Disney must haves


Okay going to try to do the best recap I can. It is SO much information. I cannot recommend a Disney travel agent more, Sarah at Lasting Impressions travel helped me so much. She booked everything from our hotel, to park tickets, to planned meals. She met with me via zoom the week before to review everything and give me some quick park tips.

Hotel: We stayed at Caribbean beach since it is a Disney property and one of the locations multiple gymnastic families stayed at. The price and location were perfect. You can grab the skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood studios and they have buses all day that will take you to each park. Sarah made sure our room was so close to the main pool area and skyliner/bus pick ups! There are several restaurants on site and a nice little "convenient" store for snacks etc. We enjoyed the pool on Thursday night when we arrived and Sunday afternoon when we took a quick rest during the day and we all loved it. It has 2 fun slides, a restaurant right by the pool and a nice big hot tub. 

Dresses and Ears: I bought the girls several dresses from Taylor Joelle Designs, I have shopped from her since Izzy was little, over 10 years ago. We got so many compliments on their Rey dresses and Izzy wore a Minnie dress for our breakfast and Addi wore a Aeriel dress:) Sarah grabbed some ears for us at her last Disney visit as well as "First time" buttons-we got compliments on both. I also grabbed these ears on Amazon that I highly recommend, so well made. 

Outfits: The girls Mickey overalls have been in my saved folder for years from Pepper Kids and I am still obsessed. My sweatshirt and t-shirt I ordered from Amazon. Dennis' one Disney approved shirt was from Amazon;) The kids shirt were from Amazon, H&M, Gap and Old Navy. I will link what I can still find. I shared the jacket I made over on my Instagram here. All my favorites are also linked over on my like to know it.  Cayson wore this hat most of the trip and it was the perfect non-cheesy addition for him-we are at that point in boyhood;) Cayson wore this sweatshirt to Magic Kingdom and this one to Hollywood studios:) The girl's Mini Melissa Minnie shoes are both sold out but you might be able to find some on a resale page. 

Shoes: Okay I know this seems crazy but I was SO worried about blisters etc and I am happy to report NO ONE got a blister. I actually hate tennis shoes, I know, also weird but I bought some to break in just for this trip because it was too cold for flip flops and both pairs I took were perfect. These Madewell shoes I have had for about a year for work and love them, they were absolutely perfect. I grabbed these Nikes that are also platform and the most fun colors for Disney:) I wore both for days and had zero issues.  I will link the kids shoes as well. Izzy wore Nike high tops, Cayson wore his Jordans or Nikes, Addi wore her Minnie tennies both days from H&M that I can't find in stock. Dennis wore these tennis shoes

Restaurants: Okay restaurants and adult beverages are few and far between at Magic Kingdom but we found an abundance of restaurants and adult beverages at Hollywood studios and Epcot is the same way. We ate at The Plaza Restaurant for lunch and it was good, no phenomenal, but did the trick with some wine and a quick feet rest! I highly recommend grabbing hot dogs and French fries from Casey's corner and eating along the street for fireworks for dinner. We lined up about 2 hours early, ate, relaxed and had the perfect view for the mot incredible fireworks show!! At Hollywood studios we made reservations at Mama Melrose Italian restaurant and it was SO good. We ran there for dinner after a quick rest and a ridicules online test for me, then rode Slinky dog one more time, the bigs rode the Aerosmith ride while Addi and I waited in line for the Fantasmic show which you can't miss! Sarah planned us a character breakfast before we flew out at our hotel and it was one of the highlights. 

Biggest recommendation: Research the parks!! With life, school, motherhood I didn't research each park as much as I wished I had. Have in mind what rides you really want to ride and have a few restaurant options. Most sit down restaurants require reservation, you can typically get one within 30 min-1 hr in the app but you do want to preplan. We did the early admission for Disney resort customers and we were seriously able to ride multiple rides before the park even opened. Have a game plan and head straight to your favorites. For Magic Kingdom we headed straight for the castle for photos then the Buzz lightyear ride and Space Mountain. Hollywood studios we went straight to all the Star Wars rides, these were all family favorites and did a fast pass for Slinky Dog, also a favorite and very popular ride. We grabbed snacks/brunch at Woody's lunchbox and had their tater tot bowls and they were delicious! EVERY restaurant has allergy friendly and gluten free options you just have to ask!

Also, 1000% do the photo Memory maker photos, you will get all the photos from rides, anytime you see a photographer stop and grab a quick photo and they show up in your app. On a side note, we did deal with a couple grumpy photographers but we just thanked them extra special;) Your travel agent can help with this! It is only worth your money if you take the time to grab them for photos. They took some of my favorite family and kid photos. 

Lightning pass and Magic bands: I highly recommend both. I promise you will NOT want to wait in lines. With the DAS (disability pass if you have anyone with claustrophobia, anxiety, wheel chair, etc you can qualify, ask your travel agent for info) or lightning pass (Genie +)  you can pick rides and it will tell you when to show up. The most we waited in lightning lanes was maybe 15 minutes. We all had Magic bands and I cannot recommend them more. I know you can use cards and phones but with a family of 5 it was so nice to scan to get in our room, rides, food, meals, etc. The kids did fight constantly over who got to unlock our room, be prepared, ahah! It made everything so quick and easy and they were right on our wrists and no one was fishing in bags for any cards or phones. 

Fanny pack/back pack: I think the most loved and needed item on our trip was Izzy and I's Lululemon belt bags. Any crossbody or fanny pack would work but you have to have one. I had a big back pack I kept on the stroller with sunscreen, snacks, first aid kit, medicine etc but in our belt bags we both had our phones and I had my card and license. This was all our important things stayed upon us at all times. Izzy laid hers on the stroller once and it fell and some sweet soul turned it in to lost and found, there are still amazing people out there. 

Stroller: If you have kids that are 5 or younger you MUST have a stroller. Addi rode in ours about 95% of the time and multiple times Cayson (8 years old hopped on for a ride). There is stroller parking everywhere and Disney is so efficient they organize them all the time. this is amazing but it makes it hard to find your stroller sometimes, I would recommend putting a Tile on it or I started laying my jacket over the top of ours.....SO many black strollers, haha!

Accessories: I got the girls these blankets this summer and they have loved them! They made the trip and late night park adventures with us. Addi had this cute Minnie bag she carried her "essentials" in, i.e. lip gloss and $3:) If you are headed in the summer these are adorable must haves, if only they had these as personal heaters for us ha!

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