Disney with Teens: Disney Quest & Downtown Disney

Good Monday to all!  I hope the sun’s shining today for you!  After a week of almost nonstop rains, the sun sure is a welcome relief!

Today I’m covering Disney Quest and Downtown Disney. Disney Quest is probably our teens’ favorite place because  it’s fun, interactive and the lines aren’t too long.

We usually head over to Disney Quest, located in Downtown Disney, after dinner. That’s because we love to save money and the hotels we stay in offer a free dinner or free heavy snacks! Yes, you read correctly, free breakfast and evening meal/snacks!

So, I’m spilling the beans. Besides offering a great breakfast, Homewood Suites Orlando offers a free dinner Monday-Thursdays with complimentary wine and beer on tap.  What?!! What’s the catch?  The only catch is their dinner service starts at 5 pm and it you don’t eat within the first hour…food sometimes runs out.  Another awesome choice with an amazing cook to order breakfast is Embassy Suites Kissimmee.  While Embassy Suites doesn’t offer a dinner, they do serve snacks (think chips, veggies, cheese, crackers, etc) along with complimentary soft drinks and bar drinks during their specified evening hours.

But, one night, much to the girls’ delight, we “splurged” and ate at Downtown Disney!  Seriously!

You should know that Downtown Disney offers a variety of shopping/food/ways to spend your money opportunities. While there are some talented street performers, besides Disney Quest the main purpose of Downtown Disney is to blow money in a street/lakeside setting as you stroll around!  If that’s your thing, go for it!

There’s a lot within Downtown Disney, and they’re expanding right now, so grab a map!

My husband finding his bearings!

FYI, Ghirardelli Chocolatiers has a shop and they hand out free samples!


We are our late lunch/early dinner at Earl of Sandwich because we had a Restaurant.com certificate for it!  And then, we had desserts at Planet Hollywood!  (Because even with the coupon, that’s all we could afford!) Another insider tip, Planet Hollywood’s average entree is $28-$35ish, so with a family of four, you do the math!!

A Sundae as big as your noggin!  And yes, we did finish it!

Although the Earl of Sandwich and Planet Hollywood gift certificates aren’t on Restaurant.com’s website anymore, there is a Crossroads at House of Blues gift certificate right now.  We use Restaurant.com anytime we travel because there’s always a good selection of restaurants to choose from. For WDW , type in zip code 32830 and that will pick up those restaurants closest to WDW and within Downtown Disney. The certificates do not expire and if the restaurant stops honoring them (it sometimes happens)  you can use the credit to redeem another certificate for another restaurant.

So, to the fun stuff!  I heart Disney Quest!  This inner ’80’s girl spazzed when we got inside Disney Quest!

We used our magic bands, but general admission is $45 for those 10 years old and older. Within this massive 5 story complex are 1980s classics such as Frogger, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Asteroids, as well as current favs such as Guitar Hero and Jewelz!

The best part about the seemingly endless rows and floors of video arcades is one doesn’t need quarters!  When the game’s over, merely restart again!!

There are many virtual immersive games to explore as well; but,  our favorite is CyberSpace Mountain!  You can create your own roller coaster and then save it to a drive. Then, your destined roller coaster is programmed into their roller coaster simulator…think self contained pod. Once you’re strapped in the coaster begins and bam! You’re riding on your very own coaster and it’s such a rush!!  We made ours the most challenging possible and turned upside down at every chance!

This post concludes the end of my Disney with Teens series. If you’re just joining here’s links to the other posts:

We love Walt Disney World and time spent with our girls!  If you have a specific question about Downtown Disney or any of the othe parks or resources I’ve linked, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!!

Disney with Teens: Hollywood Studios

Hello, Thursday!

Well, here we are arriving at Hollywood Studios.  Although the least visited park within WDW, we thoroughly enjoy this park because it’s geared towards teens & adults (read less strollers) and it’s less crowded! While we appreciate those 2 features, Disney will be renaming this park again soon and adding more kid friendly rides (so I’ve been reading on other blogs).

