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The Happiest Place on Earth

January 20, 2011 by Trina 19 Comments

This summer I’m going to experience something I’ve never experienced before. 

Disney World!

For as long as I’ve known Jonathan and his family, I’ve heard all about Disney and how much fun it is.  His brother’s family goes every year.  Literally, every summer.  And ever since we’ve had kids old enough to walk, I’ve listened to him say, “You have to go to Disney with us this year.  The kids would LOVE it.” 

So this year, we’re going.

And it’s not just us and his brother’s family.  It’s also his sister’s family and his parents.  All 17 of us. It’s going to be a BLAST.  The kids are beyond excited and every time they get cash here or there from birthdays, Christmas, etc they put it straight into their respective Disney envelopes.  {Jonathan and I have one too :)  We’ve stashed gas cards and cash from Christmas in there.}

We’ve got our lodging taken care of, but this is where I need YOUR help.  Since I’ve never gone to Disney before, I want to know little things like:

  • What shoes do we need for max comfort/style that are waterproof?  Adults and kids suggestions would be helpful.
  • What kind of backpack is the best for Disney?
  • What’s your favorite sweatproof/waterproof sunscreen for adults and kids? 
  • Are there certain shows that are Must See shows, or any to avoid? 
  • What things do we just HAVE to do while we’re there?

And I’m sure there are other things I’m not even thinking about but are important to know. 

So spill it.  I’m all ears. 

disney {Get it?  Ears.  Mickey/Minnie Mouse?  Ok, I’m lame!  LOL}

UPDATED to ask…has anyone used Tour Guide Mike?  Tell me your experience!


  1. I went for the first time when I was 21 years old with my family. WAS AWESOME. Awesommmmmme. The best thing we did was get hopper passes…we went in and out of parks a lot, and went and saw the fireworks at magic kingdom EVERY night because we could. So much fun :) Enjoy!

  2. Cute ears!! I’ve never been either! I bet you’re excited!! xx

  3. There is NO PLACE like Disney!!! We’re hoping to go back in October ourselves. It’ll be so much fun with a gang too!!!!

    I DOOOOO recommend comfy shoes – dont go for style unless style is some good running shoes – because you will be on your feet a LONG time!!! I recommend a hat as well to try & keep the sun off that face or those cheeks will be some red tomatoes. We’ve always gone with just the two of us so we’ve never had the backpack thing… I cant imagine taking one because you’re on & off rides so much -but with that many people, I’m sure someone is always willing to sit with the “gear” …

    Make sure you do the “Fast Pass” thing… that saves so much time standing in lines!!!

    I dont think there is anything you should “miss” or skip… just try & do everything you can… its all just a awesome time! :) For all ages!

  4. We are going to Disney this summer too! We try to go every few years because well, it’s so much fun! :)

    I recommend the Beauty and the Beast show at MGM. The Indiana Jones stunt show there is fun too – especially for the kids.

    The best food is at Epcot.

    The best water park is Blizzard Beach – I could care less about Typhoon Lagoon.

    We love the hopper passes because you can go in and out of the parks whenever you please. You could go to Animal Kingdom one morning & to a water park that afternoon.

    We also like the dining plan…it is very convenient.

    I’ve been to the Luau at the Polynesian (which is wonderful) and to the Hoop De Doo Review at Fort Wilderness (very corny but so funny). I definitely recommend that you go to one nice dinner/show while you are there.

    Have fun!

  5. There are several websites that give really good advice. It’s almost scary how many times some of these people go to WDW in a year (www.wdwmagic is one I recall).

    The meal plan is a pretty good idea if you are staying where you do not have access to a kitchen. The food is expensive and it’s the same thing no matter where you go, it’s just called something different. If you are gonig to attend any of the character meals or the Hoop De Doo Review (good)you need to be making your reservations as soon as you can (I think it’s 3 months prior to your visit..not sure). If they have not changed them the character breakfasts are the better deals in my opinion (Ohana @ the Polynesian). My kids liked the Sci Fi Theatre @ Hollywood Studios).

    Carry a small back pack. They will let you bring bottled water, crackers, etc. in.

    Animal Kingdom gets really warm as the day goes on so I’d make plans to visit there on a morning. Make sure you do Soarin @ Epcot…sometimes the lines are long so try to do it early if you can.

    Buy any souvenirs at a Wal-Mart or Target around International Drive…or order them from the Disney store on line if you can find them on sale. They are the same thing only much cheaper…especially autograph books for your kids to have characters to sign.

    Have fun!

  6. You are going to love it! When you get there, make sure you check in and get your buttons, they give you free buttons for all sorts of stuff, like your first trip to Disney, birthday, anniversary, etc…I wore crocs or tennis shoes the whole time, crocs has some fashionable shoes, so you should check them out…I took a very small backpack that held my camera and wallet, that was it. You have to see the firework shows, all of them! The lazer show they do over the water (I can’t remember what it’s called), was the coolest thing ever! I think it was at Hollywood Studios. I do agree with the souvenirs being way over priced at the park, but I still bought a couple of authentic park ones while I was there. Keep Disney Quest in mind in case you get a day of bad weather-it’s great to keep the kids (and guys) occupied with video games all day! Make sure you have extra memory cards for your camera too-wouldn’t want to run out of room!

  7. We just went in October, and can’t wait to go back. Everyone says to wear tennis shoes, but I personally was more comfy in my flip flops. Tennis shoes hurt my feet after a while. We stayed at Animal Kingdom, and it was really neat. The room was really nice, and we got to sit on the balcony and watch the giraffes. The kids LOVED that part. The down side was that it is soooo far away from all the other parks.

    I agree with everyone else, go to Animal Kingdom first thing when they open. It will be cooler, and less crowded. There you have to ride Expedition Everest. The river rapids ride was fun, but you definitely get soaked. We did the Kilimanjaro Safari twice, and it is great. You HAVE to see the Lion King show. It is a “can’t miss” for sure.

    At Magic Kingdom you pretty much want to see it and do it all. The best rides are Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. Our kids really liked Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger and The Haunted Mansion. Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor was really funny.

    At Epcot the food is great. You have to ride Soarin’. Like someone else said, try to do that one early. We waited over an hour both times we rode it, but it is totally worth it.

    Hollywood Studios: The good rides are Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania and the Tower of Terror. You will also want to see the Indiana Jones show. Get there early or you may have to stand up the whole time for it.

    Use the Fast Pass system. It saves you time. We downloaded the Undercover Tourist app on our iPhones. It tells you what the wait times are on all rides, the parade times, and which parks are expected to be super busy. There is also one called Ride Hopper that does the same thing. The Undercover Tourist website also has a lot of useful info. Some of our friends used Tour guide Mike and said it was very helpful also.

    Sorry this was so long. I hope I didn’t overload you on Disney info. LOL

  8. You MUST go to Fort Wilderness to the Hoop De Doo Review…we waited years to go and were so sorry we didn’t go sooner! Fun for the whole family and worth every penny!

    Breakfast with the Princesses in Epcot. It’s perfect for little girls…all the princesses come around to your table!

    Chef Mickey’s is fun too!

    (sorry for the food theme!)

  9. I have a million things I’d tell you, but the first thing that comes to mind is you HAVE to see the Beauty & the Beast show that’s near the Tower of Terror/Aerosmith ride I think. The Aerosmith ride is the best coaster and super fun.

  10. We are hoping to take our son in October. My SIL lives about 30 minutes away. If you get a chance you should drive out to the space center. It’s a cool place to visit!

  11. One thing that I read on someone else’s blog (can’t remember where) but, will DEFINITELY use this when going to Disney. The prices of souvenirs are outrageous!! Your kiddos will probably want to spend their money on things, but hit up dollar stores, dollar bins, etc. for Disney items and stash them away in your suitcase/purse. It would be fun to hand over something fun to you kids when you arrive there, when you are eating inside the park, the drive down, etc. The kids will just be so excited they won’t even realize you didn’t pay $15 for that Mickey Mouse cup :) Good luck and enjoy!!

  12. YES! my boyfriends family is the same way! We’re 26 and he has been to disney 22 times!! I went once when I was like 7 but I dont remember much so I’m DYYYYYING TO GO! You’ll have a great time!! :)

  13. Hey T! My husband and I took our kids last year. One huge suggestion is hit up the Boardwalk and Downtown Disney at night. Both are free just to look. But they are SO fun. Also, I would strongly recommend the lunch with the Princesses in Cinderella’s castle. Here’s a cute story on it: http://mylifethroughmythoughts.blogspot.com/2010/09/story-i-never-told-you-kisses-at-castle.html

    We are totally going back in September. It really IS the best place on earth!

  14. Bring TONS of money if you want souvenirs! It’s really expensive and so is the food, I usually eat out of the Disney Parks, my family spends hundreds on just LUNCH!!

