The RIGHT Disney tips!


#1

Ok, I was inspired by the crazy Disney travel tips lady.

Everyone post your top 5 tips. Not necessarily to teach any of us anything but just for fun. These could be top 5 tips for those new to planning a Disney trip or for the expert to take their vacation to the next level.

ONE RULE…Don’t read everyone else’s tips until you’ve posted your own! That way we won’t have (on purpose) the whole, “I agree with what Susie said about xyz.” I think it’ll be interesting to see how many of us post exactly the same tips just because we’re all true Disney experts. :wink:


#2

OMG… I was about to post THE SAME THREAD!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Top 5 Disney Tips… exactly that! Boy, we think alike! :happy:


#3

Here are my tips. Nothing new to us, but the things I’d tell someone new to planning a Disney trip.

:mickey: Tip #1 :mickey:

Read The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World cover to cover! This will answer most of your questions so you won’t need all these other tips.

:mickey: Tip #2 :mickey:

Stay On-Site! This has little to do with how fast you can get to the parks but more to do with the ease of transportation as well as the ability to leave the parks mid-day for a nap/swim and then return for dinner and parade/fireworks. Disney transportation is super convenient, runs frequently, and is much more fun and cool than getting in a hot car or forcing yourself to stay at the park all day because your off-site hotel bus only runs at certain (read: limited number of) times of the day.

:mickey: Tip #3 :mickey:

Make dining reservations, better known as ADR’s! Dining reservations have become crucial for most restaurants in WDW. This way you’ll get to eat at your top choices at a time that works best for your vacation style. And who wants to waste precious vacation time sitting in a restaurant lobby waiting for a table?!

:mickey: Tip #4 :mickey:

Join online Disney vacation planning forums and scour the net for planning sites! You’ll get ridiculously awesome advice and often times earlier notification on park hours/schedules/events than on the official Disney site. Faves are: AllEars.Net - The Unofficial Disney Planning Guide for Walt Disney World, Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Travel Planning, www.mousebuzz.com, Free Disney World Crowd Calendars, Ride Reviews, Resort Reviews, Restaurant Reviews, and More, Disney World - The Largest Unofficial On-Line Guide to Disney World, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World - Disney World Vacation Information Guide - INTERCOT - Walt Disney World Inside & Out, Build A Better Mousetrip. Disney World Vacation Planners. I also love looking at Youtube videos for a sneak peek at the attractions/shows to get us really excited!

:mickey: Tip #5 :mickey:

Take a little as possible to the parks! Lugging around a back for each person can be daunting and kids will eventually give up and Mom will be stuck with multiple packs. It also never fails that every time I choose to take a bag to the park, it gets left somewhere. The last time was in World Showcase. I didn’t realize we’d left it until we got all the way to the front of Epcot…talk about burning extra calories! Plus, carrying a bag makes me feel hotter in the Florida sun. I want as little on my body as possible. Before kids, we took only the camera (with a shoulder strap so I could carry it messenger style), ID’s, and Keys to the World. Now that we have kids, we take one bag and store it under the stroller and it has the minimal items for our family in it. Diapers/cloth wipes/wipe solution, stainless steel water bottles, camera, bandaids/moleskin, DH’s wallet with all Keys to the World/credit cards/etc.

:mickey: Bonus Tip :mickey:

Super important one here! Buy Mickey ears for your famly and WEAR THEM CORRECTLY! Aka, not backwards! :mickey: :laugh:


#4

[QUOTE=LittleMissMagic;1071272]OMG… I was about to post THE SAME THREAD!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Top 5 Disney Tips… exactly that! Boy, we think alike! :happy:[/QUOTE]

AWESOME. :happy:


#5

Posting blind, what a fun idea…

  1. I alway get a new passporter… it has great information.

  2. I love this site… Walt Disney World Live Entertainment they post events, times etc a week ahead.

  3. Keep up to date on Deb’s site… AllEars.Net - The Unofficial Disney Planning Guide for Walt Disney World, Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line

  4. I like to send a package to the hotel before hand. That way I am not weighted down with disposable items.

  5. Ask questions…


#6

dac921, I may just have to take your idea of sending a package to the resort of items that will be consumed/disposed of (I’m assuming I could ship a box of non-perishable food). No need dragging an extra bag to the airport and worrying about weight limits!


#7

Exactly what we do and it has worked out in our favor. I haven’t worried about weight limits for a few years. This past December DH and I spent a week in Universal and I did the same thing. We were able to pack carry on, which saved a lot of time.


