We had such a great time in Disney!  My favorite part was seeing the joy on the boys’ faces when they met their favorite characters!  These are memories that I will cherish forever.  I haven’t been to Disney since I was little and obviously so much has changed with the park but also with preparing for your Disney trip.  I did a lot of research and asked my Disney expert friends what I needed to do and came up with a trip that was best suited to our family’s needs.  Here are my Disney tips and tricks with what worked for us!


We purchased the 5 day Park Hopper Pass.  We were able to go to all of the Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios) plus we were able to go to Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon with our tickets.  We chose the Hopper pass which allows you to visit more than one park in a day.  We felt this was good for us because we knew the boys weren’t going to last all day in a park.  We wanted to have the ability to come and go as we pleased so we would go to the park during the day and take a swim break at the hotel and go back to the park if we wanted.



Magic Bands

If you stay in a Disney hotel you will automatically get Magic Bands sent to you.  If you don’t stay on Disney property you have the option of purchasing your own Magic Bands.  I highly suggest getting Magic Bands for many reasons!

  1.  You don’t have to carry tickets in with you.  Your Magic Band will scan at the park entrance
  2. If you plan on making FastPass selections you will just scan your bands at each FastPass ride entrance
  3. If you plan on purchasing the Memory Maker Photos you just scan your band at each photo location throughout each park and your photos are automatically uploaded to your My Disney Experience App.

My Disney Experience App

Now that you have your tickets and Magic Bands it is time to plan out your trip.  You can do this all through the MyDisneyExperience website and App.  I used the website for my laptop and downloaded the App on my phone for when we were in Disney.  This is where everything for your Disney trip is stored.  This app is so user friendly and walks you through how to link your tickets to your Magic Bands, book FastPasses, dining and more.


I highly suggest purchasing the Memory Maker Photo Pass.  There are Disney Cast Members all over the parks who take your photo in front of your favorite Disney attractions and character meet and greets.

Our Hotel 

Nick is a Hilton Honors member so were able to use his points for our stay.  We stayed at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace which is located at Disney Springs.  Being that we were not on Disney property I had to make sure our hotel had shuttles to the parks.  So that is one of the main reasons we stayed here.  The shuttles came to our hotel every 25 minutes starting an hour before the parks opened.  Then we were dropped off just outside of security at each park.

On Sundays the Hilton Buena Vista Palace has a Character buffet breakfast.  Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy go around to each table and visit with each family.  This was awesome because I didn’t have to stress about booking a character breakfast within the parks.  The boys had a great time!

We were also within walking distance to Disney Springs which is a great outdoor shopping and dining area.  We went there just about every night for dinner.  I had made reservations for restaurants in advance and I would definitely suggest you do this as well because it gets very crowded.

There are also a lot of great shops in Disney Springs.  They have a huge Disney store so that is where we did most of our souvenir shopping so we didn’t have to carry our purchases around with us all day at the parks.

Another lifesaver for us was Amazon Prime Now.  I placed an order with Prime Now at midnight the night we arrived in Disney and our order was in our hotel by 8:30 the next morning!  I would highly recommend doing this because you can bring in food and drinks to the parks and this will save you money!

Pirates League

If you have younger kids I highly suggest the Pirates League Makeover where your kiddos can get transformed into Pirates or Mermaids.  Also for your littles who love Princesses they can become their favorite princess at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  Both are located in the Magic Kingdom.  This was such an awesome experience.  From the moment you walk in it is a Pirates Adventure where you get your own Pirate name, pick your costume, receive special Pirate goodies, and more.  You need to make a reservation so you will need to call (407- WDW-STYLE) to book your experience.