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Our Trip To The Happiest Place On Earth

As every mil spouse knows, the idea of accumulating more “stuff” is terrifying. That’s why this last Christmas, fresh off a PCS, I decided to flip the script and give an experience instead of more things… the gift would be a summer vacation trip to Disney!

The only person in our family who had been to Disney was my husband, but he was young and things had obviously expanded. I started my prep early, engaging with a Disney travel planner.

I can 100% say our trip would not have been as successful if it weren’t for her.

The next steps were talking with MWR about tickets, and scoping Etsy for all the cute matching shirts and merch.

Christmas day came and as the kids unwrapped Disney themed items they’d need for the trip, they were confused, until they opened the movie style ticket that exclaimed…





The next six months I planned; from the hotel, to downloading apps, watching flights, it took a ton of effort. With six people in tow, I wanted to make sure we got the biggest bang for our buck.

Finally, the day arrived, and we were off! We truly had an amazing time, and everyone agreed they couldn’t wait to go back. 

I have several friends that make the trip to Disney yearly. I can understand the appeal and it truly could take weeks to see and do everything available.

But, in the short 5 days we were there, we burnt the candle, and our bank account, at both ends trying to squeeze in every bit of happiness we could.

I learned some lessons that I will share with future Disney goers that we will also keep in mind for our next trip. 


1. The Disney Experience App is a life saver. 



It tells you wait times at ALL the rides and events. You can order food, tickets to shows, pay for items at stores, it is amazing. 


2. Start the day when the parks first open. 



I know, no one wants to get up early on vacation, but you can do all the popular rides with low wait times before the park gets busy. 


3. The Lightning lanes… 



I had a love/hate relationship with these. While they were great for jumping in on long lines, the cost of them added up quickly.

Save these options for the last few days on rides you’ve missed or want to do again.


4. The photo pass is a MUST. 


For military guests it is $99 for the entire trip.

You get photographer worthy photos all over the park.

Best part, photos that are taken on rides are automatically downloaded to your app, so you’ll never miss a terrified face!




5. The biggest lesson learned, map out the cafeterias and quick order places. 



These food establishments are a bit hidden, forcing hungry park goers to sit-down restaurants.

The meals at sit-down places not only take extra time, but they are EXPENSIVE!!! The food at the cafeterias is arguably much better and cheaper.

The bonus is they have a selection of beverages (including adult) so everyone can refresh and recharge. 



6. Last and not least, spend the little extra on lodging closest to the parks. 



When first planning, I figured we wouldn’t spend much time in the room so saving on a cheep hotel would be ideal.

However, the trip planner enlightened me about the buses that run between parks. She told me the buses hit the hotels closest to the parks more frequently than the outliers.

Also, that that trip can take 45 minutes to an hour with all the extra stops along the way. So, spending a little more upfront saved us countless hours and gave us the ability to see and do more. 



The Trip Was a Success!



We all loved our trip, it was amazing to feel like a kid again, even our teens said it was the best trip we’ve ever had.

Using these tips, I know our next adventure to the happiest place on earth will be another unforgettable adventure. 



*For more from Rebecca, visit her Author Page at Mission:Milspouse.




  • Rebecca Dills

    Rebecca Dills is an Army spouse of 13 years, an Air Force brat, and an Army mom. Born and raised in Colorado, she enjoys the mountains and cherishes a good rainy day. She currently lives in Charles Town, WV with her husband CSM Michael Dills, their 6 year old son, 4 dogs and 2 cats! She is an avid animal enthusiast and will quickly become best friends with any dog she meets. Rebecca and her husband have 5 older boys- three in Colorado, one in Georgia, and one who is also Active Duty. She has a bachelor’s degree in public health and works as a Project Manager for a D.C based hospital system managing research on mother and infant health disparities in the local region. Rebecca loves to write and engage in speaking events while sharing her stories of motherhood, Army life, and being an advocate for mental health awareness.


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