#8

These are the five things that I have learned over the years that seem to come in most handy. (It was hard not to cheat and read yours! I almost did accidentally… :laugh:)

1. FastPass is the most handy thing for us

My father enjoys being the “runner” and FPing for us all day. He keeps up with the times and knows when to use them and when to get new ones… he’ll have it down to the minute. I think FP makes his life. They definitely cut down the time we spend waiting in line. Some people think they are a waste of time, but if you keep up with them and strategize what to FP and what to ride, then it really pays off.

2. Arrive early

Oh, in our Disney newbie days we would roll up to the gates an hour or two after it opened… only to find the park packed. We figured that was how it always was. And then, once I got into this online info-sharing thing, I learned that if you arrive to the park early, then you can get a lot in before the late crowd arrives. Also, keep AM EMH in mind - if you can do it, then go… if you can’t, then avoid the park. We made the mistake of going to AK at regular opening time when we could have done EMH an hour earlier… it was packed and we faced long wait times. But then several times, we have made out with MK’s AM EMH, doing Fantasyland and Tommorrowland, then heading over to Adventureland and Frontierland when the park was set to open to everyone. Great strategy!

3. Make Advance Dining Reservations

This was another thing we picked up over the years. (I had to learn things for us to do them… my parents knew of ADRs, because my dad would make an ADR for Alfredo’s in Epcot. But we never ate with the characters. When I learned we could do this, I booked the meals! :laugh:) For us, it beats finding a crowded counter service restaurant and then pairing off to save the table and get the food. So much hassle is removed with ADRs… plus, character dining and specialty dining make awesome experiences. :happy:

4. Stay on Property

I grew up going to Disney because my parents owned a vacation home in Central Florida. However, over the years, my parents decided the costs of keeping up with the condo just weren’t worth it, anymore. I was scared we would never go back to Disney… but boy, was I wrong! Selling the condo allowed us to stay on property, and once we did that, we decided never to stay off-site again if we could help it! It is so much more convenient to be near the parks, and it really helps continue the Disney magic throughout the entire stay.

5. Have a Plan, but Don’t Overdo It

Okay, this is something my family is still kind of struggling with. My dad is the theme park commando, and he makes Disney so tiring! So don’t overdo it - take time to smell the roses. Check out all of the little details. Sit and people watch.

At the same time, I recommend that people plan and research before going to Disney, especially if they have never been before. I see so many people who save up to take the kids to Disney (perhaps the only time they will ever go), but haven’t taken the time to read about the parks and understand how much time you actually need to see everything you want to. On a cruise, I chatted over lunch with a family from Norway who was going to WDW after, and they had planned to spend two days there. “That should be enough, right?” My mother and I exchanged glances and told them that they might be able to go to two parks like MK and Epcot. They had no idea that WDW was so big.


#9
  1. Try Something You’ve Never Done Before

Sometimes you pass something by year after year thinking “not interested”. I’m like that with Innoventions. This year my husband wanted to look around, so I went, reluctantly. It turned out to be a lot of fun. We tried out a little “Savings” game with a piggybank. Had a great time. So, every year promise yourself you’ll do something you didn’t think you’d ever be interested in.

  1. Have a Counterservice Holiday

Now with the Counterservice Meal Plan - this is the time to decide to toss the ADRs out the window and go with the flow. Find the “out-of-the-way” places (the bakeries at WDW have great selections) and in parks like Epcot, find little hidden places to enjoy your meal. (the Japanese Gardens, the “Georgian” street in the UK, waterside beside the French wine kiosk,
the Chinese Gardens…

  1. If you have access to a fridge, freeze one bottle of water, wrap a wet facecloth around it and stick it in your backpack. On those really sweltering days, nothing feels cooler than wiping your face with a cool cloth. And as the water melts, drink it.

  2. If you have a car, use it. Yes, Disney Transportation is good, but except for the MK, your car will get you to every other park a lot faster. And if you purchase even one park ticket from AAA/CAA, you get to use the diamond lot, right up front.

  3. Take a day off - no plans. Even take some time for everyone to go their own way. Have a spa day, lay at the pool, shop at the marketplace, go to a movie - then meet up at the MH park of the day and have fun til the place closes down.


#10
  1. Try Something You’ve Never Done Before

Sometimes you pass something by year after year thinking “not interested”. I’m like that with Innoventions. This year my husband wanted to look around, so I went, reluctantly. It turned out to be a lot of fun. We tried out a little “Savings” game with a piggybank. Had a great time. So, every year promise yourself you’ll do something you didn’t think you’d ever be interested in.

