The Frequent WDW-Goers Tips Thread


#1

I love reading everyone’s “top five tips.” But I was thinking that while those tips are essential to the “Disney Newbie,” they seem like common sense to those who frequent the World.

I thought it would be helpful if everyone shared what they’ve learned after going to Disney year after year, which would be helpful to those that find themselves going to Walt Disney World more and more frequently. Because my family visits WDW sometimes several times a year, we vacation differently than we would if it was a “one time” vacation.

I don’t want to limit this to five tips because I’d like to know everything, but I think it would be easier to read if everyone would post in blurbs of five to six tips. That way you can write tips during coffee break at work or in-between classes :ph34r: and it doesn’t consume too much of your day. But definitely keep coming back to post more tips as you think of them! I think this could be a very informative thread. :happy:


#2

#1 without kids tip:

NO ADR’S for the whole trip!!!

Now that the kids are 28, 24 and 21, we might make 1-3 special occasion ADR’s for a 7-9 day stay, but we wing it from there.
We wake up, decide what we want to do that day, and do it…sometimes. :laugh: If the plans change mid day we call wdw-dine and see what is open near our “changed on the fly plans”. Not having to run from one place to another makes for a very relaxing vaction.


#3

2 without kids tip:

Take time to smell the roses. Walk into the park, stop, look around, realize that everyone else is frantic, take a deep breath, and just walk… slowly hand in hand with your special someone.
Take a new path, find a new bench, hit the attractions based only on wait times less than 10 minutes. We might do a fastpass or 2, but if we skip out early it is no big deal.
But make sure to make someone elses day by handing any unused fastpasss’ to someone else on their way into the park. The look on their faces is will make your day.


#4

I’m sure this probably seems ridiculous, but unfortunately I’ve learned this the hard way:

Pack every kind of medicine/first aid item you think you may possibly need.

We have had to go to Wal-Mart or search on property too many times for things we didn’t pack and waste precious park time. I take the usual pain relievers, antihistamine, band-aids, etc. But I’ve also learned that I should pack anti-diaherreal, ear-ache drops, diaper-rash ointment for chaffing, etc. I have a separate large, toiletry bag that I have kept packed only with medicines for the last 2 years or so, and I update the items in it as things expire. It’s handy for any trip we take, but especially trips to Disney World.


#5

If you’ve been to WDW as many times as we have, it’s always fun to “change it up”!

For example, make it a goal to try one food item in each and every single country in the World Showcase. Or make the appropriate ADR’s and spend the day appetizer hopping (including a different “drink” if you’re like me :laugh:) around the “World”.

Or, if you’ve been to most restaurants on the WDW property, try something “else” instead of the “usual”, including “drinks” at the restaurants you frequent the most.

Another thing that is a lot of fun is creating a scavenger hunt for your trip. While “hidden mickeys” are a lot of fun, they can get “old” quick, especially if you go to WDW a lot.

So instead, try a scavenger hunt. This is REALLY fun if you are going to WDW with a large group, i.e. 6 or more people. It can be easy, medium or really hard. This can be “park specific” or it can take up the whole trip & include parks & resorts…

If it’s park specific, then set a time & place to meet at the completion of the “hunt” (no matter what if you’re 1 second late you lose) and the person or “group” that checks off the most items on the list the quickest “wins” (maybe a prize, free drinks, everyone picks up the tab for them the rest of the day, a toy, whatever).

If you decide to create a scavenger hunt that consumes the whole trip, then whomever found the most items can win a day at the spa on the next Disney trip, a free dinner, a toy, or just a big kiss, whatever.

You can create a “riddle” for each item (alluding to the totem pole in CN, or a hidden mickey at the end of “Mission to Space’s” gift shop, the “bats” at AK, a dole whip @ MK, or a picture w/Rapunzel & Flynn, you get the idea) including a simple clue (if you like) and everyone must take photographic evidence (if they think they solved the riddle & they think it’s the item on the list) of the item, eating/drinking the item, character photo, etc…

If you have 8+ people, then you can all “team up” in groups of twos. This isn’t for “everyone” but we like to have fun with it from time to time… :cool:


#6

I think one of the best money-saving things we have learned is to buy the 10-day No Expiration pass (oh, I remember the days when you didn’t have to pay extra for your pass not to expire… :laugh:)

The past year or two, we’ve been able to drive down to WDW (which is a selling point) for three or four-day weekends. Of course, “the more you play, the less you pay” means that 3 and 4-day park-hopper tickets are expensive. The three-day PH ticket is $92/day, while the 10-day no expiration ticket is $52/day… $40 savings! And we know we’ll always go back to WDW! :happy:


#7

Like you, Victoria, we vacation differently than we did the first few times we went there. After going once a year for ten years, you start to relaz a bit while there with the knowledge that whatever is missed this trip can be done on the next.

Top five tips I follow:

  1. For optimum touring and less waiting, go to EMH or be on hand for rope drop every day. Regardless of the time of year, you can easily get on the headliners by or a little after lunch. This frees you up for a break at the resort and a relaxing evening. I realize that this isn’t for everyone, but it’s a nice happy medium for me and my DD.

