Disney bound or not, it takes a little planning before you leave to ensure that you've got the best trip possible!
I always start planning a few months ahead, with lists! Packing lists, to do lists, before we go lists, if it can be on a list, I've got one! Luckily, I also have this blog, and all of the great resources that have been added over the years to help me plan. I've even got a FREE printable of one of my favorite packing lists!
Today we are sharing some of those incredibly important posts with you so that you are ready, too! Click on any of the links below to go right to the article.
Before you go on your road trip, make sure to do a car check!!
Don't forget about the house! Here's what you should do before you leave!
How to vacation plan when you have food allergies!
Why it's so important to have a mini first aid kit -- and what to stock it with!
Compression Socks: A total vacation game changer! (And how not to feel dorky in them!)
How to make awesome and almost FREE Roadtrip binders for your kids!
And if you ARE headed towards Disney, here's one of our most important articles! How to train for a Disney trip! Because if ever there was a vacation you needed to be ready for, it's Disney!
We hope some of these articles help you get started with you planning, because really, isn't planning a huge part of the fun?
A common misconception is that on a Disney vacation, it's not worth going unless you go all the way and spend through the roof. If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing right, right? But, whew, that just causes stress and a desire NOT to return to Disney!
Years ago, I'd mentioned a coworker who spent more than $10,000 for his family to visit for a week. They did everything, ate everything, and swore, as they paid off the last charge on their credit card, never again because it was too expensive. Sure it was! You don't need to spend $10,000 to have a great time!
Disney might offer different levels of resorts or dining, it doesn't mean that the "Value Resort" or "Quick Service" are low class filled with poor people who scraped together their pennies for a mushy burger and cold fries before slumming to their roach filled motel room. Total opposite!
Just because you don't do what everyone else does, doesn't mean you are less. It means you are SPENDING less. The amount of fun you're going to have doesn't change, just because of the dollar amount you spend.
Let's talk about it!
Whether you stay big, at a $700 a night resort, or at a $150 a night resort, both places are going to have the same. Good food, friendly staff, pools, a bed, a shower and transportation to the parks. Sure, the Value resorts don't have pools with slides, but their pools have some fun theming still! In fact, the value resorts re so chock full of fun, classic Disney theming, you are going to miss out on that fun feel if you stay elsewhere! I'm pretty sure at the Polly they don't teach guests how to hula hoop or do the hustle, or how to draw classic Disney characters! That's fun stuff my family doesn't want to miss!
Maybe you'd rather stay off site. That's not bad either! Many hotels offer a free breakfast, nice pools, and transportation to the parks too!
Sure, you're probably not going to get a steak at a quick service restaurant, but you are still going to be able to get a tasty meal. Half a chicken and two sides?Pulled pork or ribs? Wolfgang Puck's meatloaf? That's all there, at quick service places, IF you do your research ahead of time and plan where to go.
Maybe you want to do some table service meals, great! Maybe you want to eat breakfast in the room, pack a lunch and just buy dinner. You can do that too! Food is just fuel for your body! You might not be eating out three meals a day and spending your kid's college fund to do it, but you ARE enjoying the parks just as much as everyone else, maybe even more, because you aren't spending as much time waiting in lines to order, waiting for your food to arrive, then waiting for the check.
What about everything else? The park tickets? The souvenirs? That REALLY adds up. That's why maybe you need to be creative. Maybe on your week vacation, you spend a pool day, a resting day, a day going around and doing free things and enjoying Disney without a park ticket!
On this blog, you will find dozens of resources to stretch your hard earned vacation money. You'll find suggestions on how to save you might not have thought of. You'll find encouragement that a simple vacation doesn't mean a small one. look over n the right under CATEGORIES and click tips and tricks, and vacation planning and start browsing.
Remember. Just because you don't do what everyone else does, doesn't mean you are less. It means you are SPENDING less. The amount of fun you're going to have doesn't change, just because of the dollar amount you spend. And what you save on this trip? Get's to go into the Disney Jar for next time!
I went to buy a few Disney gift cards for our upcoming trip. We enjoy having a few different cards, the kids each have a different design, then we have a different design for food, then one for souvenirs, etc. Well, those days might be gone.
Disney no longer offers the huge collection of gift card designs. They have two to pick from now. Two. Standard Mickey, and Frozen 2.
Disappointed, I wrote, asking what happened and "To improve efficiency and an overall better experience, we recently updated our gift card vendor, which did result in the decline in available designs. "
I'm not sure how it improves anyone's experience to no longer have dozens of card designs to pick from, but I suppose it does improve the efficiency, on their end.
RIP Gift card designs! And if you are lucky enough to still have some of your old cards, might want to save them!
Until our 2019 Disney Trip, I had NO IDEA how huge of a difference compression socks made when you are treking across Magic Kingdom or Epcot! I had always thought I handled the walking just fine, but ya'll, I just upped my game, and actually had the others asking me to wait so they could catch up!
