The most necessary items for your Disney survival kit

Think the magic only applies if you’re a kid? Not so. Disney is fun for all ages, but sometimes us adults feel like the young ones get the bulk of that magical fun. Something to do with the added responsibility I suppose. Still, you can make sure everything goes smoothly by preparing a “survival kit”.

Here’s the adult survival kit for Disney:

  • Headphones and a good podcast or two for those times when you’re waiting in line
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and other sun blocking goodies. There’s a lot of sun in Socal. Come prepared
  • A kindle or e-reader. You know how much reading you can get done in the downtime or while standing in line? Tons.
  • A nice portable vaporizer. I’d say the Haze V3 because it allows you to pack a few bowls at once. No need to take a “bathroom break” as often. Another good option is the Arizer Extreme Q if you’re looking for a desktop vape to stow away in your hotel room.
  • Portable battery charger. You never know when you’ll need to recharge that phone.
  • Hand sanitizer. You know how many nasty germs are hiding on the teacup ride? So many.
  • Snacks. Nobody likes grumpy low blood sugar dad.
  • Water. Nobody likes to get dehydrated either. Bring a refillable water bottle or three and you’ll avoid standing in line to pay $5 for 16 oz of water.
  • Comfy shoes. Remember you’re going to be walking all over the place and standing in line for hours on end. Leave the flats at home and take a pair of comfortable running/walking shoes instead. Or consider a pair of cushioned insoles.
  • A portable battery powered fan. It gets hot standing around in the sun all day.
  • Some 375ml half bottles of wine. I’m a big fan of Last Bottle Wines, and they often have some good Chardonnay, Cabernet, and other great deals on wine.

Other things to consider

A medicine bag. Got any prescriptions you take? Children’s tylenol? Band-aids? Stuff like that is crucial to have because the last thing you want to do in the case of an emergency or sickness is try to find the nearest store.

Important local phone numbers and addresses. Of course, in the event that you do need to get in touch with a local pharmacy, police, fire department or congressman it helps to have that information ready at hand. Take a moment to write down or save a file with any relevant information you think you might need.

Do you have any tips on special items to bring on your disney vacation? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update the article.

The best places to get a drink in Disney

Let’s face it, there’s only so much screaming, begging, crying, and chaperoning you can do. Being an adult in Disney is no easy task, and at some point you’re going to want to relax with a cold brew or a glass of Chardonnay in hand. Finding a spot that has adult beverages isn’t always easy in a land designed for kids.

I got you covered though.

Wines

Flying Fish Cafe has a great wine list, with plenty of big and small names alike. You can find a rare and refreshing white wine like Kerner Abbazia Di Novacella, Alto Adige Italy 2014 or stick with something domestic like the Neyers Chardonnay. Prices are faily reasonable.

Victoria’s and Alberts has some interesting choices that venture beyond the typical Bordeaux, Napa, Burgundy trifecta. Instead you’ll get Alsace, Loire and Austria. Try a zippy Gruner or Zwiegelt, or even a Baumard Savienres if you’re up to it.

California Grill has, you guessed it, a great selection of domestic wines. Looking for a big buttery Chardonnay? This is your spot. Lots of big names, from Turley and Walter Hansel to Banshee and Ridge.

Cocktails
Cocktail lists around the park tend to be a bit generic, loaded with sweet concoctions that would make a purist scoff.

For the best cocktail, head to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, a tiki-themed bar hidden behind the Polynesian resort. Just be warned, the lines often run much longer than the worst ones you see at the rides. This place is kitchy as all hell but it’s also dark and cool, perfect for enjoying a stiff one.

Margheritas anyone? La Cava de Tequila in the Mexico section of Epcot has some good tequila.

Best places to get a drink by area
Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest is the only choice here.
Epcot: The Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, naturally in the Italy section
Hollywood Studios: Tune-In Lounge
Animal Kingdom: Dawa Bar
Downtown Disney: Raglan Road
Resorts: Todd English’s Bluezoo

Beers

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Looking for a cold brew? You have plenty of options. My favorite is the Big River Grille and Brewing Works where you can get a fresh craft brew and a big burger with fries.

