SHOP THE DISNEY BACHELORETTE ESSENTIALS
Thinking about planning a girls trip or bachelorette trip to a Disney World? First of all, DO IT! Disney World is not just for kids and I guarantee you if you take your besties there, you will have the most memorable experience of a lifetime (trust me, I know from experience).
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that one of the most common questions I’m asked is on that very topic. After doing hours upon hours of research to plan my own Walt Disney World bachelorette trip last summer (as well as a recent girl’s trip for my sister and I and a RunDisney trip for my family), I’ve taken the very best of what I’ve learned and put it all together to help you make your vacation extra magical.
Click on the read more button below to read all 12 tips + see the video I put together from the trip.
Ohh, and to give you a peek at the fun we had on my bachelorette party, here’s a very amateur video I put together from the event…
For any of you who are thinking about planning a bachelorette trip or a girl’s trip to Walt Disney World, here are 12 things I’ve learned from planning 5 trips myself in the last few years.
1. Start Planning As Early As Possible
When my friends insisted on going to Walt Disney World for my bachelorette party the day after my engagement, I first of all couldn’t get over how amazing they were for indulging me in that dream, but secondly, I immediately began planning our trip to the most magical place on earth. To give you an idea, we went on our trip in August, and I started planning in January. Side note – I planned my bachelorette party because I absolutely LOVE planning Disney trips, but it is a lot of work so if a bridesmaid offers to plan, take her up on it and give her the link to this page. 😉 There are several reasons you’ll want to plan early, so keep reading to find out!
2. Get Organized + Make My Disney Experience Accounts
Find out exactly who will be going on the trip and create a Google Doc where girls can start putting in their flight information and any other details you may need (sizing for t-shirts, etc.). Next, you’ll want to either have all of the people going create My Disney Experience Accounts or make them yourself. From personal experience, it was so much easier for myself to go in and create the accounts since we had such a large group (14 girls!). That way, everyone was grouped together in “my family” and I could easily make restaurant reservations and Fast Pass selections for everyone. The My Disney Experience website is where you’ll make all of your hotel, restaurant and Fast Pass reservations. There is also a My Disney Experience app that will allow you to go in and make changes to Fast Passes and restaurant reservations while you’re at the park – super helpful! You’ll also want to get a folder or file to start keeping documents in such as copies of you restaurant and hotel confirmation numbers so you’ll have them on hand and in one place when you arrive at the park.
3. Mark Down Important Dates in Your Calendar
Whether you’re planning a girl’s trip or you’re a bridesmaid (or bride, as I was) planning a Disney trip, if you’re the planner, you’ll need to mark down some important dates. Disney Parks are a popular place, so getting reservations to the best restaurants and Fast Passes to best rides + experiences is something that has to be done well before you arrive at the park (and it makes things so much easier too!) Here’s a few dates you’ll want to mark down in your calendar:
- First and foremost, decide on the number of days and the exact dates you’ll be going to the parks. If possible, you’ll want to plan to go during a non-peak time (AKA less crowds). Here’s a detailed list of the best times of the year to go to Walt Disney World and here’s one for Disneyland.
- Once you know the dates you’ll be going to the parks and the list of people who will be going, you’ll want to make hotel reservations immediately (this can be done up to 500 days in advance, so you’re good). Keep reading to see my suggestions on the best hotels.
- Restaurant reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, so once you know the days you’ll be going, make a note in your calendar (I set an alarm on my phone, too) of exactly 180 days before you leave to start making reservations at the restaurants that top your list. Hint – you can make reservations at multiple parks and/or multiple restaurants as long as there not at the exact same time, so if you’re unsure of which park you’ll be going to and when, I recommend doing that and you can cancel the reservation on your My Disney Experience App up to 24 hours before the time of the reservation.
- Fast Pass reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney World Hotel (you should – keep reading to find out why) and 30 days if you’re not. Also be sure to mark this day down in your calendar and keep reading to get a peek at the must-do attractions for a girl’s trip in each Disney World park.
4. Stay at a Disney Hotel
It is absolutely worth it to stay at a Disney World hotel. From the complimentary use of the Disney Magical Express that picks you up right from the airport (and also allows you to check in for your flight right form your hotel!) to the free bus transportation to all parks and the extra magical hours at the parks, there are so many great benefits. If you’re making a quick trip like we did, I recommend staying at a Value Resort because the hotels can get pricey and unless you’re staying for several days, you won’t be doing much except sleeping inside your hotel room. We stayed at the Art of Animation Family Rooms (The Finding Nemo themed ones – SO cute!) and they were perfect! The rooms slept up to six people comfortably (complete with two full bathrooms!) and the rooms were absolutely adorable!
5. Schedule Out Payments For The Trip + Make Venmo Your New BFF
It’s no secret that a trip to a Disney Park can get pricey, but it is so easy to space out paying for the trip to make it easier on everyone going. I booked our hotel rooms first, then waited a couple of months and had everyone book their flights and finally bought our park tickets a couple of months after that. The Venmo app was so perfect for having the girls send over money so I could easily book the hotel room and tickets myself.
6. Create an Itinerary for the Group
If you’re planning a girl’s trip, it’s likely you won’t be staying at the park for a full week, but you have to make time to go to all four main parks, so a tight schedule is key. The majority of my girls could only do 4 nights and two full park days, so we bought the Park Hopper ticket option (always worth it!) and magically made our way to all four parks in the two days thanks to the itineraries (and had a blast while doing it!) The key to squeezing in all the parks in a short time is to schedule your Fast Passes and restaurant reservations according to their placement on the park map so you aren’t walking back and forth. I purchased lanyards for them all which I found here on Amazon: badges & lanyards and printed out little itineraries for each day, literally down to the minute and included them in their Disney care packages. See the tip below this one for the details on the entire care packages + links to shop it all.
