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Preparing for Disney: Reservations

Ack, I can’t believe how close our trip is getting. I have been busy making lists, starting piles to pack and making reservations. I feel like I still have a million things to do! We have made a lot of progress on all of the reservations we wanted to make and I wanted to share what we have so far.

I am getting more relieved and excited that we decided on the Amtrak Auto Train. We can buy everything we need for the trip, not worry about luggage weights and can travel in comfort. We are staying in one of their bedrooms which will give Parker room to play and for all of us to sleep. The trip includes dinner and a continental breakfast so we don’t have to worry about food. We also decided to pay the extra fee so that our car was one of the first 20 cars off at our destination. I can’t wait to share a video of our cabin and what the experience was like!

I feel like a kid getting so giddy about the Disney Magic Bands! What a fantastic idea on Disney’s part. No need to carry tickets, room keys, cash or even credit cards. You can swipe into your room, the park, check in at FastPass+ locations, add pictures to your Memory Maker account, pay for meals and even purchase souvenirs. Plus, you can personalize them by choosing your favorite color and adding your own bling!

One of the best parts of a vacation is all of the photos you get to look at when you return. I know we always struggle with pictures of all of us together because someone has to take the picture. In the past, while we loved a lot of the pictures taken, they were too expensive to purchase.

I was thrilled when someone told me about the Disney Memory Maker package. One package for any pictures taken around the park, character meals and even ride attractions! Even better, it can be purchased ahead of time for only $149. You can also link up the confirmation number to all of the magic bands in your party so all of your photo memories can be found in one place! You can view all of your photos in your My Disney Experience (more below).

We went back and forth about getting a dinning plan. Rob and I had one when we went a few years ago and it really was convenient. At first we got a quote for the price and thought it was much higher than what we would spend individually. Then I started crunching the numbers. I took into account some of the places we wanted to eat, the fact that there would be 3 of us eating at each meal and what groceries we would need to buy. After seeing that total, I was convinced a Disney Dining Plan was the way to go. If nothing else, it gave me an exact number to budget for.

We decided on the dining plan that would give us a quick service meal, a sit down meal and a snack each day. Since Parker is only 18 months and doesn’t pay for hotel accommodations or park tickets which means he does not need the meal plan. Keeping in mind he will be eating off our plates, here are the places we decided to make reservations for.

Here are the places we made reservations for! Teppanedo and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater are the only places we have eaten so far. I can’t wait to try the rest and share photos and our reviews of them!

The first thing we did after booking our trip was each create My Disney Experience profiles. The My Disney Experience allows you to navigate pretty much every aspect of your vacation in the comfort of your own home and on your own time. Since Sarah and Tim live so far away it has helped keep us all up to date on things.

Within the My Disney Experience you can:

Create Your Family & Friends List: Since we are vacationing with my sister and Rob’s best friend, we wanted to find a way to all keep up on reservations and planning.

Link Existing Reservations and Tickets: This is where you can link every aspect of your trip together making it easy to find information and reservations. This includes your hotel, park tickets, Disney Memory Maker and more.

Personalize MagicBands: As I mentioned before, MagicBands pretty much replace the need for paper tickets, room keys, cash and even credit cards while in the parks.

Make FastPass+ Selections: Once you purchase your tickets, you can start making some FastPass reservations for your favorite rides. Once we purchase our tickets on base we will be linking them so we can start making some FastPass+ selections!

Make Dining Reservations: Within the My Disney Experience you can choose all of your dinning reservations in advance limiting wait times and eating on the go.

Online Check-In Available: You can check in online and make the arrival process quick and easy.

This was in 2010, the last time we were at Disney. Things were a little different back then… 🙂

Gadgets in Disney

I just love gadgets that help make life a littler easier. As soon as we booked our trip to Disney I started making a list of things we had and things I wanted to get. I want to make our journey on the Auto Train, the hotel and the parks as smooth and organized as possible. I am not sure which will be more fun, actually using everything or sharing my reviews afterwards!

Having P in a crowd always makes me nervous. Since he is still not walking we use a stroller or baby wear him which gives me some comfort. I am really hoping he is walking by the time Disney roles around but that will open up a new set of problems.


                            Joovy Groove                                                                Joovy Zoom 360

I am torn between two different strollers in the garage. I love both of them for different reasons and I guess in the end it will depend on how much room is in the car.

                         KID Bands! from Lovable Labels            Zoo Safety Harness from Skip Hop
Lovable Labels was gracious enough to provide a set of their KID Bands! to review. I had them printed with Rob and my names along with our phone numbers. I also got P the Zoo Safety Harness for when we wants to walk around a little. I know people don’t like these (*cough my sister cough*) but Parker’s sefety and my piece of mind are all I care about 🙂
We were a little stumped with what the sleeping arrangements would be on the Auto Train. Rob looked at the measurements and we are pretty sure there will not be enough room for his Pack n’ Play. I was thrilled when KidCo sent us the PeaPod Plus for review. It will be the perfect for the space we have.

As a Nuby Mom Blogger I am excited to test out and review some of their products on our trip. I have already reviewed the Snack Keeper but know this will be perfect for snacks on the go.

Of course I am using some of my Thirty-One favorites for the trip. I just love looking stylish and organized at the same time. These are just a few of the products from Thirty-One I will be using 🙂
Now it’s your turn to share! I am in desperate need of your must have items when traveling with a toddler. I have several checklists going at the moment and want to cover everything. 

We’re Going To Disney!

Eeeek! I am giddy just typing this! I was about 6 years old when I went to Disney for the first time. Although I don’t really remember anything, I know that it was truly a magical time. My Mom still talks about how much fun she had preparing months beforehand. She spent hours packing our clothes, mapping out the different parks and making reservations. She still talks about that moment when we drove up to the sign and she started crying.

I know P won’t be old enough to remember this trip, but we will. It will be such a perfect time to get away as a family once Rob gets home from deployment. I am so excited about the plans we have already made and everything left on my to-do list!

We went back and forth on transportation. While I love flying, I tend to be very anxious. To feel calm and collected, I like to get to the airport several hours early. I also get so nervous about packing and having everything we need. Having P and all of the items we would need (carseat, pack n’ play, diapers, etc…) it was even worse. We weighed the pros and cons of taking a flight or the Amtrak Auto Train.

After looking at all of the pro’s and con’s it made complete sense to take the Auto Train. This way we could pack in laundry baskets and Thirty-One bags instead of buying suitcases. We could bring our Joovy Groove stroller, our pack n’ play and car seat and not worry about them getting damaged. While it will take longer, we can relax in our room, have healthier meals and a little less anxiety.

I am so excited that we will be staying at Shades of Green on WALT DISNEY WORD Resort. Shades of Green is the only Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) in the Continental United States. Even though it is run by the US Army, Shades of Green welcomes all branches.

As a partner to Walt Disney World, Shades of Green patrons can enjoy the Extra Magic Hours program and visit any of the Walt Disney attractions by riding their complimentary buses.

Pick a date – January 2014
Make transportation arrangements – Auto Train
Make hotel reservations – Shades of Green
Buy luggage – NOT NEEDED!!!

Create a Pinterest BoardDisney Bound
Pimp out our stroller
Create a packing list
Make lunch and dinner reservations
Make an appointment for P to get his hair cut at the Harmony Barber Shop in Magic Kingdom
Create a map with age appropriate rides for P
Buy baby essentials, some cute outfits for P to wear and a backpack leash
Buy breakfast items and snacks
Make a cute signature book for P
Find a pet sitter for Alice & Flip Flop
Schedule a few posts for while I am gone

I have so much to get done but I will enjoy every bit of it! I have been happily pinning on Pinterest and can’t wait to cross a few more things off my to-do list!