Growing up in Florida, Disney was a hop, skip, and jump away and I spent a lot of time there. I have a lot of great memories of the park and now my girls do, too! It’s A Small World is still a family favorite and my girls sing the song long after we’ve left the park. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was replaced with the Hundred Acre Wood, but the rest of the staples still remain! Over the past seven years we’ve been numerous time and I want to reflect on some of our experiences and share some of the tips we’ve learned along the way.
First thing, this is a big vacation and you don’t want to go unprepared so it’s not a bad idea to do a little research and go in with a plan…that being said, I always say that you’re on vacation so you don’t want to be on a tight schedule! Make a list of what is really important and make sure you do those things first, this way you won’t be upset if time passes too quickly and you’ve run out of it! Decide whether you want to stay on the property or drive in…if you plan on driving in you can save money, but you won’t have the extra perks! Plus, it takes a while to park (and pay for parking), and get to the park. You won’t have that access to go back to the room for a break.
My favorite thing about Disney is that they really know what they are doing to make everything so special. The park is so clean and perfect. The characters are perfectly placed and you never see employees anywhere but exactly where they’re supposed to be. I think that is part of what makes it the Happiest Place on Earth! Please enjoy these tips and HAVE A GREAT VACATION!!!
How can you make it affordable?
There is no question, Disney World is expensive. Between hotels and admission, parking, food, and souvenirs, it can really put a dent in the bank.
What can you do?
You may bring snacks and drinks into the park…do so! Pack PBJ sandwiches, baby carrots, cut up veggies, fruit snacks, granola bars, juice boxes, and waters, but splurge on a Character Meal! The food is really good and it is a great time to get photos and see the characters without waiting in long lines. We always eat in the Crystal Palace.
•Go to Target or the Dollar Store and buy a bunch of glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets. They are very pricey at the park, but the kids love them for the evening parades and fireworks shows.
•Bring spray fans from home. They are about $20 in the park and you can find them on the dollar isle at Target in the summer.
•Bring hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, wipes, etc. with you. They are very $ in the parks.
•Buy souvenirs before you go or off property.
When is the best time to go?
Unfortunately you may go have no other option but to go during a crowded time of year. Work and school commitments may take over and you are just going to have to make the best of it. Disney is aware of the peak times and they do a lot to make up for the crowds. Extra magic hours, special parades, and other perks help ease the craziness of the crowds! Nighttime at the
park is usually very nice and often has less wait time on rides and occasionally extra fireworks. Another great thing to help with lines is the Fastpass. This service saves your place in line for an attraction while you enjoy the rest of the theme park. How does it work you ask? It’s simple. You shove your admission tickets into this little kiosk in front of the ride and it will spit out a fastpass ticket for you telling you to come back during a certain one hour window, usually an hour or two later. You can go to another ride, grab a bite to eat, or just take a break and then come back to the ride and not have to wait in line. It is fabulous….and it’s free! Not all rides
offer it, but you can absolutely see more of the park on a busy day using your time wisely! Have a map and a plan and keep in mind that you can only get one at a time. You can get another Fastpass 1 minute after your Return Time. Keep your admission tickets handy. Another great option in our world of technology is downloading The Disney App which gives exact wait times for all the rides in the park! Ingenious! I wish I thought of it!
We’ve been to Magic Kingdom at all different times of the year and here are my thoughts on each:
•January/February – The weather is perfect this time of year…not too hot and not too cold, plus most kids are back in school so the crowds are not as big…Except MLK Weekend which is very crowded.
•June/July – It is the dead of summer so it is exactly what you would expect it to be…HOT AND CROWDED!
•Late August/September – Kids are back in school and people are getting back into the swing of things after summer break so crowds are low. Labor Day Weekend is a great time to visit.
•October – This is one of my favorite times to go because the kids are still in school so it’s not quite as crowded and it is decorated for Fall/Halloween. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is so fun and the “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by a Headless Horseman…don’t miss it!
•December – Decorated for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, cooler weather, but busy because of the holidays.
Don’t miss Disney’s Fireworks show. It really can’t be beat. It is truly a spectacular show.
