Disney World Trip Tips

Now that you’ve read my Disney World trip post, here are my tips for your own amazing vacation at Walt Disney World. Just FYI, for the most part, the pics are just random ones of our trip. They don’t necessarily correspond to the tips ahead.

Like this one:

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I’m a huge fan of research before a trip. I’m also the family member who decides where we will go, what we will see and where we will stay, so I do kind of have to do some research. I pretend I don’t enjoy it but I’m kidding no one. For this trip, I went to Chapters and flipped through their travel section and bought Walt Disney World with Kids 2016. I highly recommend this book. I’ve already lent mine to a friend who is going later this year. It makes excellent recommendations about scheduling ride times, using your FastPass+, where to eat, and it even has it’s own app that you can buy to that helps you decipher wait times while you’re in the park. Both the book and the app were super handy and I definitely recommend them.img_0692

FastPass+ – the book goes into all sorts of detail about it so I’m just going to give you an overview. When you buy your DW ticket(s), each ticket holder gets three opportunities to schedule a time when they can “jump the line” in a particular ride. You can schedule these as soon as you buy your tickets, up to thirty days (sixty days if you are a hotel guest) in advance. Specific rides have a “FastPass+” entrance (you see them everywhere) with a clock over the entrance. When your time comes up, you walk up to the FastPass+ entrance, scan your ticket, or wristband, and voila, shorter lineup to get on the same ride. For example, we had a FastPass+ at 10:30 am for Splash Mountain, which is valid between 10:30 am and 11:30 am. At 10:40 am, we scanned our cards at the FastPass+ entrance and went into a lineup that was ALOT shorter than the regular lineup. We walked past the regular lineup people for close to 5 minutes. I’m so not even kidding. We walked and walked and walked and walked, passing people who were in the regular lineup (some of whom were glaring at us as they clearly had been waiting a long time). Within 10 minutes, we were on the ride that others were waiting over an hour to get on. This is definitely a feature that is well worth looking into. You can even download the Disney World app and change your FastPass+ reservations while just wandering around the park. They also have kiosks set up for those who don’t have the app or just don’t want to use their phones.

If you have a toddler or preschooler, I would bring your own stroller. You can rent strollers in the park but you park your car FAR from the entrance. At Epcot it was probably about a kilometre, but at Magic Kingdom parking was probably closer to a mile away from the entrance. There are trams all day but during busy times you have to wait for them and it was a toss up on whether it was faster to walk or ride.

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For those of you worried about losing your stroller or having it stolen, have no fear. Husband (who is a chatty guy) was talking to a security guard who was watching over one of the (many, many) stroller parking lots (so not kidding) about how much theft they see. The security guard told him that theft isn’t a problem there, but they had a huge problem with abandoned strollers! I have two theories about that: 1) exits to rides often aren’t near the entrances. If you’ve parked your stroller by the entrance, you often have to wander a little to find the entrance and your stroller. 2) Occasionally, stroller parking gets a little out of hand. People just leave them everywhere or they are grouped untidily. Security guards or other staff will come around and arrange the strollers so they look more tidy. If you think you’re stroller’s missing, just keep looking, it’s probably just nicely placed a little farther down the line or in the legitimate stroller parking area.

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Having a great time, even though it’s raining

We rented a car, even though our hotel (which wasn’t on Disney property) had a bus service to and from the park and I am so glad we did. It was about a 10 – 15 minute car ride from the hotel to the parking lot of either Epcot or Magic Kingdom but it took AN HOUR from the time you were leaving the hotel until the moment you entered the park. How can this be, you say. Well, there’s the car ride, then it takes you between 5 – 20 minutes to park, depending on the time of day and if other people are idiots that can’t figure out how to follow the dude in front of them. Then there’s the 1 km – 1 mile walk to the entrance where you wait for a ferry or a tram to take you across the lagoon to where Magic Kingdom actually was. It was a little shorter to get to Epcot but not much. By the time you get through security and actually into the park, you left the hotel an hour ago. I can’t imagine adding waiting for a bus that makes 6000 stops on the way to your hotel/the park onto this trip. Rent the car, you will totally appreciate it because….

The book suggests that you take a minimum four hour break in the middle of the afternoon, go back to your hotel, have lunch and naps or a swimming break. The first time I read that, I thought that was just the craziest thing I had ever heard. I mean, I travel all this way to Florida, and spend $100 per person, per day to come to this stupid park and you’re suggesting that I take a four hour break in the middle of the afternoon?!? Are you insane??? No, they are brilliant. We did it and next time we go, we will do it again. First of all, it cut down on spending since we were able to have lunches in our hotel (and since we had a kitchenette, lunches were way cheaper than a restaurant) and having that time to take a nap everyday was amazing. I napped every single day we visited DW. Daughter napped most days (you win some, you lose some). And when we would return to the park at 4pm, we were refreshed and raring to see more sights and ride more rides. By 5 pm, you could see the parents and the kids who had been there all day start to meltdown. And we would walk around them and get on our next ride. Trust me, take the break.

