Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Packing for a trip to Disney can be overwhelming. It’s so easy to forget things that you need and over pack with things you won’t end up using. We have compiled a list of the basics to get you started packing for your next Disney vacation. This list is going to cover the broad categories, and we will assume that you are going to pack basic things like underwear, socks and deodorant. Please don’t forget the deodorant!

First of all, if you are anything like me you will WAY over pack. Live and learn that if you forget it, it’s okay! Chances are your Disney resort gift shop will have it. The gift shops are stocked with essentials. If the resort gift shop doesn’t have what you need, you can always drive to one of the convenient Walmart stores in the area, or even have items delivered. If you are missing some baby essentials, hit the parks. The baby care stations in the Disney theme parks have diapers, wipes, baby food and even children’s medication for sale.

If you are flying to Disney, you will need to make sure you keep your MagicBands in your carry on luggage. You will need them if utilizing Disney’s Magical Express.

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Let’s get started packing! Here is our Disney packing list:

Packing List

Seasonally appropriate clothing
Light Jacket
At least 2 pairs of shoes
Flip flops/sandals for pool

Ultimate Disney Packing Guide

Park Bag
Water bottles
Water flavoring drops
Sunglasses and/or hat
Small first aid kit
Moleskin/blister blockers
Medication (as needed)
Wet wipes/baby wipes
Hand sanitizer
Feminine products
Personal fan mister
Glow sticks

ultimate disney packing guide

Other Items for the Park
Stroller and rain cover
Camera bag
Ziploc or dry bags for electronics, in case of rain or wet rides

Camera and/or video camera
Smartphone with My Disney Experience app downloaded
Portable chargers and cords
Batteries and SD card for camera

ultimate disney packing guide

Personal Items
Travel documents (hotel confirmation, rental car confirmation, etc).
Driver’s License/ID Card
Membership card (DVC, Visa, etc.)
MagicBands/Park Tickets
Spending Money

We have our packing list available as a free download for you!

ultimate disney packing guide

As you pack, please remember our ultimate Disney packing guide is not all inclusive. If you are taking several electronic devices, check out Meredith’s tips on keeping your devices charged on the go. As always, please review the park rules for Walt Disney World to make sure you aren’t packing a restricted item! Have we left off anything from our list that you think is essential? Let’s chat in the comments! ~Amy ºoº

How To Make Money At Disney

Make Money at Disney

How to Make Money at Disney

Make money at Disney? YES, PLEASE!!

We recently returned from a family trip to Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. At check-in we were given the option of declining daily “mousekeeping” service in exchange for a $40 Disney gift card. For awhile now I’ve heard about these gift card offers, and I was glad that I got the chance to try it out for myself. The $40 Disney gift card was a nice bonus. I was curious to find out if our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) could manage 5 nights in a hotel room without having any cleaning services.

Make Money at Disney

How It Worked For Us

In a nutshell, our family had absolutely no issues with skipping mousekeeping. We were able to request fresh towels from guest services as needed, and we also grabbed a pile of the pool towels to use for our boys when they needed a fresh towel. We had groceries delivered to the resort which left us with a big pile of trash from boxes. Our boys took the trash down the hall to one of the outside trash cans, and repeated the process as the trash cans in the room got full. It really worked out just fine for us. I made sure that we cleaned up along the way, and the whole process was definitely painless for our family.

Honestly, our family was neater during our trip to Disney than we are at home. We made sure to make the beds before we left for the parks in the morning, and that made a huge difference. We would straighten up the counters, remove trash and pile up the wet towels if it was time to swap them out. I kept most of our clothes in the suitcases, and would “straighten” them up before we left. It felt more vacation like when we arrived back “home” to a clean room.

Make Money at Disney

Something to Consider

Know your limitations and what you expect during your resort stay. If you look forward to someone else cleaning after you and your family on vacation, or making your beds up every day, this may not be the best choice for your stay.