  1. Have a Counterservice Holiday

Now with the Counterservice Meal Plan - this is the time to decide to toss the ADRs out the window and go with the flow. Find the “out-of-the-way” places (the bakeries at WDW have great selections) and in parks like Epcot, find little hidden places to enjoy your meal. (the Japanese Gardens, the “Georgian” street in the UK, waterside beside the French wine kiosk,
the Chinese Gardens…

  1. If you have access to a fridge, freeze one bottle of water, wrap a wet facecloth around it and stick it in your backpack. On those really sweltering days, nothing feels cooler than wiping your face with a cool cloth. And as the ice melts, drink it.

  2. If you have a car, use it. Yes, Disney Transportation is good, but except for the MK, your car will get you to every other park a lot faster. And if you purchase even one park ticket from AAA/CAA, you get to use the diamond lot, right up front.

  3. Take a day off - no plans. Even take some time for everyone to go their own way. Have a spa day, lay at the pool, shop at the marketplace, go to a movie - then meet up at the MH park of the day and have fun til the place closes down.


#11
  1. Plan, plan, plan!! Especially if you’ve never been before. Don’t go in blind. There are plenty of book and websites to learn everything you need to know before you go.

  2. Stay on site and make use of Disney transportation. Why spend more money on a rental car when Disney can get you where you need to go in approximately the same amount of time it would take you to drive for nothing more than what you paid to stay on site. AND, you don’t have to worry about getting lost.

  3. Decide what kind of trip you want to take. ADR’s or go with the flow? It’s hard to have both. You either make ADR’s well in advance or forget about eating at a sit down restaurant and eat counter service instead. Either type of trip can be great!

  4. Don’t rush it. Disney World has a lot to offer and there’s no way to get it all done in one trip. If you’re a first timer, expect to come back on another trip to do what you haven’t got to try yet. Don’t rush through the experiences you do get to do and miss out on their magic.

  5. Wear comfortable shoes! I will never understand the people that walk around in high heeled sandals all day. I wouldn’t be able to walk for the rest of the trip!


#12

1. Plan Ahead and Read Everything.

I love to plan the trip and then read blogs, planning sites, schedules, guide books, reviews, you name it. You can never have too much information.

2. Make ADR.

Years ago you could “wing it” and still get in to a nice table service restaurant as a walk in. That is pretty tough now. We decided to skip resises a few years ago and I was so sick of bad counter service food by the end of the trip I swore never again.

3. Get a Disney Visa

Get a Disney Visa card and spend all you can (responsibly, as to not carry a balance) leading up to your trip. Last trip we had nearly $900 of “free” money to spend from our Visa card points.

4. Stay at the highest level resort you can afford

We have all said “We only sleep and shower in the room, so do I really need to spend the extra money?” Short answer - Yes. The amenities and the transportation choices really add to the overall Disney experience and it is well worth the extra $$.

5. Go with the flow - especially if you have kids

I always plan a tentative schedule out, but have come to learn that throwing the schedule out is sometimes better. If they are tired we rest, if they are hungry we eat. If they want ice cream at 11 am, so be it. It is their vacation too. I don’t worry if they ate their vegetables or if they spilled something on their dress. It doesn’t matter. They get one week to eat junk, drink pop and stay up late. Being flexible cuts down on meltdowns, from both parents and kids!


#13

#1 Check the crowd calendar on Walt Disney World and Disneyland Travel Planning before making your plans for the trip to make sure you aren’t planning on being at the park on a busy day.

#2 Pack an over-the-door shoe holder for all your personal hygiene items so that your vanity at the resort isn’t a mess. This was a huge space-saver for us last trip.

#3 Pre-purchase the photopass cd and then make a point to stop for the photopass photographers. Some of our favorite pictures were taken by these photographers and we now have them run constantly as a slideshow on the computer

#4 Talk about souveniers prior to the trip if you have younger kids, or you might end up in a bind where you are running into the gift shop at the resort to purchase another suitcase. It really helps to decide ahead of time the number and size of souveniers the kids expect to get.

#5 Check out the transportation wizard at www.ourlaughingplace.com if you need to figure out how much time it will take to travel between the parks or resorts. It really helped us keep our stress down when trying to make ressies on our last trip.


#14

1 - Go off-season
2 - Stay on site
3 - be at the park at rope drop, but leave after lunch for a break (See #2)
4 - Park Hop after the break to another park for a change of scenery
5 - Buy the Unofficial Guide, and take its tips to heart

Bonus: IF you have youngsters in tow, take them to the Wal-mart south of the world to buy your souveniers. They have a big Disney section for much lower prices.


#15
  1. Stay on site
  2. Make ADR expecially if you are going in the summer
  3. Take a break and swim at your resort
  4. Try to stay at a new resort
  5. Resort hop

#16

When entering any attraction, restaurant, quick service… always go to the left. I don’t remember where I read this but people naturally go toward their right and its so true. When we walk into any crowded area the left side always has less of a line.

