Dear ones prepare for a week of Disney World posts. I’m starting with logistics. How to prep for Disney when you’re on a budget and also when you have chronic pain. This is how I did it and survived ;).
- Disney on a Budget
First, I read a lot of Disney blogs for ideas on how to pack. You can find them all on my Pinterest here:
A big money eater is the food, though the restaurants weren’t as expensive as I thought they’d be. We settled to have one big meal a day from Disney. Every now and then we indulged in an ice cream or cookie at Disney. The rest we brought with us. We ate several PB&J sandwiches. Here’s a list of what we brought:
- PB & J
- packaged tuna salad
- bags of chips
- dried fruit
- whales crackers
- granola bars
- tea bags (never used these)
- drink packets to flavor the water
I brought Disney themed food and plates to add to the fun.
- utensils (plastic knife to spread PB&J!)
- wet wipes
- water bottles (including a flat plastic pouch that you can clip to your belt etc)
- sandwich bags
- plastic bags (for trash)
We only spent $30 something for Michael and I at “Be Our Guest” and it was so worth it. We had two pizza meals from our Resort (Pop Century). Honestly, an adult pizza stick meal would’ve been plenty for us both but I bought a kids meal before I realized it. The pizza delivery was huge but we ate on it awhile. The night before the last we ate in Downtown Disney at the AMC Fork and Dine theater. It was also a little over 30 and well worth it because we also watched “Planes” while we had a big dinner. We had a snack at a cafe to get out of the heat. We indulged in a cookie, popcorn, and soda but it was all free because Michael “arrred” like a pirate for the cashier. He was also dressed as a pirate. Disney people are so nice.
We split an ice cream at animal kingdom. But for the most part we had breakfast and lunch in the room. Once we had a light supper (after eating at Be Our Guest). I carried cookies and water with us most of the time. For the most part we were thirsty instead of hungry. So we didn’t snack much except in the room. We refilled our water at the fountains.
Note* You can see in the picture below that Michael has a wrist band (the white one). I made that with contact paper and I wrote all his information on it (my phone number etc). I stapled it together. He never got lost but if he had that would’ve helped.
- We also saved money by choosing a value resort. We loved the Pop Century resort. It was clean and fit our budget.
The staff were peppy and sweet. The cafeteria was a bit pricey but tasty. Pizza delivery was great. The best part about staying at a Disney Resort was the free transportation. Buses left from the resort every 20 minutes to go to Disney theme parks and downtown Disney. The buses had air conditioning and we always felt safe. A couple times we rode the bus late at night and it felt just as safe. Only people staying at Disney could use these buses. The most I drove was from our building’s parking lot to the main parking lot so we wouldn’t have to walk so far at night. Our resort also had big statues of Disney characters and three themed pools. There was a Disney store and an arcade as well. The room wasn’t huge but we had a pool view. It was cheap for how many amenities came with the resort. I’d stay there again in a heartbeat.
- Magic Hours~ We could have used the magic hours because we stayed at a Disney resort but we didn’t. We were too exhausted to get up early and there were no late night MH at that time. But we stayed 4 nights and that gave us time to do what we wanted. I also found that the night before magic hours and after the parades (between 11pm & 12am when the park closes) the crowds cleared and we were able to ride most of the rides we wanted without a line. Throughout the day at Magic Kingdom it was practically impossible to ride rides without a wait. We saved the day time for meeting characters and watching shows. We had already ridden rides the night before. We did wait in line for Pirates of the Caribbean because Michael wanted to ride it one more time.
- Fast Pass~ This really helped us with shows at Animation Studios and with the safari and shows at Animal Kingdom. I wish we could’ve used these for meeting characters and eating at “Be Our Guest” but we couldn’t. When I saw the lines for shows and especially the safari I was so thankful we had a fast pass. We didn’t ride many rides at the other parks but we did have a fast pass for Star Tours at Animation Studios and it had a long standby line too. Fast pass is free so if you can, use it.
