I wanted to take our son to Disney for a few years. We held off because we wanted him to be old enough to hold the memory of the trip. If you are going to put down that sort of money for a vacation I want to make sure you will remember it.
In January we very quickly put together our trip. We worked with a travel agent to help us navigate the wonderful world of Disney. So much has changed since the last time I went. (I believe that was 20 years ago)
The coolest new thing is the introduction of the MagicBand. These came to our house months in advance. They serve as your park tickets, hotel key, reservations, airport shuttle and Fast Pass. It’s pretty crazy. They put your name on the inside and you can customize your color. Plus you can keep them as a little souvenir. I believe they are beta testing them now.
In addition to getting your bands in advance, you can also book all your dinners online. This is something I had no idea about before. A lot of the restaurants get booked up, so our agent suggested that you reserve the places early. With her help we booked a sit down restaurant every night based on the park we went to that day.
When you make your reservation, you go to the main Disney page: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com. Then you select if you have any food allergies. When you do this, the chef comes to your table before you order. They go over what you can have. The best part was that there are a lot of choices. I was worried I would starve. So I always have tons of snacks in my purse.
This is a photo of our suitcase. I know it looks like a lot of stuff, but over 5 days we ate a good percentage of the snacks. Some things I did not need, but I was very happy I took a bag of apples and the travel Skinny Pop popcorn. Those were great. Park food prices are expensive, so if you are able to bring food, I recommend doing so. We did not rent a car, but the other option would be to hit a grocery store while in town.
Each morning I would just eat an apple or nuts for breakfast with my coffee. That was enough to get me into the park. We signed up for the Disney Meal Plan. This is where you pay in advance for your food. That gave us a certain amount of snacks, quick service meals and sit down dinners for our trip. There is an outline on the Disney site of what constitutes a snack or quick service. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/media/wdw_nextgen/CoreCatalog/WaltDisneyWorld/en_us/PDF/2014Dining.pdf
We learned along the way that certain things count as a snack and end up being a better value. For instance. I went into the Starbuck on Main Street Disney. I asked what counted as 1 snack. They told me that any coffee drink at any size with any amount of extra shots of expresso counted as one snack. What?!! So I would order the biggest fanciest coffee drink and that would count the same as getting a bottle of water or a single popsicle. So before you go, read up on these little tips if you are join the meal plan.
In the upcoming days I will write about the specific days at the parks and what I ate. But as a starting point know that gluten free can be done and they take it very seriously. That goes for any food allergy. And if you are able, pack snacks and have them in your bag. I also recommend going to the dollar store and picking up zip-lock type bags in large and small sizes.
More to come!