If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll remember back in April I went on a family trip to Florida. My in-laws have a condo in Naples, so every year we head down there for a family vacation.
This year, we decided to head to Walt Disney World for 2 nights with the kids. The drive from Naples to Orlando is only 3 hours, so it’s a perfect little road trip with the kids. This is our second visit to the park, we took my son when he was 2 1/2 years old. Now that my daughter is around that same age, we thought it would be fun to go back, so she could experience the park as well. Plus, we knew it would be so much more fun for our oldest. Now that he is 5, he will remember it as well.
***A huge tip I can give for anyone planning a trip to Disney is to make sure you sign up online for My Disney Experience. I couldn’t imagine booking my trip without it. It’s awesome! Planning a trip to Disney can be overwhelming. It was for me the first time we went. My Disney Experience links everything you have booked for your stay together. Your hotel reservation, park passes, fast passes, dinning reservations etc. It keeps everything organized, and all in one place! You can add each family member to your list as well. Pick which colour MagicBands they want, set up fast passes for each person, and add or make changes anytime. You can even download the app, so you can have it all on your phone.
We chose to stay at the same hotel we did a few years ago – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside. We just love this hotel so much! The Disney resort hotels are divided into categories according to price, to help make it easier to choose a hotel that works within your budget. Our hotel was in the moderate category, which was basically the middle of the road as far as pricing is concerned. The breakdown goes like this: Deluxe Villas, Deluxe Resort Hotels, Moderate Resort Hotels, Value Resort Hotels and Campgrounds.
What we loved most about this hotel is that they offer complementary water taxis to Disney Springs. If you are unfamiliar with Disney Springs, it’s a great place to head to on a day you’re not going to the parks, or at night for something to do. It’s completely free- no ticket is required. They have shops, dining and entertainment there. The boat ride from our hotel to Disney Spring was about 15 mins, and the kids just loved it. We took the taxis over to Disney Springs the first night we got there. We went over and had dinner, shopped and walked around. We then headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime, so we were well rested for a full day at the parks in the morning.
***Another tip I can offer is to check- in online! It’s so much faster, and less stressful than waiting in a long line at the front desk with the kids to check- in. You can check in 60 days prior to your visit to Disney. Once you have checked- in, the day you arrive you just head over to the online check-in desk where your welcome package and MagicBands will be waiting for you. All you have to do is show Photo I.D.
There are 6 pools at this hotel, and the kids couldn’t of been more excited to get in them. As soon we got to our room, they ripped open the suitcases and got their bathing suits on. We hopped from pool to pool for the whole afternoon, and then afterwards went back to our room to change before heading to Disney Springs for dinner.
This hotel has a ton of things to do. They offer horse-drawn carriage rides, movies under the stars, bike rentals, playgrounds, an arcade, and camp fires for you to enjoy as a family. I also love that they have free wifi too!
For food I cannot suggest a meal plan enough. It’s so worth it! You can choose from 3 meal plans:
Quick -Service Dinning Plan- 2 Quick- Service Meals and 2 Snacks a day
Disney Dinning Plan- 1 Table- Service Meal, 1 Quick- Service Meal and 2 Snacks a day
Deluxe Dinning Plan- 3 Meals and 2 Snacks a day
We went with the Disney Dinning Plan and it worked out great for us. We used the Table- Service meals for our Character dinners, and our Quick- service meals for lunches. With all of these meal plans, you receive a refillable drink mug that can be refilled at all quick service locations around the resort.
To use the Dinning Plan is very easy. It’s all set up on your MagicBands, so all we had to do is present our bands to our server or cashier, and it will taken care of.
Character dinning is so much fun! Usually how it works is the meals are buffet style, and depending on which Character dinner you choose, they will circle around the room visiting each table. They will give kids high fives, take pictures with them, sign autographs etc. The first time we visited Disney with just our son, we did Chef Mickey’s which was located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This time around we decided to do Cape May Cafe. It still had Mickey, but it was more of a beach theme, because it was at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. My daughter loved watching them walk by and wave to her. but she was too scared to get in a picture with them, lol! So, here are just some shots of my son with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.
Tip: Character dinners book up so fast, so I highly recommend booking well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Check back later this week for Part 2 of our Disney Trip, which will include our visit to Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom!
For more information on Walt Disney World, or to book a stay, visit their website here.
Disclaimer: I received special perks for writing this review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.