I've been asked by several different people for some Disney tips. I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things. I thought rather than answering everyone separately I would write a post and share it with everyone. Hope you enjoy them and I especially hope that some may come to use for you. I love to talk Disney with anyone, so if you have any questions then feel free to ask away.
This may be a no brainer, but if you are driving, a stop at McDonald's or a picnic at a gas station, can make a world of difference in your little ones for the long ride. Our trip was a little over 10 hrs. and our 3 yr. old doesn't do well being strapped in for long periods. Being able to get out and run really helped.
I pack my kids outfits in 1 gallon zip lock bags. It makes unpacking in the room soooo easy and fast, plus you can write on there what day the kid is to wear it. It makes is really easy in the mornings for the kiddos.
Those cute little towel animals the maid leaves for you are meant to take home. I promise, you don't have to sneak them out, they expect you to take them home. *don't forget to tip your maid* ;)
You can go up to any counter service and get free ice water. If for some reason they turn you down, just go to the next one. We got lots of free ice water while we were there. Sure does beat the warm faucet water.
Bring some spray bottles. Those feel sooo good and the ones they sell in the parks are $17. Trust me if you don't bring your own, you will be soooo tempted to buy there's.
For sure bring sunglasses, but in my opinion if you want a neat and useful souvenir, I thought their prices weren't too bad on the glasses. Plus most of them have a Mickey icon on them or say Walt Disney World.*note...we lost 3 pairs of sunglasses while on our trip.
No matter where you are, park, resort, down town, etc. when leaving one place to go to another, expect for it to take an hour and a half to get there. They tell you this on the buses, and it's TRUE!!
Try to get there at park opening or shortly after, it's not as hot nor as crowded. Then head to the back of the park first. Your wait times will be about 10 min. GRAB your fastpasses then! Toy Story Mania had a 2 hour wait time and the fastpasses were all gone by 11 am.
Also, when entering a park start at your left the crowd typically starts right.
During the hot part of the day go back to your resort for a swim/nap, or if you don't want to leave the park, it's the perfect time to do some of the indoor shows.
If anything you buy in the parks breaks, tears up, or gets lost, find a cast member or go to a store that sells the same item and they will almost always replace it with no questions asked, and no receipt. This goes for ponchos as well. So even though you can purchase ponchos cheaper some wear else, if you have to wear them several times during your trip, your almost guaranteed to rip one or all and will need to buy more. So I actually recommend to go ahead and buy the Disney ones only if you need them, then you know that they can be replaced anytime during your trip if they need to be.
Don't rush your kids through the characters. Let them have their little moment with them and soak it ALL in.
Don't be afraid to ask, ask, ask. whatever it is. You'll never know unless you ask.
Ask for stickers and coloring books at the concierge and check in desk...they're FREE!
Before you leave home fold up some paper towels and squirt some dish soap on it, then place them in a zip lock back. They are perfect to use in the room to wash out your refillable resort mugs.
Place a zip lock bag in your pocket so you will always have a safe place to store your camera/video camera for those Fl showers or wet rides.
If you are staying at a Disney resort and you have purchased the park hopper option (which I recommend, it's about $50 bucks extra per person for the whole trip) I found it easier to plan most of our day and meals at the park without Extra Magic Hours (only available to Disney resort guest) then park hop to the park with the extra hours only when the extra hours start. The reason for this is usually the park without EMH is less crowded, however once EMH start then only resort guest's can ride the rides.
Eat at off times when possible to avoid the mass crowds. We found that 11 am was a really good time to do lunch no matter where you are. Or if you want a late lunch, 2 and 3 o'clock was pretty calm too. As far as supper goes it's almost always busy, but I would try to avoid the 6'ish range.
Pre order the Disney Photo Pass CD it's usually $99 if pre ordered and $150 if you buy it after your trip. Take advantage of their photographers they have EVERYWHERE. Ask them if they can do any of the character photos. When you get the CD they'll look something like this...
Then when you get home you can go to the site and add fun stuff to them like this...
Collecting the pressed pennies is fun. It takes .51 cents. Buy those mini M&M's in a tube. The tubes are perfect for storing the quarters in for the pressed penny machines as well as for laundry money.
If you plan on sending out post cards, do it your first night. It takes forever for them to get to their destination.
