We just got back from a week long trip to Disney – and oh my gosh!! We had SO much fun! I kept thinking while I was there about what I wish I’d brought, or what I wish I’d done, and while I am no expert, I thought I’d make a blog post to help out with things maybe not everyone has thought of, and give some advice on how to take the best pictures + edit them with your cell phone.
I purchased the newest model of the iPhone (11 pro) so I’d have better portrait mode (which I didn’t really get to use that much) and for the wide angle (the best thing for Disney!!) and I am super glad I did. Josh recently upgraded to his Fuji Xpro3 and wow, it was wonderful too! I’ve decided to separate my photos – I’ll be posting my iphone photos + memory maker pics first, then include some of Josh’s because I just love them so much!
1) So first, planning – There is absolutely no way I could have done this trip (while staying sane) without using a planner. The best part about a planner is that you don’t pay them any extra – Disney does! So it’s nothing additional for you. My planner recently retired, but I’ve got a really great planner that a lot of friends have used and I will 100% be using her next time we go. Here’s all her contact info:
Instagram link here!
and her email is: email@example.com
2) Okay, now that that’s out of the way (seriously, don’t skip that part!) I carefully planned my girl’s clothes (yes I’m type A!) and even packed extras. We used all the extras, and I wish I’d had a couple more “fancy” options. Even my 11 year old, who was really picky about what I packed for her (only wanted t shirts and shorts) wished that she’d had some fancier options when we met certain characters or when we ate a nicer dinner. We ended up changing 2-3 times a day. I realize this may not be what everyone wants to do and yes, I’m extra, but I do have three daughters and they wanted to be fancy when we had dinner at the Beast’s Castle and they wanted to match Snow White when we went to eat dinner with her! Big regret from me! Also, we did Park Hopper tickets and it was worth it. We almost always hopped to 2 or more parks each day.
3) Resorts – there are SO MANY good resorts. I really wanted something themed so I chose Art of Animation, which is really great, but we threw my oldest in with my IL’s so that we could get the smaller (and cheaper) room – BIG MISTAKE! Throwing her on their account messed up our food, snacks, and our room was way too tiny for the 5 of us. The two big girls shared a bed and Josh and I slept with all of 15 inches of space with Callie in the middle, on a double. Luckily, I was so tired every night I ended up sleeping just fine, but we will not make that mistake again. I’d rather pay more and get a room that adequately fits us all. There are SO MANY great resorts, but Disney just finished up the Sky Liner – and it makes traveling to Disney SO MUCH BETTER! Currently, the Sky Liner travels to Epcot and Hollywood Studios and it’s so simple. You don’t even have to collapse the stroller. So that being said, we will always be staying at a resort that has access to the Sky Liner (Right now I believe its Art of Animation, Pop Century, Riviera, Caribbean. Worth it.) because it made our trip much better.
4) Dining Plan – okay, I don’t know if this actually comes out to be better financially, but it sure does hurt a lot less. We used the middle package “Disney Dining Plan” which includes 1 sit down meal, 1 quick service, and 2 snacks, per person, per day. The sit down includes appetizer, meal, desert and an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. The quick service includes a meal and a beverage, and the two snacks can be almost anything! I used it for Starbucks, Joffrey’s coffee, Dole Whip, and a quick service meal can be changed into 3 snacks as well. We ended up with tons of extras, everyone told me to go use them at the Confectionary at Magic Kingdom and we didn’t. I wish we had made the time for that!
5) Where to eat? Here’s where we ate our sit down meals and here’s my thoughts:
- Storybrook Dining Dinner at Artist Point (@ the Wilderness Lodge) OUR ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! The food was absolutely amazing! It’s Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy, and the Evil Queen. Snow White and the 2 Dwarfs come to your table, then when you’re close to being done eating, you go visit with the Queen. She was HILARIOUS. She kept a straight face the whole time. The kids loved her. I can’t wait to go back here!