Read up on reviews and menus of all the quick service and table service restaurants and make notes to take with you. It will save a lot of time trying to decide on where to eat a qs and then it turns out that the food wasnt that good.

Always get to the park early then leave by mid afternoon for a swim at your resort. You need a break in your day and your body will thank you for it.

Comfortable shoes is your wealth on WDW.


#17

I love this idea!

  1. Make at least one ADR a day. That way you are guaranteed a place to have a TS meal and you can always call to cancel it if you decide not to use it.

  2. Wear shoes that you have tested over long distances. Don’t buy new sneakers and break them in AT WDW. Also, the amount of women I see limping around in WDW on heels always blows my mind.

  3. To save money and get a nice afternoon break, I like to do a CS breakfast, TS lunch around 3:00 to 4:00 pm and then do CS or snacks in place of dinner.

  4. Don’t try to do TOO much in one day. I think people tend to be so overwhelmed that they stuff their first couple of days with too much stuff and then they burn out and end up miserable and tired halfway through their vacation.

  5. Avoid DHS on a Fantasmic day if you don’t want to see Fantasmic. I learned this one the hard way. Ha.


#18

This is a great thread!

Tip #1
Do not go to parks with EMH. If you want to hit the evening EMH hop to that park later in the evening.

Tip #2
Rent strollers from Orlando Strollers. We did this during our recent trip and it was great. We had children ages 3, 5, and 7. We had originally rented a single stroller, but then found that the 5 year old needed to ride too. I called Orlando stroller and they exchanged to a double for about $20 I believe. I simply took the stroller to the front desk that evening when we returned from the parks and by 8 am we had a double stroller.

Tip #3
Do not overplan. Planning and ADRs are a great idea, but relax with the tight schedule.
Take time to enjoy the surroundings without being pushed to get to the next thing.

Tip #4
Remember counter services are not divided into adults and children. You may order the same counter service for children as you do adults. We have had children share adult meals. The childrens’ meals can get rather boring after a week of pizza and chicken strips.

Tip #5
Visit during November and January. We love this time of year. Avoid Thanksgiving week and Marathon and MLK weekends, but other than those times the weather is great and the crowds are low, and in Novemeber you can enjoy MVMCP without a huge crowd!


#19

It took some willpower to keep from reading the other posts first, but okay. :laugh:

  1. Be prepared: Learn as much as you can about the lay of the land and the rules for guests before you go.

  2. Make ADR’s for at least one meal per day. You can plan your days around that time.

  3. Find out what days have Early Entry to schedule where to be on any given day.

  4. Engage the services of a Mouse-Eared travel agent to keep an eye out for you for deals. Gives you some peace of mind that you are getting the best possible price.

  5. Schedule some down time into your trip. You will enjoy your vacation so much more if you take time to kick back and relax.


#20

Here are my tips :flowers:

  1. Do your research before you leave (I like the Birnbaum’s books 1st -they don’t seem overwhelming & have nice shiny pictures :blush:)

  2. go on allears.net and check out the menus and then decide which restaurants to go to.

  3. find out the park hours during your stay & then make a plan as to which parks you want to go to which day and then make your ADRs

  4. I think more than 1 ADR a day is excessive and you’ll spend too much of your day in a restaurant

  5. NEVER wait more than 30 minutes for an attraction. Use your FAST PASSES wisely.

  6. if you have a stroller aged kid (mine used one at WDW until she was 9!) buy a $20 umbrella stroller at Walmart and bring that. If you rent a stroller at the park then your tired kid still has to walk (or you have to carry) to the bus stops at the end of a long day. And those huge strollers people bring from home just do not fit on a packed bus very well.

  7. if you are staying for a week or more - take a day off and relax. These WDW trips can be exhausting :blush:

  8. get a grocery delivery from garden grocers and eat breakfast in your room. No need to waste a counter service credit on breakfast

  9. even if you don’t get groceries - get water delivery. Water is so expensive at the parks, it’s great to bring your own

  10. if you are staying at a value resort w/o a fridge - there are many fridge swaps. I did one when staying at POP (from disboards) and it was great. We had a fridge, coffee maker and toaster!

  11. Don’t carry around a backpack the size of a suitcase at the parks. I can never understand what some people could possibly have in those bags! It must be exhausting to schelp all that stuff around and near impossible to get on some of the rides!

  12. stay on site!!

  13. print up your “schedule” on a excel table - cut each day into strips and then laminate them. This slides easily into your bag for quick reference.

  14. take a break during the day. Don’t try to stay at a park from opening to closing. Go 1st thing in the morning - head back to the hotel to swim after lunch - then go back to a park at night. I love the parks at night!!

Guess that’s all I can think of for now :wub: