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View Full Version : We're going to DisneyWorld! Tips please!


marykz
12-23-2007, 12:36 PM
I'm really excited we are going to DW in January. 5 days, 4 nites staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. my daughter is 5, so we will be staying away from anything "scary" or too grown up (i.e. no Space Mountain) We are thick in the planning stage, with guidebooks in hand, but I thought I'd ask you all for your experiences/suggestions/thoughts.
(we will Not have a car. and we are not visitng orlando as a whole, just Disney.....)

Is there anything we "can't miss"?

Anything we should avoid like the plague?

Somewhere really good to eat?

a favorite souvenir?

anything else we should know?

Thanks!!!

Ingrid
12-23-2007, 01:03 PM
When we went years ago, the best thing that we did was to plan out each day, and make any reservations that we might need. We were on a pre-paid plan, so no matter where we ate, the cost was immaterial. At the time, it was called a Gold Key plan, but after all these years, I'm sure it's changed.

It would have killed me to shell out 30 dollars for breakfast every day, but having it prepaid made it so much more relaxed. We ate at the fanciest restaurants, did all the rides, shows, and attractions, so it was a full trip, and in the end we got more than what we paid for.

One of my goals in life is to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge--that's the one with the animals roaming around, right?

Also, though I'm sure they'll tell you, there are benefits to staying on the grounds, like early entry and such, so make sure you ask about that.

Have fun! It's one of my favorite places!:happydance:

debb
12-23-2007, 09:39 PM
you won't need a car, the park transportation works well, just slowly. I was quite impressed with the quality of the shows, my favorites were the Lion King and BEAUTY & THE BEAST.
As for the rides, if your daughters age is all that is holding you back, most offer a child swap where one adult stays with the kid while the other rides and then you swap places without standing in line again.
And use the FAST PASS option whenever you can.
I was there two years ago so my memory should be fairly fresh. If you have specific questions, just PM me.

*KnitPixie*
12-24-2007, 12:05 AM
You can NOT miss the Fantasmic Show in MGM studios it is awesome for kids and adults alike:wink: I can not get enough of it ..they do a show in which lights are played off of water, it is SO cool and your daughter would love it at the end all of the characters or a majority of them come out on a boat and wave to the audience:yay: :woot: makes me excited just thinking of it LOL and It might be alittle late for this but still worth mentioning Disney World offers a "Disney Dining Plan" which is like a point system which allows you to eat at really expensive restaurants for much less money than if you were to pay out of pocket for each meal..We get the plan every time we go and love it!

ritaw
12-24-2007, 09:06 AM
I have never been :( .........But take me with you? lol

knitncook
12-24-2007, 09:36 AM
I'm a big WDW fan and used to write for a Disney travel e-zine. Been Many Many times. For one, take time to enjoy your resort. There are SO many things to do at AKL (Animal Kingdom Lodge)! There are children's activities and story tellers and just sitting and watching the animals (either from your room if you have a Savannah view or from one of the several viewing points in the resort).

Relax and treat this like a vacation. Do not try to see everything. You physically cannot see everything in one trip and doing so is going to exhaust you!! Take time for yourselves. Rest when you (and especially your dd) get tired. There is convenient transportation back to your room all through the day. Or if you are at one of the monorail parks, take a break and just ride the monorail around the park.

There are SO many fun things to do that you will not be at a loss for something to do. As long as you are having fun you are getting from Disney what is important. Your time together as a family in a nice (hopefully warm and sunny) location and surrounded by a fun atmosphere is what will make your vacation memorable. The first time we went to Disney we thought it was a "once in a lifetime" event. We had so much fun that we made it a priority to continue going back (again and again and again!) I think in the past 10 years we have been 15 times! Everything from a 3 day weekend to an 8 day luxury vacation. We are gearing up to go again in February and we can't wait!

Remember if your child is cranky, YOU aren't having fun either. Change what you are doing so EVERYONE can have fun. I can't tell you the number of parents I have seen dragging a tired, hungry, thirsty, overwhelmed child who is crying or screaming or distraught through the park yelling, "I'm paying $1,000 a day for you to have a good time and you are GOING to have a good time whether you like it or not!" Gee, I really want to be part of THAT family! NOT!

