Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Day at Disney… With a Baby… On a Budget

These days we value experiences more than things (we already have too much stuff... can I get an Amen).  We also have a very *high* probability that we will be moving somewhere further from Florida this summer.  So we have been thinking Disney is just something we should squeeze in…. right? Both Andrew and I got tickets {toDisney}for our birthdays... And BD gets in free:).
Disney is one of those places that "costs less" the more days you do it. And by costs less, I really mean costs more, just less per day.
But what if you don't have the time or money for a long trip.  
A day or two at Disney… totally worth it. And here are some thoughts about doing it on a budget...
This is how it went down for us... and the recommendations I would make...

Tickets/Where to go...

*The tickets are just expensive no matter how you do it. Deals are few and far between and usually only for multiple days. If you know any deals on tickets... Share with me and I will add them here.
*One way to save is by not getting a hopper pass.  With a baby you really need to go to Magic Kingdom, and MK has more than enough to do in one day.  That being said, we had a hopper pass and used ours to go to Hollywood Studios and enjoyed it... but it really is not a necessary option if you want to save!
*Magic Kingdom is definitely the way to go with little ones. If you have time for another park I would recommend Disney Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.
* Another option if you don't have a ticket for a day is Downtown Disney... It is an option, but I am not sure it is a good one, especially for a Saturday or Sunday evening.  It is *craziness* to park, just to enter the crowds and see a larger than life Disney store.  When just Andrew and I went a few years ago, we made it happen on a weekday during lunch/early afternoon.  It was a totally different experience.  No crowds!  So I would only recommend this if you can make it happen on an off day.  Otherwise, I would avoid it.


*The great thing about Disney is that you can bring any food you want into the park!  So you can really  save money by packing all sorts of meals and snacks in a cooler, that you can throw in a book bag or stroller.
*Andrew and I do think that part of the experience is their food, so here is how we did it on a budget.  First we came up with a tentative plan of the things we would want to eat.  For our short trip we planned one meal and a few snacks.  This is a great site if you want to see the food options at each park.  Then we did an envelope system- we put the money we were planning on spending at Disney all day into an envelope.  Then we only used that money.  This also made sure we did not spend money on souvenirs and such that we did not need.
*Our favorites if you are wondering...
-Snacks- Mickey ice cream bar- I promise it is better than the ones you get at the grocery store- worth $3.75 :), the Nutella Waffles at Sleepy Hallow in the MK-$6.99, it comes with a pile of fresh fruit :), the Sci-Fi Dine-In at DHS.

What to bring…

*Stroller AND baby wearer.  To be honest, the stroller acted as our storage point for the day.  I wore 27 lbs+ BD almost all day… and I was fine  This is why I love my Ergo :) BD napped/ slept in both.
*Snacks/meals as mentioned above.
*Diaper supplies packed into a book bag.  We did use disposables instead of cloth for the day and survived :).
*Depending on the time of year, layers!  For us it was very cool in the morning, but hot in the afternoon.  Definitely a change of clothes for the baby… just in case.
*Water bottle.
*Camera… for all the magic moments :)


*There are tons of attractions babies can enjoy at MK... I would venture to say almost all of them.  
*Switching off is available if there is no one else with you.  Just tell the cast member at the entrance of the ride.  That being said it is not quite as fun to ride things by yourself.
*Download the line app.
*Our suggestion for ride order.  
  1. Get your fast passes set up for the busiest time of the day- I would say between 12-5.  What you get them for I think is a personal preference.  Since our little does not have favorites yet, we picked ones we like.  In the future we might reserve these for rerides of her faves!
  2. Look at the parade/show schedule and see if there are any you want to do/see.
  3. Go straight to Fantasyland.  Ride everything you want here first thing because 1) your baby will be most awake and alert then and these are some of the rides they will really enjoy and 2) Fantasyland lines get long and rides are short, the whole area becomes a stroller traffic jam by 11:00.  We were able to do everything we wanted in Fantasyland by 10 am!
  4. Go and ride other big ticket rides before the lines get long (I would say less than 20-30 minutes is perfect).  Keep riding until you notice all the lines are longer than you wish to wait in.
  5. Once the lines get long, it is time to grab lunch and go to some attractions that usually have no wait like Country Bear Jamboree and the Enchanted Tiki room (both of which were some of BD's favorites:)).
  6. Make sure to see some characters and get some pictures.  We kept saying "since BD is so young it doesn't matter," now we are sad we didn't get more pictures.
  7. As the evening approaches you will notice the rides getting shorter.  BD slept in the Ergo while we did almost everything we did not get to earlier.  

Souvenirs and stuff…

*Most rides dump you in some sort of gift shop... just avoid buying things. Overpriced and not necessary.


*We were going to stay with my grandparents, then at the last minute Andrew used Priceline to get a nice hotel really in expensively. It was nice to have our hotel so close.

Over all… I think Disney is a magical place for children (and adults) of all ages.  It is a fun place to go and make it happen on a budget.

1 comment:

  1. these are great tips! I'm so glad you told me :) we went last year but I guess I didn't know you could take your own food/snacks into the park...since we'll be there 5 days, this will be a must for us. Maybe not every single meal and every single snack will be brought in, but even if we did some it would still save us money. what month did y'all go? I noticed you said it was cool in the mornings and hot in the afternoons.