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Your Magic Kingdom Vacation - A Helpful Guide To Enjoying Your Family Vacation To The House Of The Mouse!
Walt Disney World Tips, Tricks & Money Saving Ideas!
Planning Walt Disney World Vacations can often times be exciting and a lot of fun but it can sometimes also be very overwhelming especially for the first timers! So before you plan for your Disney World trip here are a few helpful tips, tricks and money saving ideas that are sure to make your Walt Disney World Vacation unforgettable!
Tip 1-Pay to Play-Disney World Resorts
If you want the full experience of the magic of Disney than look no further than one of their many WDW resorts. Why? Because not only are you staying directly on the the Disney World property but the amenties and pluses you will receive as a guest are more than worth the money. The best plus you receive as a guest of a Disney World resort is the WDW transportation system with transportation to and from the airport (Disney Magical Express), surrounding WDW resorts and theme parks at no additional costs. Its Free!And in monetary terms its a whooping $250.00 savings! If you were to stay outside the park you would have to rent a car and pay to park in the theme parks which as recently as 2009 where $15 a day! Not only does it save you money but it saves you time as well. Disney World is quite large and the majority of hotels outside of WDW are located on I192 in Kissimee which is about a 15-20 minute drive from the Magic Kindom parking area! Big mistake. Though you can get lower prices outside WDW, you will spend time, gasoline and parking fees if you do. If you are on a budget (which most of us are and oh how enjoyable it would be if we weren't) try checking out some of the value resorts. Although it would be great to stay at the Swan or the Animal Kingdom resort it is most times very exspensive and can range anywhere from $250.00-$600.00 a night depending on when you stay. The value resorts are exactly that, valuable. They are affordable and although they aren't as luxurious as the high ranking Disney hotels the rooms are clean, nicely designed, and capture all of the magic Disney has to offer at an affordable price. We've stayed at Disney's All-Star Movies, Music and Sport resort for under $70/night and it was some of the best experiences that my family and I have had in Disney! Whatever you choose, from the Art Of Animation value resort (brand new in 2012!) to the beauty of the Animal Kingdom Lodge or Swan, you'll love staying on property.
Another benefit of being a WDW resort guest is Magic Hours. For those of you who dont know what Magic Hours are it is a designated time on a designated day in which one of the 4 theme parks opens an hour early or stays open up to 3 hours late. The best part about it? It is only for resort guests! That means everyone who is not staying at a wdw resort must leave at park closing or can not enter before park opening while resorts guest ride the attractions and enjoy the shows. All you need to have is your room key and park ticket. Line waits decrease dramatically during these times so make sure to utilize these magic hours! But plan before you go! Go to www.disneyworld.disney.go.com and check out the dates and times for magic hours for each one of the parks on the dates in which you will be staying.
Tip- If you stay in a resort and would like to save money on food, snacks or beverages that you can bring back to your hotel room take a bus to Down Town Disney/ Pleasure Island area and walk the 50 ft across the street to the Hess station. You will find everything from chips to frozen food for half the price of what you would pay if you purchased them in your resort hotel store. Also, request a refrigerator in your room and save money on eating out!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Tip 2-Theme Parks & Fast Passes-Special Inside Secret!
Fast Passes are the most valuable thing to have when in the theme parks, knowing how to make the most out of them is even more valuable. Tip- For major attractions like Splash Mountain , Space Mountain, Aerosmiths Rockin Roller Coaster, Test Track, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Soarin and Mission to Space get your fast passes early in the day, before 11:00, so that your return times are mid day and not late night. Also, you avoid the chance of fast pass distribution being out! Which means you can't get one and will have to stand in the line (some lines can have a wait of 90 minutes or more!). Once you get a fast pass go see the not so major attractions while you are waiting (if in the Magic Kingdom) Mickeys Philharmagic, haunted mansion, Pirates of the Carribean, Jungle Safari Cruise, Disneys race track, The Country Bears and Carousel of Progress. These rides usually have minimal wait times of anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. Nice! Also, make sure to get another fast pass , time is listed at the bottom of your fast pass ticket, before returning to your first fast pass ride. This way you already killed about 15 minutes on your next fast pass wait by the time you get off the first fast pass ride. Remeber you can only get 1 fast pass per person every 2 hours! So plan ahead and know what order you will be doing the rides in. If not you will get to the front gates and be lost, this is very important for all you first timers!
Now.....for the BEST SECRET EVER......would you like to cruise through all of the parks with minimal waits or no waits at all? Most likely, right? Listen up because not many people know about this. I just found out and believe me it works (I used them in July 2009). There are special VIP Fast Pass Height Requirement cards that can be purchased for almost all of the major attractions. The passes are used like fast passes but unlike regular fast passes do not expire (nope there is no time or date on them) and will admit up to 12 people per pass. If you use it in conjuction with a child swap pass up to 3 members of your party can ride twice! Holy Cow! Snap! Disney World does not give these passes out to everyone but you can usually find them on Ebay! So if your interested check it out, you wont be disapointed!
Tip 3- Meet The Cast-Character Dining
What is the best part of Disney World for most children? Meeting Mickey Mouse & Minnie and all of their crew. Although the WDW characters can be seen throught the 4 theme parks, in my opinion, the best way to meet and greet them, and maybe get a photo or two or three, is to take part in one of WDW s many character dining experiences. Lets face it, the lines to Mickey are horribly long and I can say from personal experience that it will cost you at least an hour of your day in the park (for 1 character). Which means thats one less hour of play time you have. Instead, bypass the lines and make a reservation to dine with them instead.
