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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!