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Disneyworld Vacation Tips: Help!

My family and I are taking our first trip to Disneyworld as attendees of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Conference, and I can really use your Disneyworld travel tips!

You see, I grew up visiting Disneyland in California every couple years with my family, but that was a day trip or an overnight visit at the most. And us McFaddens are well-versed in traveling to the beach for a week or making ourselves at home in an urban hotel and exploring a city.

But spending multiple days at theme park Mecca is — to quote Aladdin and Peabo Bryson — a whole new world.

As participants in the conference, there will be some planned events for my family and me. There will be social media learning for the  bloggers/social media participants (without the kids or spouse) as well as family celebrations.

But for a good deal of time, we will be on our own with thousands of  the happiest acres on earth to conquer.

I have been a little overwhelmed with all of the organizational and planning websites out there advising parents on how best to “do” Disneyworld with kids.  The downloadable planning spreadsheets, the hiring of professional planning services, the warnings about making meal reservations months ahead of time all bring on more anxiety than I had expected for a kid-centric vacation.

Thankfully, the Disneyworld website is full of helpful info, and fellow parents and bloggers’ tips have been useful (and calming!). Here is some great advice I have received so far or found online:

“At the Magic Kingdom, you will see lots of little girls in princess dresses and dolled up from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. But if you want to save some cash, you can just stick a princess costume you have at home in your bag in case Eve yearns for the glamour.” – The practical, fellow mother of a girl Sandie of Urban Mama and editor of The DC Moms

“At Disneyhollywood Studios, if Charlie and Eve would like to experience the Jedi Training Academy, head there to sign up first thing on the day you visit with your children to obtain a time for them. You must register in person with all of your participating children in tow. If you don’t have your kids with you, they will not let you sign up!” – My friend Kristin who visited last year with her Star Wars fans

Just-for-Disney homemade autograph books are a quickie, inexpensive activity that (I think!) will add a bit of excitement to our trip, will get our kids super-excited to meet their favorite Disney characters, and will give them a real hand in memory-making!” — Amy Mascott of TeachMama

Download the Undercover Tourist App! Now! I reviewed this app on Cool Mom Tech and it’s a lifesaver. Also, free. It’s great for knowing wait times in real time, parade times, and helping you find the best, closest restaurants when your kid is having a blood sugar meltdown.”  Liz of Cool Mom Tech and Mom 101

“Bring a stroller with you…stroller rentals are expensive and you can’t take them back to your hotel.”  — Michelle of the  Glass Slipper Concierge blog

“Purchase the PhotoPass CD ahead of time.  You get a significant amount of money off of the purchase price and it’s nice to have the photographs that include your whole group.  You can ask the photographers to take multiple shots…and if you’re going with another family, go in together on the price of the CD and then combine all of your photopass numbers on one account.  There is no limit to the number of photos you have taken and once you buy the CD you own the rights to the photos.” — Blogger and professional photographer Amie Adams of Mamma Loves

What about you Disneyworld experts out there: What insider tips do you recommend?

Follow the #DisneySMmoms hashtag on Twitter for updates and live Tweets from the conference. Images stolen from Connie of Brain Foggles and Kelly Whalen of The Centsible Life‘s Pinterest page.

Disclaimer: As an invitee of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2012, my family and I are receiving a highly reduced rate on accommodations, attractions, some meals, and access to special events we would not have otherwise. The conference fee and transportation costs were paid for by me. All opinions expressed are my own.

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