Our teens enjoy this park…whilst waiting for our next Fast Pass, the girls spied hula hoops and took a hula break:

Also, located near the available hula hoops is the Academy of Televisin Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. Within the plaza are busts of the hall of famers…sadly, most of whom the girls didn’t recognize. But there was one…

That’s our official “Oprah Smile”.  Check out Oprah’s images when your at Starbucks on your next coffee run and you’ll see what we’re talking about!  #OprahSmile

So, without further ado, here’s the list of our best things to see/do/experience at Hollywood Studio!

  • Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith: Definitely worth grabbing a Fast Pass for this one!  It’s another inside roller coaster, fast and fun with Aerosmith tunes blasting the whole ride!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Normally I cannot stand sudden drop rides, it’s literally my worst nightmare. However, without giving any of the fun away, I thoroughly enjoyed this sudden drop ride. Again, grab a Fast Pass!
  • Star Tours-The Adventure Continues: This Star Wars ride is fun and you definitely need a Fast Pass but it’s no Mission ride over in Epcot.
  • The Great Movie Ride: Although we did have a Fast Pass for this one… It’s not necessary. It’s fun but after riding once, that’s about all you want to do.
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream:  Definitely do not need a Fast Pass with this one but super interesting. It’s part museum and part movie and we all really enjoyed learning more about Walt!
  • Disney’s “Cinderella” Sneak Preview: We enjoyed this 15 minute movie scene from the new “Cinderella” movie. This movie’s definitely one we all want to go see. Also from the movie is Cinderella’s carriage, but we haven’t found it yet!  Next trip!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid:  We enjoyed this live theatre/puppet show based on Little Mermaid!
  • Beauty and the Beast -Live on Stage: We loved this one so much, and I even cried at the end to which the girls unmercifully teased me!  Who knew?!! Also, my big brother lives in Orlando, and we were able to enjoy the show with him!

Shows I haven’t seen but the rest of my family has include A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!  They all enjoyed those shows (I had to fly back early to go to my job).

We love Hollywood Studios especially the street performers doing 1930s-1940s comedy sketches (think Abbott & Costello)!

This park has a lot to offer and we look forward to new shows/rides coming it’s way!

Disney with Teens: Disney’s Water Parks


The two water parks at Disney are typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each are themed out accordingly and while both have similar features there are unique attractions at each.

 Why two water parks?  Walt Disney World has two water parks because frankly, Orlando is blazing hot & humid most of the year!  Seriously.  We make time to visit each during our week trips because we like them and to take a break from the crowds. 

That being said, there is a strategy for maintaining your sanity at the water parks is to go deep. We usually arrive a couple of hours after the parks open and so all the chairs are taken at the front of the water parks. Do not fear. Go to the back. Trust me. There’s always more chairs. And peace and quite. 

What should you bring into the waterparks?

 Here’s my go to list:

  • Sunscreen:  I’m sure Disney sells it I their stores but just bring your own. Florida sun is no joke!
  • Beach Towels: Towels aren’t provided…you can rent towels, but we don’t. 
  • Food/coolers:  Yes, there are restaurants and food vendors galore in these parks, but you can bring your own food in and I’ve seen many guests wheel their own coolers in as well. Because we fly, we do not bring in a cooler, but believe me we would!
  • Books/insulated cups: Of course, it’s hot and if you choose to lie around, you’re gonna get thirsty. We bring in our own cups. One awesome cup we bring with us is this one:

We bought ours at Walmart, in stores only. Ice remains ice for over 12 hours. I tell you the truth. 

  • Swimsuits: Duh. 
  • Cover ups
  • Beach Hats
  • Cheap Sunglasses
  • Flip flops:  A question arises… Do I need swim shoes it I want to go on the water attractions?  I’m a pretty tough footed country gal, but if you are a tenderfoot, then yes. 

There are changing rooms at each water park. We never bring in any valuables although you can rent a locker. We just bring in a library book, our food and chill and enjoy the day. 

Here are the rides for each park we enjoy:

Blizzard Beach:

  • Cross Country Creek: A very long lazy river, the provided inter tubes are a relaxing way to chill and cool off while floating along!
  • Teamboat Springs: A family ride billed as the longest group whitewater raft ride!  This is one ride we don’t mind getting wet!  It’s at the top, you can either climb all the stairs or take the “ski lift/chair ride” up to the top of the “mountain”. I love the top of the mountain because one can see all the other Disney theme parks!!
  • Downhill Double Dipper:  A tube ride that’s so much fun!  
  • Runoff Rapids: Choose an open or tube ride down by yourself or with a friend.  A blast!

The one we avoid…Summit Plummet.  Pretty much a straight down slide, body slide feet first from the top of the mountain.  If you want a super wedgie, free colon cleanse, or embarrassment in losing your swim suit bottoms then by all means, slide on down!!

Typhoon Lagoon:

  • Shark Reef: This is the best water attraction at any water park I’ve been to.  You simply grab a snorkel and mask they provide and you get to swim with sharks, sting rays and fish!!! I know, I was terrified but it was so much fun!  The Sharks and sting rays were well below me but I could see them and the colorful fish as we all swam along together!  If you only can go to one water park, pick this for this experience!
  • Castaway Creek:  Another long and relaxing lazy river!
  • Storm slides: A fun tube ride with 3 different slides. 
  • Crush n Gusher: A ride for up to 3 passengers that’s also a roller coaster! Crop much fun!

The best tip I can give you about either of the water parks is to wait and do the water rides about an hour before the park closes. On the days we visited each water park, the rides were long and busy most of the day until late afternoon. When the crowds began to disperse, we could ride as many times whatever ride we wanted with barely a wait!

Hope y’all get to splash at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon soon!  

    Disney with Teens:  Animal Kingdom

    So, Animal Kingdom is one of our family’s favorite parks within Disney World!  I love the reality (hello, live animals!) and the shade (yes, lots of shade!) and the up close learning (but don’t tell the 13 year old you learn!). And, surprisingly, it’s not as crowded as Epcot! #winning

    Animal Kingdom is divided into lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, DinoLand USA, Asia, Africa, and Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

    So, here’s a list of our must see Attractions/Entertainment within Animal Kingdom:

    • Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain:  Our teens love this fast roller coaster and it’s definitely one to grab a Fast Pass. That being said, I will not be riding this one again. The ride goes backwards and for whatever reason in my old age, that part of the ride triggers dizziness & motion sickness. Every. Time.   It’s a fun ride but not for me. Located in Asia.
    • Kilimanjaro Safaris:  Thank you Toto for teaching me how to pronounce Kilimanjaro!  But seriously, this is where you ride in an open air bus and go on safari!  Grab a Fast Pass for this one because the wait is always long!  I’ve been on this twice safari twice and each time I’ve seen different animals. Unless you’ve been on a real African Safari like my sister, this one fits the bill! Located in Africa.
    • It’s Tough to be a Bug!: A must Fast Pass located in the Tree of Life!  I won’t spoil the fun but this show was a winner for everyone in our family!
    •  The Festival of the Lion King:  Another must Fast Pass!  Songs from the movie/Broadway musical plus acrobats and a lot of Disney imagination, this live show is so much fun!
    • Flights of Wonder: We caught this show without a Fast Pass and were thoroughly fascinated and entertained by the birds in the show.  Insider’s tip…try to find seats in the middle section to the left about 6 rows back. We sat in those seats and birds flew directly over us 5 or 6 times. Or, if you’re morbidly afraid of birds since Hitchcock’s Classic, avoid that area!  Located next to Expedition Everest in Asia.
    • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost:  Y’all, this wasn’t marked as a Disney Character meet and greet!  We just got in line because the wait was short (less than 20 minutes) and I was woozy from that roller coaster ride!  None of knew we would be meeting Minnie & Mickey dressed up in their safari gear!  And if you’re really nice, the Disney photo takers will take photos with your phone too!  So much fun!!
    • Affection Section: Located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, this one does not require a Fast Pass and it’s so much fun!  Pet goats, donkeys, pigs, sheep and cows!  This too was fun and relaxing…no lines!
    • Gorillas:  Our favorite live animal exhibit!  Right now a couple of 5-6 month old baby gorillas hang out with their Mamas and it’s sooo entertaining!!