  2. Plan the park, plan the meal, but don’t plan every breath you take. Once we stopped planning every step we were going to make while there, we started to actually have some spontaneous fun.

  3. When one hits the wall, both leave the park. There is no sense is making a miserable person tour longer. We agree on one more ride and one more store and then leave. We never make the other stay when they need a break. Sometimes it only takes an hour or two in the air condition or a nap, but it’s their vacation too.

  4. NO CELL phones, no outside the “world” interaction while in the parks. NONE…enough said. When I we are there, we are there. Calls are only to be made on breaks or when the evening is over.

  5. We both have say in what is done. I pick morning activities and she picks night activties. Give a little, get a little goes a long way for us. If I pick a meal one day, she picks it the next day.

I know the above seems like silly things, but it took us quite a few trips to get to this…lol


#8

[QUOTE=Dana;1071439]4. NO CELL phones, no outside the “world” interaction while in the parks. NONE…enough said. When I we are there, we are there. Calls are only to be made on breaks or when the evening is over.
[/QUOTE]

I like that rule. I honestly tend to ignore my phone while at WDW… but it’s hard not to pull it out when waiting for a show or in line. :blush: But keeping it away is a good idea. I like it!


#9

Oh, god… I don’t even know where to begin with this post! But may I say, this is a great idea!! haha :blush:

Most of my tips will be about bringing the kiddos (6 and under) along, while still balancing what the teens and adults want to do! I can’t think of too many right now, but I know I have tons! We are constantly improving the way we do things at the World, year after year!

WITH KIDDOS!

#1: Leave for the Parks a little later, like 11 am and be on the buses by noon. We usually wake the kiddos up at 11am, adults up at like 9, except for my dad, who on vacation still gets up at 6am… lol. We usually slowly make our way to the food court, grab a quick snack before the parks (we aren’t big breakfast eaters…), and then head off to the park of our choice! We’ve found that the kids last SO MUCH LONGER, without ANY meltdowns. This way we cut out the ridiculously crazy morning crowd, and we don’t have to leave the parks for naps, or pool time. Our kids don’t want to leave until it’s closing time!

#2: EMBRACE EXTRA MAGIC HOURS! Especially with little ones, you have to move at their pace, you have no say in the matter! lol. So, when the time comes for the park hours to end, and extra play time to begin, generally my parents take the little ones back with them, and us teens and adults play into the night! (Atleast some of us do, usually my sister goes back with my parents.) This way you can run around, from ride to ride, like a mad man, repeating the rides as many times as you want!

#3: PERFECT YOUR COACH BREAKDOWN! haha. Anyone with children knows how annoying it is to pack up your stroller and then have to unpack it for buses, repack it, and then unpack it AGAIN for bag check! We carry a lot in our strollers. And being prepared to have everyone grab stuff and the kids for easy and quick onboarding and offboarding saves a lot of time and frustration! lol.

#4: DON’T SHOP TIL THE END OF THE NIGHT: Waiting until the end of the night allows you to have obviously much more time playing in the parks, and the kids will be so tired by the end of the night that their case of the “gimmes” will be basically non existent. As many parents know, kids want everything! lol. Who can blame them! Everything’s so cute! And especially since like on Main Street the Emporium closes after the parks do, it’s a great way to create some extra time. But really, it’s a useful tip!

#5: Use eating as a break: We have 12-14 people with us at all times, so it’s safe to say we are moving, constantly. And with having atleast 3-6 kids under 6 in the passed 4 years, you know they need breaks from walking, and from the heat. Obviously, strollers are godsends, and air conditioned attractions and queue’s are like heaven for the little ones (and adults, let’s be honest!) But with so many people, you have to try to accommodate all, even though the kids needs are often more important, and more listened to! lol. When you stop for lunch and dinner, we take plenty of time to rest, relax and talk with each other. Taking it slow for a little while before we go back into the parks!

#6: ADR for the end of the night: Now this works for us, because we like to eat late anyways, even at home. But a great way to not interrupt your time at the parks is to plan your ADR’s for 8 or 9 at night, right before closing. This is great for us, especially since we eat a later lunch (2 or 3pm) The kids get time to relax and wind down before heading back to the hotels. Also, we always get a nice stroll through an empty park. Which is a beautiful sight! AND, since we dine right before parks close, the lines at the bus stops are barely any line at all because everyone else left the park hours ago! And anyone whose had to stand up on a moving bus with a sleepy and/or SLEEPING toddler knows what a blessing a nice SEATED ride home is like! lol :laugh:

That’s all I can think of for right now, but I know I have plenty more!


#10

[QUOTE=missymouse;1071412]I’m sure this probably seems ridiculous, but unfortunately I’ve learned this the hard way:

Pack every kind of medicine/first aid item you think you may possibly need.

We have had to go to Wal-Mart or search on property too many times for things we didn’t pack and waste precious park time. I take the usual pain relievers, antihistamine, band-aids, etc. But I’ve also learned that I should pack anti-diaherreal, ear-ache drops, diaper-rash ointment for chaffing, etc. I have a separate large, toiletry bag that I have kept packed only with medicines for the last 2 years or so, and I update the items in it as things expire. It’s handy for any trip we take, but especially trips to Disney World.[/QUOTE]

I completely agree with this! Having been stuck without something we needed, I take EVERYTHING from the medicine cabinet, and I have a great tip for doing so…I bought a couple of pill organizers (the ones with separate little compartments for each day of the week) and I put several of each medication in each section. That way I have at least a few days supply of everything, but it takes up very little space in the baggage. I even have the different sections labeled with what they are and the kids’ dosage, and I keep them with the luggage. Packing is quick and easy because I just refill each compartment and we’re ready for anything!


#11

Tip #1 Orlando Stroller Rentals
I have to put one of mine from the other thread. I just can’t say enought good things about Orlando Stroller rental. I had never taken stroller age children, but this past January we had kids ages 3, 5, and 7. The park strollers just look so uncomfortable and we were at FW so we needed a stroller at the campground too. The weeks rental was about $80. I had first rented a single stroller, but the kids were arguing over who was going to ride. So, I called and they brought me a double stroller by 8am the next day morning for about $20 more. Also, the strollers they rent fold so easily that it takes no time to fold when getting on a bus.

Tip #2 Medication
I also agree on the medication. Take whatever you may need. I hate wasting time trying to get to CVS or Walgreens!

Tip #3 -Ship!
This last trip we shipped boxes with snacks and toiletries. This saved room in suitcases and allowed some people to take only a carry-on or for two people to combine their checked luggage. It’s cheaper to pay UPS to ship it than it is to pay an airline to ship it.

Tip #4 Small Cooler
Since we had a stroller and children, we took a small lunch size cooler and put some drinks in it for the day. Then we didn’t have to use snack credits for drinks. the kids love the Capri Sun Waters, so we took those and a couple bottles of water with us each day. I wouldn’t want to carry the cooler if I didn’t have the stroller, but with a stroller it was great.


#12

Never under-pack beer. Unopened, it doesn’t go bad, so if you don’t have to apply all of it, you can use it the next day.


#13

One tip for now as I’ve got 2 kiddos climbing all over me…:wub:

Experience Victoria & Albert’s!! At least once! We did this for our 1st wedding anniversary and my husband keeps asking when the kids will be old enough to be without us for an evening on another trip to do it again (I have 2 nursing children so I can’t be gone for more than a couple hours). He said it was the best $475 we’ve ever spent. :blush: Do the wine pairings! It was an incredible experience and I honestly think we’d spend the money every single trip if we were able to sneak away from kiddos.


#14

My next tip while kids are playing together.

Take ONE cell phone on your trip and only for emergency purposes. We make a couple calls/texts while we’re gone but typically only to let family know we arrived safely and/or to brag about what we’re doing to other Disney-crazed family/friends. :laugh: Hubby is a workaholic so it’s crucial that he leaves the IPhone outside of The World. Otherwise he gets work calls and HAS to take them. :mad:


#15

[QUOTE=missymouse;1071412]I’m sure this probably seems ridiculous, but unfortunately I’ve learned this the hard way:

Pack every kind of medicine/first aid item you think you may possibly need.

We have had to go to Wal-Mart or search on property too many times for things we didn’t pack and waste precious park time. I take the usual pain relievers, antihistamine, band-aids, etc. But I’ve also learned that I should pack anti-diaherreal, ear-ache drops, diaper-rash ointment for chaffing, etc. I have a separate large, toiletry bag that I have kept packed only with medicines for the last 2 years or so, and I update the items in it as things expire. It’s handy for any trip we take, but especially trips to Disney World.[/QUOTE]

I do the same thing & have a “medical” bag always ready to go. Great tip!! :slight_smile:


#16

A great thing I’ve just learned in the last 2 years:
DON’T BE AFRAID TO RENT DVC POINTS!

We have saved a bundle of money 3x now by renting points over staying at our usual mods. Granted when we start shooting for the higher point values we may just break even but you still get a deluxe DVC resort at a fraction of the cost compared to rack rate. We hope to one day buy into DVC but until then I still get to hear Welcome Home and enjoy the resorts. We’ve only done OKW and SSR but plan on trying more in the coming years.

I too have to say I learned the hard way about the meds.


#17

Many things can be experienced at Disney OUTSIDE of the 4 main parks. When planning your trip don’t limit yourself just to the parks, look at the many other things to do around the resorts/dtd/mini-golf/lakes that are available to WDW guests. It’s almost a whole vacation in itself.


#18

I would die without my phone on vacation. But the only thing I use it for is send updates and picture messages to Twitter and FB! :] It takes 2 seconds to do. I don’t think it hinders my vacation. Other than that I basically ignore it. haha. It’s usually in my bag, which I usually leave on the stroller anyways. So I rarely have it on me! I mean it’s Disney World… it’s just A LITTLE bit more entertaining than my blackberry :happy: Who needs it!


#19

do a adults only trip we never realized how much fun Disney is for the two of us…


#20

We LOVE taking our kids now that we have little ones but boy am I glad we got to do an adult trip before we had kids! It’s probably my fave trip EVER.