- Be our Guest Dinner @ Magic Kingdom – I was totally underwhelmed. I’ve never heard bad things about this and this has been on my bucket list for so long, but first, you have to use two of your dining credits for this, it was not worth it. My food was okay, the only good part was the desert, and actually seeing the castle, and you can meet the Beast during dinner, who was great, but again, it wasn’t worth two meal credits in my opinion. Next time, we will try Cinderella’s Royal Table (that is also 2 credits) but won’t be doing Be our Guest again.
- Akerhaus Royal Banquet Hall (Lunch) @ Epcot – this was a really neat way to meet 5 princesses in one place, since we didn’t get in to Cinderella’s Royal Table. It was really cute! The food is good, but meeting the princesses is the highlight for sure!
- Hollywood & Vine (breakfast) with Disney Jr characters – this was so much fun! We got to meet Goofy, Vamperina, Fancy Nancy and Doc McStuffins – they were really cute and sweet to the girls and interacted with all the adults at the table well. We had fun and a breakfast buffet is always good. The characters are only there for breakfast!
- Raglan Road Dinner @ Disney Springs – this was really fun! We started off our trip with Dinner here. They had a live band and we asked to sit right in front of the stage, and they had Irish Dancers. They were so much fun to watch, and the food was delicious!
All in all I loved our meals and we had a great time and it was a good down time for all of us, too.
6) Just a couple other thoughts on the whole Disney experience:
- If you can get into Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – do it. It’s worth it. Amazing, amazing ride. Favorite ride for sure!
- Pandora – Flight of Passage is really cool!! It brought tears to my eyes. I really liked it! Probably my second favorite.
- The new Frozen ride was really cute!! The girls seemed to like it. It’s not a thrill ride by any means, but it’s calm and really fun and uplifting.
- Rock n Roller coaster was SO MUCH FUN! I was nervous, but it’s really neat!
- The Frozen Sing Along at Hollywood Studios is really SO CUTE and magical!
- Land of the Living was a surprising one for me. It’s slow, but I learned a lot and it was really neat to go through.
- The kids LOVED Soarin’ so much! It’s really fun!
- Lucy and I went back to Pandora at night (go there at night! It’s beautiful, the plants and the street glow!) and we did the Na’vi River Journey. It was SO beautiful! I had to explain it all to Lucy so she wouldn’t get scared, but she left saying she wanted to do it again.
- The Festival of Fantasy at MK is always my favorite! They do it every day at 3pm and it’s worth the wait. My favorite part of Magic Kingdom for sure.
I’m sure I’m missing so many rides but these are some stand out ones to me!
7) Memory maker. Do it. Take advantage of it. But also, make sure you’re taking videos or pictures during meet and greets. One of my biggest complaints is that the photographers miss so many good moments of sweet hugs or giggles and I’m glad I had my phone outa and that Josh was snapping away too. But all in all, if you’re going to be there for multiple days, it’s worth it to me!
8) Taking your own photos! So, I snapped so many pictures! Document all the moments, if you have the wide angle lens on the new iPhone, use it! It was good for landscape shots or to capture the whole Castle, The Tree of Life, the Festival of Fantasy, etc. I used it a ton! I edited all my photos in the VSCO app using the a6 filter then adjusting the exposure, contrast and white balance, but the Lightroom app is pretty great too. I just love the ease of VSCO and have been using it for years. Try to find a good shaded place for photos, or wait until the sun is behind the clouds if you’re taking a family photo or snapping pics. Snap all the pictures because you won’t regret it! Ask the Memory Maker photographers to snap a cell phone picture too, or even a worker that’s standing around. We asked one guy for a family picture at Epcot in front of the ball, and he took like 30 shots! He did some portrait mode, some wide, landscape and portrait, all the varieties. Ha! The Cast Members are really great at Disney and willing to help out. I
I’m trying to keep this from being too long, but I wanted to share all of the main points that I’d thought of. We had a blast and I am already counting down the days until we can go back!! Best trip! Here’s a few of Josh’s photos that I just LOVE: