My girls will be three soon. And with most things, when a kid turns three, the freebies go away.
No more free admission to festivals or amusement parks or swimming pools. We will have to pay the rate for kids under 10 or 12 or whatever the age is.
The same goes for Disney World. Before their birthday, they are free. After, they are not. Before their birthday, they don’t need fast passes for rides as long as an adult who is with them has one. After their birthday, they will.
So, here’s the deal. A 5 day theme park ticket for adults (or, visitors over the age of 10) costs $304. A 5 day theme park ticket for children ages 3-9 costs $284. Add Park Hopper and that’s another $60 per ticket. A child 2 and under is free.
I have twins. Do you see the economy in changing our trip plans from the March AFTER they turn 3 to the week BEFORE they turn 3? I realize that my kids are small and I could PROBABLY pass them off as 2 year olds for another 6 months to a year (if not longer) but I wouldn’t be able to do that. I can’t lie to Disney!
So here I am, planning our very first family trip to Disney (along with my best friend, her husband and his daughter, and my best friend’s brother and his girlfriend). The first thing I did was what any sane mother of twins would do.
I asked my mom and mother in law to go with us. Because I need babysitters. I need extra hands. I need help.
Then I called a travel agent.
Disney makes it easy to NOT need a travel agent, but Disney travel agents are also free. So I could use her to help, even though I didn’t “need” her help. I took it.
We got our reservations.
Generally, I’m a Marriott/Ritz kind of girl. I don’t stay at Quality Inns or Sleep Inns or whatever other Inn you usually find off the scary exit on the interstate. I look for big, brand name hotels, preferably with a spa.
But Disney is different. Sure, there is the “Marriott” of Disney (aka the Grand Floridian) but I weighed the pros and cons.
Pro: Super nice hotel.
Con: Super expensive hotel.
If we were going anywhere other than the happiest place on earth, which I imagine to also be one of the safest places on earth, I would have probably chosen the more expensive place.
Instead I looked at pictures. And read mom blogs and online forums. And I talked to friends. And everyone I spoke to said “It’s a hotel room. It’s at Disney. No matter where you stay, it will be nice, but if you want something your KIDS will enjoy, stay at Art of Animation.” AoA is a “value” resort. So by Disney standards that means you can get a room with two double beds or a king bed for around $120 a night. Or you can get a suite for less than $300 a night. A suite has room for 6. Me, the husband, the twins, my mom, his mom. This saved us from having to pay more than $300 a night for multiple rooms.
Also perfect is the decor. We could choose between Finding Nemo suites, Lion King Suites or Cars Suites (the single rooms are Little Mermaid). First choice was Nemo but they were sold out for our dates. So we went to Lion King, which was good since the twins have become OBSESSED with the Lion King recently.
We also considered a suite at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge but it was more than double the cost and, quite frankly, it wasn’t nearly as cute. Plus, let’s face it. We are going to be at Disney. Chances our we will be in our room to sleep and that’s it. I remember going to Disney when I was 12 and we were NEVER in the room. EVER.
So, Disney does dining reservations 180 days out. Which is a long time when you think about it. We started planning our trip about 182 days out. So my agent had to do our dining reservations IMMEDIATELY. And she did.
We wanted a lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Lunch because it’s cheaper (and the same food) and CRT because my kids are obsessed with all things Princess. What my kids DON’T know is they will have a special birthday surprise while eating at CRT. Tiaras, balloons and a special Ariel Cake. I think I’m more excited about this part than anything. We got a late lunch – after 2 pm – but it will work out perfectly because that evening we will be attending…..
The late lunch will give us the ability to go back to the hotel after we eat and put the kids down for a nap (and maybe even put ME down for a nap). After the nap, we will get dressed in our costumes and head out.
My girls are Anna and Elsa. Much like every other female child under the age of 12 this year. I will be Olaf (sort of, I will be wearing an Olaf shirt). My Husband (and my BFF’s husband) will be the PPA – Princess Protection Agents. The grandmothers are going to be the Fairy Grandmothers in their special carriage shirts. We will also have another Elsa. The others I’m not sure of yet. Regardless, we will all be adorable, of course.
Anyway, before I get into the true details of the trip (a post for another day), I have to point out the absolute best part about planning a Disney trip….picking out what your kids will wear!
I know, it’s not a requirement but let’s face it, few things in life are as fun as dressing up kids for special occasions. As with most things in life, I went overboard. It’s ok, I know I do it.
I started out looking for the girls Halloween outfits. They told me they were Anna and Elsa (as in, “Mommy, we are dressing as Anna and Elsa. We ARE Anna and Elsa!”) I searched far and wide, or, more accurately, ETSY and found these:
I ordered them from this shop: LoverDoversClothing and I will 100% be going BACK to this shop to order every single princess dress we ever need. They are THAT good of a quality. The girls will also wear these trick or treating here on Halloween. I did, however, get them capes for that night.
Next I thought it would be cute to have first trip to Disney shirts for the girls. I found these:
Which feature mouse ear versions of the twins favorite princesses, Elsa and Anna. Once I found these I discovered the cutest store, BellaRagazzi. She makes custom Disney shirts and I thought it would be REALLY cute to have shirts for the whole family. I don’t have a pic of the shirts the grandmas are wearing but here are two more shirts I had made for the twins PLUS the shirts my husband and I will wear:
The grandmas have Daisy Duck and Snow White mouse ears. If you want shirts like these, I highly recommend contacting this shop – HOWEVER do it EARLY! She gets super busy (especially in the summer months) so you want to order 8 weeks or more in advance.
Ok, so now that that was handled (and my husband agreed to wear the mouse ears shirt when I agreed to put his alma mater on it), I was off searching for more outfits for the girls. We will be there for 6 days which meant 6 outfits, plus Halloween costumes PLUS changes of clothes just in case.
A Disney staple for all little girls seems to be the Minnie Mouse pillowcase dress. So I had to get those. I found this shop which had some very cute dresses:
After finding those I kind of just searched for other Disney themed dresses and I found the PERFECT dresses for our trip to Cinderella’s Royal Table:
For good measure, I also ordered two more dresses from this shop because the girls need dresses for their birthday party and an extra set of Elsa and Anna outfits is always appropriate.
The shop can be found here. She does a ton of cute halter dresses.
I decided on some additional princess dresses as well, using the twins other two favorite princesses, Ariel and Rapunzel.
I love how the shop used mouse ears for the princesses on the dresses. Super cute and SUPER fast shipping. I was very pleased.
A shorts outfit in the event the girls don’t want to wear dresses all week (which I doubt will happen – these girls LOVE dresses). I found these at Lil’ bug Clothing.
Then the other “extras” in case we need changes of clothes. I found a shop on Etsy, which is now closed, called DaffeDesigns. They now operate off their own website, which can be found here. I ordered a couple shirts from this shop as extras:
So, there we go. All the clothes my girls will take to Disney (obviously there are some shorts and leggings that will also make the trip with us, but that’s the main outfits). We are so excited.