Where have I been? Why’s my trip report been paused? Well don’t worry, I still have lots to tell about Universal, Legoland, and the Hard Rock Hotel plus many more photos but the recap will resume next week. My sister asked me to make a few top planning tips for someone she knows who is planning a trip to Walt Disney World (staying offsite and with kids) so here they are!
1. Book a few advanced dining reservations. You can do this online or by calling 407-WDW-dine. If there is a restaurant you’d really like to eat at, book a reservation. Many of the table service restaurants fill up with reservations and don’t have many walk up slots. Counter service restaurants can be crowded as well so sometimes it is nice to have a reservation for a restaurant. Some of our favorite restaurants include Be Our Guest and Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom, Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom, Teppan Edo and La Hacienda de San Angel and Via Napoli in Epcot (most of the restaurants in World Showcase are very good), and Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios. If you don’t stay on property you can still take the monorail from Magic Kingdom over to the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or Polynesian which have great places to eat as well
2) Plan to see at least on fireworks show. Our personal favorite is Wishes at Magic Kingdom but Epcot also has Illuminations and Hollywood Studios has a new Star Wars Galactic Spectacular. So if the kids need to recharge mid day, take a quick nap in an attraction (like the Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom) or go back to the hotel for a few hours.
3) If you have already bought your tickets, create a my Disney experience account online and link your tickets so that you can book fastpass plus reservations. If you are going to buy tickets when you get there, then you can either download the my Disney experience app or book fast passes when you get to the park. Having three fast passes a day will really cut down your wait time for the more popular attractions.
4) When you go to the park each day, have a game plan. The night before or even earlier, decide which park to go to and make a list of the attractions everyone would like to go on. For Magic Kingdom, either go to Fantasyland first thing to get those rides done or start on the left of the castle with Adventureland since most people head to Fantasyland first. Try to get fast passes for Space Mountain or Peter Pan. For Epcot, do not go on Spaceship Earth (the ride inside the big ball) when you arrive. Everyone sees this as a first ride and gets in the line. Later on when most people are leaving, the line will be much shorter. Try to get fast passes for Test Track and Soarin. In Hollywood Studios, try to get fast passes for rock’n roller coaster or Tower of Terror. Don’t miss the Great Movie Ride. There are not really any tips for studios but in all of Disney, pick the left line and not the right if given a choice. In Animal Kingdom, fast passes would be best for Expedition Everest and the Safari. The animals on the safari are out more in the morning when it isn’t as hot as it is around 2pm in Florida. If it’s a chilly morning though you might want to book the fastpass for later on.
5) Some must do’s include getting a first time or celebration pin at Guest Relations at any of the parks, trying a Dole Whip in Adventureland in Magic Kingdom, eating a Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, getting a photo in front of the castle, meeting Mickey, and getting an autograph book for characters if your children like characters.