Tips for Declining Mousekeeping

  1. Tidy up as you go. It made it much easier to come back into the room after a long day in the parks if you know the room isn’t a disaster zone.
  2. Be kind to guest services. They will bring you fresh towels and toiletries whenever you need it. Tipping is always a nice courtesy to them!

Opting out of mousekeeping services isn’t always a option given to every guest. You can request it to see if it is available when you check in. The Disney Gift Card offer worked just fine for our family stay. Would it work for your family? Would you consider giving up mousekeeping for some extra souvenir money? Let’s chat in the comments!


How to Plan a Disney Vacation in 2017

Plan a Disney Vacation in 2017

Plan Disney vacation with our easy tips.

In case you haven’t heard the news, on June 21st package rates will be released for 2017 travel to Walt Disney World. Packages include rooms and tickets to the parks. If you think that you want to visit WDW in 2017, but don’t know where to begin, here are some of our helpful resources that can help you get ready to plan the trip of your dreams.

Travel Agents

Walt Disney World can be very overwhelming for newbies. Travel agents can take care of the details for you so you don’t have to worry. If you book through an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, you know you are getting an expert, and the best part…you don’t have to pay anything for the service! Disney pays them for you! If you have questions on using a TA, listen to our podcast all about the services travel agents can provide for you. You can find each of our travel pages here: Jolly Holidays by Sarah, Main Street Memories by Meredith, and Tomorrowland Travels with Amy.

Where to Stay

Plan Disney vacation and learn where to stay.

You can check out our posts on which Disney World Resort is right for you. My part 1 post includes value and moderate resorts, and part 2 includes deluxe resorts and villas.  Our family loves Pop Century, a value resort, but other families may favor more deluxe accommodations. Sarah has covered why her family loves Port Orleans French Quarter and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Dining Plan

After covering where to stay, you’ll need to decide if the dining plan is right for your family. Listen to our podcast where we dished on Dining. Read what I shared in December about how I got out of my Disney dining comfort zone on the plan and loved every second of it.

Other Considerations

Would your family like the Memory Maker PhotoPass? How can you take the best pictures possible to remember this trip forever?

Plan Disney vacation and get your FastPasses early!

Wondering what in the world FastPass+ is? What about how to beat the heat in Orlando? We’ve got you covered on those topics too!

Lastly, check out my Top 5 Know Before You Go Tips. These tips will help you plan a Disney vacation with a lot less stress. Use the search button at the top of this page to check for anything else you might be wondering about or email us your questions at mouseandmonorail (at) gmail (dot) com.

Need to plan your Disney vacation and don't know where to start? Check out our best tips for easy planning and stress free Disney fun!

We would love to answer any questions you have! Will 2017 be the year for you and your family?

Which Walt Disney World Resort is Right For Me? – Part 2

You’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation. You are so excited – and overwhelmed – at the prospects of where in the “world” do you stay. Yesterday I gave the scoop on value and moderate resorts types and today I’m covering deluxe resorts and villas. Let’s get started!

Deluxe resorts are just that – deluxe. These resorts are top of the line hotel properties, and you will get nothing but the best when staying at them. Deluxe resorts start at $284 a night, and would be the equivalent of a Four Seasons type hotel. Transportation to the parks from deluxe resorts varies from bus, monorail or boat, depending on which resort you pick. These resorts are located very close the parks, are larger than the value and moderate rooms, have very ornate decorations and theming, high end restaurants, spa and fitness centers, park views, children’s activity centers, cruises and other activities, and great pools with water slides. Because of the high class of the hotel, I wouldn’t expect these to be over-run with large groups of children, although they are still kid friendly. This is after all, Disney. Deluxe resorts even offer club level and concierge services.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Now, let’s move on to Villas. The Villa rooms at Walt Disney World Resorts are found at the either the deluxe resorts, or as a stand alone resort, and include studios, one and two-bedroom villas. Each two-bedroom villa sleeps up to 8 Guests—and up to 9 at select locations—and includes amenities such as a full kitchen, a whirlpool tub, DVD player, washer and dryer. These rooms are great if you are traveling with a large group, and don’t want to have more than one hotel room. You can have all the perks and amenities of the deluxe resorts, with extra room. It’s a win/win, especially if you are splitting the cost of the room, because they don’t come cheap. Deluxe Villas start between $318 and $1265 per night, and go up from there.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village