If you are interested in character Dining try Mickeys' Back Yard BBQ located at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Its a hoot n' hollarin character wild dining BBQ experience you won't forget any time soon! You might even get to do a little foot stompin and country dancin too! Mickeys Back Yard BBQ features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip n Dale and many other special performing guests. And when your done take the little ones on a pony ride right out back at the stables or cruise the 411 acre lake on your own personal water craft. Make sure to stop off at ship wreck island and find me some pirate treasure! Arggg! After that make a quick dash down to the Meadow pool and catch Chip n Dales Camp Fire sing-a-long and have a marshmellow roastin toastin tootin good time every night at 7:30pm. Make sure you get your picture with Chip n Dale while your there! When your done catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and water light show right at the beach at Fort Wilderness! Have fun and enjoy! (tip-reservations can be made 90 days in advance so dont wait book it right away because they fill up quickly! Go to www.disney.com/go under dining to see dining options and availability dates)
Tip- If you choose to see the character in the park see them at Epcot. The wait is not nearly as long and you can go around to about 4 or 5 of them at one time! Located through the gates , past the ball and to the stores on your left hand side across from Mission To Space.
Tip 4 -General Things To Know Before You Go!
1. If you have young children, always bring a stroller, these parks involve a lot of walking and even older children can get worn down.
2. Load up on water, juice, soda and snacks if possible before you enter the park. Food and drinks are often expensive. At least with water you can refill your bottles at the water fountains located through out the park.
3. Apply suncreen before you go. Take an extra bottle with you as well.
4. If you have young children it is also good to bring a change of clothes and a bathing suit. Some parks have water play areas where the little ones can have fun and relax out of the heat.
5. If you are staying for a week I would reccomend purchasing park hopper tickets for at least 5 days. The parks are quite large and there are 4. To experience everything Disney has to offer you will want to have an extra day to go back to things you may have missed.
6. Plan before you go! Request maps at check in or prior to arrival. or you can now go directly to the Disney site and create personalized maps for each park. This way when you go you will have your favorite shows and rides scheduled and know what you will be doing and in what order and when directly on the map!
The Theme Parks-What Not to miss!
1. Animal Kingdom-do not miss "A Bugs Life." It is normally a small wait and an excellent show. Also in Animal Kingdom, get your FastPass to the Expedition Everest rollercoaster ride and face the Yeti! Also, do the Kilimanjaro Safari first thing in the morning as this ride closes early (plus the animals are more lively then as well). Make sure not to miss the Dinosaur ride. The lines for this ride usually decrease later at night so it is best to ride then.
2. Disney's Hollywood Studios-If someone in your party is a...well, show-off, show up early for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (which is rumored to be closing in coming years). They pick people out of the audience to be part of the show so stand up and scream pick me! You might be lucky enough to get picked! Also, Catch the Toy Story Midway Mania very early in the day, as it's the newest ride there and all fast passes get ditributed before late afternoon. For all you thrill seekers make sure not to miss the HollyWood Tower Of Terror (30 minute wait tops- Yippee!) and the Rockin Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith. Although the line can be painstakingly grueling for Aerosmith its sure to impress just make sure to get your fast pass early in the day as this is one of the most popular rides in Disney!
3. Epcot- Make a straight bee line for Soarin' its a must ( and like Toy Story fast passes go well, fast); so is Turtle Talk with Crush in the Living Seas, where Crush interacts with the audience in a technically amazing way. Spaceship Earth has recently been renovated and is worth seeing, though not early in the morning when many people do it. Make sure you do Test Track and Mission To Space, its awsome! The Finding Nemo Avdenture is also a great ride for young ones.
4. Magic Kingdom- Mickey's Philharmagic 3D film is absolutely amazing (as with all 3D movies, sit near the back for best effect). Tom Sawyer's Island is a wonderful place to let your kids burn off some steam while you sit and relax . Don't forget to get splish splashin with Splash Mountain but watch that drop, it's a doozer! Arrggg Matey! Tis Captain Jack Sparrow and me crew entisen you to travel the high seas on Pirates Of The Carribean. This ride has just had a make-over and its F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! Also, before you go spin over to Buzz LightYear Space Ranger Spin and get your game on! The kiddies will have a spinning blast! Remeber to hit Haunted Mansion. It has just been recently renovated and is even better than before! Wahahahahaha!
5. In the evening, take the monorail, boat, or bus and explore. There's one monorail that goes from the Magic Kingdom through the Contemporary resort and to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts, as well as to a transfer point where you can hop another ride to Epcot. The Epcot monorail actually goes into Epcot (try it at night its amazing!). The buses can be caught at your resort or any theme park to anywhere in Disney. Check out the Boardwalk Inn and Villas, they have areally cool Pirate ship water slide and pool area!
6. If you have the chance, explore the Disney resorts...(my personal favorite is Disneys Boardwalk Inn ) you will find lots of beauty and some of the best restaurants and pools! Also, Dont miss DownTown Disney. Its full of lots of shopping and entertainment for you and the kids! Tip-If you are looking for a cheap meal eat at Earl Of Sandwich at DownTown Disney. Its less than $40.00 for family of four.
I hope you enjoyed my tips! Have a safe and unforgettable trip!