As regular readers will know, we are very excited here as we’re counting down to our first family Disney World holiday. We booked it last May and we now have less than three months to go, with the anticipation heightening weekly.
With a Disney World holiday, a lot of the fun is about the planning, preparations and countdown. I know that you can just book it, forget about it and then pack your cases and you’re off, but I think you’d be really missing out! We are all thoroughly enjoying the build up to the break, and for me it’s a great way to feel like we are getting so much more than a couple of weeks from our holiday. It can also be a great way of passing the time whilst you are eagerly counting down to it. So today I thought I’d share a few of the things we’ve been doing and will do to get ourselves into the Disney zone…
Make Practical Disney Plans
First up, a few practicalities that can keep you busy. There are a few things that need to be done, to tick off your list as you count down. There’s the booking itself, applying for ESTAs, then at 180 days prior to your trip you can book Advanced Dining Reservations, then at 60 days before you go (or 30 if you’re staying offsite) you can book your Fastpasses. This is all to say that there’s plenty that you can plan and prepare for, and it’s worth building an itinerary prior to going. Using the My Disney Experience App helps with all of this, and is a fun place to browse, checking out attractions, menus and getting a feel for the layout of the parks and typical queue times for rides. The kids and the Husband have told me the rides that they really want to go on, shows they’d like to see and food they want to try, so I am factoring these into our plans. Aside from the headline rides that we’ll need Fastpasses for, we’re then pretty easy on other things to ride so our days shouldn’t feel too packed or pressured, we can take them as they come.
Enjoy Online Chat, Blogs and Help
I love The Dibb forums, and there’s a Facebook group for ‘Disney and Orlando for The Brits’ which is really useful. If staying onsite, there are also Facebook groups for most resorts, so that’s been good for picking up tips and seeing lots of photos of our resort. I also follow a few blogs and websites, such as DisneyTouristBlog, Undercover Tourist and WDW Prep School. There are plenty out there, you’ll no doubt find the ones you like the most. All of these help with the planning and practicalities.
Watch Disney World on YouTube
If you’ve watched any Disney World vlogs, the chances are you’ll know Tim Tracker. I cannot recommend watching Tim and Jenn enough, they are fabulous. We also really enjoy The WDW Couple, The DFB, Touring Plans, Blair Lamb, Oh Yeah TV, Charlotte Ruff, Disney in Detail, Yaz & Ash, and to be honest I could go on and on as we watch loads more than these!
We enjoy watching vlogs of people exploring the parks, vloggers sharing favourites, tips and hints and YouTube is also a great place to get a feel for the rides and attractions. For us, we’ve watched a few rides to get the kids’ opinions on whether they fancy riding them, as well as getting them excited about their upcoming trip. Boo loves watching character meets and parades whilst Little Man likes watching people in the shops, as he tells us everything he wants to buy! And we all love Tim. Of course. In fact, I suspect that spotting Tim in the parks might elicit more screams of delight than Mickey Mouse at this point!
Read Books and brochures
I like going over my Disney brochures and I have a few books, from tips to fun facts about Disney World. The one book that I would definitely recommend is The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2018 (The Unofficial Guides) I really would not be without that. They have a similar guide without the extra references to kids, I’ve noticed. It’s full of practical tips, and breaks down every park with all attractions included, along with a section on Universal Studios at the back. I have learned so much from it!
As we count down, we need to buy stuff, it’s all a part of it! I’m going to split this one into two sections – fun shopping and practical shopping:
Primark is fabulous! They have lots of Disney items, from the classics to Marvel to Star Wars. They also have plenty of Harry Potter clothes, if like us, you’ll be visiting Universal Studios as well. We’ve also bought tops from Truffle Shuffle and Uniqlo. It’s funny as at the outset we weren’t too bothered about wearing Disney clothes, but as time’s gone on, we seem to have accumulated a fair few items! We’ve also got a Vans Toy Story backpack for the Husband and I have an adorable Minnie Mouse Retro Bag to take into the parks. Oh, and of course the kids have Mickey Mouse Ears, goes without saying, right? I think we’re all set on the clothing front.
We have also got the kids autograph books each and I found a set of 2 Mickey and Minnie Mouse lanyards with detachable coin purses so that they can do a little pin trading with them. They have received some pins for Christmas and they will be getting a few more this Easter. Which is another tip, use birthdays and celebrations in the run up to your holiday to get a few treats like this in. We also got them some Disney colouring books, films and toys for Christmas, and they received a few dollars which excited them a lot!
There are a few things that I have picked up to be useful. Ponchos are mentioned a lot in relation to Disney wet rides, and the showery weather. I know I can get these in the parks, but they are cheaper to get beforehand, so we have each got these if we do fancy using them. They are small so will just be thrown in the backpack each day. We know that the kids will want to bring back a few souvenirs, and we plan to do a little shopping whilst we are there, so I have ordered a Folding Travel Bag to take with us. I also read about Earplaneswhich I’ve got for my son. He does suffer with his ears at time and I’d hate for him to be in pain on the flight, so for the cost of these they seem worth it for peace of mind on the long flight.
Go See Disney on Ice
Getting into the Disney swing of things, we are going to Disney on Ice soon, the Worlds of Enchantment tour, which is actually a surprise for the kids at the moment. This latest tour features Cars, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Frozen and I just know that they will absolutely love it, as will we. It’s a sprinkling of Disney Magic to get us all in the mood.
We have several Disney games, and I’d say our current favourites are Guess The Film Game and Disney Pictopia, though we have many more. We do love our board games here (check out 10 Brilliant Board Games for Kids) and the kids have been gravitating towards the Disney ones recently. I should point out, these weren’t bought due to our trip, we have always loved Disney here so we have had some of these for quite some time.
We also like to play word games then, such as 20 Questions with Disney characters, name that Disney tune, the alphabet game with a Disney theme, you get the idea.
Enjoy Disney Films and Music
Boo has a mental list of the Disney films that we have yet to see (there are very few) so she’s on top of ensuring that we’re all up to date before our trip. She also likes to get the Disney music playing whenever she can, and we often find ourselves watching Disney songs playlists on YouTube as we colour in our Disney colouring books! As with the games, we have a lot of Disney movies that we’ve had for years, in fact, the Husband and I had a fair few before we had the kids. We saw most new Pixar films as they came out at the cinema back when it was just the two of us, and these days we don’t miss a Marvel or Star Wars release!
Have Disney Days
This one’s all on the kids as they came up with this. Sundays are now Disney Days in our house, where the kids will always wear Disney tops and ears and then the day varies from them watching Disney films, playing music, watching vlogs, playing games or creating their own games – they are often Descendants or Marvel heroes. They adore their Disney Days, it’s a fun way to do a Sunday!
Keep a Countdown
And finally, everyone needs an actual countdown chart, right? Virtual is just not enough, get it there in black and white! We have a wipe board that Boo updates daily, a task that she takes very seriously. She updates people regularly on how many days are left now and as it’s double digits, it seems quite close.
Can you tell that we are excited? Are you getting that impression? I do think the count down and all of the above suggestions are a big part of the fun of a Disney World holiday. I just know the break itself will just fly by, but it’s already given us a lot of fun, so the holiday is almost feeling like the icing on the cake now.
What do you do to countdown to a Disney holiday?
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