Disney World in June – It’s Going to Rain

It’s almost here!  The Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip is nearly upon us.  Megan and I are in the homestretch, bags are being packed and frequently checking the Orlando weather is our favorite pastime.  It’s going to rain.  Everyday probably.  That’s Florida in the summer.  Acceptance and preparation are key to powering on through the rain and still having a fun vacation.

Disney World in June – It’s Going to RainDisney World in June - It's Going to Rain

Shoes – The beauty of driving to Walt Disney World is practically unlimited packing space.  We’re taking lots of shoes especially.  If it’s not raining in the morning, we’ll start off in sneakers (a.k.a. tennis shoes, running shoes, trainers) and switch to rain-friendly footwear we can carry with us.  I like Croc’s ballet flats and any type of comfortable flip-flops with a textured food bed for safe and comfortable rain-survival.  In the Florida humidity, if our sneakers get wet they’ll take forever to dry, so we’re bringing multiple pairs.

Ponchos – Like wet sneakers, ponchos take a long time to dry and can quickly get moldy and unpleasant if wadded up wet and shoved back into a bag.  The key is to make like a boy scout and be prepared.  We’ll take along a few for each of us.  I’ve got leftovers from previous trips to bring along that were purchased at places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walt Disney World – like a mini poncho wardrobe. Disney World in June - It's Going to RainPark Bags – Normally, I’m a minimalist when it comes to park bags and have even been known to go bag-free from time to time.  Being prepared for the expected torrential downpour will require more supplies and a larger bag.  Megan and I can fit everything in one backpack and take turns carrying it.  Extra shoes, first aid stuff, ponchos, some hairaphernalia for repairing our ‘do’s, snacks and drinks – we’ll be set for anything!  I got a new Mickey Mouse backpack a few months back as a purchase with a purchase…totes adorbs as the young folks say, isn’t it?Comfort and, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t care, appearance.  I appreciate the value of a good cap or visor.  In particular, I’m a fan of Headsweats visors.  They come in a bunch of colors and are excellent at wicking moisture then drying out quickly.  I especially like that the underside of mine is black to reduce sun glare.  They’re comfortable rain or shine and look nice too.  Wet weather and humidity are no match for any hairstyle on me other than a ponytail or bun which work well with my favorite visor. 

We’re planning to get wet.  The weather forecast says 60% chance of scattered showers everyday we’ll be there except one (when the chance is 40%).  Sometimes being prepared makes the difference between a good time and a GREAT time.  Who knows when Megan and I will get another chance to take a Disney vacation alone together – let the fun begin!  We are ready!

What are you favorite items to pack for the rainy summer days at Disney World?

I’ve Got ONE Superpower and it’s Disney-related!

If you take your organizational skills for granted, stop it!  Right now.  Some of us are born with skill-sets completely lacking in anything that remotely resembles orderliness.  I am one of those people.  Organization escapes me.  Not that I can’t do it, it just doesn’t bring me joy or even the tiniest bit of satisfaction.  “A place for everything and everything in its place.” – What does that even mean?  The concept is completely lost on me.  Forget the KonMari Method…I find clutter to be oddly soothing in a way I’ll never be able to explain.I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

I’m not lazy, I simply choose to focus my efforts on things that are rewarding.  Things like cooking, running, reading, random craft projects (hello, countdown calendars and stateroom door decorations), and learning new things.  I don’t mind grocery shopping or vacuuming or giving Junior a bath, but I’d rather visit the dentist than actually tidy anything.  I’m also a terrible procrastinator, but that’s because I really do work better under pressure most of the time.  Now that you know some of my worst character flaws, you’d think it would be difficult for me to pull off a successful Disney vacation, right?  Ha!  Turns out ALL of my normally non-existent organizational ability awakens with laser-like focus when it’s time to make trip plans.I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

I’ve Got ONE Superpower and it’s Disney-related!

