Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Walt Disney World Trip Tips

I thought I'd share some tips and advice from my Walt Disney World Trip this summer. We went in June and it was really hot so I'm not going to go through the obvious sun block type advice. Here are some things that you may not know that are nice to know.

1. What we didn't know... The fast pass
Some rides have painfully long waits. The longest
Tower of Terror Fast Pass
wait that we saw was for the Toy Story ride in Disney's
Hollywood Studios. The ride averaged a 2.5+ wait which
with small children can be hard to handle. First thing you do is look over your Disney map. Which rides have the longest waits that you actually want to ride. Arrive early and head straight for that ride. If the wait is shorter than 30 minutes go ahead and wait. If you think you might want to ride twice then you insert your tickets into the fast pass machine and it will give you your time to return to ride. For example, if you arrive to the Tower of Terror at 2:00 p.m. you could be given a return time of between 4:45-5:45. You have about an hour to return and the wait is usually less than 10 minutes. It is absolutely awesome. NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY GET ONE FAST PASS PER HOUR. So for the Tower of Terror ticket below, you can get another fast pass at 4:47.

2. Food and Drinks
So it is not surprisingly expensive to eat at the Park. The first day we packed lunches and left them in the car. If we got hungry we figured we would go out to the car and eat. Magic Kingdom, however, does not have an upfront parking lot. You have to ride the ferry boat or the Monorail. While this doesn't take long, when it is hot and you're hungry you do not want to wait. Here's the catch. FOOD IS ALLOWED IN THE PARK. We began noticing families with small coolers and lunch boxes that were sitting down to have their homemade lunches. We enjoyed our own lunch without spending $9.00 plus on lunches per person. This is great for families with small children who may be in need of snacks throughout the day. So don't forget you can bring your drinks and lunches into the park with you. :)

3. Wal-Mart
I know I know...everyone wants the experience of buying souvenirs from the parks but on the way back to our resort we passed a Wal-Mart right outside of the park. We decided to stop for groceries. What we discovered is the Wal-Mart and Target both had more affordable Disney items. As far as t-shirts and coffee mugs go, they were the same items we saw in the Parks for about $10-15.00 dollars less. Just a thought for those on a budget. 

4. Rides at Night
Thousands of people it seems like go nuts over the Electric Parade. I must admit, it is pretty cool and essentially no one is riding rides in the park at this time. After spending an entire day at Epcot, we returned to Magic Kingdom to experience the Fireworks show again. My boyfriend's Dad joined the trip late so he missed the day we spent riding at Magic Kingdom. The park closed at 12:00am and the waits for most rides read 10 minutes but were actually less than five. Some rides we were able to get straight on. If you can fight through the back of the parade crowd, there are many rides waiting for you before the park closes. Ride the ones you loved the most again, or the rides that had too long of a wait during the day.

5. Disney Apps
Disney has helpful apps for the Iphone, Ipad, Android, and other smart phones. A fun and simple way to get the most out of your Disney Vacation. Use GPS-enabled maps to get around the Parks, locate some of your favorite characters for a special greeting and even make dining reservations.
When you are in the Parks you can check official attraction wait times and Disney’s FASTPASS® return times for the Park you’re in.

6. Military Discounts 
So I am not in the Military but if you are or a family members is, Disney will honor your military discount. Provide your Military I.D. when you purchase tickets and take advantage of the price cut. 

7. Disney Character Autograph times
Gone are the days of just bumping into a character and getting hugs and an autograph. They now have individual places and times to meet with you and your family. Check your Disney park App to find out which spot your favorite Characters will be hanging out and what time. 

8. Simple but necessary 
  Here are the obvious tips but very necessary for a comfortable day. Florida is a beautiful state but if you've never been, here are some things to be prepared for. If you're traveling during the summer, its HOT! Plain and simple, you'll sweat and be miserable if you're not prepared. There also tends to be rain showers. Some come and go even when the day is beautiful. Many rides will close if it rains but since there are so many exclusively indoor rides at Disney, many stay open. 

Things to consider
   1.) Lots of WATER. 
   2.) Sun screen, sunglasses, and hat.
   3.) Poncho or light rain jacket
   4.) Tennis Shoes or Sneakers (whatever you may call them) You're going to be doing a lot of walking. Flip flops aren't comfortable after a while and it isn't fun to lose them on rides either. 
   5.) Carry a light back pack or travel bag with you full of any type of emergency materials. Have some type of identification on that bag. I lost my wallet while at Disney, amazingly it was picked up by an employee and I retrieved it at the front desk with EVERYTHING in it. 

9. You won't want to miss...
    The live shows! These shows frequently change but they are amazing. Cleverly choreographed, these shows star your favorite Disney characters from the princesses to Nemo to Simba! It can truly be a magical experience for the entire family. When you pass a stage, posted will be show times. Plan lunch and your fast pass pick ups around show times. They last the perfect amount of time and are something you won't want to miss. 
    You also do not want to miss the firework shows. They are spectacular and most likely unlike anything you've ever experienced before. One common theme of the shows I experienced were frightened little ones who cried through the entire show. If you have very small children who may not be too excited about fireworks, be conscious that they aren't particularly short shows. Take that time to beat the crowd and head out of the park. 
    At Animal kingdom, you won't want to miss the Kilimanjaro Safari. It usually has a pretty extensive wait but the experience and the animals you will see is well worth it! 

10. If it applies to you... 
Check websites and Apps for handicap services and locations. Having a handicap pass kept us from having to park in the back of the park which really cut down on the amount of walking I had to do before even getting inside of the park. Disney is really kind and has great handicap accommodations. 

If you're planning a family trip to Disney, I hope this helps. Have fun :)
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This really was helpful for our pending trip to Disney! Thanks