It's official.. Disney World is making me a crazy woman! (and we're not even there yet!!!! AHHH!!!)
The last time I went to DW, I was in high school. It is SO different now. Who knew that one day you would have to book everything and anything about your trip MONTHS in advance???! Seriously.. months! When we first talked about going, I had several friends tell me to start booking everything at least 90 days out. NINETY DAYS?? WHAT??! They weren't kidding!
We made our reservations early on in September for us to go in March. We chose this time of the year b/c it would be just before Spring Break (so not as crowded) and the weather would be good. I had always gone to DW in late November, so I had originally wanted to go then, but it was too soon for us to try to plan everything and I was worried about the whole "plan everything at least 90 days out" thing! I would hate for us to go and the kiddos not be able to get to do everything b/c we just simply didn't have enough time to plan! :( So.. March it was!
We ended up doing one of the Disney packages.. resort, meal plan, and park tickets.. all in one! This really was the best option. I'll get into more details about the actual trip after we go! ;) Anyway, I booked all of that online through Disney. Almost immediately, I started booking our restaurants! Everyone said to do this as soon as possible so that you can get reservations for the character meals. Some people said that you can start doing this within your 90 mark. I also heard that you can start at your 180 day mark. I'm not sure which is true, but I know that I started booking in mid to late October. First on the list was all the character meals. I was ecstatic to find out that you can use the meal plan for these!!! HOORAY! We have 3 character meals planned while we're there!
In the midst of booking all of these restaurants, I was busy semi-planning out all of our days there. Like... Monday - Magic Kingdom, Tuesday - Hollywood.. and so on. Simply b/c I wanted to make sure that wherever I booked our meals that it coincided with the park we were in. Just the thought of dragging three kiddos all around the entire complex was giving me a headache! So, we pretty much have all of our days there planned out , as well as, our meals for each day. Of course, I'm sure this will all change once we get there and will all be decided by the moods of the kids, but for the most part, we have a plan going in.
My next step was to book Lilly Kate and Ethan for a few "extras". I had heard wonderful things about the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, so I knew this was a MUST! We decided to do this on our last full day there. It's located in Cinderella's Castle. Think Sweet and Sassy on a Disney Princess scale! EXCITING!!! Since LK is doing the boutique, I knew that I had to do something fun for Ethan. I read about The Pirates League and just knew he would love it! It's pretty much the same concept at the BBBoutique, but for boys. They get to dress up like the Pirates of the Caribbean and learn to be a pirate. Definitely up his alley! They're booked for the same times, so Chris and I can split off and take each of them. That way we don't have to make one wait for the other and endure an hour or so of complaining! Trust me.. my Mommy Brain was in overload figuring all of this out!! HA!
Up to this point, we had the rooms, meals, days at park, and extras all booked. Next step.. AIRLINE! Ugh.. the part I was most dreading! I ended up not booking these through the Disney site b/c at the time we weren't 100% sure how we wanted to travel. We had at first thought about driving, which we quickly changed. Can you imagine 3 kids in the car for 14 hours??! One of which is under a year old??! WOW! No way!!! So then, we were trying to find the cheapest and most time efficient flight options. I knew a long layover somewhere wasn't going to cut it! Anything out of Memphis is ALOT more expensive b/c we're an International airport, so we knew we would have to drive to either Nashville or Little Rock. I spent about a month researching all options and watching the fluctuation of the prices. We finally found a great deal for a non-stop flight out of Nashville. Just after Christmas, I booked our flight! We are driving up to Nashville the day before our flight and staying with our sweet Caldwell friends, then heading out about 6 the next morning. We get to Orlando around 10am and get to enjoy the rest of our day! It worked out perfectly!! If you're staying at one of the resorts, Disney offers free transportation, so we don't have to rent a car! (thank goodness!!) I actually ended up adding one more night to our resort stay so that we could have the last day as a full day. So, we get to enjoy of last FULL day there and then get up the next morning to leave around 11. I wanted to make it as easy going as possible (as easy going as Disney with a family of 5 can be!)!! Since our room wasn't going to be available for that last night, they upgraded us for free! See what I mean... everything was working out! :)
When I finally had our flights booked and knew our arrival and departure times, I was able to finish up a few last minute details. We're getting a jogging stroller for the trip. Everyone recommended doing this. Disney has strollers but they're expensive per day and it just makes more since to go ahead and get a more comfortable, easier to maneuver one. So.. BOB it is! :) I also made arrangements for us to get groceries delivered. Our meal plan includes one sit down meal, one quick service meals, and one snack.. per person per day. We're using our sit down meals for several of our character meals, splitting these up between lunch and dinner. We're using the quick service meals for either lunch of dinner, whichever we didn't use the sit down meal for. So, I figured it would be easier to just do breakfast in the room before we start the day. We're going to have a cooler, ice, and breakfast items delivered to our hotel just before we arrive to last us the entire trip. I'm also having diapers, wipes, baby food, and items like that delivered to cut down what we have to pack on the plane.
The last thing on the list is reserving a few more fun activities while we're there.. time dependent.
See what I mean.. since September, I have been consumed with all things Disney! I am happy to report though, that we are mere 41 days away!! In just over a month, we will all be enjoying all these crazy, time consuming plans that I've had to lay out! :) And I can promise you.. all 3 of those smiling, happy faces will be COMPLETELY worth all the time and money (and don't even get me started on the money! haha!) :) I can not wait to watch my kiddos have the time of their life at such a magical place!