My favorite things to watch are the fireworks display at both Magic Kingdom and at Epcot (they are truly specatcular and bring Kleenexes!) MGM's Fantasmic, the live shows, the animals and walking tours through Animal Kingdom. I love thrill rides, but I enjoy a much more leisure pace at WDW. One thing I will recommend is to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, particularly the later night ones. Sleep in and get a later start on the day. You can avoid the "gotta get to the park now" breakfast rush at the hotel and at the buses, and you will get up to 3 additional hours in the parks after they close. All the popular attractions will be open so you can get on those with very little line or waiting. We road Soarin' three times in a row once without having to disembark because there was no one waiting to get on! Done the same with Mission:Space and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Your dd may be too short for some of the more thrillish rides, but you can take advantage of child swap for those rides allowing one parent to ride while the other waits with the child then the other parent gets to ride skipping the line. Just ask at the entrance of each ride she is too short for as to how that ride operates their child swap. We still use child swap for a few of our rides as our son does not do thrill rides at all (and I just HAVE to do Rockin' Rollercoaster once each trip!) Here is a great big boy almost my height and we are still doing child swap! :cool:

Most of all HAVE fun and come back rested and energized!

Debbie
12-24-2007, 10:13 AM
Go to your phone right now and call 407-WDW-Dine and make reservations at the "Rose & Crown Dining Room" in the United Kingdom at Epcot ... ask for an 8:30PM - ish seating (you might check to make sure the fireworks are starting at 9:00 the night you choose, make your reservation for 30 minutes before the show)...late dinner .. ASK TO BE SEATED outside by the lake. You will have the best view of the Epcot fireworks show ... no sitting on the ground waiting for an hour to get a good seat, no standing and standing ... not that the show is not worth it ... but this is the most wonderful way to experience this amazing spectacular! Even though "fish & chips" is their "specialty" ... I would order something else :) The cheese and fruit appetizer is yummy as is the apple pie with ice cream. I think it is a dining plan restaurant.

marykz
12-24-2007, 10:21 AM
Great ideas everyone- keep 'em coming!

We ARE doing the dining plan- I'm so glad to hear it is the good way to go. for me it just seems so much easier! and I'm trying to make the reservations for a few of the "nice" dinners.

We are so excited about the Animal kingdom stuff- the safari, the camp minnie mickey, and I'll be sure to get us to the show.

and thanks for the tips on the fireworks/fantasmic- we are usually early to bed people, so we will plan to stay late at least once.

We do plan to take it slow- my arthritis will dictate that (!) so we are ok with the monorail/bus/ferry stuff being slow. I think we are only going to visit Animal Kingdon, Magic kingdom and maybe a little Epcot this time, so we don't feel like we have to rush. We definitely plan on going back to the hotel for nap/pool time in the afternoons.

and the quote "I'm paying $1000 a day for you to have a good time" totally cracked me up. I'm sure it isn't really funny in person. The first day we plan to take it really slowly so that dd doesn't get sensory overload...

I'm going to print out all the ideas and put them in my file! Thanks!!!

marykz
12-24-2007, 10:22 AM
oh and of course you can come with use Rita!!! xoxo

traceleighj
12-24-2007, 10:46 AM
I LOVE to go to WDW! DH and I are planning our next trip for the fall. AKL is supposed to be fantastic- enjoy!
One fun thing that many don't know about? When you take the monorail, ask if you can sit up with the driver. You may have to wait for the next train, but it is so cool!
There is also a new Nemo show (at Epcot I believe) that is live and animated. My nephew (2.5) just saw it and loved it (so did my dad- his Grandpa).
Hope you have a great time!

Knitting_Guy
12-24-2007, 11:11 AM
Comfortable shoes.

auburnchick
12-24-2007, 01:12 PM
Make sure you check out the park schedule. Each day, one park opens an hour or two earlier than the others -- for the exclusive benefit of Disney's hotel guests. It's a great way to see things without having to wait as long.