Photo-pass is a handy thing that Disney does. Photographers are set up all over the park (in the best spots, too) and they take your picture and put it on your photo-pass card. You use the same card all day and when you get home you can view and purchase your pictures.
When you first arrive at Magic Kingdom walk down Main Street and go to the left. Everyone goes to the right into Tomorrowland, but if you go to the back of the park you will be opposite the crowds!
Wear comfortable Shoes. You will do A LOT of walking!
Rent a double stroller. When it comes to Magic Kingdom, no kid is too big! They are low to the ground so the kids can easily get themselves on and off, plus two kids can comfortably sit in them.
Safety at Disney:
Kids get lost – it happens. I personally witnessed two separate children get separated from their parents and then the aftermath of the experience. Luckily it was only a few minutes, but to both the kid and to the parents I’m sure it felt like forever. The first time was when a child wandered off because the mom thought the dad was watching and he wasn’t. They found the child right away, but it caused Mom and Dad to get into a little argument. The second time was when we were exiting a rest room and a little girl was crying because she couldn’t find her mom. A man started talking to her and asking her questions and being that I was right there I also helped by taking the little girl to the closest employee. A few minutes later the mother found the child and started screaming at her for leaving her side….so the point of this story is that it can happen to anyone. Disney is supposed to be a fun, happy place, but this type of stuff can happen. Have a plan. Teach your child to go to the first employee they see. Stick your cell phone number in his/her pocket. Have a backup plan in case you get separated. Think of the ‘what ifs’ and remember….they are kids. Don’t yell at them and make their memory of Disney a bad one!
Jeanette is a travel blogger and photo enthusiast and has her own website
www.travelandphotographytoday.com She travels with her husband and two daughters and occasionally gets out for a girls trip here and there. Stop by and say Hi!
by Joel Ortiz
When planning a Disney World vacation, it’s best that you plan your trip to the best of your ability. The reason why I say this is because Disney World is an amazing and big place, and anyone who steps into this amazing place without knowing anything can waste quite a valuable vacation. So below is a few tips that you can use to start preparing and planning your Disney World vacation.
The first thing you should remember when planning your Disney World vacation is to make sure you plan your trip in advance. I mean way in advance. Because when you plan your trip a few weeks or a few days in advance, usually the best hotels and the cheapest ones are all usually booked up. So try to remember to always book your vacation a few months in advance. Disney World currently accepts hotel and dining reservations up to 3 months in advance. So take advantage of those 3 months.
Another thing I always tell my friends whenever they visit Walt Disney World is to remember to consider going at certain dates. There are times when crowds are really low and there are times when crowds are extremely high. The times that usually have very little crowds are during the end of August and the beginning of September. This is usually when kids are about to go to school. So if you’re fine with your kids missing the first few days of school, then this time would be perfect.
Saving money at Disney World is something that all families try to do. I mean, I wonder how much a family could save if they just knew what to do.
The first thing that family’s usually use a whole lot of money on is souvenirs. Nothing is wrong with souvenirs, but buying souvenirs at the parks can be quite pricey. Many people have actually paid up to $29 for a simple Disney t-shirt. That’s why I recommend you get all of your Disney merchandise at Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney is basically this small area outside of the Disney parks. It has restaurants, stores and much more things to do. Downtown Disney is basically an attraction in itself.
What’s great about this place is that most of the stuff you get at the parks are available for a much cheaper price at Downtown Disney. So if you were ever going to get a Mickey t-shirt at the parks for $25, you can get a very similar t-shirt at Downtown Disney for only $15. Yes, that is still expensive. But look at how much money you can save.
Of course, I still recommend you get some souvenirs at the parks. Since there are many things that are at the parks where you won’t usually find at Downtown Disney. There is also a sentimental value that you feel when you bring something home the Disney parks.
As you can see, planning a trip as well as saving money at Disney World takes some research. But don’t despair, Disney World is too magical of a place for you to be down. Disney can get expensive, but if you know your way around the parks, you can save a bundle.
You can learn a lot more great Disney World tips at – www.tinyurl.com/DisneyWorldPlanningTips
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