Well, we took the plunge. We were on the edge as to whether we wanted to go to Disney this year or push it out a few more years. We knew Connor was a little on the young side for such an adventure, but we also knew this was an ideal age for Cailee. She believes the fairy tales, believes the princesses and cartoon characters are real and I wanted her to experience Disney as the magical place she so very much believes it to be.

I had to attend a conference at Disney for work in June and that pretty much sealed the deal. All week long I watched the other families, and pictured us there. Cailee knew I was at Disney and started pestering for her chance to go as well.

Disney is a very magical place – but it’s also a very expensive place. It’s also a place that you have to plan for. It’s not like going to the beach where you pick the house, pack up your clothes and head to your destination – of course you could do this, I am sure – but with as much dough as we were shelling out, plus my type A personality – I researched and made plans. I’m glad I did – we were always moving, but we covered a lot of ground in a week – and the reality is – I feel like we barely skimmed the surface with regards to some attractions – but that just gives us a reason to go back (in several years – it will take that long to save our pennies again).

For all my friends planning a trip – I’ll outline what we did – it worked out well for us.

We opted to pre-pay for everything – airfare (direct, less than 2 hour flight), lodging (standard room @ Wilderness Lodge), meal plan (Deluxe meal plan which gave us three meals a day, 2 snacks and bottomless mug for drinks), and 6 day park tickets with the park hopper option (we made a last minute decision to add this feature and I’m glad we did – we bounced around quite a bit). Transportation to and from the airport was provided since we were staying at a Disney resort, and there were buses, boats and monorails to get to all the parks so we never needed our own vehicle (and this saved us a few bucks since we didn’t have to pay for parking + rental car fees).

I did some research ahead of time to find out what restaurants to try and what activities we should do. It helped a lot. We made reservations everywhere about 4 months out and even given that lead time I still didn’t get optimal times at most of the places, but at least we got a seat at the table (everywhere but “Be our guest”).

I took a lot of pictures, of course, but really not as many as you might expect. I really wanted to focus all my energy on the kiddos and having fun as a family, because I knew this was going to be a week of memory making. I think we definitely accomplished that.

I’ll break down each of the days in the following posts.