Honorable mentions

Gurgling Suitcase at the Old Key West resort is a dive bar in the best sense of the word, with cheap beer and sports on the tube.

For more information on the dining options at Disney check out their resource page https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining

Our October trip

Our June 2016 trip put us in the hole, financially. I mean, seriously to the point where we considered quick loans to pay off some bills. This next trip should not be so bad…or will it? Going this time is me, CJ, the 3 kids, my mom and my grandma. We will be at Bay lake Tower October 1-6 then the Grand Floridian October 6-10.

Here is the plan so far:

We are to arrive in Orlando at 8:07pm on a Saturday. I know, it seems like such a wasted night but the flights for like a week prior all had the same arrival time and we don’t want to leave from any other airport or have to take a non-direct flight. So when we arrive, we plan on going right to the room and maybe maybe snacking on pizza or something.

Sunday: Pool! Nap! Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Part!

Monday: Relax! Epcot. 6:50pm Biergarten in Germany for dinner. IllumiNations.

Tuesday: Disney’s Hollywood Studios then off to Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at 6:10pm

Wednesday: Magic Kingdom then off to Whispering Canyon Lodge for dinner at 6:45pm. Wishes fireworks cruise.

Thursday: Mom and grandma leave for home and we move from Bay Lake Tower to the Grand Floridian. Pool and nap. ‘Ohana for a late dinner (9:30pm)

Friday: Epcot. 5:30pm dinner at San Angel Inn in Mexico.

Saturday: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (our favorite park) and Hollywood & Vine at 4:50pm for dinner.

Sunday: Free day. Maybe Animal Kingdom during the day but we will have to visit the Magic Kingdom one last time! Then the Contemporary Resort for a late dinner at 8:50pm at Chef Mickey’s.

Monday: Leave to come home

Overview of Disneyland’s main parks

It’s a magical place, but it’s also a complicated one and if you aren’t a versed tourist of Disney chances are you’re a bit overwhelmed by the options. Let’s break down the different parks at Disneyland quick.

Disneyland opened in 1955 after Walt contracted for 160 acres of land in Anaheim.  Since its opening, Disneyland quite a few changes have taken place, and the park has expanded well beyond its rather humble beginnings. That started with the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, and then came Bear Country (renamed Critter Country) in 1972, followed by Mickey’s Toontown in 1993, and the much anticipated Star Wars Land.

Opened in 2001, Disney California Adventure Park was built on the site of Disneyland’s original parking lot.

The Lands of Disneyland

The park includes eight themed “land” across 85 acres.

Main Street, USA – the main strip as you enter the park, designed to look like the main street of any Midwest town in the early 20th century. It includes a train station, town square, movie theatre, city hall, firehouse, and of course lots of little shops.

Adventureland – Created to mimic the feeling of an exotic tropical place, a land that “would make this dream reality” said Walt Disney. This is where you’ll find attractions like Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones Adventure and the Swiss Family Treehouse.

New Orleans Square – Based off the 19th century New Orleands, this is where you’ll find Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. The famous Club 33 is also here.

Frontierland – Taking a page from the pioneer days of America’s history, this part of the park includes Big Thunder Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat and the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.

Critter Country – What started as “Bear Country” in 1972 has been renamed to “Critter Country” in 1988. This part of the park has the famous Splash Mountain, along with the Winnie the Pooh ride.

Fantasyland – This is where youngsters can dream of flying with Peter Pan or running around with Alice in Wonderland.

Mickey’s Toontown – This area opened in 1993 and was inspired by the town in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Here you’ll find most of Disney’s popular characters hanging out.

Tomorrowland – Tracing its roots back to 1955, Walt wanted this area to highlight the achievements made by scientists and the Space Age. The popular Space Mountain is found here, along with the Astro Orbitor, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, and several other fun rides.

