For those of you that don't really want to read through the longest posts basically ever for information about your Disney trip, here are the tips I compiled during my vacation.
- Make sure to go to Terminal B, level 1 if you are taking the Magical Express. It's easy to find yourself wandering around Terminal A, with no Magical Express to be found. When you get to the main area (with the gift shop pictured below) be sure to go to the B side! If you aren't sure, ask for directions.
|This is the outside of said gift shop.|
- If you're staying in value/moderate, opt for a preferred room. The preferred rooms are closer to the main building, and mean less hassle to talk to the front desk and for value resorts mean less walking at the beginning of the day and end of the night. Your feet will thank you.
- Download the My Disney Experience app to your phone, and bring a charger with you to the parks. We used the times guide a lot, and switched the Fastpass+ more than I expected over the trip. My phone only died once, but it came close a few times. Disney is installing charging areas around the parks, and cast members are really good about helping you find somewhere to charge it in a restaurant, for example.
- Remember, anything outside of a standard drink, meal, and dessert costs extra if you are using the dining plan. This includes alcohol and appetizers.
|Be sure to budget for that trip "drinking around the world" in Epcot.|
- If you are having dinner at Rose and Crown, opt for a time past 7:30 for a chance to view the fireworks front the restaurant. And ask for a patio seat. It was so nice to be able to sit at our table, not stand around for a good spot 45 minutes before the fireworks started.
- If at all possible, sit toward the back of the train on Big Thunder Mountain. The hills of the ride are too small, and the train too long, so when you go over the lift chains still hold on to the back while the front is already half way down the hill. Because of this, you feel like you're going slower and you don't get the thrill of the drops nearly as much.
- Don't forget to bring sunblock.
- If your wrist is small, remove the outer grey layer of the magic band. Alex didn't, but I did, and it made wearing my magic band so much more comfortable. I can't even tell you the number of parents who hadn't done this for their kids, or women who had theirs wrapped around almost an extra time. It peels off really easily. Just take it off.
- If you buy Memory Maker, be sure to get the ride photos. They come with the Memory Maker package, and since it's $150-$200 (depending on if you buy it before you get to Disney or at Disney), you want to be sure to get your money's worth.
- When planning Fastpass+ for Hollywoods Studios, concentrate your ride times for the evening if at all possible. This will make it easier to go see shows like Lights, Motor, Action, Indiana Jones, and Beauty and the Beast, which concentrate show times before 4:00. Because of this, stand-by lines also seem to be longer in the evenings, and planning Fastpass+ reservations then will help you avoid that.
- Buy a poncho at a local chain store before coming to Disney. Or, if you did buy one at Disney, save it and bring it for your next trip. They are needlessly expensive.
- If you are not staying on property and can't make Fastpass+ reservations in advance, come early. By 3:00, everything was booked up. I also noticed that the lines were pretty long at the Fastpass+ Kiosks that one-day visitors and those staying outside of Disney have to use at this time. To have the best chance at getting your picks, be at the park when it opens and head right toward the kiosks. They are staffed by cast members in blue polos.
- Disney does not do bussing from resort to resort. If you have a dining reservation and then want to go back to your room, you'll have to connect at one of the parks. Unless you are going from one resort on the monorail line to another.
|One view from the Epcot Monorail|
- Always chose the route with the least amount of transfers when moving between parks and resorts. If you don't, you'll end up wasting more time than you realize.
- Realize that Disney transportation takes a little bit of time. We find it the most convenient, because you don't have to bring or rent a car, then pay for parking and walk to find your car after visit the park. However, know that you will spend a chunk of time waiting for the bus/monorail/boat you need to arrive. Usually allow 30-50 minutes to get from one place to another during peak seasons, and 40-60 during less busy times.
- If you're a big Star Wars fan, go listen to the Ewoks at night in the Star Tour queue area. They laugh and "talk" to each other, and they have little fires burning in their tree tops. It's something you might not even notice if you aren't looking for it.
- Sit in the "Pocahontas" section for Fantasmic! It's the section directly in the middle of the theater.
- If at all possible, go to the 10:00 show for Fantasmic! We had friends that tried to go at 8:30, and the theater was standing room only. However, for us, the theater was only half full, if that. We were comfortably seated with plenty of room, even in the middle section and during the peak time that is Spring Break.
- If you can manage to stay up that late, you can ride a huge majority of the Magic Kingdom rides after 11 PM. A large majority of the parents and kids have left, leaving the lines basically nonexistent everywhere. I wouldn't suggest rides like Jungle Cruise or Splash Mountain, but anything inside will give you the exact same experience. It was so fun to go from ride to ride and get right on.
- If you plan on really exploring the countries in World Showcase (or "drinking around the world") give yourself a few hours to do so. Epcot is huge, and World Showcase takes a while to get around. To try a drink or some food from each of the countries, go into the gift shops, ride any rides, and just generally explore, you can factor in a few hours, if not most of the time.
- Security at Orlando International always seems to take longer than most. The time of day doesn't really seem to matter. Just make sure you allow extra time to account for that once you arrive at the airport.
Interested in reading about the entire trip? Here are the links!