I can plan a Disney vacation with military precision.  I often begin the process a year (or more) in advance and no detail is too small to escape consideration.  I make lists and scour the internet for new restaurant and attraction reviews.  I have not a single qualm about booking scores of dining reservations 180 days in advance.  I plan park arrival times, park-hopping options and know exactly what the park hours will be each day.  I even plan to be unplanned for big blocks of time because some of our happiest vacation moments have occurred during those hours.

Honey, where IS my super suit?

I plan food kiosks to try during Epcot’s festivals.  I make notes about what craft beers are available where.  Our FastPasses are booked during the first moments of the 60-day window and I even have a carefully considered strategy for those choices as well.  Packing lists?  You betcha!  It matters not if there are only two of us traveling or more than half-a-dozen, I’m up to the challenge.  The planning brings me nearly as much joy as the actual vacation and this may sound weird, but I’m not bothered in the slightest if after we’ve arrived for our vacation things don’t go precisely as planned.  Hurricane Matthew comes to mind…our plans were completely blown for a day and a half and we still had SO MUCH FUN!I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

Mention the possibility of a Disney getaway to me and I spring out of a virtual phone booth ready to get to work.  I can’t explain how or why these über-organizational tendencies appear only for trip-planning, but as far as superpowers go, I’m not complaining.  I’m busily working right now on three up-coming visits to Walt Disney World and a Disney cruise.  If my family is bothered by any of this, they love me enough to keep it to themselves.

How about you?  Do you have a Disney superpower? 

Almost Time – Disney Summer Road Trip Plans

We’re calling it the “Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip” and in just a few weeks, we’ll be on our way!  Packing lists are made.  FastPasses are booked.  Like all great Disney vacations, new things are in store and include quite a few Disney firsts for us.  Megan and I are more excited than I can describe and are constantly texting each other about our plans.  Speaking of plans…

Almost Time – Disney Summer Road Trip Plans

Let’s start with the firsts:  First time at Saratoga Springs, first time on the Quick Service Dining Plan, first time driving to Orlando, and (the most exciting!) first time to see Pandora!  We’ve also booked the “Caring for Giants” tour at Animal Kingdom and are looking forward to seeing the new Happily Ever After nighttime spectacular in Magic Kingdom.

Here are the plans we’ve made day-by-day…

Arrival Day:

Magic Kingdom:  We’ll get there for lunch and grab what sounds good at the time.  We have FastPasses starting right after lunch for Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Splash Mountain.  Between FastPasses, we’ll fill in with the usual favorites depending on wait times.  Those attractions are usually PeopleMover, Haunted Mansion, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Country Bear Jamboree.  For dinner we’ll catch the boat to Wilderness Lodge to try Geyser Point before returning to Magic Kingdom and staying for Happily Ever After.

Day Two:

Animal Kingdom as early as possible.  It would stress me out to shoot for an exact arrival time, but it will need to be early.  FastPasses start at 9:00 am with Na’vi River Journey in Pandora.  We’ll grab breakfast there at Satu’li Canteen either before or after the ride.  Then we’ll have plenty of time to explore all of Pandora at our leisure.  Our next FastPass (Expedition Everest) isn’t until early afternoon.  We’ll do the Caring For Giants tour mid-afternoon then be able to roam around Animal Kingdom at a lazy pace, eat dinner, and use our final FastPass for Rivers of Light at 9:15.

Day Three:Animal Kingdom's Kali River Rapids

Animal Kingdom again first thing.  Our FastPasses are all in the morning:  Flight of Passage, Primeval Whirl, and Kali River Rapids.  We’ll be hopping to Epcot for the afternoon – so many great quick service options for lunch in World Showcase!  Dinner that night will be at Paddlefish in Disney Springs after which we’ll call it a day.

Day Four:Entrance for Toy Story Midway ManiaWe’ll start by rope-dropping the Studios to ride Rock’n’ Roller Coaster before using our three FastPasses for Tower of Terror, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Star Tours.  The unplanned afternoon will be spent at either Magic Kingdom or Epcot before we start the first part of the long drive home that evening.