7. Matching Disney Swagger is a MUST
Whether you gift it or have everyone split the cost, it’s so fun to have matching tees or tanks on a girl’s trip in Disney. While we were at the parks, we met a few other girls there on bachelorette trips because of our shirts + Disney cast members give you extra attention if they know you’re with a big group for a celebration (example – I was serenaded by the sweetest security man who had the most incredible singing voice, which you can see in the video!) If you read this post about my bridesmaids brunch where I asked all my girls to be in my wedding, you’ll know that I chose a princess for each of my 13 bridesmaids and a Disney fairy for all five of my house party girls. So I made each of my princesses and fairies a glitter silhouette tank to wear on the trip. Here’s a list of what I included in their packages:
- Princess/Fairy Tanks – I got the iron-on silhouettes here (you can request more than the characters she has listed and do each in whatever color you’d like!) and here’s a link to the tanks.
- Fun Ears – I made mine for less than $2 each – I bought the Mickey Ears in bulk here and found the ribbon in bulk here.
- Water Bottles – you can bring food into the Disney Parks and water if free, so if you don’t provide them, make sure everyone brings one. I found the clear water bottles in bulk here and I added a vinyl decal to everyone’s to match their tanks, you can find them here. Hint – we may or may not have spiked our drinks (it was a bachelorette party, after all.)
- Monogram Stickers for Magic Bands – These are really just fun for pictures and make the Magic Bands look so cute. I found the monograms here.
SHOP THE DISNEY PRINCESS SWAG BAGS
8. Provide a Packing List
Unless all your gal pals are frequent Disney Parks attendees, they probably won’t know exactly what to bring. I’ll be putting together a post on outfit ideas for Disney Parks and a full packing list soon on the blog, so stay tuned for that.
9. Don’t Miss These Rides + Attractions on a Girl’s Trip
As I mentioned, we did 4 parks in 2 days, so I had to pick the best of the best attractions at each park. If you’re only doing 2 days as well, I recommend a start at Epcot – end at Magic Kingdom day (can’t miss those fireworks!) and if you go after Animal Kingdom unveils their Rivers of Light Show (night show), then start the other day at Hollywood Studios and end at Animal Kingdom. Below you’ll find a break down of my list of must-do attractions at each park for a bachelorette or girl’s trip. Side note – everyone has their Disney favorites, so this is completely my opinion.
**A hint on Fast Pass reservations – you can only make 3 selections per day at once park – make sure you make all Fast Pass selections as early as possible in the first park you’re attending for each day. After you have used those Fast Passes (or even if you somehow miss one), you will be eligible to get another at a FastPass+ Kiosk in another at whatever park you’re at. It only takes one person in the group to get everyone a Fast Pass, so if you’re the planner, you’ll wanna make note of where the kiosks are at every park.
MAGIC KINGDOM – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train // Space Mountain // Splash Mountain // Big Thunder Mountain Railroad // Festival of Fantasy Parade // Mickey’s Philhar Magic // Mad Tea Party (mostly for pictures!) // Celebrate The Magic Nighttime Spectacular
EPCOT – Soarin’ // Test Track // Spaceship Earth // Mission: Space // COMING SOON – The New Frozen Ride!
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Kilimanjaro Safari // Expedition Everest // Festival of the Lion King // Finding Nemo The Muscial // Dinosaur // It’s Tough to be a Bug // COMING SOON – Rivers of Light Night Show
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror // Rockin’ Rollercoaster // Beauty and the Beast Musical // Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage // Frozen for the First Time in Forever Sing Along Celebration
10. YES! You Can Drink at Disney World
Many people don’t know that Disney World offers alcohol in every park except Magic Kingdom (hence the water bottles). There are so many delicious drinks at the parks, from beer and wine to delicious mixed concoctions. My favorite little spot in Animal Kingdom to grab a drink on the go is the Dawa Bar in Africa and at Hollywood Studios is the little hidden bar on the porch at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, but by far the most fun place to have drinks is around the Epcot World Showcase. Make sure you build in ample time to do this with your girls. My very favorite places to stop for drinks at the World Showcase is La Cava de Tequila located inside the pyramid (best margaritas ever, but you have to get the tequila flight – so yummy!), then you have to try the grapefruit beer in Germany at Sommerfest and I love the little wine spot inside France – it’s called Tutto Gusto.
11. Eat the Most Amazing Food Ever at the Coolest Restaurants
Alot of people don’t know that Disney Parks offer some of the most amazing food and restaurant options ever! With a larger group, you’ll want to select restaurants that will accommodate your party, so here’s a quick list of some go-to’s.
ANIMAL KINGDOM – Yak and Yeti Quick Service (there’s too many lengthy shows here that you can’t miss, so I always grab a quick meal!)
12. Do Your Research
As I was writing this post, I realized after all the hours of research I’ve done about Disney trip planning and personal experiences from my trips, I have a wealth of information to share on Disney World planning myself. So much, in fact, that this list was growing to over 20 different points and I had to stop myself and make the decision to break them down into smaller blog posts. So if you are planning a Disney trip of any type, do your research because there is so much amazing and helpful information. Lastly, stay tuned to Vandi Fair, because I’ll be sharing a more Disney Park tips and tidbits soon, too.
PS – below you will find the exact itinerary documents (both PDF and word doc style) so you can download and modify yourself. I also included the tips/tricks I sent to the girls before we left in a Word Doc format and an example of the pretty, card-style itinerary I printed for each of the princesses and included in their gift box (the one that says “Kristen AKA Jasmine”). 🙂