    Seriously, I could blog all day long about Animal Kingdom; but, instead I’ll post some photos!

    No negatives here about this park!  If you’re catching up, here’s my  first post, WDW 101; my post on Magic Kingdom ; and my post on  Epcot .

    My next post will be about both of Disney’s water parks…Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach!

    Until then, Hakuna Matata from Animal Kingdom!

    Disney World with Teens: Epcot

    Today it’s all about Epcot!  Epcot is one our teens adore for several reasons and adults will enjoy it as well.  There’s 2 parts to Epcot:

    1. Themed areas with rides/attractions
    2. World Showcase

    Themed Areas/Rides

    Epcot has our favorite rides at WDW and they are can’t  miss!  These are Fast Pass musts for our family!

    • Mission: SPACE:  Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut?  This authentic NASA-style ride recreates the experience by launching you to Mars.  You have 2 levels of intensity…Green Team (less intense) and Orange Team (more intense). Also, both teams are contained in a simulator that is tight…so if you’re claustrophobic, ya need to skip this one. I’ve tried both teams and I absolutely loooove the more intense experience. I thought I would get motion sickness with all the G forces but as long as I keep my eyes focused forward I’m fine!  There is nothing like this ride to make you feel like you’re a real astronaut!
    • Soarin’:  Located in “The Land” Soarin’ lets you fly through California landscapes. We all love this ride and none of us get motion sickness!

    Besides these rides, there are a lot of attractions at Epcot. Don’t miss the aquarium….

    or Project Tomorrow located inside Spaceship Earth (or the golf ball as we call it)!

    Both of these attractions have 2 amazing features:  no Fast Pass required and inside with AC!  Seriously, I believe Epcot is mostly concrete and exposed to have a more futuristic vibe but lawd have mercy it’s hot!

    Other attractions that we have done and had fun if you have the time are:

    • Living with the Land:  Obviously in “The Land” area, the lines are usually not long and we can ride without a Fast Pass
    • Spaceship Earth:  the ride inside the big golf ball, it’s located right at the entrance and there’s always  a long line. Luckily you can grab a Fast Pass and although interesting, we wouldn’t ride it again.
    • The Seas with Nemo & Friends:  Super cute ride located in “The Seas” area…and one to snag with a Fast Pass!
    • Turtle Talk with Crush:  Also in “The Seas” area and so much fun!  Even though it’s for little kids, our big kids liked it too!  Grab a Fast Pass for this one too!
    • Captain EO:  Located in Future World, I believe this one is going away. It’s Michael Jackson’s futuristic dance video and it was this 80s girl dream to see it, but it hasn’t aged well and there was absolutely no need for a Fast Pass!  God speed Captain EO!

    World Showcase

    This area is across the big lake and has the following countries:  Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, The American Adventure, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico.

    Right now this area is also hosting Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and in the fall it will host Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  Right now it’s fun because of Disney’s amazing landscape designs!


    World Showcase is awesome because it’s like taking a walking trip to all these countries and their cultures!

    We’re in Japan…can’t you tell how much they wanted me to take this photo?

    But, overall, World Showcase is all about eating (and drinking) your way through these countries!! Yum!!

    But…our family has a dilemma…we don’t buy food inside Disney!  So, this is one place we break the rule and bite the macaron!  Yes, we confess, we pop into the French pastry shop and buy all the macarons, eclairs and chocolate concoctions $20 can buy {which isn’t a lot}!

