Accommodation for families of five
This will be our second family trip to DLP. We first visited when the twins were 2 and 8 months and out eldest was 5 and 2 months. We opted to stay off Disney at Explorers Hotel, a pirate themed hotel, as this worked out the most affordable option for us. For this trip we have chosen to stay on Disney to take advantage of the extra magic hours and also to simply experience being on Disney. This however led to a realisation. Only three official Disney hotels cater for families of five. These are Davy Crocket which requires you to have a car, Newport Bay and the Disneyland Hotel, two of which are the most expensive of the Disney hotels.
I am not sure why the other more mid-priced Disney hotels at DLP don’t cater for families of five as it looks like the majority of the Orlando Disney hotels do. It’s certainly frustrating that you are left with the self-drive Davy Crocket option or the more expensive hotels simply to be able to be on Disney. However, because we booked in advance using the two night sand two park days free offer, we were able to opt for Newport Bay.
If staying on Disney isn’t for you or if it’s cost prohibitive I would definitely recommend looking at the partner hotels as these all offer a shuttle service. Alternatively there are loads of Air BnB apartments close to DLP which are very reasonable and many are close to the train line which runs straight into the DLP complex.
Buy in advance
If you like to be dressed in Disney themed clothes in the parks I would 100% recommend buying in advance. The clothing in the parks is expensive and you can get some fantastic items from Primark, Mataln, George, F&F, Next and Zara. As we booked our trip over a year ago I have spent months buying things in the sale and planning out mine and the kids outfits for the trip. If it isn’t your thing, no worries, not everyone dresses up or wears Disney themed clothing and you most definitely don’t need to feel pressured into spending more money on these things. It makes me ridiculously happy though so if you are the same, shop ahead.
I have also been buying custom ears ahead of the tip. You can easily pay £20 – £30 per pair of standard ears in the parks so if you know you would like some why not check out Malefic Ears and Chasing Childhood for some beautiful custom designs ranging from £15 – £35.
It is also worth buying any autograph books in advance too as they can be cheaper than in the parks. Keep an eye on Shop Disney for sales or flash offers and if you’re looking for something more personalised check out Etsy as there are countless crafters making lovely personalised autograph books. I really like the look of the Crafty Little Pixie but as I already had books I couldn’t really justify getting new ones.
I like to get the boys a new Disney teddy to take which I give to them the morning of the trip. Last time it was Mickey Mouse and this time I managed to get Cuddleez Simba’s and a Stitch in a Shop Disney offer for £10 each. I also picked up some Disney pens with their favourite characters to go with their autograph books.
Snack packs and breakfast
We don’t have a meal plan included and I wasn’t prepared to add one as it certainly isn’t cheap and I know the boys will eat like sparrows. It is easy for a trip with no meal plan to mean £££ on food though, so being organised is key.
I have packed the following for the kids breakfasts.
- Brioche rolls
- Cereal bars
- Mini apples
- Raisin packs
Me and hubby will then grab a coffee and croissant from Starbucks on our way to the parks.
We will buy lunch most days at places like Earl of Sandwich, Cable Car Bake Shop and Casey’s Corner, but I have also made daily snack packs for the kids using zip lock bags. This should allow us to push lunch time past the peak time, hopefully avoiding the crowds. I have included:
- Malt loaf bars
- Barney Bears
- Mini easy peel oranges
- Mini breadsticks
- Robinsons mini concentrate juice
- Water bottles – refill for free around the parks and mix with the juice
For dinner we will be eating in Disney village at McDonalds, Vapiano which is a relatively new Italian counter service place which looks nice, the Sports Bar which serves bar type food and pizzas and then we have treated ourselves to one character meal at Café Mickey.
It isn’t cheap to eat in Disney and the food isn’t always the best which is a frustration, I find the Disney village has better options for us and we prefer the informal dining with the boys being so young.
I will be sharing the receipts from all of our meals on Instagram (taking a leaf from the helpful Chasing Childhoods book who did the same from her trip to Orlando) to help give an idea of what you can expect from a cost perspective for a family of five. I’ve spent £30 on breakfast and snack supplies including the zip lock bags and wet wipes and I think it will save us loads.
It’s important to go with the flow when visiting Disney, plans will always change and timings will shift, but it is equally as important not to go in blind. I made that mistake last time thinking we had ample time, wrong. The days fly by and despite there only being the two parks there is plenty to see and pack into your trip, especially with small children’s needs to cater to.
This time I have used the DLP schedule which you can download from the website and the interactive map to visualise what is close by and what is the opposite side of the park and I’ve made a daily schedule. This has also allowed me to plan our outfit themes around which characters we will be meeting and which lands we will be in. it will hopefully minimise walking as there shouldn’t be too much doubling back on ourselves and I have been able to plan in places to eat.
The plan will of course change a little but I think having a base structure should help us to make sure we don’t miss anything this trip. I have shared the schedule on my Instagram highlight story called DLP 19 prep.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, I will share a full roundup of our trip when we are back 🙂