Disney’s Beach Club Villas

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

So that’s the breakdown of the deluxe resorts and the villas available at Walt Disney World. It is my dream to one day stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Grand Floridian. Which deluxe resort is on your bucket list? Have you stayed at a deluxe resort or villa? Let’s chat in the comments! I’ll be back with more Disney fun tomorrow. Have a tiggerific day! ~A ºoº

Which Walt Disney World Resort is Right For Me? – Part 1

You’ve decided that you are going to Walt Disney World (WDW). That was the easy part! Now comes the tough decision on deciding where to stay. I’ve got some tips today and tomorrow on breaking down the resorts types to help you make up your mind.

There are four levels of WDW resorts: Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villas. Each resort is designed with a theme in mind, and all WDW properties have amenities such as pools, park transportation and access to extra magic hours, in addition to the perks of being able to book dining reservations and FastPass+ reservations before the general public.

Today I’m going to break down value and moderate resorts types, and tomorrow I’ll cover the deluxe and deluxe villas.

Let’s start with the Value resorts. Value resorts are perfect for the budget conscious traveler, and they start at $85 per night. We personally stay at Pop Century Resort, and have had nothing but good experiences there. I’m at Disney World for the parks, not the hotel, so this has been an easy choice for us. I would rather spend my money in the parks than on my hotel room. I would equate the value resorts to a La Quinta type hotel. You have a small, but clean room, bathroom area, and a few amenities. Not many perks, but it gets the job done. The value resorts have food courts instead of restaurants, amazing kid-friendly theming, including gigantic models of characters and huge swimming pools. Park transportation from value resorts is by bus.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – tent and camper sites available

The downside to staying at a value resort is that there are a lot of children there (hence the kid-friendly decor), and schools/teams often utilize the value resorts for different events and competitions around WDW. This means that you could have lots of loud cheerleaders staying right down the hall from you practicing their cheers before national competitions the next day. So if you are looking for a quiet, adult friendly getaway, this might not be the right choice for you. We have found that our stays at Pop Century have been lots of fun for our kids, and we personally have had no issues. We will even be staying at Pop Century for our anniversary trip because we both want to maximize our park time, and don’t plan on hanging out at the resort much.

Now let’s move on to the moderate resorts. Disney has 5 moderate resorts that you can chose from, and these are all one step up from the value resorts. The moderate resorts start at $162 per night. The theme is more adult in nature, however kids still have plenty of fun staying at these resorts. Moderate resort rooms are a bit larger than value resort rooms, have themed pools with water slides, offer bars/lounges, food courts, and have various other forms of activities like boat rentals or carriage rides, that aren’t available at the value resorts.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

The moderate resorts generally run $70-$150 more per night than value resorts, depending on the time of year, and are much quieter than value resorts. These resorts would equate to a Hampton Inn or equivalent hotel. Nice, roomy enough for a family of 4 or 5, depending on which resort you are in, and a few more perks than a value resort. Transportation to the parks from moderate resorts is by bus or boat, depending on the resort. If you are staying for more than a few days, and plan on spending time exploring your resort, this might be a good choice for your family, especially if your kids love the pool or beach.

So that’s the breakdown of value and moderate resorts at Walt Disney World. Come back tomorrow as I talk about the deluxe resorts and deluxe villas. Let’s chat in the comments with your thoughts on Disney’s value and moderate resorts! ~A ºoº