Hey Loves! I asked over on my instagram (I’m @bitsofbri over there) if you had any questions for me about Disney, and there were so many!! So in today’s post I’m answering 52 of your questions about Disney World and Disneyland. I hope this helps you get lots of tips and info to help plan your next magical vacation.
1.Best time of year to travel? When is the best time of year to visit? I think every time of year has special perks. I love the fall and Halloween decor. Christmastime is when the parks and resorts are decked out and beyond magical. The springtime is usually when the weather is the best. September at Disney World and Disneyland is often very low attendance wise because of back to school. Summer is HOT at Disney World, and the crowds are high at all the parks because of school being out. We have still had a great time, but I would prefer not to go in June, July, or August. So I would tell you avoid those months if possible.
2. Best time of year to avoid crowds? I always refer to the Magic Guides crowd calendars online when planning for this. They can give you overall periods of lowest attendance (usually in January and February), and even tell you which parks are the least crowded on which days. I usually plan to NOT go to the parks with the extra magic hours for guests staying on property. I figure they will just be more crowded that day because people try to take advantage of that hour. If you pay for the park hopper, it could be a good strategy to go early, use the extra magic hour, and then hop to another park for the rest of the day where it will likely be less crowded.
3. How long do you stay at Disney? Disney World, we usually stay for 5-7 days. Since there are 4 parks and 2 water parks, there is just so much to do and see. Disneyland we have gone for 3 days and that seems perfect. Since there are two parks, and its very easy to park hop because they are right across from each other, you can definitely get everything in! Disneyland Paris we could only go for one day, and we definitely wished we had at least 2 day there. We hopped between the two parks because they are also a short walk from each other, but we would have loved to have at least one more day there.
4. What is your day schedule at Disney? Time up? Time down? We usually do this based on the park hours for when we’re visiting. They vary throughout the year. We like to be in the park for rope drop which is usually either 8 AM or 9 AM, and with two young kids, we’re generally up much earlier than that anyways. So it’s nice to get to the park early, take some pictures, and get on a bunch of rides quickly before the lines get long. We’ll head back for naps around noon or 1 PM, and then back to the parks around 3 or 4 PM, and stay until 7 PM or 8 PM, unless we have decided to stay for the fireworks that evening. Here’s a little sample schedule:
5. Best way to plan a trip to Disney? I’ve written blogs with tips on this. You can read how to plan a vacation for Disney World and how to plan vacation for Disneyland here. I’ve done it so much, I like to do it myself, but if I run into any issue, I always call and speak to a cast member because they are so helpful.
6. How do you plan different parks and things to do so seamlessly? I think your first trip you learn so much, and then you can figure what your family really likes and doesn’t like. I also binge watch Disney Food Blog videos, so I’m always picking up new Disney information that I can apply to our next trip. So I’d definitely recommend finding blogs or videos you can listen to and take in all the info you can to have a really seamless trip!
7. What are the minimum number of days you recommend to visit Disneyland? I would say 2 days minimum. We’ve gone for 3 and that always feels perfect!
8. What are the minimum number of days you recommend to visit Disney World? I would say 4 days minimum if you’d like to see each park.
9. Would you recommend going during Christmas/New Year’s with a two year old? That is a really busy time of year at Disney, but it would still be fun! The decorations are amazing for the holidays. And I’ve been to Disney for one New Year’s Eve and it was awesome! The coolest DJ and fireworks show leading up until midnight ever!
10. How do you decide which hotel to stay at? Any tips on getting better rates? We like to try different resorts when we go! But I always try to pick the ones that are the closest to the parks we’ll be at the most or have the best transportation for our kids ages. The monorail always wins out at Walt Disney World because of our kids still being in a stroller, and that makes it so easy to get around without having to break down the stroller because they are usually asleep in them by the time we leave the parks. I have a blog post with my favorite resorts here. And always book in advance- I’d recommend at least one year out. You want to have your room secured and have restaurants and fast passes booked, but you can always call when a deal gets posted online (seems to be about 3 months out) and they will give you that pricing!
