Saturday, July 7, 2012

Walt Disney World: Five Tips You Need to Know

I'm excited to announce that in January of 2014, I published my book Walt Disney World Tips n' Tricks.  All my posts have been modified and are now chapter previews.  To read all my best advice order my ebook on Amazon. I promise you'll find excellent tips, tricks and advice on taking kids to Disney World!
 Thanks for reading!

1.  If you plan on driving to Disney, remember it is expensive to park at the theme parks.  You can expect to pay about $15/day.  If you stay on site at a Disney hotel, you can park for free with your parking pass.  You also park for free if you are an annual passholder.

2.  The parks allow small, soft coolers.  Save money and bring your own drinks and snacks.  You don't need to pack the whole kitchen, but your own drinks and granola bars will save you money when the kids need a small snack in between meals.

Stash this cooler under your stroller, or buy an insulated backpack version to keep everything you need handy. 

3.  There is an overabundance of germs in Disney World.  Take time and think for a minute about how many hands have touched those turnstiles.  Make washing hands a priority before meals.  Pack sani-wipes and use them regularly.

4.  Walking the countries (The World Showcase) in Epcot is possible with children.  There is plenty to keep them busy.  Characters, shops and more.  Plan to start your day when the park opens, and by lunchtime (11am) the World Showcase opens.

To read more about characters in the countries, KidCot fun stops and more Epcot tips, download my book from Amazon or purchase paperback!

5.  If you have small children, arrive at the parks when they open in order to get back for a nap after lunch.  If you wait until mid-morning, lines will be longer and the park will be filling up.  If you get up and to the park early, you can get back to your resort for a siesta or a swim.  Recharging is much needed when taking kids on a Disney vacation!

Happy Planning!

18 comments:

  1. Loved all your tips for Disney! I live here, and go often by myself (I'm a photographer and also a blog writer on Disney too - disneyinaweek.wordpress.com)and with family and friends who visit.
    Don't forget the SPF50 for kids and also sunglasses. Sometimes we forget how long we have been outside in the strong sun and then get bad sunburn or sunstroke. Stay cool!

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    1. true that. And I love your blog

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  2. I agree with all of the above. We just went in Sept 2012. Staying on grounds was wonderful and having the meal plan was also great. The food was really good and the meal plan worked everywhere. The fast passes were life savers! Also, get a rain poncho or buy one when you get there. It rains everyday in FL. We had a great time and didn't want to leave and/or wanted to go back within like 2 weeks. My daughter bought a book in advance and knew which rides she thought the kids would like. So, we got to the best rides early and got right in.

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    1. What book did your daughter buy?

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    2. We like Birnbaums. There are kid versions and adult versions and family versions, etc.

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  3. Hi, I wondered if you have stayed at the new Arts in Animation Resort? If so, how is traveling from there to the arks? It seems so far from them. Also wondered if you rented strollers? We have 3 kids, I'd like to take our double stroller but not sure if it's to big and too much of a hassle. Would you recommend a resort?

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    1. I've never stayed at Art of Animation, but my friend loved it! The ride may be a tad longer on the bus, but it will be fine. All the resorts are wonderful, and it really depends on your budget. We don't rent strollers, it's very expensive. We bring umbrella strollers. If we had two in strollers, we brought 2 umbrella strollers and each pushed one. It's easier to maneuver through the crowds. :)

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  4. In regards to getting to the park when it opens: go as far as possible from the front gate and work your way back. Most people get all excited when they see main street and go gaga. Little ones can enjoy the parks, especially with the new Fantasyland. But there is nothing worse than a crying toddler at 9 PM after a whole day of being drug from pillar to post at Disney.

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    1. Yes, I agree about getting past main street usa...start in the back of the park and work your way back! If we go back to the park we are leaving by 8pm...toddlers can't handle being up too late on such a busy vaca!

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  5. hi planning a trip for the second week of june. I know what are we thinking it's gonna be super hot but this is the only time the schedule works. We are going with four kids. Ages 2, 4, 8, and 9. Driving so we get to bring our double stroller. My question is should we bring our umbrella strollers for our two oldest? I read that under ten would need them. If we need them should we take just one for them to take turns in or two. I saw that you had been when your kids were around the same ages. We'll have three adults so we'll have some one to push each if needed. thanks for the help

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    1. HI! We don't usually have the kids use stroller after 8-9 yrs, but its completely up to you!!! Definitely bring the double, and bring one umbrella to be safe. The kids are a great age for Disney! Have a great trip! Yes, June is warm but we never minded the heat! Have fun!

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  6. Hi we went with our son and daughter-in-law and their 2 kids age 5-8 and they didn't need a stroller. They made sure the kids had really decent shoes to wear and kept well hydrated during the day. The quick service plan was great also! They worked their schedule out a month before they went and walked the kids to school rather than drop them off on the way to work so they got used to walking lots and hiked on the weekends as well. We were up every day by 730 and swam before bed which was close to 11 and the kids were amazing...never complained of being tired of walking.

