1. Water. Water. Water. We consumed amazing amounts of water. I do drink a lot of water but I was shocked at how much we went through in the week we were there. I took 2 cases with me, thinking I would buy one more. I ended up buying 3 more cases of water. Not to mention the free ice water we often ordered with our quick service meals. We stayed off site and there was a Walmart near our hotel, we stopped in every other morning to buy more water and cases of cokes to take with us into the parks. We would stock the bottom of the stroller with water bottles each morning and pack the cokes in the soft side cooler. This saved a lot of money. I can't even imagine what it would have cost to buy that much water and cokes inside the parks!. HOT TIP: Order a cup of ice water (free) with your quick service meals. Drink the water and then pour the cokes over the left over ice!
2. Just getting INTO Magic Kingdom is exhausting and time consuming if staying off site. I don't know how I missed this important information but if you are staying off site and driving to Magic Kingdom you will park in one of two lots. The Villains or Heroes. Pay attention to what lot you park in! From the lot, you will either take a tram or walk up to 1 1/2 miles. But wait, you are not there yet. That's right, after the tram you will either board the monorail or take the ferry to Magic Kingdom. Of course, the monorail doesn't run all day. This means you will be stuck taking the ferry. It is fun the first time, but not so much when you are sardine packed at the busier times. Honestly, it is not awful but it can be a bit of a shock if you are not prepared. After the ferry or monorail, you will then proceed to bag check and then at last, you will scan your card and enter the Magic Kingdom. Don't forget, you get to do this again when you leave. Oh, and remember to take the correct tram to the correct parking lot.
3. The paper park maps are not user friendly. Each park provides free maps. However, they did not work well for me. I was so glad to have the app on my phone. The kids had to rely on the paper maps when they went off on their own. They did okay with them but I highly recommend using the maps in the PASSPORTER books. We did this one day, and it worked much better. Until we lost it on a ride. Along with a pair of Vans Sunglasses. HOT TIP: Familiarize your self with the park layouts BEFORE you go. It will save you time and frustration.
4. Lost... and not found. What happens if you lose something at the parks? Like oh, say a pair of Van's Sunglasses and a shoe. Yes, that is right, just one shoe. My daughter is forever losing her shoes every time we go on vacation.
Each park has a visitor information area. If you lose something, you can report it and they will check to see if it has been turned in. If it has not, they will give you a slip of paper to take the lost and found building the next day. All 4 parks relocate their found items that building the next day. The results of our lost items, they had not been turned in when we checked and we didn't bother trying to check the next day.
5. It is exhausting. I knew it would be exhausting to a degree, but I was no prepared for how little rest I would get, or how quickly the kids would tire. It is exciting and wonderful and that adds to the fact that it drains you. The next time we go, I am defiantly planning for a rest day for every 2 park days. A day to sleep in, play in the pool, or just hang out at the hotel. I noticed that after 2 days, my little group was starting to drag. I think a park free day would have helped us re fuel.