If you see something you like/want don't tell yourself you'll get it later or on your way out. You never know what the rest of the day holds. If you want, get it then. If you are not checking out the next day you may have it delivered to your room or at package pick up at the entrance. That way you don't have to tote it all day long.
There are sooooo many strollers at WDW, tie a bright colored scarf or something to help make yours stand out so you can find it easily. And don't be alarmed if yours is not where you left it. Many times CM have to move them. Just ask one that is close by where they might have moved it to.
By all means if you have a little one that is too small to ride a ride. Use the parent switch system. Just tell the person at the entrance that you need one (make sure that your spouse and little are close by so they can see them) That way when you get off the other parent gets to go through the fast pass side.
Don't forget to set up a wake up call for your room. Put it on speaker so your kids can hear it.
Looking for hidden Mickey's is fun and free.
I'm the type of person that loves to be prepared for anything, but WDW is not the place, lol. Pack light for the parks. You'll be glad you did later.
You can't leave without getting a Pineapple Dole whip.
Can't remember where I got this but here is a list of the parks on there less busiest days.
Sat and Sun is the busiest for traveling.
The crowd level for all 4 parks are the same for Sun. and Mon.the numbers were the same for each park.
Tues - MK less crowded EP most crowded
Wed - EP less crowded DHS most crowded
Thur - EP again MK most crowded
Fri - AK less crowded DHS most crowded
Sat - DHS less crowded EP most crowded.
Now don't hold me to that, but it does make since to me.
For a neat souvenir, go to City Hall at MK and purchase some Disney Dollars. $1 disney dollar cost $1 regular money. They are very cute!
-The spiting camels by The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
-Pirates of the Caribbean
-It's a Small World (Macey all time favorite for 2 years in a row)
-Donald's Boat (cool place to cool off) No longer there since Toontown is closed :(
-Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
-Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor...must, must, must do this!!
-Look for PUSH the talking/moving trash can!!
Located in Tomorrowland, PUSH is an animatronic trash can that talks, moves, and interacts with guests. It's also hilarious, and a definitely worth seeking him out.Food
-Aloha Isle (pineapple dole whip)
-Liberty Tree Tavern, good ole' American food!!
-Pinocchio Village Haus (get a seat by the window to watch people riding It's a Small World)
The gift shop at Mickey's Toontown Fair has the Mr. Potato pieces. Fill the box with as many parts as you want for $20 bucks.
-Spaceship Earth(don't forget to bring your best friends email address with you)
-Mission Space (intense version)
-Maelstrom(Macey loved this)
-The Garden Grill
-Don't forget to sample the free cokes from around the world
-Lights, Motors, Action
-Toy Story Mania
-Voyage of the Little Mermaid
-Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage
-Rock N' Roller Coaster
-Sci Fi Dine In
-Starring Rolls Cafe
-It's Tough To Be a Bug
-Festival of the Lion King
-Flights of Wonder
-Kali River Rapids (don't forget to stop on the bridge and squirt the riders)
-Yak and Yeti
Well there you go. There's my 2 cents. Hope this helps anyone who was interested. Again, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
Don't forget that Disney World is HUGE, really HUGE. You won't even come close to getting it all done so don't even try. Be prepared for some let downs, but don't let it get you down ;) You're gonna just miss a character you really wanted to see or miss a show, or a ride that you really wanted to do will be closed, but don't let it spoil your trip. AND, don't forget to take in the small things and really really soak up the "magic".
Oh, yeah, all toilets at WDW are automatic flushers and they are LOUD! If you have a toddler and don't want them to be terrified of Disney toilets, then I've heard that placing a post it note on the sensor will eliminate that and you can control when it flushes. --- I could have used that with my 3 yr. old...NOT b/c she was scared, but b/c I was tired of her getting MAD at me, thinking that I beat her to it and flushed it before she got a chance to.
Here are my favorite Disney planning sites
Touring Plans It only about $10 bucks to access the whole site for a full year.
Pass Porter and also buy their planning book. It's awesome!
And for Heaven's sake, if you have young kids...even in elementary school, plan your vacation during a less busy time. Yes, this will mean that you have to let them miss a week of school, but I have found that most principles and teachers will work with you. It's a cooler time to go, it's cheaper, and it's less crowded.
P.S. no time for pics tonight, but maybe I'll get some up soon.
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