The DILFs of Disney

MILFs are old news. Apparently DILFs is now a thing. For those of you who have trouble with acronyms, we’ll spell it out for you – “Dads I’d Like to F”, who you’d like to…well, let’s just stay family friendly and say, “spend time getting to know”. It’s no big secret that Disney brings out the ultimate in dads doing their best to keep the kids happy. Several rules apply to dads accompanying their children at the most magical place on earth. First, a dad must not sulk at Disney, nor can they complain. In fact, they must prepare to go all out, dressing up, engaging with imaginary figures, and spending lots of time and money.

Luckily dads of the millennium are up the task, and many of them take parenting to proud new levels. There’s a whole new angle on the dads of Disney, started by this Instagram account but you can get an idea of the content by checking out some of the pics below.

 

A magical experience x2

I usually get decent customer service in Disney and this last trip was no exception! The first time someone went above and beyond for us was at about 11:30pm on a Sunday evening. We were at Bay Lake Tower so any items we needed had to be bought at the Contemporary. I realized we had no ointment for sores and Olivia had a sore that needed to be tended to. At 11:30 at night, where was I going to get this?

CJ called the front desk and they actually had a night manager come to the Pepper Market to open it up for us. Since it was late, he could not accept payment from CJ so he just gave CJ the ointment. (Cost was around $6) How is that for awesome customer service?! The next morning we did stop there and pay for it. Hey, karma and all that…

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On our last full day there, we went to the Magic Kingdom for the evening. One of CJ’s favorite rides is The Carousel of Progress so of course we went on it. The bad news? He lost his phone on the ride. He reported the phone missing and they gave him a number to call the next morning. The next morning came and they had not recovered his phone. Unfortunately, we had to go home the next day so he figured it was gone for good. That is when panic set in.

We spent a small fortune in Disney this year because we took extra people so we really had no money to go buy a new phone. We were looking at about $600.00 to get a new Blackberry. The first thing that came to mind was to get an instant cash payday loan so we could get some extra cash until payday. I had heard about these types of loans but had never applied for one.

Fortunately we got a call from? Disney Lost & Found! They located his phone on the ride Monday morning and they were in the process of mailing it back to him for FREE since we already came home!

Useful tips to budget your Disney trip

Well October saw a lot of expenses for us. Aside from spending $800 on food at the grocery store, we decided to pony up for an In-Shape membership. That’s another $70/month. Then we finally bit the bullet and bought a new hot tub cover which dinged our bank account for another $350 or so. With adult tickets hovering around $89 for a single day, the cost can add up real quick. A trip to Disney World for a week can easily match what you’d spend to go to France for the same amount of time.

So how do you save enough to go do Disney? Here are a few tips.

  • Check out a budgeting blog, like this one, or this one. These guys are obsessed with finding ways to save money and help you figure out how to better manage your savings and income streams. Can’t say enough about them and how much they’ve helped us.
  • Look for travel deals on certain websites.
  • Check out http://www.mousesavers.com/ which posts tons of helpful coupons
  • Consider a trip to Disneyland instead of Disney World. The difference? Disneyland is usually frequented by casual visitors who live nearby, while Disney World is much more a destination type place that involves more expensive hotels, plane fares and dining.
  • Check Disney for deals. While they don’t offer the craziest discounts, it’s worth checking http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers for the latest offers.
  • Buy a multi-day pass. If you’re going to be there for 3-5+ days, you can get a multi day pass that considerably drops the price from $89 to a more stomach friendly $50 or so.
  • Go in the off season, between September and January. This is when hotel rooms are less expensive.
  • Make your own meals. Eating out three times per day adds up real fast. Make some quick pb&j sandwiches and pack loads of snacks to fend off the hunger pangs (and dollars).
  • Get the Disney hotel perks. Yes, hotels with “Disney” attached to their name usually have plenty of perks like free/discounted parking, cheaper meals, and free shuttles to get you in and out of the park easily.