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  7. Hi! Both of my children have been to Disney from a young age and both have had a wonderful time. It's a matter of knowing what is available for younger kids. If you have a baby, use the baby stations in each of the parks. They are wonderful. And remember not everything is about the rides. It's the shows, the parades, seeing characters you have only seen on TV come to life and just overall spending time with your family. Another thing, don't try to do everything in one trip. You and your family will be miserable. If you plan right, you can go to Disney for an affordable amount of money, so plan to go more than once. If you think of it as a once in a lifetime trip, be sure to prioritize. (Trust me! I have been more than 10 times and still haven't "done it all".) As far as storage for food, I find its easier to just pack things that don't need to be refrigerated and plan to either buy bottled water or use the fountains in the park. They do have lockers at the front of the parks for storage if you need it and there are always at least one store in each park that carries essentials (diapers, batteries, wipes, not to mention the baby care centers). Also, remember to tailor your trip to the age of your kids. If you have really small children, plan to spend most of your time at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, for older kids, Epcot and Disney Studios. But most of all, do some research. There are climbing areas, splash pads, glowing sidewalks, dancing fountains, random acts of excitement and fun around every corner, if you know where to look (and sometimes where you wouldn't think to look). Some of the best moments happen when you just take a moment to sit on a bench and look around. With regard to germs, well let's just say if you are a germaphobe, you probably will need to bring Hand Sanitizer. If your kids aren't regularly exposed to germs then yeah, they might get sick. But think on this, if you don't wear them out trying to do everything and go at THEIR pace, they are less likely to get sick anyway. As of our trip schedule soon, I will have been to Disney more than 10 times with my kids (1 is 11 and the other 4). I have been with little kids, teenagers, kids who won't ride any rides and kids of all types (shy, overzealous, and in-between). I have never had a CHILD say they never want to go back, ONLY ADULTS. Finally, and this is a big one - DO NOT BUY NEW SHOES BEFORE A TRIP TO DISNEY. Make sure that you only wear those shoes that you and your children have worn before. Blisters will make everyone miserable.

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  8. Here are a few tips at the parks: For all the parks, think about going around the park starting to your left. Most people start going around to their right. The same is true when standing in line as well. At Magic Kingdom, check out the barbershop, you can get very affordable haircuts with pixie dust. It's a great place to go for baby's first haircut and they get a certificate and ears too. At Epcot, for older children (tweens), there is a Phineas and Ferb activity to do in the World Showcase (used to be Kim Possible). Be prepared to walk but its lots of fun. Also, for food go to "The Land", they have lots of fruit and veggies and less junky foods. It's on the bottom floor of the location. At Disney Studios, plan to go at least one time during Star Wars Weekends. So fun and you see characters all through the park. Also, don't miss eating at the Sci-Fi Drive in or the 50's prime time café. At Animal Kingdom, plan to eat breakfast at The Rainforest Café. There is an entrance at the restaurant and you can bypass the lines at entry by eating there. Also, to ride Everest and avoid the line. Find the single rider line. It is always fast, so long as you don't care about riding with others in your party.

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  9. Can you explain the Fast Pass and Parent Swap thing a little more in detail? I didn't really understand what you were saying about using the Parent Swap in the Fast Pass Lane. We're going to Disney on Monday and for sure will need to use this. Thanks!!!

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    1. Fast pass - fast pssses are for rides were there are usually long lines. There are fast pass stations and you get a ticket for a specific time. You do have to take your tickets and put it in the machine and then it spits out a fast pass ticket. We always sent our fastest person to go get fast passes and the rest of us would head to another ride to wait in line. The person would then get there in time to ride the next ride and then we would go to our fast pass ride.
      Baby swap- you go to the ride area where you enter the ride. You tell them you need to do a baby swap, since you have a child who can't ride. They give you a ticket for the fast pass line. One parent goes on the ride (they have to wait in line).Then when that person comes back the other person goes through the fast pass line and doesn't have to wait.

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  10. just another tip, when you go we saw no signs at disneyland for anything indicating the time of the parade or any thing like the fantasmic. when we were there it got too hot and too crowded with two little ones so we sat and had an icecream. just as we were about ready to get back in the car and take a break all the sudden the street had millions of people sitting. there was no way to get through and it was all roped off. so i thought ok something good is happening and we practically had to fight some guy just to get a seat even though there was room. so anyways we got a seat and then they announced that there was a parade headed our way. it was amazing you dont want to miss this stuff. I thought it was better than the rides. the parade itself at one point had aladdin and i swear it was right out of the movie. then later people started sitting in the streets and we knew what to expect this time. something great. we had just left the area where fantasmic shows and the times for the shows were way off. so we sat in front of the castle to watch the fireworks. we were told that it would start at nine and it turned out that they changed the time to ten. we could hear fantasmic and it was making me antsy i wasnt sure if we should move or not. then I heard the dreaded words. mommy i have to go to the bathroom. so I walked all the way towards fantasmic and I saw lights and music and deafening booms. it was amazing. I tell you i didnt know i could run so fast with a five year old on my hip seeing as how i only weigh 120lbs. I ran to my husband yelled his name. he grabbed the strollers and we booked it. He stood by one of the shops and watched it with my son while I took my daughter to the bathroom. by the time we got back it was over. I was pretty upset. so we rushed to go see the fireworks where we had originally sat down and they had it roped off and were directing us away from our spot. I was pretty upset at this point. So we walked all the way to almost the entrance and I explained our situation to one of the members. she directed us down and planted us directly behind a tree. I threw a bf because we traveled all the way to see this place from arizona, and my twenty five year old husband had never done anything like this in his life. I also wasnt sure if we were going to be able to afford anything like this anytime soon again. So anyways we finally found a spot and after my daughter crying and me freaking out the show started without a moment to spare. I almost cried because I have waited almost ten years to share this moment with the people I love. It was amazing. So I guess bottom line people. figure out showtimes before you go to the park and if at all possible get a two day pass so that you can enjoy the best of both.

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  11. Just stay calm...kids take their cue from you...we have been over 37 times with as young as 2 weeks...

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Throw in your two cents!