Disney Recap: What Worked and What Didn't Work

So, I’m not here to say that we’ve become Disney experts on our sole trip to the place where dreams come true. But I am here to share what worked and what didn’t work on our Disney trip.

Homeschooling through Disney World

What was really great:

The house where we stayed. 

After much research and cost comparison we picked a house from VacationRentals.com. I was a little hesitant to see how it would end up. We heard all kinds of fun things about staying on site in a resort and how convenient it was. So I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The house was wonderful. It was clean and spacious. It was only fifteen minutes from the Disney exits. We were able to go home and rest in the afternoons. There was a private pool which was wonderful for the kids. We didn’t have to always be in a crowd. We were able to eat our own food, so we saved money there. We all fit in the house, and we didn’t have to split up into rooms. If we are ever able to go again, we will make this choice- and even go back to our same house!

Gluten free food. 

Even though we didn’t plan to eat too many meals on site, I knew we’d probably eat some. I did some research about eating gluten free at Disney. And I found that site after site talked about Disney as being a “gluten free paradise.” From everything I read, I was looking forward to trying out this for myself.

Sure enough, day one we ended up at Hollywood Studios longer than we planned, and we needed to eat. The kids smelled pizza and were drawn into Pizza Planet, the Toy Story themed pizza restaurant. I agreed, thinking for sure they’d have a salad that I could eat as I smelled yummy pizza. But, to my surprise, they offered me a gluten free pizza! A manager came out personally and took my order and went to prepare my food separately. I also was able to get a gluten free brownie for dessert.

In the Magic Kingdom, we ate at The Crystal Palace for lunch with Pooh and Friends. The chef came out and personally walked us around the buffet and showed us everything that was “safe” to eat and then brought out gluten free rolls for us. The food was delicious too!

A character meal. 

It is definitely a pricey choice, but being able to eat with Pooh and Friends and get autographs was a great experience. Most of the autograph places were very crowded and were outside standing in line in the heat. So being able to be in the restaurant and not have to wait in line was a fun time. Even the big kids enjoyed the characters and enjoyed getting their signatures in their notebooks.

Having a plan. 

This is almost humorous because we certainly didn’t follow MY plan most of the time. But we found a surprising new leader who was not only good at making a plan but was also a very good map reader. Charles was our fearless leader. He had a great ability to look at each park’s map and plan out a route that took us through everyone’s favorites. We did try to focus on a few favorites for each person to make sure everyone got to do things that were special.

And the not so great:

We didn’t go to Epcot first

To be honest, Epcot had much less that interested the kids. We didn’t do it until Thursday. By then the kids were tired. We were tired. It was a hard day. If we had gone there first, I think the kids would have been much more excited about it. Because we had already seen the more “fun” parks, there was little interested in staying at Epcot very long. That left those of us who actually wanted to see more of the park with frustration. We ended up splitting up and letting some go ride, and then we left and went home and rested. I would have liked to have had more time there.

Splitting up the parks. 

On Monday we ended up splitting the day between Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. I think we would have seen more of Hollywood Studios if we hadn’t split it. We did end up going back to Hollywood Studios at the end of the week. And we did need to go home to rest that day.

The park hopper option was nice. On the day of Animal Kingdom, there wasn’t very much there we really wanted to spend time on, and it was nice to be able to leave and go somewhere else. But when we left Hollywood Studios that first day there were quite a few things we still wanted to see, and it was hard to find time to go back there and get to see things.

Overall we had a wonderful time. It was a great trip, and I am sure that we will all remember it for a long, long time to come.

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You can read about our whole Disney trip with tips and information about each park here:

Homeschooling Through Disney World: Getting Ready to Go
Homschooling Through Disney World: Getting Ready to Go Pt.2
Disney Day One: The Trip
Disney Day Two: Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom
Disney Day Three: More Magic Kingdom
Disney Day Four: A Rest and Downtown Disney
Disney Day Five: Epcot and Tired People
Disney Day Six: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood, and a Looong Trip

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