The magic of Mickey is not just for the three to ten crowd. I believe the true magic of Disney is that it helps all ages return to that delicious space of wonder we all lived in as children.
I had forgotten about that lighthearted goodness until Disney kindly invited my husband, toddler, mother-in-law, and myself on a #DisneyGrandAdventure.
Before we flew across the country (from Ojai, CA to Orlando, FL in not-fun turbulence) I spent three hours exploring the My Disney Experience website where the little (sometimes neurotic) planner in me was in heaven.
First off, I got to choose characters to represent myself, and each of my guests. I was Sleeping Beauty, the hubs Buzz Lightyear, the toddler a little squishy alien from Toy Story, and the mother-in-law Mrs. Incredible.
Next, I was able to pre-schedule our Fast Passes, which familiarized me with the rides and attractions at the four parks, reminding me that they really did have something for everyone. Roller coasters for husband (and sometimes me), flying elephants and rocket ships for my son, themed boat and pirate ship rides for myself, and all of the above for my mother-in-law (she’s a versatile grandma.)
My Disney Experience served as my one-stop-shop trip planner.
Navigating this site got me totally hyped up for the trip. I used to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a Disney vacation because there was so much to plan- I never knew where to start. This site allowed me to suss everything out pre-touchdown, so I could spend my vacation enjoying instead of planning.
My level of neurotic-planner-excitement bumped up a level when I realized the My Disney Experience had a phone app! Whoop whoop!
The app included all the information listed above, plus GPS enabled maps of all the parks (including an insta-Restroom locator), the ability to make dining reservations or find restaurants in close proximity, locate the home of your favorite characters, and access up-to-date wait times for rides. Let me repeat that, instead of walking all over a park trying to find the shortest line, you can pop into your app for the approximate time you’ll have to wait. #GameChanger
If you choose to pay a little extra, you receive access to the Memory Maker feature which allows you to have unlimited professional photos taken at all the photo stops in the parks, including the always-attractive photos taken on select rides.
Expert Tip: Don’t forget to check out the strangers in your photos from the roller coasters- their facial expressions are often classic.
Just like Disney World, the site and app were colorful, easy to navigate, and fun.
Let’s break it down.
6 Months Before Vacation
- Register for a My Disney Experience account
- Check back in to this here blog for insider tips and suggestions. Just do a #DisneyGrandAdventure search on the site- and BAM.
- Reserve your resort reservations
- Purchase your park tickets
- Reserve your plane tickets (if needed)
3 Months Before
- Reserve your Fast Passes on the My Disney Experience site. (You can reserve up to three each day. Reserve them for earlier in the day, because once you’ve used them all you can obtain more at designated kiosks in the parks.)
- Download the My Disney Experience app on your phone and familiarize yourself with all the goodies.
- Decide where you would like to eat your meals in the resorts, parks, or Disney Springs, and make your reservations via the My Disney Experience site or app.
- Explore the different dinner shows (like the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review!) and make reservations for those that tickle your fancy.
One Week Before
- Double check all reservations to make sure everything is in place.
- Go over your travel itinerary with all family members to ensure everyone is on the same page, or even better, the same paragraph.
- Check the weather in Orlando and pack accordingly. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes as you’ll likely walk many miles each day. And pack layers as the temperature fluctuates from morning to evening. (And some of the parks stay open late into the night!)
- Watch your favorite Disney movies to pump yourself up!
My next #DisneyGrandAdventure post will explore the different personalities of five of Disney World’s best resorts. They’re all full of adventure, thoughtful detail, and sass. Lots of sass.