11. Best resort? My favorite is the Polynesian (the pic below). It just feels like a tropical vacation and Disney combined! Adam’s favorite is the Beach Club (we honeymooned there). My dad’s favorite was the Grand Floridian.
12. What is your favorite restaurant? My favorite restaurant that I look forward to every single time is dinner at Ohana. I love the resort so much, but the meat skewers they bring to your table are amazing, and the bread pudding for dessert is unreal. It’s all so good!
13. Easiest time and place for character dining? I’d recommend the earliest time possible- most character dining restaurants are buffets or family style, so the food is better the earlier you go. And sometimes that means you can get into the park before opening, so you can be first in lines for rides. I think Be Our Guest has the coolest atmosphere, but you really only get to see the Beast there. But if you get a reservation there before park opening, you get to be first in line for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and it’s so hard to get fast passes for that ride, so you sort of get an extra one then! If you want to see Mickey and the gang, Chef Mickey’s would be my recommendation. You can walk over the Magic Kingdom easily from the Contemporary, or take the monorail if you want, and the buffet is huge!
14. All time favorite character meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Breakfast would probably be Ohana. We have fun memories there as a family! Lunch or Dinner is Cinderella’s Royal Table.
15. Best restaurants at Disneyland? Best spot to eat in DCA? Carnation Cafe has the best patty melts ever at Disneyland. And I love Tortilla Jos in Downtown Disney. Wine Country Trattoria is my favorite atmosphere in Disney California Adventure (DCA). Check out my blog post here where I share my favorites at Disneyland.
16. Top 5 favorite restaurants at Disney World? Check out my blog post here with all of my favorite dinner spots at WDW!
17. Food for babies? Do you need to bring some? Definitely pack a ton of snacks, drinks, and baby food. You can bring anything food wise into the parks, so save your money. And that way you’re prepared to have snacks in long lines. Makes life so much easier than having to wait in lines to buy food or snacks throughout the day.
18. How do you do food? Do you pack and bring it to parks? Food plan or no food plan? We’ve never done the dining plan. Our cousins are doing it this winter, so waiting to hear from them if they think it saved them money. We are sort of on-the-go breakfast eaters (we order Amazon prime to our hotel, which I hear they might not be able to do anymore which really stinks), and then pack snacks or buy a snack in the park for lunch, and usually do a big dinner. Only time we don’t do this is if we do a character breakfast one or two of the days we’re there. So it’s never felt worth it to us. If you’re wanting to sit down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the dining plan IS probably worth it for your family.
19. What would you say is the best ride/attraction at Disneyland for a toddler? I would just say hit up Fantasyland. That will have so many good rides that they’ll love. Presley has always loved the teacups a lot! And It’s a Small World is the cutest ride, and I love all the different colors and cultures!
20. What age is best? Would you take a 3-4 year old to Disney? Absolutely! Our kids have gone since they were babies. Landon was 8 months old his first Disney trip and Presley was only 6 months old. If you can plan a trip for right before your kids 3rd birthday, admission is free! And kids under 3 eat free at any family style or buffet restaurant, so you actually save a lot of money!
21. Earliest age your kids enjoyed 100 percent? When they were babies, I would notice huge developmental leaps after our Disney trips because they get so much stimulation. I would say 2-3 is the perfect age for seeing them interact with characters. They were beyond excited because they “got it” on those trips, if that makes sense. It’s always been magical watching them experience it though. I have no regrets taking them early!
22. Newborn tips? Have something to wear baby in line, and if you’re nursing, wear clothing that allows you to nurse easily in line or bring a scarf. Pack extra diapers and wipes and any food or snacks you need. Even though you can buy them at the baby centers, they are expensive. The baby centers are nicer to change baby though. And if you need a break from the noise or the weather, definitely go to the baby centers. They have changing tables, nursing stations, and places to heat up food. It’s very nice and convenient.
