October 14, 2011
10 tips for Disney World
First off I must thank all of my friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus who provided me with their tips and tricks. All of the feedback was so appreciated.
I also have to thank everyone at Walt Disney World. What an unbelievable experience. I highly recommend a trip with your family there.
10 Tips for Disney World
- The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World: I downloaded this book to my iPad, so that I could read it as we drove south (Heather does most of the driving). I highly recommend you purchase it long before you plan your trip.
- Buy a Disney Dining Plan: John Ellis recommended this to me and it seriously paid off! The price of paying for your trip upfront may seem daunting, but this saved us so much money during our vacation. We chose the 2011 Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining. Each of us received a credit card, which gave us a snack each morning, cafeteria style lunch at the theme parks and sit-down dinners.
- Cool off along Main Street: This is a simple tip, but we found it really handy. If you are trying to get up or down Main St. in the Magic Kingdom during a parade (that you’ve already seen), or if your family is boiling hot in the Florida heat, slip into the first shop along Main St. Walk to the back of the shop and you can walk the length of Main St. through the rear of the stores. They are all connected and (most importantly) they have air conditioning!
- FASTPASS: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World goes into great detail explaining how best to take advantage of your Disney World Fast Passes. Be sure you read it, so you can save lots of time at each park.
- Birthday pins: Special thanks to Kat and Tim Coble for all of their great advice! This one really paid off. Since both of my kids celebrated a birthday within a couple of weeks of our trip, we got them each a pin. Ask for the pins when you check into your Disney resort or at the park at guest services. The birthday pins include your child’s name. As we walked through the parks and watched the parades, we had staff (err, “Cast Members”) wave and say Happy Birthday to each of the kids. It was really special. Also, at Character Meals (see below), the kids had different colored napkins to indicate their birthdays to Mickey Mouse and his friends. So they got extra attention.
- Book Character Meals and other specials events now: If your kids will want to have breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom (who wouldn’t?), or dress up like a pirate and join The Pirates League, you will need to book this months in advance! If you miss it, call each day to check on vacancies. We took advantage of this for the Pirates League and opted for booking the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique instead of Cinderella’s, which was fun too.
- Ask your friends which rides they prefer. Nothing is more valuable than your trusted friend’s advice. Our friend Rob told us that we must ride Soarin’ at Epcot, we loved it so much we rode it twice (thanks to the FASTPASS!)
- Rest: Just do it. Arrive early at the parks to beat the crowds and to see the opening ceremonies, but do yourselves a favor and head back to your hotel for some rest around lunch. Don’t try to see everything or you’ll all be miserable.
- Gifts before you go: To save money and time, you should purchase Disney gifts before you go. Buy them online at discount and then hide them and bring them with you on your trip. You can even stash them in your room each day, to make the kids think Mickey hand delivered them!
- When to go to Disney World: We found that October was perfect! The summer heat (it’s in the 80’s during the day) and crowds have diminished. Plus, we were able to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which was amazing (thanks again Kat!).
I sincerely want to thank friends like: Mark Alves, Doriano Carta, Geoff Alday, Susan “Suze” Murphy, Andrew Hoover, John Ellis, Rob Rosaly, Ewan Spence, Kat and Tim Coble, Johnathan Lozano, Sean Harding, Lauren Gregory, Brad Blackman, Javid Jamae, Rex Hammock, Joshua Jenks, Scott Kingery, Gavin Ivester, Amanda O’Brien, Daniel Shearon, Heather Smith, and Web Webster. I hope I didn’t miss anyone.
Did I miss any tips? Please share them here for anyone else planning a trip to Walt Disney World.