Smarties, it seems like EVERYONE I know is either leaving for or just coming back from Disney! ‘Tis the season! We’ve summoned the help of our Smarty friend, Wendy Hershey, who is an incredible travel agent specializing in Disney trips. She’s got tips, tricks and deals for your next Disney trip. I’m tellin’ ya, now is the time to score some Disney fun! Here’s Wendy. ~Enjoy, Jen
As a Disney travel agent, I have the opportunity on a weekly basis to tackle the elusive question of how to plan a family vacation to Disney. It can be a daunting task, but so much less stressful when you plan in advance.
Here are a few examples of some things that I have found to be helpful:
• Visit your local dollar store and purchase rain ponchos for the family. Even if it doesn’t rain, they are great for keeping your kids dry on the water rides.
• Wal-Mart carries stuffed Disney characters in the baby section. An $8 Minnie Mouse opened at the park carries the same excitement as the identical Minnie purchased for $25 once you arrive.
• A mini-flashlight is the perfect answer for the moment when the lights go off on your child’s favorite ride and he panics.
• Snacks and a stash of baby wipes are good for the longer wait times in line. Also, if you bring your own water bottle to refill, it will be less expensive than the $3 bottle when you are dying of thirst.
• An autograph book that was purchased at home is far less expensive, than the $20 book that every other child in the park will be purchasing for Mickey’s autograph.
• Make your reservations very early for character dining. Most restaurants take reservations 180 days prior to your arrival.
• Check the schedule for character meet and greets. Get there early as the line will be cut off at a point and you will have missed the opportunity for that character.
• Use fast pass and ride your favorite rides early if you arrive when the park opens.
• Study the parade route for a good viewing spot and set up camp before it begins.
Lastly, plan out your day in advance and manage your expectations. I learned this lesson the hard way. I took my niece to the Magic Kingdom last summer for her 7th birthday. We met characters, rode a few rides, had a $40 lunch, and then she wanted to meet the fairies in Pixie Hollow. We waited in the two hour line and she was so excited. But afterwards, she mentioned how she wished she had gotten Tinker bell’s autograph. We rode more rides, watched a parade and both ended the day thoroughly exhausted. The next morning I did spring for the $20 book and to my surprise, she wanted to wait again to get the coveted fairy’s autograph. No matter how I tried to reason with her, she was determined. This was far more important than “It’s a Small World”.
At the end of the day, she had the trip of a lifetime and once I let go of my expectations, so did I.
Disney is offering up to 30% off on select rooms this fall. Please contact me if you would like more information.
I would love to hear any other tips you “moms” would like to pass along. Please share your comments!!!
Wendy Hershey, TNT Travel