23. Do your kids take naps? Yes- normally we go back to the room for an afternoon break. That’s one of the nice things about staying on property is it’s easy to get to the hotel and back to the parks. However, if the weather is comfortable and we don’t need a break from the heat, we will totally roll with stroller naps and stay in the parks if we’re feeling that vibe. We throw our routine and schedule out the window on vacations. We’d rather have fun and be in the moment so we don’t miss out on anything!
24. Basic survival tips for a 20 month old who doesn’t like to be in a stroller? I would try to wear them. They’ll probably be so worn out too- you walk a lot in Disney, that they’ll probably have to be in it at some point!
25. Best stroller for Disney? Rent a stroller! We learned this by accident on our last trip when Adam accidentally put our single stroller in the trunk, and we will rent a stroller from now on. It is so much easier. We used Kingdom Strollers, and you can check out their site here. It got delivered right to our hotel and came with an awesome rain cover. We got the BOB, and it was a dream to push around the parks all week!
26. Were the kiddos scared of any characters? Not really. We love watching Disney movies so they get pretty familiar with them. I know I was really afraid of Captain Hook as a kid though. We have a home video of that.
27. What rides can my 18 month go on? There are a ton! There are only a few rides with height requirements. The majority are for the whole family which is why Disney is so awesome!
28. How much should you budget for your trip? This depends on your family size and length of your stay. Disney runs a lot of 3 and 4 day deals that are hotel and ticket packages for a family of 4 for $2000-$2500. That’s not including airfare or food. So that trip would probably be $3500-$4000. I would look into the hotel you’re interested in staying at, and figure out the cost for the number of days you want to go. Then add the cost of $100 ticket/ adult per day, $90 ticket/ child over 3 per day, and budget $100-150 for food per day, depending on your dining style. Disney can definitely be done on a budget, but it adds up fast!
29. Is the park hopper ticket worth it? If you’re staying there for a short amount of time and want to see the big stuff quickly, yes. If you’re staying for 5 days to a week, we don’t do the park hopper because it saves money and we have enough time to get to each park at least once.
30. Cost saving tips? Stay at the campground or the value hotels. My dad actually talked about how awesome the campground was when he went when we was younger with friends. Pack a lot of snacks and bring your own food into the parks. Only dine at one sit-down meal per day if you still want the magical experience of dining at Disney but want to save money. And try to find flight deals and hotel discounts.
31. Where do you go to look for any deals? There is a page with all the special offers on the WDW website, you can check it out here. That’s where you can find the discount packages for hotels, tickets, and sometimes a free meal plan too.
32. Dying to stay at the Polynesian- do they ever have sales? Check out that link above- it’s a Deluxe resort and depending on the dates of your stay, they definitely offer lots of discounts, sometimes up to 30% off!
33. How long are the lines? It completely depends on the day and ride you want to get on. Ride queues are a lot shorter if you get there before park opening. You can usually walk on a ride or it will only take 5-10 minutes to get on a ride the first hour a park is open unless it’s one of the highly coveted rides. Download the My Disney Park app and you can see in real time how long the wait times are across the park when you’re there too. By the afternoon, most wait times are between 30 minutes to an hour any given day, and those highly coveted rides can be over two hours. However, use your 3 fast passes per day, and you can get around those longer wait times!
34. Disney World in three days- what is a must-do or must-see? Is Animal Kingdom worth it? I would definitely say do Magic Kingdom. That’s the one you can’t miss- all the classic Disney rides and the castle. If you really want to see other cultures and have some of the best food at Disney, go too Epcot. If you love animals and want to ride the best ride at Disney (Flight of Passage), Animal Kingdom is a definite YES. If you love Star Wars or Toy Story or want to go on some of the better thrill rides at Disney, Hollywood Studios is a good choice for you.