Yes, we have solid plans for much of the time, but I think we’ve allowed for plenty of free-styling along the way.  Primarily we’ll be focused on exploring Pandora since it’s new, but we’ll also be able to enjoy many of our must-dos in every park while trying a few new restaurants too.  Mother/Daughter time should include a nice mix of new experiences and old favorites while making lots of happy memories.

While we’re away, Joseph has decided he should stay at the house and keep Raymond (and Junior) company.  So while they won’t be going to Disney World, they’ll be guys home alone doing guys stuff.  I think they’re pretty excited about it.

Are you headed to Walt Disney World this summer?  What are you the most excited to see and do?

 

Headed to Disney World – Time to Pack!

I’m a week away from our short trip to Disney World for the Dark Side Challenge.  It may be for only four days, but the same packing strategies I use for longer vacations still apply.

Headed to Disney World – Time to Pack!

I think about what I’ll be taking along in three categories:  Must-go items, things I’d like to have, and “if there’s room” extras.

Must-go Items

  • Magic Bands, IDs, money (gift cards, credit cards, small amount of cash), medical insurance card, DVC membership card, and Tables in Wonderland card. (Note:  I would never choose gray for a Magic Band color.)
  • Phone & chargers (both plug-in and on-the-go varieties)
  • Rain Poncho, cap and/or visor, and sunglasses
  • One outfit per day and as few pairs of shoes as possible (I’m a reformed vacation shoe over-packer).
  • Sweater or light jacket (I tend to get cold during sit-down meals)
  • Sunscreen, hair and makeup bare necessities
  • Running outfits for runDisney events & armband or waist carrier for my phone
  • Headphones
  • Mini first aid kit (Tylenol, antacid, Band-Aids)
  • Carry-on and park bag
  • Disney pins for tradingHeaded to Disney World - Time to Pack!

Things I’d Like to Have

  • 2-3 Extra shirts & an extra pair of shorts or pants – Sometimes it’s nice to have a fresh outfit to put on if we get back to our resort before going to dinner.  Especially if we’re eating someplace nice.
  • Swimsuit & Cover-up – We almost never swim, but it’s nice to be ready just in case.
  • Extra park bag(s) – I can make do with one, but having a couple of different sizes to choose from is better.
  • Snacks and/or Pre-race fuel – If I can bring Cliff bars or granola bars, I’m going to be much happier on race day(s) without the stress of trying to find something to eat that I’m sure won’t bother my stomach.  If I’m not going for a runDisney event, it’s nice to have snacks or breakfast items along to minimize the possibility of becoming “hangry”.
  • Flat iron – I don’t use one every day at home, but with the way my hair behaves in Florida, it’s certainly nice to have.

If There’s Room

  • Disney Exchange Podcast tees and pins to give away – I love meeting listeners and having something handy to give them.
  • Book and/or magazine – Nice at the airport and on the plane, but not a necessity.  I can always listen to music on my phone.
  • Extra cap(s) – I like choices and I like to color coordinate if I can.
  • My own hairdryer – Silly, but I’m used to it and get better results with my own versus the one supplied by the resort.
  • Laptop – I don’t have to have it, but it sure is nice if I want to whip up a blog post while I’m in the Disney Bubble.
  • Extra space for souvenirs – Yep, I’d like a little unused room.  There’s nothing worse than wanting to do some shopping and realizing you’ve got no way to carry anything home.  Sure, Disney will ship, but that adds a lot to the price.

That’s it.  On each and every Disney trip we take, I use this strategy and almost always come home with only one or two things I didn’t use or wear.  In the winter I pack a couple of extra layers and more pants, fewer shorts.  I refuse to pay for overweight luggage so I weigh my bag at home before we leave just to make sure.  Honestly, if I could get by with only a carry-on this trip, I’d be thrilled, but I doubt even the minimalist-packing me could pull it off.

What’s your Disney vacation packing strategy?