    And, there is one big secret to Epcot…if you wish to get photos made with Disney Characters, this is the place! No long lines compared to Magic Kingdom. We stumbled upon this secret by accident as there wasn’t anything else for our third Fast Pass choice last visit.   We grabbed a Fast Pass for meet Disney Pals at Epcot Spot and got to meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie!!  Too much fun!

    I guess Disney love for its characters is real for any age!

    Let me know what questions you might have about Epcot in the comments below! Check back Monday for my post about Animal Kingdom!!

    Disney World with Teens:  Magic Kingdom

    Welcome back to the second post in my series Disney World with Teens.  You can hop over to yesterday’s post here for the Disney 101 basics.

    When I think of Disney World, Magic Kingdom instantly comes to mind!  It’s the original park in Orlando, and  it was the only park for a loooong time.  When I first went to Disney World as a little girl with my family (only one family trip, only one day in the park) that was the case!  I’m so ancient that on that trip I remember we each had a booklet of tickets different colors/letters for each area of the park…and once we ran out of tickets, that was it!  Of course, there were kiosks but we wouldn’t dare ask our dad for extra tickets!  He’s the original penny pincher!

    Magic Kingdom is truly magical!  Seeing Cinderella’s castle never gets old and I always marvel at how visually appealing every part of Magic Kingdom is along with amount of employees (or cast members as they’re called) it takes to operate this one park!

    Magic Kingdom with teens is much different than with littles in strollers. And, our experience may be slightly different as well as both our teens are girls. But, generally, here’s how we handle the park and what we enjoy!

    Rides We Enjoy!

    • Space Mountain:  Located in Tomorrowland, this ride is a must on our Fast Pass list! The roller coaster ride is inside Space Mountain and riders zoom along in darkness with flashes of lights and sound effects along the way!  Too much fun!  I love this ride as much as the kids do and it doesn’t make me sick!  #bonus
    • Peter Pan’s Flight:  This ride located in Fantasyland is a classic and one we all enjoyed!  We were able to hop on this one without too much of a wait as we didn’t have a Fast Pass for this ride!
    • Haunted Mansion: Located in Liberty Square, we all enjoyed this ride so much!  Definitely try to get a Fast Pass for this one as the line gets extremely long!  This is one of the rides I remembered riding as a little girl and the special effects still hold up after all these years!
    • Tomorrowland Speedway:  This speedway is located next to Space Mountain and is also very popular!  A Fast Pass is a must!  
    • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor:  We throughly enjoyed this corny show and we didn’t need a Fast Pass, even though it’s close to Space Mountain!
    • Stitch’s Great Escape!:  Disclaimer…I can’t stand this Disney Character but the teens enjoyed this…I didn’t. Good news, we didn’t need a Fast Pass for this one either and it’s close to Space Mountain!
    • Tom Sawyer Island:  Located in Frontierland, there’s no Fast Pass.  Instead you hop on a “raft” to go to the island and then you can explore and get away from the crowds!  (Read plenty of space to stretch legs..lots to explore here). I hate to give that tip away, because when the park’s really crowded, we escape here and have our lunch picnic!
    • Liberty Square Riverboat:  The dock is next to Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square and no Fast Pass is needed!  A little cruise around the “river” gives you a different perspective of Magic Kingdom!
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:  This roller coaster is located in Frontierland and you definitely need a Fast Pass!  It’s fun, but by no means scary like Space Mountain!  We have ridden it but don’t make it a must Fast Pass like Space Mountain!
    • Splash Mountain:  You will get wet!   If you’re ok with that…go for it!  Also a good idea to use a Fast Pass!  After one trip down, we haven’t returned for this one!

