So you’re planning a trip to “The World”, are you? Don’t know where to start? That’s ok! You gotta start somewhere, so here are the Top Ten Tips for Visiting Disney World!
1. Get a Dining Plan. I can’t stress this one enough. You’re gonna have to eat while you’re there, right? So why not have it paid for ahead of time? There’s nothing better than walking out of a 5 star restaurant with a belly full of amazing food and not paying a bill! There’s so many promotions out there that you can take advantage of for FREE dining plans, too! If you travel within certain dates, you could pick up your dining plan at no cost.
2. Stay at a Disney World Resort. This is another biggie. Some people think that they can’t afford to stay on Disney property. Ok, let me lay it out for ya: If you stay off property, you’re going to have to drive. A lot. How are you getting to the World from the airport? Taxi? If you stay at a Disney resort, you can ride the Magic Express for free! They’ll even deal with your luggage — no waiting at the carousel. The big perk of staying at a Disney resort is the bus system. No parking, no rental car costs, no gas money going to and from parks. Disney runs buses from park to park, and only Disney World Resort guests can ride them! If you make a purchase at a gift shop in the parks, you can have it sent back to your resort at no cost, too! No lugging it around the park. Also, you’re going to want to keep the Magicial feeling as much as possible — and staying at a Disney World Resort keeps the experience going!
3. Get a Park Hopper Pass — Or Don’t. Weird, right? Ok. So last time we went to Disney World, we added the park hopper option, but we never needed it! This one is a little tricky. If you can swing the extra dough to upgrade your tickets, do it. If it’s tight, then you’ll just have to plan really well. Make sure all of your meals are at the same park, and all the fireworks and events that you want to attend are in one place. You can totally get away without a park hopper, but you just gotta play your cards right! And this next tip goes hand in hand…
4. Utilize those Extra Magic Hours! Walt Disney World Resort Guests get a little somethin’ extra — a head start (or a late night advantage)! Each park has a designated day of the week where resort guests can get in to the park before it’s open to the public, or stay at the park after it closes for the day! This is where a Park Hopper comes in handy. If you’re going to EPCOT all day, but you want to go to the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours that night, you can!
5. Bring a decent stroller. Oh my Lord. The kids in the cheapie $20 grocery store umbrella strollers always look like they’re about to pull an Evil Stepmother. Would you want to sit in a canvas hammock for hours? Nope. Find a comfortable lightweight stroller that you can easily fold and unfold (for getting on and off the buses), and make sure it has a decent amount of storage space. If you’re visiting in the summer, you might want to invest in a sun shade extender!
6. Split your day. Folks, going to Disney is fun, but it’s also tiring. This tip is especially useful if you’re travelling with kids. Hit the parks when the open, have a blast, eat lunch. Then, do the unthinkable — GO HOME. Yes. Go back to your resort and take a nap. The parks will still be there when you wake up! If you stay all day, you’re going to be a grump by 5 PM.
7. Try new food (and ask for the recipe!). So you’ve never had Tandoori Lamb served with Apple-Raisin Chutney and choice of Basmati Rice or Five-Grain Pilaf? Now’s the time! Why not, right? Disney Chef Cast Members (not employees — the entire Disney experience is a show, and employees are part of the cast!) are the best in the biz, so you know you’ll get a great meal. Want to know something cool? You can ask for the recipe of any meal you have in the World. But be aware — they may only have the recipe in bulk! A friend of mine asked for the recipe for some pie, and got the recipe to make dozens! Have fun dividing ;).
8. Do “something”. Whether you collect and trade pins (hint: cast members have to trade if you ask!), or search for hidden Mickeys, have a running game or task throughout your trip. The park is themed beautifully — enjoy it!
9. Splurge on one thing. That could mean you take the Segway Tour of EPCOT, have breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle, or go 180 MPH behind the wheel of a NASCAR racer during the Richard Petty Experience. You’re at Disney World! When are you going to do these things again? Who knows! Seize the moment, folks. You wont regret it!
10. Visit the Disney Vacation Club Sales Center. It’s not that bad, I promise! Go see what it’s all about. The awesome part? They’ll give you a $100 Disney Gift Card that you can use at the parks or online!
There’s millions of tips I could give, but these are some good starters :). Enjoy!