Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 29

Thirteen Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World

1. Plan ahead....way ahead. Book the trip six months in advance.
2. Purchase the Deluxe Dining Plan. It is $30 per person per day. It includes one quick service meal, one table service meal, and one snack per day. However you can use them anytime you wish. It is the best deal in town. The table service meals are wonderful and the service is great, regardless of the restaurant that you choose.
3. Stay on Disney property. While this is certainly a matter of taste and can be more expensive, if you are planning to visit only Walt Disney World parks, this offers the greatest amount of convenience. Shuttle buses and monorail service is available to take you anywhere you need to go at no extra charge. If you drive to the parks, they're gonna charge you $12 for parking.
4. If you have children under 12, visit Magic Kingdom first. It is a zoo, an absolute sea of people, regardless when you visit, so you might as well get it out of the way.
5. Don't vacation yourself to death. There is far too much to see and do in each park to get it done in one day. Enjoy what you can and don't worry about what you miss.
6. Have a plan. As soon as you enter a park, maps and schedules are available. Take a few minutes to review the schedules and determine what shows you want to see and when you intend to see them. We missed the stunt driving, thrill show at Hollywood Studios because of a lack of planning.
7. Take a break during the day. There is nothing wrong with going back to your hotel and taking a nap.
8. Find out when each park has extended hours. One night Hollywood studios was open until 2:00 a.m. This is the perfect time to ride your favorite thrill rides with minimum crowds and waiting times.
9. If you visit in May, June, or July, take a cheap rain poncho. It will rain some nearly every day.
10. If you intend to buy souvenirs, and who doesn't, go to Downtown Disney in the morning. The shops are nearly empty before noon. The place is extremely crowded at night and the shops are packed.
11. Again, if you have younger children and you want them to meet Disney characters, book a character breakfast one morning. Characters are in the parks for photo ops and autographs, but the lines can be long and the heat and humidity can be a little daunting. The character breakfasts are held in the hotels and they come to every table.
12. Take a park break during the middle of the week. Spend one day relaxing at your hotel pool or visit one of the two water parks, Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. Yesterday I asked the 4-1/2 year old grand boy what he liked most about Disney World. His answer was, "Blizzard Beach, Soarin (a great ride at Epcot), and the hot tub (at our hotel). See, even the little ones like some down time.
13. See some of the shows. It's a break from the waiting lines at the rides. It's a break from the heat and humidity and it gets you and the kids off your feet for a 20-30 minutes. Monster's Inc., at Hollywood Studios is good. A Bugs Life in Animal Kingdom is very good. The 3-D shows are all very good (there is one in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot).

Bonus feature. While waiting for the fireworks display to begin at Epcot one evening, my wife looked across the lake and said, "that sunset would make a pretty photograph." So I walked over to the rail, framed the shot, and snapped this picture. I think my wife has a good eye for a great photo. You just gotta click on this one to enlarge and enjoy it.

Sunset at Epcot Center


Ivanhoe said...

Sounds like you had a great trip. Thanks for the wonderful tips. Enjoy your holiday weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Carol said...

Gorgeous photo! Useful tips! Happy 13!

Bond said...

Excellent suggestions...I totally agree...Having been there a few times, each of them makes sense.

Incredible photo...

bernie said...

It should be pointed out that #8 is only available to guests staying inside Disney hotels.

Just FYI, I linked to your TT from mine 13 Not So Famous Last Words; Most Americans die peacefully in their beds, but for those who die violently one can only guess what their final words must have been. I think that after you read these you will have to agree that they do indeed sound like they might have been the last words of those who did not go peacefully into the night.

Travis Erwin said...

All great tips and I love that photo.

tabbikat said...

The photo is gorgeous! And thank you for the tips, we are thinking of doing Disney before our girl gets too much older and now I have a plan of attack.

DoubleDeckerBusGuy said...

Fantastic sunset pic... and although it's been years for myself personally, the "take a nap" is a VERY good piece of advice!

forgetfulone said...

What a beautiful photo!

We went to WDW in March, my mother, my twins (11 at the time), and me. Your tips are great, especially for those with young children. I have several Disney posts on my blog, too. I loved going there! It was my third time, and my twins' first. I was a kid again while we were there.

Enjoyed your TT! Happy 4th!

Travis said...

These are all great tips, especially when vacationing with young children. I've done it both ways - busting through to do as much as possible, and taking it easy and not worrying about missing stuff.

As I get older, the second way is definitely more appealing.

Amy, aka ABB said...

Well, duh, your wife has a good eye - she got you in her sights, didn't she?! All good tips. I echo the one about staying on site if possible, the convenience is worth it. Plus, at least, at Universal Studios, the park opened an hour early for those with the hotel pass.

Barbara Martin said...

Thanks for the tips which should come in handy when I visit. Excellent sunset photo.

Two Lines On a Stick said...

Great tips, and I enjoyed seeing the pics and checking out your blog :)