    Rides Still on Our List:

    • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train:  Magic Kingdom’s newest ride… it’s a roller coaster located in Fantasyland. We haven’t been able to snag a Fast Pass yet for this newest ride, but I’m determined!
    • Pirates of the Carribbean:  The girls rode this in the past, but we haven’t made it back yet!
    • Swiss Family Treehouse:  Who doesn’t want to play in a ginormous tree house?  No Fast Pass needed, we’ve just run out of time!
    • Mad Tea Party:  For nostalgia mainly because I’m seriously afraid I’d get motion sickness in my old age!!

    With our teens we don’t try to get into the park before 10 am even if the park opens at 8 am. And, we don’t stay until midnight or 1 am (it’s sometimes opened that late) because we aren’t night owls! Seriously.  But, those with teens might like those hours much better.

    The biggest negative of Magic Kingdom is the massive crowds and families with strollers for dayz. Yes, there’s an army of baby strollers and while I don’t  begrudge them one bit, it does make Magic Kingdom less enjoyable if you’re trying to walk at times. The heaviest crowds I’ve seen to date were in the fall when Magic Kingdom does Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the park is decked out in Halloween fun. But it was no fun for us.

    The Thing We Avoid

    We’re bad, right?  But seriously, we feel this event is so not worth it.

    • Main Street Electric Parade:  I know, we’re horrible!  Let me paint the picture….people and strollers with cranky kids sitting on Main Street two hours before the 9 pm parade.  Walking traffic is comparable to the evening commute in Atlanta. Crazy cakes. I know, it’s awesome, but please.

    Instead, we stumbled upon a little gem of a parade that is during daylight hours and where every Disney Princess is in it!  Seriously!  It’s the Festival of Fantasy Parade and it’s in Frontierland. And, here’s the proof:

    Yes, hardly any crowds compared to the Main Street circus!


    Of course, Elsa & Anna plus Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana, Merida, Rapunzel, Snow White, etc!

    And, the parade ends of course with…


    So much more I could share… but instead, leave your questions in the comments section!!  Tomorrow we move on to Epcot!!

    Disney World with Teens: Disney 101 & What to Bring into the Park

    Good Tuesday, folks!  We just returned Sunday from a fun-filled Spring Break week at Disney World!  And, after 4 visits to WDW this past year, I feel I now have my WDW legs and can provide some helpful tips!

    My Disney World tip series will cover:  Disney with teens, features about each park including the water parks and Downtown Disney,  and what to bring into the parks.  The overriding theme to all my posts will be how to save money!

    If you’re wanting to know about staying in a hotel inside the park, or the best park restaurants, or the best souvenirs then you can skip these posts!  There are plenty of blogs that provide information about those Disney experiences, but that’s not how we save money!

    We love to travel and can do so because my husband (and now me!) is serious about saving money. And we do things a little differently than the average family who travels to Disney. But, we still have an amazing time!!

    The decision and planning to take our teens to Disney began over 2 years ago. Luckily, we live close to Nashville where Southwest has direct flights to Orlando several times a day; otherwise, we would be enduring a 10 plus hour road trip. So our first step to Disney was securing Southwest companion passes for the teens so they fly free.

    After looking at school calendars & summer vacation schedules, my husband crunched the numbers and found that we could more economically do Disney by buying the year pass and then visiting 5 times in the year.  So, we bit the bullet and bought our annual passes last year when we got to the park. Yowzee!  We bought the more expensive pass that gets us free parking and into Disney Quest.  Ca-Ching Ca-Ching times 4! But, Disney isn’t free unless you’re a Super Bowl Champion!

    The day we purchased our passes, we received a card pass, and Disney mailed us our personalized bands soon afterwards.

    These arm bands are awesome sauce. Besides getting you into all the parks & Disney Quest, once you choose your park fast passes, the passes are magically put on your bands and let you through the fast pass line!  Oh yeah, your fingerprint is your identity in case you think you can fool Mickey and give your band so someone else can get in. Maybe the real magic is that Disney kinda owns me now, right?

    What’s a Fast Pass?

