What an amazing Disney World trip. I can’t believe it is over already! We didn’t want it to end. We shared the entire experience on our Instagram Stories back in 2018! If you missed it head to my Travel highlights to get the recap!
To have the opportunity to give our boys this experience has been unforgettable. We were sore like we had been running a marathon, but it was so worth it! We are already planning what our next adventure will be. I will say I was so glad we had an itinerary! It helped us navigate the parks with a purpose and make sure that we weren’t missing anything. I highly recommend outlining your day before going.
We stayed at Kidani Village part Of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was absolutely amazing! We stayed in a 1-bedroom villa. This is the first time as a family of 5 we stayed at a suite. I will say that was the best decision we could have ever made. We had room to move around. After those 12 hour park days it felt so good to have room to stretch out! The room was amazing. 2 bathrooms, kitchen, washer and dryer. We also chose to stay in a Savannah view room. And that was everything and more! We would wake up and see Giraffes and Zebras right outside our balcony. Go my Instagram story travel highlights to see Calvin’s reaction. It was priceless! The restaurants were fantastic. The resort was beautiful! It was worth every penny staying there.
I never grew up doing Disney World and staying on Resort. So this was my first time, and honestly, I don’t think I would ever not stay on Resort after this trip. It is just makes the experience so much better! From the Magic express, customer service, and the magic it brings to the kids. Remember there are resorts in every price range! So don’t feel discouraged like you can’t afford it. You can have the resort experience that works for your budget.
Planning this Disney trip was definitely extensive! Disney is not a cheap trip so I tried my best to have everything planned to make our trip successful. My goal was to try and have everything we needed before the trip!
I will say this was probably the questions and comments I got about the most! Yes I coordinated our family’s outfits each day! I can’t tell you how many people stopped us asking where I got everything! It was fun to do!
Now that we went on the trip there are so many items and places that I felt were musts and some…not so much! I wanted to share a review of some of the top things you need for the trip. Along with what you can pass on. This will be a variety of clothing, attractions, food, and everything in between!
Favorite mom essential – Sit and stand stroller
Calvin is 4 and Cyrus is 10 months. I bought this stroller only TWO DAYS before we left for a trip. I was lying in bed one night and instantly had the feeling I needed to get this. While Calvin is 4, parks are hard for him to keep up and not be fatigued. This by far was the biggest essential for the trip if you have younger children! Calvin used it the entire time. We never had to worry about his feet getting too tired, or him falling behind. We had an itinerary so sometimes we had to hustle to our location. We would throw him on the Joovy sit and stand stroller and be on our way.
Favorite Restaurant – Tusker house
This is in the Africa section in Animal Kingdom, we had a great experience. It is character dining so Mickey, Daisy, Goofy, and Donald all stopped by our table to interact with the kids. That experience was so awesome for the boys!
Essential upgrade – Dining plan
We didn’t know if we would be happy about getting the dining plan. We figure we would but still didn’t know what to expect as we had gotten mixed reviews. The dining plan was awesome for us. We loved the idea of not having to pay whenever we had to eat. All of it was already paid so gave you the all inclusive vibe. As you can imagine Disney world is not cheap so our meals would range from $90-$200!! Thankfully it would be covered by the dining plan. On top of that your alcoholic drinks are included. Which after a long day at the parks it is much needed. We ate at an assortment of quick service meals where almost like a fast food, table service which would mostly buffets or family style , and then snacks throughout the park. We will definitely always get the dining plan.
Favorite travel item
iFly Luggage it fit our entire family of 5 clothing for a week long trip! And managed to be under the weight limit!
Rick’s: If you have an upcoming trip to Disney make sure to sign up for the Avatar flight of passage. It was an amazing experience.
Mine: I absolutely loved the Toy Story Mania ride! Calvin and I rode it together and you cruise around shooting various targets within Toy story. It was just a random ride we rode, but Calvin and I had such a blast doing it together!
I bought almost all of our Mickey gear before the trip. I am so glad I did. The prices at the park were triple what I paid! So if you know some Disney gear you want beforehand I strongly recommend it and your wallet will thank you!
We had an amazing time there. And it just so happens we went at on their 20th anniversary year! The culture, and the detail that went into each attraction. If you know me then you know that I secretly always wanted to be a Zookeeper haha. So riding the Kilamanjaro Safari was the highlight of the trip. I didn’t know if it was actually going to be a great one, and it didn’t disappoint!
Animal Kingdom also has Avatar world. My husband has always loved the movie. And since deciding on going to Disney he has been watching Avatar nonstop, so you can imagine his excitement.
This is at Hollywood Studios, if you are going DO IT! The boys had an amazing experience and it was awesome to see it! Oh and it’s free! The boys train for their big battle, and then fight Darth Vader. The experience was amazing, it was such a production! We really felt like they were fighting the real Darth Vader!
Don’t sweat if you forgot something! You can have your items shipped to your room! This was crucial! There were a few items I knew I needed, but missed the window of time they would arrive to our house. I simply just put in my resort address added my Disney reservation number and it was there waiting in my room when I got there! Utilize this so you don’t have to worry about running to a store to get what you need!
So we opted to do this because who wouldn’t want to try riding a Car that is decked out as Minnie Mouse. You just request it via the Lyft app. I will say i could do without it in the future. It essentially gets you to your Disney location faster. It is more expensive than the Lyfts or bus transportation. We were so pleased with the bus accommodations that are free, that I will say I could pass on this for next time. We used to when we had a fast pass window coming up and were running late, so if you are in a hurry this may be the option to go. We also used it a few times when we shut down the park and 2/3 of there kids were sleep as we headed out. Super convenient to get picked up at a close location and get directly back to the resort without all the bus stops. However that convenience came at a hefty price so we used it sparingly.
Haha I was so bummed Rick and I were not able to get away and go to Disney Springs for a date night. I wanted to SO BAD! However, we were so exhausted from the day and Rick was fighting off a cold. 🙁 I was so bummed. Disney Springs would have been perfect for a date night. That is definitely on the top of our list for next time!
Ok so the kids loved it because this was a character dining that’s in Hollywood Studios. However, this was our absolute least favorite place we ate. The food was just ok (basic buffet food) and it was a bit cramped (a lot more room at other restaurants we dined at by comparison). It is definitely worth considering some other food options within Hollywood Studios.
A few other things I wanted to share about our experience. We went in September, I thought it was going to be a lot cooler, and it was so hot (one of the warmest Septembers on record for the area per the National Weather Service…yay)! I live in Texas so I am used to heat, but this was gross sweaty heat. If you can try to schedule some time in your day to go back to your room to cool down for a bit. We did this almost every day and still had time to see all the attractions. If I were to do it again, I would love to come back in November to try when the temps were a bit cooler!
Overall, I will say how I prepped the family was spot on. We used almost everything I packed! I consider it a victory the only thing I forgot was my MacBook charger! Which was actually a good thing because it allowed me to not worry about work stuff as much.
I hope how I have shared our Disney World experience has and/or will help you in the future. I could go on and on about what I learned from doing our first trip!
Please comment below with any questions you may have!