Do you think it is impossible to get away with the kids during the school year AND go to Disney. Honestly it isn’t that bad if you plan it correctly. If you can plan it with a Monday or Friday that school is closed that works in your favor. In New Jersey, A LOT of people travel during the NJEA Teachers Convention that is part of the first week in November. Another good time is in October over the Columbus Day long weekend.
In our case, our kids school had a half day on October 1st so they only missed one and a half days of school. We left JFK around 8am which had us land in Orlando about 10:30am. This gave us the whole rest of the day in Hollywood Studios. Friday was jammed packed in Magic Kingdom, Saturday was Epcot. Sunday we woke up early to catch our 9am flight back to NY so we could have a normal night routine to go back to school on Monday.
A few tips and tricks that we learned to help keep our day flowing:
- I decided that I was going to rent a stroller instead of bringing mine. Since we were just going for the weekend that meant 5 pieces of carry on luggage, plus backpacks…I didn’t need the extra hassle of my own stroller. I used Kingdom Strollers which gives you the option of pick up at the airport OR having it dropped off at your resort. I choose to pick it up at the airport since we were heading to the park as soon as we got dropped off. It cost about $50 for the three days and was perfect.
- If you have a small child, consider getting a Ride-On Suitcase. I have linked it from Amazon. This saved me in the airport of having my stroller because my smallest just sat on and we pulled her (she loved it!).
- While we were in Disney we use their mobile ordering A LOT for meals when we didn’t have a sit down service. The best part was we could pre order food for a time slot later in the day. This eliminated taking time out to wait on line to order food. Half the time we were on line for a ride and placing our order and it would be ready when we were done at the ride.
- Travel Blanket!!!! If you think I am crazy saying bring a blanket to Florida I am not. We had a travel blanket that was thin and easy to carry in a backpack. When it came time to find a spot for fireworks, it was so much more comfortable then sitting on hot pavement. Plus it saved space for us from bystanders.
- In Magic Kingdom (for those who haven’t been in a while), the Dumbo ride is new and improved with a great playground/air conditioning spot. You don’t need to ride on Dumbo to use the playground area, just ask a cast member. Also in that area is a splash pad, so bring a change of clothes if you want to let your child run in the water.
- Another great air condition/cool down spot is in Epcot at The Seas with Nemo and Friends. After the ride, which 95% of the line is indoors, is the aquarium with ocean life. There is a lot of ocean information that the kids can learn about AND there is also Turtle Talk with Crush which is interactive with the children. We spent close to an hour inside cooling down.
- Bring your own water bottles. Disney will give you water at any quick service spot if you ask. It was still very hot in October and we were constantly refilling our water bottle every time we stopped to up food.
- If you want to help keep your costs down, bring your own snacks for the in-between times. I brought with me goldfish, fun fruits and granola bars. They helped if we were waiting a long time on rides or as we were waiting for fireworks (so we didn’t loose our spot).
- Epcot is the perfect sleep in day. The park opens early but the World Showcase doesn’t open until 11am. The only two rides that are open in the World Showcase are Frozen Ever After and Remi’s Adventure but we did not leave the hotel until about 9:30am.
- PLANS CHANGE. Going to Disney is not about keeping a schedule. Every minute does not have to be accounted for with doing something. Sometimes just sitting on a bench eating popcorn or a Mickey Ice Cream Bar is enough. Take in the little moments with your children…they are only little once.