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So those are my five tips on visiting Walt Disney World as well as the plethora of great information you will find in the book.

Have you visited DW? Any tips that I missed that you would like to add? I’d love to hear them. Happy Shopping!

I’m Back and Where I’ve Been Pt 4: Miscellaneous Edition

Hey folks! Here’s the last edition of “I’m Back and Where I’ve Been.” Wow, I knew I was busy this summer but when you break it down like this, I did a lot of stuff. Anyways, onto the pictures.

My friend Amy and I have become race buddies. We started this last year when we did Foam Fest as a group and then her friend flaked on her four days before Dirty Donkey and she begged me to do the race with no training other than regular bootcamps (I hurt so bad the next day). This year, we did Foam Fest, which is a 5K fun run. If you want to start getting into doing fun runs and obstacle courses, this is the one to start with. There are families and kids doing this run. It’s not competitive. It’s got bouncy-castle-type-things to jump on and slide on and lots and lots of foam. I highly recommend it and I’m planning on taking Daughter when she’s old enough.

View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19814-110-27079860/1/
View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19814-110-27079860/1/

And then we did Spartan. It’s a 5K, 22 obstacle course. When I told people we were doing this race, the number one response was, “Why?” Honestly, I had no answer. Because we’re crazy? Because Amy made me?

It was hard. It was competitive. It was kick-ass!!

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We are so doing it again next year. (This reminds me that I should start training for the rope…. ugh).

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One of the many, many bruises I had after the race. I wore them like badges of honour.

After I was done with races that kicked my ass, we took an extra long weekend and did some touring around Manitoba. We’ve done this the last couple of years: rent a room for two nights at the South Beach Casino and Resort in Scanterbury on the east side of Lake Winnipeg and do a tour of the beaches in the area. It started when Daughter was little and we had one disastrous camping trip so we rented a hotel room. And now we really like doing it. If it rains, we spend time at the pool. If not, we head to the beach.

At the pool
At the pool
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Patricia Beach
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Windy day at Patricia Beach

We build sandcastle and picnic and chase after seagulls. I definitely look forward to it every year.

And the rest are just some miscellaneous pictures that I took over the summer. I hope you enjoyed reading about my summer as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. Happy Shopping!

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Tinkertown
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Out for drinks
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Margaritaville Magic!
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Riding bike while mommy runs
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Ice cream with cousins on unbearably hot day
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Toddler tea snobs
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Ice cream on Corydon

I’m Back and Where I’ve Been Pt 3: Walt Disney World Edition

Hey folks. I’ve been having a great time with these trips down memory lane. I think I’ve actually shared more than if I had blogged through the whole summer. One of the most fun things we got to do this summer is take a trip to Disney World! I have always wanted to go, ever since I was a little kid. This summer seemed like the perfect time.

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People tell you it’s a magical place and how fun it is. And they were right. Even Husband, who was game for the trip but not a huge Disney fan, had the best time ever and wants to go back soon.

So we, went in the middle of May and imo, that was the perfect time. It was warm enough to go swimming but not so hot that you were worried about heat stroke. It was just before American schools let out for the summer, so there weren’t too many people there. That doesn’t mean it was dead, it just wasn’t the huge amount of crushing crowds that I hear they can get during the summer.

We got a four-day pass and spent two days at Magic Kingdom and two days at Epcot. I wish we’d had more time and gotten to spend at least one day at Animal Kingdom but there’s always next time.

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Epcot was Husband’s favourite place at Disney World

Surprisingly, character visits ended up being some of my favourite experiences. We booked them for Daughter but added on a bunch more when we found them so fun. The actors and staff work so hard at making each families’ visit a special one. Kudos go out to all of them.

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And the rides! We went on dozens of rides but of course I don’t have as many pics from them. It rained both days we were at Magic Kingdom so we rode Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Mad Tea Party several times, sometimes right in a row! My favourites were Peter Pan’s Flight and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. We rode Splash Mountain and decided that all three of us don’t really like roller coasters so we didn’t ride any others. And yes, there may have been screaming and/or crying by all family members when we rode this ride. X0

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Splash Mountain – wasn’t for us! lol
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Liberty Square Riverboat
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Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride

At Epcot, we loved Test Track and the representation of all the lands in the World Showcase. Daughter really loved all the fish in the aquarium and Seas with Nemo and Friends exhibit. It was also time for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and there were all these amazing flowers and topiaries there.

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It was so cool. Clearly a lot of work went into designing, growing and maintaining all the plants.

Lastly, but definitely not the least, was the cool stuff we bought there. We spent a few hours at Disney Springs, which is just a large outdoor mall with the most humongous Disney Store I have ever seen. I think I read somewhere it’s the largest one in North America. We bought some great souvenirs:

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T-shirt for Husband
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Princess purse for me!

Don’t worry, Daughter got a few things too but apparently I didn’t take pictures of any of them.

Anyways, thanks for sticking with me until the end. This is probably the longest post I’ve ever done and I barely scratched the surface on our Disney trip. Been to Disney? I’d love to hear about it. Happy Shopping!