Things change frequently at Disney in regards to food, but luckily the free drink refills at these locations have stayed around. If everyone keeps playing by the rules, hopefully they remains!
The free refills have a few rules. It does not mean that you can bring in your own cups, a cup you bought previously, or ask for a free water then fill the cup with soda. You can get a free refill on a beverage that you bought at that location, for the duration of your meal.
Here are the places you can go and quench your thirst on a hot summer day, without breaking the bank.
Be Our Guest (breakfast and lunch)
Do you have a favorite of these locations with refills? Backlot Express is always a stop for us!!
Maybe you've wondered what the best age is to go to Disney. Maybe you've mentioned wanting to plan a trip to someone and heard one of these:
"What?! You shouldn't take a toddler to Disney! they won't remember it!"
"Teenagers at Disney? They aren't going to have ANY fun! Why waste your money?"
"You're going to Disney? Why? Aren't you to old for that?"
I'm here to settle the debate and tell you the best age, the most perfect age, to go to Disney. Ready? The answer might surprise you.
The best age to go to Disney is....
Yep! Every single age group has an amazing time at Disney, and I'll explain why. Saying there is something there for everyone an sound cliche, so think about this. Ever seen a movie, loved it, and a few years later, watched it again and still loved it but caught so many things you missed the first time around? That's Disney! The same ride can be a different experience, depending on the age of the person riding it. There is even a statue of Cinderella behind Cinderella's Castle, that from an adult's height perspective looks like a beautiful design painted into the background. From a child's height perspective? It's not a fancy design...it's a crown. Pretty cool huh? There are hundreds of hidden treasures like that at Disney!
Still not convinced? Let's dig deeper into each age group!
The Tiny Tots
I think whether or not a child remembers their Disney vacation does in part have to do with their age. Our not quite two year old sure remembered...and for a ear afterwards thumbed through the picture album. While at age six, he can't remember his first visit as well to Mickey, I do. He bypassed Mickey with his outstretched arms, and flung himself at Minnie! He hugged him and squeezed him and he was so happy, that Mr. Disney and I started to tear up.
With a babe in tow, and the stroller that comes along with it, you can go everywhere, and not lug your stuff! Another win! You can even take advantage of skipping lines with a rider switch if you want.
The early years were pure magic for our guy. I'm betting you've heard similar stories! In fact, there are very few rides that the littles CAN'T do! You'll be surprised when you read this list of what they CAN do!
The Tweens and Teens
The eye rolls, the requests to ride solo, the ear buds always stuck in, and the never ending appetite. Yep, Disney is for those kids too!
If you kid is responsible enough, there aren't many places better to split up for an hour or so, or, do a family ride with the kids in one gar and the adults in another. As for rides, between the coasters, and old favorites or shows, there's going to be a full day of fun for them!
That never ending hunger? If your kiddo has their own hard to lose gift card or you are on the Disney Dining Plan, they can even take care of that themselves, and feel grown up while doing it!
Can't stop them from swiping your phone? Maybe that's because they knew you Disney-ed up your phone, and they are playing the in park games or listening to music on it!
Kids or no kids, Disney is for you! You've got the stamina to go all day, and the wisdom to know when to take a break so you don't miss out on the fun! You appreciate both the on the go meals, and those that require patience sitting for your order to be taken and then created by incredible chefs.
Nothing is off limits to you, and you can linger in the Forests of Pandora, or snack or drink your way around the Wold Showcase. Old favorite stories come to life at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios puts you right in the action or favorite movies! You are never too old to snap a photo with Donald, or hop on the carousel, in fact, you might even get a few envious looks when you get back home and show your vacation pics, because the naysayers thought adults couldn't have a good time at Disney.
The Aging Graceful Set
Ahh! Another good age. You can do everything the adults can, but did you know that sometimes your group gets a little extra attention? You might get a little Pixie Dust sprinkled on you at restaurants or the resort, and no one will bat an eyelash if you think, to heck with all the walking! I'm renting a scooter! The scooter gets you first pick ups on the bus, as well as those in your party, too and can even make lines a little shorter.
If you want to sit on a bench and people watch while tossing popcorn to the birds, or enjoy the rides and strike poses with the Princesses, you're going to find something to fill every minute if you wish! Nothing is undo-able, unless you choose not to do it! I'd say that's pretty awesome! Remember that guy who visited Disney 2000 days in a row? Yeah...you could do that too, I'll bet! Not as many obligations and school calendars to worry about!
So now what do you think? Are any of these ages off limits at Disney? No way! Every age is a great age! Disney was made for all to enjoy, and for all to love.
Snow White Copyright Disney
I'll bet you've noticed all the different water features at Disney, and you might have even dropped in a few coins. Ever wonder what happened to those coins after you've made the wish?
Disney donates all of the coins ($20,000 in 2018) to different charities for children. Last year's recipient was Community Based Care of Central Florida.
Can you imagine how many coins equal $20,000? How many pounds that must weigh? I love to use this an example for my kids, how one penny might not seem like a lot, but added to everyone else's pennies, can do something amazing!
Next time you drop your coins in and make a wish, think about this...you are helping make other people's wishes come true, too!
Do you have a thing that goes with you every trip, every time? I do too! Besides the obvious ponchos, money or PINS, for me, it's always a few Ziploc bags. Here are 8 reasons why!
1. Phone / camera protector
If you like the water rides, or if you just want to keep your electronics safe during a down pour, you can't beat a Ziploc bag! Just be sure you zip it all the way!
2. Mini Med Kit
Toss together a few bandaids, and an advil or two. Chances are you're going to need those at some point, so why not make a mini med kit? No better place to store it than something see through!