- Park Hopper~ I am so glad I chose the park hopper option. At first I thought we’d do one park a day since we had so many days. I’m glad we spent just a little extra for the park hopper. We were able to spend the night we got in at Magic Kingdom and then the next day there as well. Then later that night hop to Animation studios and the day after back to animation studios. It really gave us freedom and I didn’t have to worry about the weather or crowds ruining our plans. It was nice to be flexible cause believe me, those four days went quick. There’s a lot to see and do in the theme parks. We didn’t visit the water parks which was extra and mainly because we used our resort pool often.
Here are some more things I packed:
- Sunscreen~ we didn’t get burnt at all. Yaaa! One day I forgot to put it on but we stayed indoors as much as possible.
- Bubble bath & bath toys~ our bath at home doesn’t work right. So Michael got to enjoy a bubble bath.
- Fanny pack~ this came in handy at the parks. It kept our money, phone, and camera safe. We could also fit snacks, a water bottle, and autograph books. Now it was a bit heavy. So I bought a Mickey change purse for the days we didn’t need to carry much. The last day I had Michael wear the pack to carry our lunch. We could wear this on the rides.
- goggles and pool noodles
- Disney Princess tattoos for me
- a Mickey notebook from the Dollar Tree (much cheaper than the autograph books at Disney)
- generic sharpees for autographs
- Mickey band aids that thankfully we never used
- mole skin (this really helped my aching feet)
- tweezers that I couldn’t find when I needed them & I wish I had remembered nail clippers.
- Baby Powder ~ when you don’t have time to shower every hour. Just rub baby powder to soak up the sweat and leave you smelling fresh.
- Travel sized tooth brushes and paste
- small bath poofs (I can’t remember what they are called)
- Monster’s University back pack (I got this for $4 at Family Dollar. This was Michael’s bag for toys and books.)
- stapler~ to staple Michael’s info wrist band each day.
- I have a confession. We never traded pins or wore our lanyards. They were too heavy and we didn’t need them. We used our Magic bands (these are starting to replace key to the world cards) to get on everything. The bands were so easy and they are water proof so we never worried about losing them.
- I bought these Disney shirts at Walmart and these cheap hats.
There is a Disney store at the end of every ride and everything is expensive. We shopped twice at the stores and only for things that lasted. Instead of blowing our money at Disney, I bought Disney items from the Dollar Tree and Walmart. I gave Michael some for the ride there and then a few surprised him in the hotel room (like Pluto). Here’s a list of the cheap goodies I bought along and along before our trip:
- Disney coloring books
- Disney puzzles
- glow sticks (much cheaper than the glow toys sold at Disney)
- Disney stickers
- Disney story books
- Mickey, Minnie, and Donald action figures
- Monster’s University notebook
- crayons we already had
- a stuffed Pluto
- homemade Mickey ears
- Mickey ear maracas
- I packed several pairs of shoes but Michael did not need his rain boots. The rain was never that bad. I also packed hats for dressing up.
- I printed out a list of Disney facts to read on the way.
- We never used these ponchos. I couldn’t get them small enough to fit into the fanny pack. The rain wasn’t bad and we only got sprinkled on twice. It felt nice after a hot day.
I brought these from home:
- Hats to dress up (Hawaiian hat for Goofy, Pirate hat etc)
- animal masks
- toys for role playing
- cards (never used at Disney but played with when we visited my home town)
- a Buzz Lightyear video game
- face paint (it was so much cheaper for me to paint his face and we didn’t have to wait in line)
- etch a sketch (oh the possibilities!)
- Kid’s devotions (there was a Bible in the hotel room surprisingly)
- Disney with chronic pain and illness
Some of you may not be interested in this section at all and all the details. So to you I say goodbye and thanks for reading. Now for those of you who are interested I continue…
I have certain health issues that make long trips difficult. Sometimes local outings and plans get messed up. My husband did not accompany us on this trip. Disney isn’t his thing. So I had to do all the driving and planning. It was a big undertaking for me but prayer and planning got me through.