In 2018, I had a blood clot scare, and was told compression socks were my new normal. Of course, I was upset, who wants to be stuck in dorky looking old person socks?! But instead of taking the pharmacy socks the doctor's office wanted to offer me, I visited Amazon, and couldn't believe my eyes. The most amazing array of fun socks, cute socks, and also different styles, like toeless, footless, low, medium, high length...Amazon has it all, and at incredible prices. Took a few tries to find the brand and size that worked for me, but do you know what happened? The most amazing thing!
The Plantar Fascias in my right foot pretty much cleared up, my legs were NEVER tired or achy, and I could stand all day, feeling much more energized! They were really put to the test at Disney, and I have to say, at the end of the day, I felt like I could go a few more laps around the park, that's how big of a difference they make!
So what are compression socks?
If you are a medical professional, or an athlete, chances are you already know about compression socks. They are snug fitting socks that reduce swelling in your legs and feet. They help prevent varicose veins, and in some cases, help to shrink them. (I'm proof of that!)
The socks some in different lengths, they can be ankle length, mid calf, under the knee, or even thigh high. If you DON'T get them from the pharmacy, or Walmart, you are going to be able to get such cute styles and colors, no one will even know the magic ability of these socks!
How do compression socks work?
By applying pressure (a gentle hug to your legs, anything more, you've bought too small!) these socks make sure that your blood flows properly, and the valves function well. No more blood pooling when you sit, or stand for too long. Your legs work as they were designed to, before every day use and wear started wearing the functionality down.
Aren't people going to laugh at me for wearing these?
Before we went to Disney, I spent a lot of time googling, worried about wearing them at Disney. Would people notice? Would they point at me? Could I wear them with skirts or shorts and not look like a dork?! I was definitely worried. While there, I can honestly report, that the guy, just wearing one compression sleeve on his leg in front of me in line (pretty neat pattern) didn't even have anyone notice, so what me? With my nude colored ones under my capris? While waiting to meet Chip and Dale, a preschooler pointed them out to his mom, and she shrugged, and said "Why in the world are you looking at peoples socks?" Truthfully, I only had the one person notice, and when on me, the nude ones looked like tights. Since then, I've bought some colored ones, and some stripes, and don't think twice about wearing them because they come in so many cute styles. If you are worried...don't be. It's Disney. When was the last time you stared at someone's socks, unless they were in front of you in the line and you were mentally trying to make them scooch further up the line?
Compression socks have an added bonus?
They do. They really do. Besides the amazing leg energizing benefits, I also didn't have to wear sunscreen on my legs. I usually burn just looking at the sun, but with these, I didn't have to wear sun block on my legs! A total win and time saver!
I'm a believer. now what?
If you want to try some for yourself, I suggest going to Amazon. There are a LOT of different brands, but my personal favorite are the Doc Miller brand. Since I like to wear my regular socks, and I do have varicose veins to protect I bought the footless type, but Mr. Disney Magic prefers the ankle style. You can get the same style as what you already wear, and in plain colors, or fun ones or patterns. They run about the same price as socks, maybe a little more, but if you get a few pairs to rotate through, I can attest they will last a LONG time. My original compression calf sleeves I bought a year and a half ago, are still going strong. My Hanes socks? Not quite as good of shape!
If you have never tried these, do it, I think you'll be amazed at the difference, and next trip, it will be YOU that people can't keep up with!
We love Disney gift cards! We've talked before how to get free money to spend on Disney gift cards, but do you know all of the ways that you can use your Disney gift cards? We've got a list for you! This isn't a complete list, but I'll bet there's a few ways to use them you might not have known!
1. Disney Resorts, includng those like Aulani and Hilton Head
2. Food anywhere on Disney Property, even some non owned Disney Spring locations
3. Souvenirs and shopping at Disney and Disney Springs
4. Parking at the Theme Parks
5. Theme park tickets
6. Spa services
7. Disney Cruises
8. Adventures by Disney
9. DVC dues or fees
10. Memory Maker
So what can't you use these gift cards on? Balloon vendors are cash only, and a few of the nightime carts with light up toys can't take these. You can't use these (yet) for Minnie Vans, RunDisney fees, pressed pennies, laundry services and a few other small things. It's also a good idea to have a little cash as a backup, there have been times we've been in Epcot and all credit card readers have gone down, and the only way to get that Mickey Pretzel was with cash!
Once you get your gift cards, you can combine them up to $1000 each, check balances or even buy specialty looking cards, through Disney's gift card website.
There's very little these card's can't buy, and with so many fun designs, they are perfect gifts too! If you haven't read our article on how in less than 10 seconds how to make sure your child (or you!) doesn't lose their gift card, you might want to check it out by clicking here. It's quick, easy, and fun!