Eat lunch and dinner earlier. You'll beat the lines for food, and you'll be able to catch some rides while others are eating...shorter lines for the rides then.

Enjoy! Disney is so much fun!!!

knitncook
12-24-2007, 07:02 PM
Go to your phone right now and call 407-WDW-Dine and make reservations at the "Rose & Crown Dining Room" in the United Kingdom at Epcot ... ask for an 8:30PM - ish seating (you might check to make sure the fireworks are starting at 9:00 the night you choose, make your reservation for 30 minutes before the show)...late dinner .. ASK TO BE SEATED outside by the lake.
The only problem we have had with this is that they allow (or did the last time we were there) smoking on the outside dining area at the Rose and Crown. May want to verify that if that is an issue for your family. :)

knitncook
12-24-2007, 07:04 PM
Comfortable shoes.

Mason said it! And make sure they aren't NEW comfortable shoes. In all our trips there we have actually found newish Crocs to be THE BEST shoe. We have always had blisters or VERY tired feet even with broken in comfortable shoes. Our feet just aren't used to walking 3-ish miles a day on very hard concrete at a fast pace. Once we switched to Crocs we never had issues with our feet again! I could truly set up a Croc store outside Disney and make a fortune! :happydance:

traceleighj
12-25-2007, 01:21 PM
"Make sure you check out the park schedule. Each day, one park opens an hour or two earlier than the others -- for the exclusive benefit of Disney's hotel guests. It's a great way to see things without having to wait as long. "

This is true, but it also ends up being the BUSIEST park that day- by the time the park "opens" the lines are terribly long. We went to a different park other than that one. There are different websites (PM me if you want them- I have some great ones) and they can tell you which parks open early and what the busiest days are. They do have extra magic hours for on property guests in the evening. All you have to do is have your room key scanned and then they give you a wristband. This allows you to stay late and ride the rides. Definitely better than the morning hours!

cindycactus
12-25-2007, 04:48 PM
Dh and I had passes for several years at Disney World and had a great time visiting the parks. January was our favorite time to go as the weather was cool and in our experience the parks were the least crowded. Have fun.:woot:

jess_hawk
12-25-2007, 05:07 PM
My family waited to go to Disneyworld until I was 13 and my brother was 11. Mom went to Florida every year as a kid and was rather burnt out on the state as a whole. I don't like roller coasters, and my parents determined that 13 was old enough to wait while they went on rides with the bro. This was an evil plan, as he especially liked the Rockin' Roller Coaster, and I therefore spent many hours in the gift shop there (I wasn't old enough to go off on my own, just old enough to stay in the gift shop). I also got to carry my mom's purse, my dad's pack, my own purse, and the video camera during these times.
Fortunately, at age 5, your daughter isn't old enough for you to do this to her.
We first went in January, an "off" season time, and the lines were really quite short - 1/2 to 1/4 what they were when we went over Easter. Parades are a lot of fun. We really loved the Haunted Mansion. It isn't scary at all - I hate haunted houses (people grabbing you annoy me, and strobe lights freak me out) so it took some cajoling to get me on it, but its really a great ride for all ages.
Plan out your day - decide which shows you want to go to in advance, but if your dd is tired or you just can't get there, be flexible. I hate it when we end up all but running from point A to point B because heaven forbid we be late or go to the next showing of it. Or - horror of horrors - MISS it.
Have fun!

stitchwitch
12-25-2007, 07:21 PM
Bring a vast variety of clothing. Our Januarys can be 85 degrees and then drop to 40 degrees the next day and then back up to 80. The median is around 70ish during the day and 50ish during the night but we have our weird shifts often. I've left for Orlando (an hour away from me) in shorts and that afternoon it dropped to 45 and wind blowing leaving my husband and I scrambling to buy sweatshirts quickly. Most of all, have fun.