    A Disney Fast Pass allows you (and anyone else who also has a pass you want to include in your group) to pick out 3 attractions in the park of your choosing where you can “skip the line” and enter the Fast Pass line and not wait as long.  For example, Space Mountain is hugely popular and with a Fast Pass you’re on the ride within 10 minutes versus an hour to hour and a half wait.

    I set up our account on the Disney World App and picked out 3 rides we definitely didn’t want to miss.  The Fast Pass gives you 4 options for you to select (time of day). If the park is busy, you may not get one of your 3 selections.  Here’s what our Fast Pass when we went to Animal Kingdom.

    And…FYI…you cannot show up 2 hours before your Fast Pass…you have to wait until the time slot they give you!  Now, you can choose another (1) fast pass once the time has past your 3rd Fast Pass. There is decent Wi-Fi in the parks (some spots better than others) so you can select another Fast Pass via your phone app or you can wait in line at a Fast Pass kiosk to select another attraction. However , in reality, this task is extremely difficult to accomplish as the Fast Pass server is overwhelmed, kiosk line is looooong and if you do get a Fast Pass, it might not be until 4 hours later.  Just a friendly heads up so you don’t get completely frustrated!

    So, our family philosophy is simple, we enjoy the Fast Passes we have and in between our Fast Passes, if there’s a short line, we go for it!

    What to Bring into the Parks

    Y’all, I always want to be prepared when going into an amusement park for the day!  So, here are my best tips for those like me who love to plan, organize and contain!

    If you check their website, Disney allows certain backpacks into the park. All bags go through a bag search. While you might want to haul your child’s super sized back pack (seriously, kids carry a load of books!) I recommend a smaller back pack because even a 5 lb bag will feel like 25 lbs after a day at Disney! And, on certain rides even small bags like mine won’t fit in the ride’s mesh bag holder.  While there are lockers you may rent at Disney…we don’t because of $ and because it’s inconvenient.  We travel light!

    Let me show you my McGyver emergency bag:

    This is a small makeup organizer by Orla Kiely for Target. I bought it last year and sadly, it is no longer offered online but you might be able to find it in the cosmetics section at your local Target.

    This is what I’m talking about!  Organization for days!  Here’s a closer look at its contents:

    From the top, going clockwise, here’s what I pack:

    • Chaffing gel–walking, sweating in humid Orlando, ’nuff said. Also great  for runners!
    • Medicated band aids
    • Fabric double sided tape…of a button pops, hem gets pulled, you’re covered!
    • Sunscreen stick…I always bath in sunscreen before venturing out, but this is great for nose/ear touch ups
    • Ibuprofen…sometimes the roller coasters give me headaches!
    • Gas-X…staple for traveling!
    • Benedryl…for allergic reactions
    • Bio freeze…for achy sore muscles
    • Blister band aids…a necessity when walking!
    • Tums…when everyone eats too much grease
    • Shout wipes…our messy gang always need these!!

    The only thing I would include after our last trip is a pack of Imodium AD…because diarrhea when traveling is no fun!

    To give you an idea how small this bag is…I’ve put it with my back pack:

    The pattern is discontinued but you can find a similar Vera Bradley backpack here. I bought my backpack years ago and it looks like the most similar one I linked is bigger than mine. But I’m sure you can hop over to eBay and find one of the old school styles!

    Although Disney doesn’t really broadcast it, you can bring your own food inside the 4 parks. So, here’s an example of what I might pack in:


    We sometimes bring in peanut butter packs (with bananas from our hotel breakfast bar) energy bars, or tuna and chicken salad kits (not pictured) and crystal light packets because Disney will give you free cups of ice water!  See, I told you our family is serious about saving money!  I promise you, I can get all of it in my backpack!

    Other items we bring into the park are hats & sunglasses and if rain is in the forecast…$1 store ponchos.

    Walt Disney World truly is a magical place and I’m so happy to share tips for others who are thinking about going!

    Tomorrow I’ll be covering Magic Kingdom!  Let me know in the comments any questions you have about WDW I might be able to answer!