Adeline has recently started falling in love with Disney movies and the Disney princesses. She wants to watch the movies over and over, and has even started to memorize the songs. It’s been so fun to watch, and makes me feel like I definitely want her to experience Disney in this window when it is so magical.
Marcus and I have talked about it, and we know we want to take our kiddos to Disney at some point in the next couple of years. We just haven’t settled on when just yet. I know it’s a big destination for families with littles, and as much as I’d love to share tips and tricks, I’m admittedly no expert. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Farrin – a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations – to bring you five mom hacks for planning your family trip to Disney!
I’ve learned a lot from her already, but the main takeaway is: You can have a travel agent like Farrin help you plan your Disney vacation FOR FREE. There is no additional cost for this service, so you might as well take advantage. Especially for someone like me who knows next to nothing about Disney, this will be so helpful when the time comes!
Farrin’s 5 Mom Hacks!
1. Travel to Disney when everyone else is in school
Traveling during the “off season” can save you a pretty penny! I’m a teacher by day, so traveling during the school year is harder on me before hand but ultimately worth it in the long run. We spend less time standing in lines, resort prices are lower, and we are able to enjoy ourselves without standing jam packed, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds with thousands of our “closest friends.” You can consult various crowd prediction calendars, just be aware that these are not always accurate and due to various events happening on Disney property (new ride or land openings, races, cheerleading competitions, etc.), these calendars change often, so be sure to check them regularly.
2. Try to book during free dining promotions
Disney offers free dining plans to entice you to travel during low season, generally twice per year; the exact dates will vary year to year. This is a great way to include your meals and snacks into your budget ahead of time! And believe me, it’s A LOT of food! There is a very real chance that you’ll be able to bring back Disney themed snacks for your friends and family as souvenirs! I do want to point out that there are 3 different levels of dining plans and the availability of free plans is limited, so they can be hard to come by. However, if you are flexible on your travel dates and are willing to make a timeframe switch, your chances for free dining periods will be higher.
3. You can bring your own food and drinks
Unlike many other theme parks, Disney allows you to bring in outside food and drinks! Make sure that nothing is packaged in glass containers (except for things like baby food) and that if you take a cooler into the parks that they fit within the newly released guidelines (must be smaller that 24” long, 15” wide and 18” high; no loose ice).
Disney World is no longer using plastic straws but rather paper straws. While this is a great step towards helping out Mother Nature, the new changes don’t always work for everyone. But great news: you can bring in your own cup and straws! I’ve found some great stainless straws with silicon tops at Target that work great for my 14 month old son since he hasn’t really mastered the art of not biting the straw yet. I’ve also ordered a few collapsible stainless steel straws that have their own handy little carrier and cleaning brush on Amazon!
For those of us that travel with little ones, there are baby stations located in each of the 4 parks that provide things like additional restrooms, baby changing stations, a nursing room, and a little store that sells baby essentials. We’ve all had that day where we thought we had packed enough diapers but baby had other plans. No worries! Disney knows that these things happen and they don’t want you to lose out on precious time in the parks with the rest of the family. The baby center was a life saver on our last trip! My daughter randomly got a fever and guess who didn’t think to bring children’s medicine? (Answer: Me. It was me.) We utilized this center more than I honestly thought we would.
4. Amazon shipments to your resort
This is one of my favorite tips! When you are packing, trying to stay inside the TSA regulations on things like liquids and containers can be tricky (the rules for items needed for feeding babies is different, so make sure that you refer to those rules as well). I’ve found that trying to pack sunscreen, hairspray, snacks and water is the worst part of packing for a trip to the happiest place on Earth, so I honestly just stopped doing it. That’s right. I just don’t pack those items. Instead, I place an order on Amazon and have it all sent to the resort! You’ll want to make sure that the shipping address looks like this:
- Your first and last name
- The word GUEST in all caps and your check in date
- Your Disney World resort name
- Your reservation number
- The physical address to your resort
*Make sure that you have the resort address correctly listed otherwise your package(s) will take a while to track down. The resort does reserve the right to charge a fee of $5 per box (at the time of publish of this article) but they don’t always charge the fee, especially if you are willing to go to the bell station or concierge and get the boxes yourself.
Shipping items ahead is a great way to save room in your suitcase and ensure that your snacks don’t get crunched up on the way to the resort! Just be sure to check the shipping time for your items and place the order ahead of time to ensure that your boxes will check in to Disney the same day that you do.
5. Book through a travel agent who specializes in Disney destinations
I know what you’re thinking: a travel agent? Really? I thought the same thing for the longest time. But we really can save you time, money, and be a nice little refreshing source of sanity! When planning a Disney vacation you are going to have to do a lot of research for everything from resort options to potential FastPass reservations to dining options. Why not let someone like me do all of that footwork for you?
Agents who work for Disney Earmarked agencies have gone through and graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge, and we are up to date on the latest pool closures, latest special events, and we can save you money!
I am constantly checking for new saving opportunities to make sure that my clients are receiving the best deal out there. A good travel agent will offer to book your FastPasses for you, make your dining reservations, give you a personalized trip itinerary, get your transportation set up, order your Magic Bands, book additional experiences (Bippity Boppity Boutique, Pirate League, etc.), and basically take care of all of the details so that you don’t have to!
You’re going on a vacation of a lifetime and with a Disney vacation specifically there are just a lot of moving pieces to work into place. I am trained to make sure that everything is taken care of and that you and your family can relax and enjoy the magic.
The price is right, too
The best part of using a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations? Our services are completely free! You may not realize it, but you’re actually paying for our services even if you aren’t utilizing them! My agency is paid directly from Disney, and then I am paid by the agency. If you book your own trip, Disney simply keeps the cut that they would normally allocate for an agent. Why not utilize a free resource?
I am an independently contracted travel agent through Magical Enchanted Vacation, a Disney Earmarked agency. I can help you plan trips for Disney World, Disneyland, Disney cruises, Disney Destinations and Aulani (A Disney resort in Hawaii). We often times are able to offer agency exclusive rates to our clients and are constantly up to date on the latest and greatest happenings and all things Disney!
If you’re interested in a free quote for your dream getaway, contact me at
facebook.com/mevfarrin today! I love saving my clients money and making sure that they have the vacation they always dreamed of! If you mention that you found about about my agency from this post, you’ll receive a $25 Disney gift card after you’ve paid off your vacation just in time for your trip! *This gift card can be used at the Disney store, any Disney theme park or on Disney cruises!