debb
12-25-2007, 07:40 PM
Ah yes, I experienced Orlando in January one year - good advice to prepare for a bit of everything.
One ride not to be missed is SOARIN' (not sure if it's named SOARIN' OVER CALIFORNIA there, it is here) I try to go on it several times every time I go to Disneyland - truly enjoyable for the entire family

sarahzknitty
12-26-2007, 02:14 PM
We went in June and had a blast!!
My daughter LOVED the dinner with Cinderella...if you don't want to shell out that much how about breakfast with some of the characters?
Also, the bus system was great for us...hopped from park to park and hotel! And, by staying in a Disney hotel certain parks open early on certain days and others stay open later on certain days just for Disney resort guest. It was a great way to get some things in early before the crowds really arrived...especially for the rides like It's a Small World that don't have Fast Pass....if you do those first no (or very little) standing in line!
Have a wonderful time!:happydance:

kellyh57
12-27-2007, 02:46 PM
Don't forget to check out the dining with character times. We only made it to one, but it was cute! We had a friend that did it everyday. Make sure your kids understand that the characters don't talk! We had some girl chasing Rafiki around trying to get him to talk and made it extremely annoying for the rest of us trying to talk and get pictures with them.

I loved the passes we had. We visited one park during the day and the other at night and it didn't cost any more.

We had a friend that got waterproof neckband holders for the tickets- GREAT investment! Since you have to keep your ticket close for the line thingees, but you don't want it to get wet, it saved a ton of time in looking for them! She lent them to friends. You could probably sell them at the gate as you leave! They also had the Mickey dude that told you where you were and stuff. I think it's pretty pricey, but she lent it out to friends so it definitely got it's use!

Kelly

sarahzknitty
12-27-2007, 06:13 PM
OH, I forgot....Photo Pass!!! Get one at the first park you enter. It doesn't cost anything and you can have park photographers take your picture anytime you see one (they just scan your pass). Then your family can view your photos on line for up to 30 days and see what a great time you are having. If you choose to you can order a disk of all the photos they take of you in the parks!

Dangles
12-27-2007, 06:36 PM
DW is a great place. In fact, we got engaged at the Epcot :)
Since you have 4 full days, try to do a day per park. Downtown Disney has some neat places to eat. Epcot is good to see, as it's theme was about the different places in the World. But the "what not to miss" is always in the eye of the beholder. I am certain that you with the research you will be doing you will have an excellent idea of where you are wanting to hit up. Enjoy you trip and tell us all about it when you get back. :)

* Bring in a backpack or a hydration pack with water as water in the park is $$.
* Comfortable shoes.
* Fast Pass is the way to go on rides.

knitncook
12-27-2007, 08:17 PM
Bring a vast variety of clothing. Our Januarys can be 85 degrees and then drop to 40 degrees the next day and then back up to 80.

Ha!! it was 79 when we went in for breakfast and an hour later it was 69 by 5pm it was in the 40's with a wind chill factor in the 30's!! Weather.com had forecast the entire week to be in the upper 70's so we didn't take anything heavier than a denim shirt each! Guess who all got new sweatshirts as souveniors that trip? :rofl: It wasn't so bad except two of us were getting over pneumonia. We still had fun, but learned (the hard way) that the weather can be fickle in January (and February!) So we pack a variety from swimsuits to hats and scarves!

marykz
12-28-2007, 11:47 AM
thanks so much everyone! Great ideas and tips- especially about the weather... So far we have one character breakfast reserved and I'm working on the dinner plans!

I'll tell you all about it! :) now to get the suitcases out of the attic, (ick! dusty, dark, cold!)

yeah_im_crazy
12-29-2007, 12:33 AM
:shivers:

I live in So. California and I remember when I was 5 years old my parents took me and my 4 year old brother to Disneyland. They told me we were going to see the "Honey we Shrunk the Audience" show. I became suspicious when we stood in a tunnel decorated with pictures of spaceships and galaxies. 20 minutes later, we were boarding a ride. Being 5 years old, I did not question what was going on. Let's just say that that experience scared me away from that ride for a good 8 years or so. :teehee:

marykz
12-29-2007, 10:24 AM
lol- yeah-im-crazy- I rode Space Mountain for the first time when I was 14 (on a high school band trip). and it STILL scared me away from coasters for a while.....

Dangles
12-31-2007, 04:17 AM
marykz, have a safe trip. Oh yah, don't forget the rain ponchos, they tend to have some rain that kicks in between 2-5 PM.