Todd here. As our trip to Disney sneaks up on us,we can’t believe we are less than a week out from leaving! What follows are five things that may be overlooked in your excitement, and cause you excess running around and stress right before your trip.
- Pet/ House-sitting. Have you confirmed with your neighbor that they are going to come and feed your fish or hamster? Fortunately, we have family that lives very close, but if you don’t, make sure your neighbor or trusted pet-sitter has a way to get in your house. If you are boarding pets, confirm that you are still on the books and all shots and vet visits are up to date.
- Snacks. We make sure to have snacks for the car and for the hotel and to bring into the parks. We live within a day’s drive so we try to plan ahead for when we are on Disney property and bring a plastic tote of snacks in the car. We bring along many snacks like cheese crackers, fruit, and granola bars to name a few. They are easy enough to throw in your park bag when you don’t want to spend a snack credit or buy a $1.69 banana. We bring protein bars, cereal and toaster pastries for a little breakfast in the morning before hitting the parks. Also we pack drink mixes. They are easy to carry and since you can get free water at any Disney restaurant they are a fun way to surprise the kids with lemonade or fruit punch, or try a Starbucks iced coffee mix for the adults.
- Electronics. Even though our phones are great and we can do so much on them, I like to have a laptop back at the room. Try typing that email on your phone or trying to transfer money to your checking account when you realize that you did not pay your power bill before you left! You also can upload pictures and videos from your camera and phone to the laptop so you can free up space on the memory cards. I also like to bring a power strip to make sure that we have plenty of plugs and everyone can charge their phones in the same place, so you aren’t running around in the morning looking for a phone. Finally, a way to save money is to make sure you have portable chargers. Disney does have a good program that allows you to exchange chargers but it costs $30 to start and do unlimited exchanges in the park. Or you could buy a charger at Best Buy for $7.99 and charge it overnight so it’s ready to go each day.
- Itinerary. We have a spread sheet with a plan of how we are going to spend our days, including park hours, fast passes, and ADR’s. You can double check your reservation times in your “My Disney Experience” section of the website, or on the app. Check the Disney site to confirm hours closer to your arrival date as hours commonly change. This is a good time to check for any restaurant reservations that you haven’t been able to get. If you are diligent enough you may be able to snag a better time or a restaurant that was sold out months before. Many people will drop ADR’s as their trip gets closer. Finally I like to make sure everyone has an idea of timing for the trip. We are going to leave late in the afternoon and drive to Jacksonville, FL I have downloaded the directions to the hotel in my phone since at that time of night traveling on the interstate all the exits start to look the same. Click here for a look at our Disney Itinerary spreadsheet.
- Weather. If you are traveling between May and September, I can guarantee two things. It will be really HOT, and it will probably rain every day. But other times of the year Florida weather can be a little more unpredictable. So make your clothing choices wisely before you leave on your trip and before you leave for your day once you get to the Sunshine State. Granted, if you get rained on or really cold you will have a nice unplanned souvenir and getting a $45 sweatshirt with Grumpy on it just because you are freezing is not the best idea. Also be aware of the night time temperatures. Once the sun goes down, there is a chance you will get cold and no one wants to call it a night before “Wishes” starts. Remember, if in doubt, layer!
So by just doing a little planning ahead and using your brain you can save money, time, and plenty of complaining by doing a few last minute things to make sure your trip can go off without a hitch.