Disney. First thoughts that come to mind? Loud. Crying. Children. Crowded. Lines. Sugar. Fried. Food. Tired. Yes, I’ve been there, too. Every time we plan a trip to Disney, the initial excitement of being at the Happiest Place on Earth gets a bit overshadowed by those thoughts. Having been to both Disneyland and Disney World, many times over, and over again, I have discovered hidden gems that can make your experience even more magical.I am not just talking about the amazing fireworks, the intrigue and the ambiance, I’m talking about how a stay at a Disney Resort can still deliver a luxury vacation for the entire family. Here are my Top 5 Luxury Disney Tips:
Luxury Disney Tip 1: Concierge Level at Disney Resorts
This was something my husband and I discovered the first time we booked our stay at the Grand Californian. We decided to “do Disney right” when our son turned 5. To us, this meant no more shuttling back and forth off the property. We wanted to really feel what it was like to be on a Disney Vacation. Being from Las Vegas, it’s very easy to make Disneyland a day trip, and though that is wonderful in itself for many reasons, we wanted to spend the night and be a part of the magic.
One of the luxuries we discovered was the Concierge Level at the hotel. We had utilized this service at other resorts around the world, so we understood the benefit as adults, but this service is so underrated when traveling with children. With several small meals throughout the day, along with coffee, tea, water, juices and snacks for the kids, this made us feel more at ease having some comforts at home. After a jammed-packed, full day at the Park, it was solitude to not have to retreat immediately into our room for some downtime. The kids could color, watch a Disney Channel show and veg, while the parents could grab a cup of coffee, water, and just stare at each other in silence. Truthfully, those small items, like juice, water, coffee and fruit add up and can be taxing on a budget. Additionally, the continental breakfast offered everyday was enough to get us through to lunch without that added expense as well.
Luxury Disney Tip 2: Pool Cabana
A typical day for us at the Park is to get up at the crack of dawn, grab breakfast at the Concierge Level, then enjoy the Magic Hours as a resort guest. A few hours to quickly get through the “Big Rides” usually takes us to lunch with both kids and adults ready for a break. From there, we will head over to the pool to cool down a bit. Since the pools are just as amazing as the Parks with plenty to keep our little ones engaged, it means we are rarely sitting down. The little luxury of peace of mind- knowing a private space is ready for us, is worth the money. Chaise lounges, a safe, table, chairs and staff on hand to make sure food and drink orders are taken care of, while you get to enjoy the sparkling pools, twisty slides and lazy rivers with your kids. Especially if you have toddlers or younger, a cabana is a great asset to provide shade and privacy for diaper changes and the slight hope for an afternoon nap (for the baby!).
Luxury Disney Tip 3: Package Express
If you are a Disney Resort guest, this little luxury is complimentary. Utilize the Package Express to have merchandise purchases made throughout the parks delivered straight to your hotel room. How magical is that? No more having to weigh down the stroller with awkward sized packages and bags, knocking people over as you push your way out of the park. Now that is a luxury anyone could benefit from.
Luxury Disney Tip 4: VIP Guided Tour of the Parks
This luxury is not little, in fact, it is definitely something that would need to be included into your budget beforehand, but as Luxury Traveling Mom, Kim-Marie Evans puts it, “It’s three parks in one day!” when referencing our recent opportunity to experience a VIP Tour at Walt Disney World. Kim-Marie shared some great tips and reasons on how and why to include a VIP Tour into your Disney Vacation. The tours are available at both Disneyland and Disney World for all parks, and usually require advance reservations. For me, it is worth including this luxury into my budget for a resort destination vacation like Disney World. Since it is not as easy for us to get to as regularly as Disneyland, and the need to cram in as much as possible in the time we are there, without getting overwhelmed or over tired, a VIP Tour is well worth it. And, if you are a Disney-buff, you will enjoy the bits of trivia and history your Disney Tour Guide will provide. It was a blast getting on all the popular attractions like Rock’n Roller Coaster with as much of a wait as the Fast Pass Line. At the end of the day, I felt relaxed, and accomplished.
Luxury Disney Tip 5: Dining
Don’t forget to enjoy the culinary delights while at Disneyland or Walt Disney World resorts. On my recent trip to Disney World, I had the opportunity to eat at two restaurants that lived up to the expectations of those on the Las Vegas Strip; Jiko the Eating Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Chef’s table at The Contemporary Resort. Jiko offered an array of worldly tastes spanning the globe from India to Africa to Asia. We dinned on some of the tastiest delicacies from those regions such as Dry-cured Ahi Tuna “Biltong”, Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin, Berkshire Pork Loin, and Vanilla Roobis-Tanzanian Chocolate Cake, with an impressive wine collection and pairing. The Chef’s Table at the Contemporary is a private dining experience available through reservation only because of its limited capacity. It is an unforgettable experience that you will be thinking about until your return trip back to the Magic Kingdom.
Learn more about my experience at the Chef’s Table. Disneyland itself is not to be forgotten. Beth Avant recently wrote about the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney’s California Adventure, and I myself, have had the luxury of eating at renown Steak House 55. Speaking of luxury, what is always so wonderful when taking your family on a Disney Vacation is the idea that you can dine at these lovely restaurants with or without your little entourage. Knowing there is a children’s menu at every place, no matter the level of fanciness (The Hollywood Brown Derby at Walt Disney World even offers a Children’s Menu), or the chance to sneak in a date night by taking advantage of the Nanny Services available at each resort.*
Yes, the most magical place on Earth just became a little more magical with these 5 luxury Disney tips. I hope they enhance your Disney Vacation as they have mine!
I had the personal opportunity to experience several luxury tips mentioned in this article through invitation of Walt Disney World Resorts. Though magical, all opinions and words are strictly my own.
*Please check with your hotel concierge to confirm the availability, rules and regulations around on-site nanny services through Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resorts.
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