As you can imagine, I read a lot about tips and tricks to use on our trip leading up to it. I'd like to post our best-of here so that you can use this list for your next trip to see the mouse.
2. Buy your souvenirs at home. I went to the Wrentham Disney Store and spending $65 on a Frozen beach towel, Mulan hat, Sleeping Beauty sleep mask, Tinkerbell dress, Rapunzel sunglasses, t-shirt, and Disney water bottles and canvas bag. I called the gifts her special surprise each day and it was a huge deal. Extra bonus if you can also use these at the end of the day to reward good behavior. We still ended up with a $12 Frozen balloon and $25 mouse headband on this trip, but that was what we might have spent daily without the special surprises.
3. Get a guidebook. We used The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014. This book was so helpful! We booked the recommended car service, Tiffany's, which exceeded our expectations. They dropped us off for groceries on the way to our hotel. We saved a ton of money bringing our own bottled water and PB&J sandwiches. We also found our favorite restaurant Raglan Road here.
Lu with her step dancing friend Emma
4. Take rest days. We relaxed at the hotel for part of Sunday, all day Tuesday, and all day Saturday. It was at least 90 degrees with torrential rain in the evening, so it was a huge relief to have some down time amid the hectic pace of the rest of the trip.
5. Other advice. A friend recommended the cinnamon buns at Gaston's pub, which were really good. She also suggested bringing a Sharpie if your kid likes to get autographs from the characters. Luckily we missed out on that particular experience since Lu wasn't interested.
I doubt that this will become an annual trip for our family, but I'm so glad we got the opportunity to go when Lu was the perfect age to embrace the magic!