I’ll make this as brief as I can. I have Endometriosis, scoliosis, arthritis, bladder and bowel issues, and I’m recovering from Anemia. I also have problems with going out of it (kind of like fainting and blacking out but more like going to sleep against my will) and it comes with a headache every time. I’ve found that it’s linked to potassium and sodium. My blood pressure drops and that causes me to go out.
So this trip proposed a few problems. Long drives cause my back to hurt bad. Endometriosis causes my bladder issues and certain times of the month are pure hell. My bowels can put my plans off by hours & it’s dreadful to spend all my time in a strange bathroom. I have very little energy and I wouldn’t want to faint while driving. The arthritis (though painful) I can live with but it does make it hard to walk long, stand up long, and to lift my arms much.
So I carried these things:
- Advil (for headaches and pain. I rarely use pain medicine but I was at Disney).
- Midol (for my time of the month) & also other feminine products.
- Imodium ~in case my bowels tried to keep me from going out. I did have a rough morning where the Imodium made it possible for us to leave the hotel.
- peanuts ~ whenever I started feeling faint I would eat these for the salt. That helped while driving.
- water bottles ~I drank lots of water.
- So I couldn’t do much about my bladder but thankfully Disney has bathrooms everywhere.
- Natural Progesterone Cream~ to help with the Endometriosis.
So I had to deal with pain the whole trip because I didn’t take much medicine. But I made sure to soak my feet and rest a lot. The drive home was rough and I’m still recovering from it. I had to jump into homeschool the day after we got back. I’ll rest eventually…
I am so thankful for all the prayers. That time of the month decided to happen the day we left for Orlando. Usually I’m in so much pain etc that I’m in bed for the first couple of days. The prayers and the progesterone really helped. This time was the mildest I’ve had in awhile. The Midol helped too. I was so scared that the Endometriosis would ruin our trip but even though it was harder we still had fun. I’m glad we had four days so we could take it slow. We took advantage of the hotel room and took it slow in the mornings.
- So if you deal with illness and want to take a trip to Disney don’t be discouraged or scared. I saw people there with all kinds of handicaps and illnesses. Just take it slow and pace yourself. Make sure you bring all the medicines you need. Rest often. You can bring your own food into the park and they will provide for special dietary needs if you let them know ahead of time. Take advantage of fast pass and always keep water for those long waits.
Michael and I both burn easy so on really hot days we stayed inside watching shows and meeting characters.
This is a bit off subject but if you have PTSD or anxiety issues then please take my advice:
- The parades and fireworks are very crowded. You want to find a spot way before it starts and if crowds really bother you then find a restaurant to eat at to see fireworks. You’ll need to reserve 6 months ahead. The crowds didn’t bother me but it was hard to push through.
- The Lights and Motors stunt show at Animation Studios is really loud and they have fake gunfire and a fake sniper. I don’t know why but live gunfire causes me to have a panic attack and cry. I’ve never figured out why I am so traumatized by it. Michael was upset that we had to leave the show early but I was a mess. After that, everything suddenly felt dangerous and crowded. It took me a good hour to calm down completely. So be aware.
- There are people from all over the world at Disney and it’s super crowded. If you have PTSD from war then certain people groups may cause flashbacks etc. There’s also a market place feel in the theme parks. I know that’s hard for some people. So prepare yourself.
Last word of advice: Parents please hold your kid’s hand or put them in a stroller. I saw many children walking freely behind their parents. It was way too crowded for that. It’s way too easy for kids to be trampled or lost in the crowd. There are certain areas that aren’t so bad but when it’s super crowded it can be dangerous. So please at least in the crowded areas hold onto your kids. Everyone seems nice at Disney but you never know…
Well, God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: Actual pictures and details of our trip are coming shortly ;). Also thanks again for the prayers. It feels nice to know I actually made this trip despite my hardships. I know God gave me the strength and I’m happy I did it. My family members were concerned about us taking this trip by ourselves and when my monthly started my Granny mentioned maybe we should cancel (until I told her how much we had paid for it!). So it really feels like an accomplishment though I can’t take credit because God helped me through. At one time I was scared to drive locally because of my fainting issue. Since then Chris has done the big driving…until this trip to Disney. So it’s a bit liberating.