    If it will be hot DEFINITELY bring some sort of (you can also buy these at the parks) little spray bottle with a fan. It will be an absolute lifesaver.
    Wear very comfortable shoes, particularly tennis shoes…I wear flip flops usually in the summer to Disney BUT–mine are really comfortable, so I would just wear some really comfortable closed toed shoes to protect feet from being burned/stepped on/run over by strollers (had that happen many a time), etc.

    I would just use a regular sized backpack with comfortable straps. You don’t wanna lug around a big heavy uncomfortable backpack around Disney all day…so be sure to try to pack lightly for in the park.

    My family’s favorite sunblocks are Banana Boat, it’s the only thing that doesn’t give us rashes and it stays on really well.

    Definitely look up websites that talk about the attractions to see what fits your familys interests. There is literally SO much to do it’s almost overwhelming :) I would definitely pay a visit to some of your favorite characters, it is really a lot of fun.
    Also (I believe they still have it but I’m not sure), try to check out the Main Street Electrical Parade!
    That’s really all I can think of…
    oh, one last thing


  15. HOW EXCITING!!!!!!! Our family has been to Disney World I think 5 or so times and there is nothing like it! It really is magical no matter what age you are.

    I dont have too much advice on what to take, I have taken my Vera Bradley backpack and that works perfect! I havent been with Weston yet so I dont really know what kind of bags and stuff would work out best for kids and families. Sorry! And as far as shoes go I think I have always worn comfy flip flops the whole time and never had problems. That way I never had to worry about them getting wet or being too tight or getting blisters or anything like that.

    My FAVORITE things that I would recommend to do while you’re there are:

    Beauty and the Beast show at MGM
    Lion King show at Animal Kingdom
    Ohana Character Breakfast and the Luau Dinner at the Polynesian Resort
    Chek out the meal plan and see if that might work for your fam. We love it because it gives us a chance to go to some of the nicer places that we wouldnt normally pick because of price.
    Aerosmith Rockin Rollercoaster at MGM
    There’s probably more amazing stuff that Im forgetting but that’s what I can think of off the top of my head. Im so excited for yall! :-)

  16. Oh my gosh, that picture is too cute!!!!! And when you come to Disney, you are NOT leaving this state without seeing me, haha!!!! :)

  17. Fast Passes are a MUST. You can only get one at a time so plan ahead which attractions you want to see the most and go from there.

    Animal Kingdom is awesome, especially the Lion King show and the Jungle Safari.
    Honey I Shrunk the Audience at Epcot would be fun for your kids but younger kids can get a little scared.
    The Rock N Rollercoaster (Aerosmith) at MGM is so much fun…and so is the Backlot tour there too.

    If you get a chance and want to venture down the road a bit, or if you have Harry Potter fans in the group, I would recommend taking the time to head to Universal while you’re there as well!

  18. We are huge Disney people and go every May with our kids! :) The Finding Nemo show at Animal Kingdom and the Beauty and the Beast show at MGM are both really, really good. (actually, you will find that everything is really good at Disney–food, shows, rides…it’s magical!). :) You’ve gotten good rec’s on rides.
    I always wear my most comfy (and cute!) flip flops. Yellowbox is what I wore last year every day. I absolutely can’t stand for my feet to be hot, bad tan lines or wet feet in rain (or wet rides)–tennis shoes are a total no-go for me! My kids wear either their normal leather sandals (like stride rite) or crocs. Definately hats for the kids. A little fan is great–dollar store. Take a poncho (or a few). You can get them at the dollar store–often a little storm will crop up and drench everything for 30 minutes or so. Ponchos at the park are $$$. We have young kids so always have a stroller (though I will say, even my almost 5 year old begs to sit in the stroller by the end of the day–we will take one for a while. If nothing else, it can carry your stuff. It really isn’t a big hassle to have it either, imo). We don’t do hopper because we get there early and stay late. In my opinion, time is money and if you are spending 30-45 minutes changing parks that’s time (and fast passes you’ll get behind on). We have gone both ways on the dining plan but will always do it going forward–SO easy and if you plan to eat in the park you will break even or save money having it. Do take in bottled water and little snacks for the kids though-they don’t mind and it can help when waiting for a ride or show to start. Allears.net is a good Disney website.

    Y’all will have a blast–so exciting!! :)

  19. hey trina love!

    i’ve been following along through my reader, but i just wanted to pop in and actually leave a comment telling you how much I adore you!

    MWA! =)