Disney tips

Boehringer family for webMOM Mag designer, Kassie, offers up some advice based on her recent trip.

We recently took our first family vacation to Disneyland. Planning the trip was almost like expecting our first child-the vast amounts of reading, the advice from friends and strangers, the anticipation (what have we gotten ourselves into?). In the end, it turned out to be a fabulous vacation. And what kind of MOM would I be if I didn't pass on some advice of my own?

So here are a few tidbits to consider if you too are planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

1)      Stay as close to the park as you can afford. We originally booked a hotel off site, but then changed to a hotel right next to Downtown Disney. Even though it cost a bit more, I'm glad we did. We were able to easily go back and forth-for naps during the day, to grab a sweatshirt, to change after a splashy ride. It was key to keeping everyone happy, rested and comfortable.

2)      Speaking of splashy rides, bring a few disposable rain ponchos from home. After you're done with them, find a family in line and pass them on.

3)      Look at Disney vacation packages offered by Alaska Air, Costco, AAA and others that include airfare, hotel and park tickets. I found the packages to be cheaper than going ala carte.

4)      Shop for Disney stuff-especially clothing-ahead of time. This morsel came from MOM Publisher Raeann. We stocked up on Tinkerbell and Minnie t-shirts at Wal-Mart beforehand, and passed up their more expensive counterparts at the gift shops.

5)      Bring snacks from home. I put together small bags of different, non-perishable snacks and packed them in my suitcase. Each day, I threw a few of the small bags in my purse and we munched happily while waiting in lines.

6)      If you have a smart phone, download a free Disney wait time app.  It was a great way to see when our favorite rides were the least crowded.

7)      Fast Passes are your friends. I wish every ride had them.

8)      For the younger set, character meals are expensive, but worth it. We did the Princess lunch and it was the highlight for our girls. You can make reservations ahead of time to secure your spot.

9)      If you're going to buy a photopass, use it as much as possible.  There are photographers stationed everywhere to take your picture, and you can purchase all of the photos they take for one price. I was so excited my daughter got picked for Jedi training that I forgot to take pictures of her fighting Darth Vader. Fortunately, the photopass photographer was there. After that, we got our picture taken as often as possible and now have a cd full of memorable and professional shots.

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