There are a few places that have such generous portions, or maybe you just wanted a snack, and realized you were about to miss a Fast Pass. Toss your half sandwich or pretzel in a baggie, and finish it later! Or, if you have kids like mine, they are ravenous...until two bites later when they are full. Pop it in the bag!
If you've people who don't want to dip into the same bucket of popcorn as everyone else, put some in a baggie! Works great to keep kids from arguing, too, and divide up other multi serve snacks.
Keep a bag for traders...and a bag for keepers! It keeps them from rolling around loose in the backpack! No more lost pins!
6. Ice packs
We fill a quart sized bag in the mornings before we head out, and pop into our insulated backpack. Not only is it a great way to keep the drinks cold, the kids sometimes want to have an ice cube. Those ice cubes have done everything from iced a scrape, cooled a person, and even provided entertainment in line, "I'll bet my ice cube melts before yours!"
7. Emergency clothes
Have a little one? Store an emergency outfit in the baggie, then put the soiled one in. Zipped up, there's no smell, or mess oozing in the rest of your bag!
8. Cooling Towels
If you carry a cooling towel, chances are you don't want it all day, and you don't want it getting everything all damp. Put it in a baggie until next use!
See how useful these baggies are? While there are so many more ways to use plastic baggies, these are a few of our favorites! Do you have any other ways you use them?
It's the time of year when people are planning trips! I admit though, I always cringe at Disney Facebook Group posts that say something along these lines: "We just booked our first trip, tell me everything! Where to eat, what to do, everything."
Why do I cringe? It's not because someone is asking! Never! It's because I know that most likely the same person is going to be posting a short time later something similar to this: "We had a horrible trip. I hated the restaurants, we stood in line FOREVER, spent $9,000 and didn't even get to see Mickey. Worst trip ever, we are NEVER going back."
A previous post, about it isn't about luck, why some planning is important comes to mind each time. A Disney trip should rejuvenate you, awaken your sense of childhood and wonder, give you magical experiences, delicious food, and also very importantly, NOT bankrupt you! You do NOT need to spend $9,000 to have an amazing vacation. Even just a single day at Disney can be an unforgettable experience!
While it can be overwhelmin, and stressful to plan your Disney trip, a few hours of planning ahead of time, with the right tools, can make your trip effortless. You'll be cruising along enjoying everything the park has to offer and come back ready to plan your next trip, wiser for the experience, not writing it off forever!
Let's get to the basics. Here are a few helpful ideas to help make it easier to plan. Click anything underlined to go into a more detailed post!
1. Determine your budget
Figure out what you can spend. $1000? $3000? figure it out, and start saving. You might be surprised at how much money you can save. Remember, things like bringing your own drinks, or using this trick here to save a minimum of 5% off your trip price really adds up. You can also bring your own food, or even snacks, the same ones Disney sells, but way less, or maybe there's some ways you never knew you could save so much, but could! Some of these tricks are going to make that budget streeeeeetch pretty far, and make it seem bigger.
2. Buy a current guidebook and READ it
My favorite guidebook is the Unofficial Guide Series. Yes, they are so big it seems intimidating, but the book is written in bite sized pieces. Start at the beginning. read the whole first part, and then you'll start to have a general concept of how things are done, how to ride the Disney bus for example, or the busiest times of the year. After that, you'll find hotels, restaurants, rides, and helpful advice from people with the same questions you have!
3. Mark up that guidebook
If you know your toddlers aren't going to want to ride something, cross it out! If you know that someone in your group loves BBQ, and Flametree at Animal Kingdom is where they want to eat for lunch, mark it! Fill that book with your notes, dog ear it, whatever. After a year it's outdated, so mark it up, so it's easy to refer to later as you make your plan.
4. Ask people who have been what they like, but...
Keep in mind that asking just tells you what THEY like,and not everyone has the same experience. For example, your kids might want to just do rides. Don't feel like you'll ruin your trip if you skip all the Princess lines! Another example, a lot of Disney groups are all about the Table Service dining. That's great, but a first timer will be pretty happy with Quick Service eating places, and parents of tiny tots or teens who just want to go, go go, aren't going to want to stop for 2 hours a meal, 2-3 times a day, whereas something with a lot of dietary restrictions, or who has been to Disney a hundred times and seen it all, might prefer to take it slow, and be waited on at every meal. Ask, but then research yourself. Quick Service isn't just like fastfood. You can get ribs, half a chicken, even steaks at some places! Quick Service is just ordering at a counter, and walking the food to your table.
5. Make a plan
Using your notes, your circled things, and your feedback from other Park goers, start to make your plan. Use Youtube for ride-throughs, to see if you really will like something. Maybe pay, and make yourself a touring plan, or use some of our free ones! A plan , even the most basic of them, will put you ahead of at least 50% of the people there. Remember, it's not luck, to have the perfect Disney trip, it's planning!
6. Stick with your plan, but...
Don't get upset if you have to cross something off the list. Sometimes, your perfect vacation isn't perfect. People get hurt, or sick. (You can read about our experience in that link!) Do what you can, and do it with a positive attitude, and you will enjoy yourself! Sometimes you can't do it all, but you an always plan for next time!
7. Remember, you can't see or do it all
Disney FOMO is a thing. Remember...Disney is so huge, you just can't do it all in one trip! You can do a lot though, and take a ton of pictures, and best of all, get that first trip out of the way so that you can learn what did, or didn't work for you! Your second trip will be so much easier, you'll be an expert by then!
Hopefully some of these tips have helped you to not feel so overwhelmed! You like climbing a mountain, it starts with one step at time. Break your planning into little steps, and you'll be amazed at how well it all comes together!
Good luck! Have fun, and tell me all about it when you get back! I can't wait to hear how much fun you had!