our meal plan for free. Free, free, free! We only have to pay for his plane fare, which is $200 round-trip.

So yeah, Disney makes sense and I can’t wait! I’ve been a bunch of times, but this will be the first visit for both Travis and Jack. However, if you would have heard my squeal when I opened the box containing our Magic Bands, you might think this was my first Disney trip too…

Magic bands

{Oh, and if you want to follow along in our Disney adventures, be sure to follow PocketfulofJoules on Instagram because I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of pictures while we’re there.}

I’m putting in a ton of work to make this trip one of the BEST TRIPS EVER and I’d love any tips you may have!

Our Plan:
Here’s the short version – we will be flying in on a Sunday and staying at the Pop Century Resort. We plan to walk over to the Art of Animation Resort for dinner and to check out the Car’s themed area because Jack LOVES Lightning McQueen and Mater. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will be visiting the different parks (Magic Kingdom twice, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios), return to our room each afternoon for nap time to decompress and then go back out for evening fun. We leave on Friday, so we will be lazy in the morning and catch the shuttle bus back to the airport in the afternoon.

Here’s what I want to know:

Do you have Tips for the Plane?
The last time we flew with Jack he was only one year old and sat (aka squirmed) on my lap. This time, he will have his own seat. I’m planning to put him in a window seat so I can keep him contained and we decided to leave his car seat at home (we will not be needing it at any other time on the trip because the Disney Magic Shuttle Bus will be picking us up). I plan on packing his little backpack with some snacks, including some crayons and new coloring books, and also loading my Kindle with his favorite shows. Do you have any other tips to keep him entertained and quiet on the 2 ½ hour flight?

Do you have any favorite places to eat at Disney?
We purchased the Quick Service Dining Plan which gives us two quick service meals and one snack per day for both adults. We also receive one resort refillable mug (yay coffee) to use throughout our stay. Jack is welcome to eat off of our meals for no extra charge. We have also booked brunch at Chef Mickey’s so that Jack can meet Mickey and friends in a low pressure environment (instead of standing in line at the parks). Jenn gave us some tips on her favorite places to eat and I want to know yours too. Do you have a favorite quick service restaurant, meal or snack to eat in Disney World? Don’t worry, the Dole Whip Float is totally on my list!

Am I crazy for skipping the stroller?
I was considering renting a stroller for the parks (you can have it delivered to your hotel room for your trip and they pick it up when you leave), but decided to just skip the stroller altogether. With Travis and I both being pretty tall (he’s 6’4″ and I’m 5’7″) it’s awfully uncomfortable for us to use most strollers. Also, Jack doesn’t really sit in there that long and has never fallen asleep in one. Add to that the fact that I totally get stressed out worrying that our stroller will disappear and it seems more hassle than it’s worth.

My current plan is to forgo the stroller entirely and just take our Ergo carrier so I can throw Jack on my back for any longer walks. I figure this will allow us to get through any crowds easier (instead of weaving around and bumping people’s ankles), and give Jack a great vantage point for evening fireworks. As an added bonus, I’ll get quite a workout with a 32+ pound kid on my back. If the first day goes horribly, we can always rent a stroller at the park for the day. Have you done this? Am I insane for trying?

Any other tips?
Don’t worry, I already booked our Fast Passes (Jenn had an AWESOME list of rides you’d actually need a Fast Pass for vs. which ones were a total waste) and have an idea of the main activities we are going to do each day. I don’t want our trip to be TOO planned though, and am looking forward to nap time (aka Travis and Jack napping while I read a book) each afternoon to recharge for the evening entertainment. Do you have anything I should add to my “Don’t MISS this!” list?

I plan to do a post when we get back to tell you all about our trip (what worked and what didn’t) and maybe a post on dressing/packing for Disney World. Is there anything else you’d like to know?

Ok, go forth and leave lots of comments!


{PS. My brother will be house sitting & dog sitting for us while we are gone… which is the only reason I said anything before we left. Typically for privacy and security reasons I don’t talk about vacations until we come back from them.}

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18 thoughts on “Do You Have Any Disney World Tips?”

  1. The strollers at Disney are literally the best strollers I’ve ever used. I didn’t find it hard to push through the crowds except when we were fighting for space to see the parade. You do so much walking, I can’t imagine carrying a child, too (we went when my son had just turned 2, so though he was walking, he never could have walked at all there), plus it is great for holding your bag and any souvenirs you purchase. Just a thought! We used a baby carrier, but I didn’t even think of using it there because it would be constant in-out-in-out….

    1. On the quickie trips between rides, I don’t plan on using the carrier. In my imagination I’m just going to pull it out if we have a hike to a certain ride, back to the bus stop or for the parade/fireworks. Glad to hear that the Disney strollers are great though, in case we end up getting one for a day or two!

    1. I like Animal Kingdom, and the awesome safari, too… but there just wasn’t enough there to keep Jack entertained for a full day. We didn’t do the park hopper passes to save money, so I wanted to make sure to pick parks that could keep us busy all day and all night! =)

  2. I love everything about a Disney trip, from planning to going to planning the next trip.
    I would plan on renting a stroller. I think your idea of trying it out for a day without one is good, but don’t be afraid to rent one!
    Our do NOT miss list – parades and fireworks, Fantasmic, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Tom Sawyer’s Island, MuppetVision 3D, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Star Tours, Lights Motors Action
    Our “well, that was rubbish” list – Stitch’s Great Escape, Jungle Cruise
    Random tip – buy some bottles of water and snacks to bring to the park. Rent a locker to store it if you don’t want to haul it around, but it will save you a TON of money to not have to spend $4 on a bottle every time!

  3. I’ve never been but there is an EXCELLENT Facebook site for disney. it’s called Disney World Junkies. If you’re not a member, you should join. You can get tons of information.

    Also, if I go to Disney, Anna and Elsa and the Beast and Belle are at the top of my list to meet.

    🙂 Have fun! I’m super jealous. My mom’s going in April.

  4. Thank you for sharing such amazing accolades about our agent Jenn. I shared your blog with both Disney and with our community of travelers. :0)

    1. Awww, thank you so much Kelly. Jenn has been wonderful and I really appreciate all her tips to help make this a family vacation to remember! =)

  5. Yay for Disney!!!!! (long time reader, but never commented until now)
    I am taking my almost 3-year old son to Disney this weekend too! We are also staying at Pop Century! We are doing Magic Kingdom on Sunday and then having a non-park day on Monday. I will be sure to say hi if I see you guys!!
    Have a blast! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your first comment!! YOU ROCK! I wish we were going this coming weekend, but we won’t be going until February. If you have something extra tasty while you’re there, please let me know. Have FUN! xxoo

  6. I’m going to be in the minority here and say that I think Disney is really hard with young children. If it’s crowded it’s a complete nightmare because you have to stand in line for everything — food, bathrooms, etc. If it’s not crowded — Disney can be a ton of fun. I think the best part of Disney for little kids are the two water parks — they have huge kids area and they can play and play all day without every waiting in a line. It’s so much fun.

  7. I have an acquaintance who just went with her daughter (now 3) and son (1) for the same exact reason (free under 3) – she posted on FB nearly every day they were there and indicated that now is the BEST time to go – it’s just not as crowded, not too hot, etc. They got to see every.single.princess with barely any wait time.

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