Hi! Miss me? I was gone all last week for a family vacation.Well, we finally did it, we bit the bullet and took the kids on a Disney World vacation (details,advice and info at the end of the post.).
Though we did make a fun side trip to Franklin, Tennessee to the City Farmhouse pop up market on the way down.
We drove down from Chicago through pretty and farmy,Indiana instead of the long, boring ride through flat and corn-filled Illinois. The best thing about Indiana is all of the very cool farms along the way. It’s like a picture book.I don’t know who’s farm this is, but I want to meet them. Look at the number on the barn!
Not a bad picture for whizzing by at 70 miles an hour.
We stopped in Franklin (one of my favorite downtown’s by the way…), and popped into the City Farmhouse pop up market.
There were some awesome displays.
And I found some amazing goodies.
And was finally able to meet the City Farmhouse Kim!
In Franklin, TN we stopped at some awesome places like Gray’s Pharmacy for lunch. The food and decor were just awesome.
This display is coffee filters and balloons! Amazing!
I also stopped in at their Anthropologie,and Philanthropy. I might have shopped quite a bit. We also made sure to it some civil war and plantation tours.
I couldn’t help but take pictures of the local architecture.
After that, we headed out to our Walt Disney World vacation. I’ve been 4 other times, and let me tell you what we learned from this time (number 5!).
It is NOT a relaxing vacation.
Wear good shoes.
The 2 quick meal, 1 snack a day meal plan is totally worth it.
The Fast passes are amazing, make sure to book them all earlier in the day so you can keep renewing them, one at a time. Book your restaurants the minute you are able to do so online, the good ones go quickly.
Get a park hopper pass. If you plan on only doing one park a day, it just doesn’t work. We ended up upgrading so we could go back and forth.
Leave the park to get to the buses before the fireworks end, otherwise you wait forever. Or if you plan on seeing the very end, plan on waiting forever.
Pee before you go to wait for the buses.
It is not a relaxing vacation.. oh wait, I mentioned that. I wish I had had a fit bit or something on to see how many steps I actually took.
My biggest complaint was the resort we stayed in.We stayed in the All star music resort. I have to say, I was not impressed. I know you don’t spend much time in the room, but ours was a bit run down and dirty to where I had to complain about it. And they only cleaned part of the room, even though I was assured a manager would go in with the maids and get everything. I mean they repeated missed a band-aid stuck to the side of a bed frame even after I told them about it and it was in plain site. Not what I expected by Disney standards for the money from my previous experiences. It was almost like they just gave up on that one. And the buses tended to ignore us for more expensive resorts. We might stay at a slightly pricier place if we go again.
If you have a birthday, or someone in your group does,make sure you tell them. They give you a button and all of the employees will wish them a happy birthday all day long. It’s fun for them!
Drink lots of water.
People will walk right in front of you, rudely, especially in the Magic Kingdom,and we had people in strollers and wheel chairs run into the back of our legs multiple times and many people.Just.Stop.In.Front. of.Us. Yes, it was as annoying as that last sentence. In fact, more so.
The food at the Tusker house was really,really good in the Animal Kingdom.
Plan on eating at off meal hours, it’s much easier.
Go for your non-fast pass rides while the parades and fireworks are going off if you don’t care about any of those things. You can get on them much quicker.
Even if you have the meals plan, always carry some money. A couple of times, they weren’t working and if you didn’t have any money, you would be out of luck.
If you think you are going to need a break,plan on leaving one park around 2 pm. Take a break,go to your pool, then come back after 5. You can plan around the extra magic hours and spend more time and not feel so frizzled out.
At some point on this magic vacation each member of your party (especially the kiddos) with completely lose their sh&@. It’s going to happen. I promise.
If you are driving for 18 hours to Disney at some point you will completely lose your sh@& and refuse to talk to everyone in the car for an hour. And then when you get to the park, pull them from the car and tell them in your finest moment “We just spent _____ dollars on this special trip! You will stop fighting,get along, get on the bus, smile and have a good time in this magical haven of fun whether you like it or not!”
Your feet will hurt in good shoes.
Plan on spending 30 minutes to get into the park which includes a bag check and possibly a metal detector.
Before you go, do to a Disney store and get each of the kids a gift card. Tell them this is their Disney souvenir spending money, and they can spend in on what ever they want, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. That helps to end the constant “Can I have? Can I have?” and set a spending limit (Thank you for that advice Maria, it was perfect!). My kids spent most of theirs at Epcot in Japan on Candy. Go figure.
You can be gluttonous like us, bring your own snacks, and save your snack rations and spend them at the French pastry shop in Paris in Epcot all at once. They might slightly raise their eyebrows at using 4 snacks at one time, but man, is it worth it.Every. Last. Bite.
They are really good about food allergies. I have a pretty severe one, and every place we ate where it might have been an issue, they made I talked to a chef who took the time to come out everything and meet with me personally, and were sure to do special prep, and were very careful, many times my meal came out separately from everything else.I was super happy with that, and I met a lot of really nice chefs.
The photo package is worth it, buy it early, but make sure to get all the photo ops you can to make it really worth it. You get the pictures of your face when you go down rides and everything. There’s some good, family bribery material there.
Download the My Disney experience app on your phone. It makes organizing and finding all of your fast passes,ride times,park hours and reservations a breeze. Make sure to read the reservation rules. If you cancel too close to one they may charge you $10 a person for the cancelled reservation,for some places that’s 2 days.
Your last day visit Disney Springs. It’s shopping and restaurants, but a great way to wrap everything up and pick up those last minute t-shirts and souvenirs.
Then get in your car for the 18 hour ride back completely exhausted! The good news is, the kids were too tired to fight.