- Rubber bracelets for the kids (I put them on their ankles) with my cel number written inside, just in case.
- It will probably rain. I've been 3 times, and it rained at least one day every trip. We got a toddler poncho at Target for Jacob since the Disney ponchos are big (and pricey).
- Don't try to do it all. It's impossible.
- If your child has a fear of auto-flush potties, post it notes are fabulous to cover up the sensor!
- at Epcot- We really like to get the Passports from the gift shop for the kids. At each country, we stop to add the stickers to the passport for that country and have it signed at the Kidcot Spot. We also find something from that country to have a picture with (last time was hats, next time Beth wants to do flags). I'd love to have them learn a word (the same word all day) in each native language. I love that Disney hires people from the actual country to work at the Epcot version.
- also at Epcot- the Kim Possible adventures are another fun way to keep entertained while learning at the same time. Disney totally rocks this thing! We plan to do more than one next trip!
- Epcot is easily becoming my favorite park because of all the interactive things available. The KidCot stations in the countries and in the Land area are pretty cool. The Innoventions areas have some fun things to do- make paper, fire safety, storm safety, etc.
- at Animal Kingdom, talk to the cast members (employees) around the animal exhibits. They're a great wealth of information about the animals!
- A lot of questions about "how'd they do that?" or fear about the ride/character/show could be calmed and explained away by saying "It's just part of Disney magic"
- Having a small present (wrapped in Dinsey paper, of course) to open everyday added to the magic. I picked up things in the $1 section at Target or $Tree for a while- things like water bottle, something to do on the plane, small Dinsey figure toy, etc. Dinsey Florist can also set up a neat gift package that the resort can deliver to your room (hopefully while you slip away to do something).
- at Hollywood Studios- get the fast pass for Toy Story Mania the very first thing when you get in the park, then get in line. It's worth riding more than once!
- at Magic Kingdom- we always get an icecream on Main Street. A bowl is best for the kids. Poor Beth learned that the hard way and still talks about it.
- Don't discount having down time. The hotel pool or arcade provide less stimulation for some relaxing fun. Great play areas (like Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom) or quiet sitting areas (like the lake at Hollywood Studios) are awesome!
- Eating breakfast while we got ready in the hotel room was a great time saver. I'd packed easy things like pop tarts, granola bars. I also packed snacky things to take daily to the parks. We like stopping for a drink (usually shared) and a quick snack.
- You never know unless you try it. There were plenty of things I didn't think Jacob would go for, but he loved it in the end. Beth is getting braver too. Some new things they tried last trip are what they're really looking forward to next time.
- Eating half a meal means you get to eat dessert. It's balanced out with all the walking. Pizza was tastier to me than the burgers for a quick meal. The sit down meals were fabulous.
- Oh, Pizza Planet at Hollywood isn't worth it. Not what we'd hoped for based on the movie, not as clean as we'd like (birds flying inside), and most of the expensive arcade games didn't work.
- Soak in the details. Disney puts in so much effort to making EVERYTHING flow and go together. It's incredible!
- The Disney resorts have bedrails available. All you have to do is ask, and they come install them.
- To me, the dining plan is worth it. No thinking about whipping out the card to pay for a meal. We make reservations at our major top choices for sit down meals, especially one character meal geared toward each kiddo. Cinderella Castle for Beth (though Jacob was pretty impressed too, especially with his sword), one of the Epcot-Mexico choices for Kevin, a character meal with Mickey for Jacob (not that he talks to Mickey...), and pizza night in the hotel is my favorite.
- Medicine of every possible need- allergy stuff, tylenol, immodium, tums, emitrol, miralax, benedryl, etc. You never know what you'll need, and it's super expensive to buy at the gift shop. Oh, the trip I got food poisoning was rough, but the gift shop had what I needed to leave the hotel room for the day.
- Most days, my basic camera lens was just fine. The only day I wished I'd had my big lens was Animal Kingdom on the super cool Kilamanjaro Safaris. Oh, and make sure that battery is charged. Mine died our first day, and I could have kicked myself for missing out on Jacob's first Rain Forest Cafe experience.
- My favorite Dinsey treasure is each of us picking a Christmas ornament at Downtown Disney's Christmas store to represent the trip.
- Try to find shade for the parades. It gets hot on the concrete. And, get your spot early. For the Magic Kingdom SpectraMagic parade, which is so worth staying late for, find the spot before the fireworks, and then don't move until after the parade is over.
- The shows are awesome- Nemo and Lion King at Animal Kingdom, Beauty and the Beast and Disney Jr at Hollywood.
- Suck it up and wear the ugly athletic tennis shoes. No matter how hot it is, your feet will appreciate it.
That's all I can think of tonight. I found most of this (and so much more) through research, though some was learned the hard way. Allears.net is a great website. The Unofficial Guide is a great book (take the reviews with a grain of salt). Beyond the basics, The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World has been my favorite book. For our next trip, I've bought a book to find Hidden Mickeys (Mickey Mouse heads hidden in the basic decoration around Disney).
I know of the few people who read my blog, at least 2 have been to Disney. Any tips you can offer?
PoeFam- I hope you have a magical trip!