35. Must-have fast passes? If you can get Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, you have got to do it. Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Splash Mountain is my favorite ride, and if you go on a cooler day, you actually might not need the fast pass because people avoid it so they aren’t cold and uncomfortable. Frozen. Slinky Dog Dash.
36. How to entertain kids in line? There are games I think Disney has on their app that kids can play. Pack lots of snacks and bring them with you in line. I always wear a backpack or something with a comfy strap so I can bring a lot in line with us. And Disney is great at having interactive things to look at and do in a lot of the lines, so kids really don’t get bored. It’s very stimulating for them actually!
37. Best rides for 3-year olds? Landon loves the Goofy Barnstormer Coaster. We always end up riding that thing multiple times. The kids love Dumbo, Teacups, Peter Pan, It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear- there’s so much they can go on!
38. Favorite place to get outfits? I love getting cute tees on Etsy. I also get a lot of simple dresses or pieces from Amazon (like the dress above) and just putting mouse ears or other Disney accessories with them so I can still wear them at home another time. I have a blog with outfit ideas for each park that you can check out here!
39. Park bag necessities? For your park bag, I would highly recommend a backpack so you can wear it in line. You need sunglasses, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, tissues, bandaids (in case of blisters), chapstick, plastic baggie to keep your phone from getting wet on water rides, snacks and water, hair tie. For littles, extra diapers, wipes, and changes of clothes just in case! I’d also get a phone case with extra battery power so you don’t lose power in the parks.
40. What to bring to the park for baby and toddlers? All the snacks and drinks, and extra diapers, wipes, and change of clothes. And just buy bubble makers. Entertainment for hours.
41. If we are just doing a day trip, what should we pack for toddlers? Same as above! 🙂
42. Which park do you like best and why? I love Magic Kingdom. I have the best memories there as a child, and there is nothing more magical than riding the monorail and walking up to the castle.
43. I’ve never been. Is it really as magical as they say? I think so. 🙂 When you actually think about the planning and the work that goes into all the details, it’s pretty mind blowing.
44. Have you ever been to Disneyland during Christmas? Yes- for my 30th birthday with Landon and Presley and Adam! It was so amazing! And that was Presley’s first time at Disney too.
45. How does rider switch work? If you go to the cast member at the fast pass entrance, they will give you a lanyard or a ticket (depending what park you’re at), and one adult rides with the child while the other adult stays with the child that cannot ride. Come off the exit, pass off the ticket or the lanyard to the other adult, and go up the fast pass line with the child. That way your kiddo gets to ride twice, and adults don’t have to miss out on riding either.
46. What are those wristbands everyone has and takes to the parks? They are called Magic Bands and they are literally your key to everything at Disney. They serve as your room key, your park ticket and fast pass entry, and your payment form. They make it easy so you don’t have to worry about carrying a key, fast pass cards, or credit cards around.
47. Rope drop or not? Yes! You can do so much more that first hour!
48. Are you excited to ride the new gondola system? Yes- it looks so cool!
49. How was Disneyland Paris? We loved it. I wish we had more time. I think that castle is by far the most beautiful one!
50. If you could be a Disney character for one day, who would it be and why? Probably Jasmine. I want her hair, her abs, and to ride on a magic carpet around the world.
51. Are you a DVC member? No, we’re not. But it’s something we could probably look into more for as frequently as we go. Figured we’d wait until we are done growing our family and know that we can go consistently enough or not with work, school, and other activities.
52. When’s your next trip? We’re going in 2020 and I cannot wait!!!
Well Loves, I hope you enjoyed these 52 Disney questions and answers on the blog today! Please let me know if you have any other questions in the comments, and maybe I can do another q+a for you soon! And if you’d like to share this with a friend, I wouldn’t mind one bit. Sharing is caring. 🙂 I love to help someone have a magical time and make amazing memories at Disney, because those are some of the best memories of my life. Thanks so much for reading this Disney blog!