Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dizzy: Ten Magical Tips

I have been to Walt Disney World a total of seven times! Four in the last six years! I think I have a lot of wisdom to give when it comes to the ins and outs of WDW, so I prepared this Ten Magical Tips.

*This guide is geared towards people traveling without kids. It is also more relevant to those who have been to WDW more than once. But much of the advice can be applied to anyone.

1. DO the Disney Dining Plan unless it is NOT free. I think I am mentioning this for the gazillion-th time, but DDP is wonderful. However, I would never actually pay for it. Having the DDP makes you dine at places that you wouldn’t have otherwise eaten at under different circumstances. For example, if we didn’t have DDP, we wouldn’t have eaten at Narcoossee’s (an average meal there for 2 costs more than $100). We would probably just spend most of the time eating burgers. So in the end, especially for us, having to pay for DDP would most likely cost more.

BUT, if you have been to WDW many times and are more interested in the restaurants, DDP is the way to go!

HOT Tip: Make sure to make all your dining reservations before you arrive. Also, make your reservations for dinner time. This will free up a lot of your time during the day.

2. DO hang out at the resort swimming pools. Go in the morning if possible! This time around, we went to the swimming pool several times early in the morning (~8-9:30am) and we practically had the pool to ourselves. Disney does swimming pools well, very clean and plenty of lounge chairs. Unfortunately, they’ve cracked down on pool-hopping (going to a resort just to use their pool) recently, so you’ll just have to hang out at the pool you’ve got or get someone’s room key from another resort.

3. DO walk around the resorts. If you have the time, hop on a bus and check out some of the nicer resorts. Disney puts a lot of effort into theming and upkeep, and all the resorts have dining and shopping options so you’ll be entertained. This is also a good way to check out where you might want to stay next time.

HOT Tip: Take the monorail to Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian. Take the boat to Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge. Walk (from EPCOT) to the Boardwalk area.

4. DO take advantage of Disney’s FAST PASS. Grab a FAST PASS for the ride with the longest wait time. Basically Disney has machines that let you stick your ticket in and it will give you a ride pass with a certain window of time on it. In most cases, you have a window of one hour to return. In the meantime, go wait for a ride with a shorter line. If timing works out, once you are done with that ride, you will be ready to use the PAST PASS. Or, get
FAST PASS and then get something to eat. After you are done with eating, return to use your FAST PASS. FAST PASS saves you time and the annoyance of waiting in line.

5. DO stop and smell the roses. Disney is not a once in a lifetime vacation. It’s doable, but very hard to see everything in a week-long visit. On top of it, Disney isn’t all about the rides. The parks, even without the rides, have so much to offer. To name a few, there are parades, shows, characters and fireworks. Take it slow. Pick a bench and people-watch. Visit the shops. Find a Hidden Mickey. These are all crucial to a magical experience!

6. DO avoid the park with Extra Magical Hours. Everyday one of the Disney parks opens one hour early or closes three hours late for guests staying at WDW resorts. Yes, it’s true that crowds are significantly less during the Magic Hours, but during normal operating hours, the crowds are significantly more. Go to the parks without Extra Magic Hours and you will spend less time waiting and probably won’t need the extra magic anyway.

7. DO avoid carrying anything into the parks. Not only you will be more free to move around, but you avoid the long Bag Check line at the entrance. We carried our big camera with us this year, but next year we are going back to our little portable SD800.

8. DO bring food from home! We usually save the meals we get from DDP for lunch and dinner. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? So I pack granola bars or crackers from home. I get really hungry in the morning, but just having a granola bar helps me last until lunch time.

9. DO go to the parks late to save your energy. The hubs and I learned that we don’t need to be the first ones to arrive at the parks. Going in later not only means shorter bus lines, but it also means we have more energy to stay in the parks until after dusk. The twinkling lights and cooler temperature make it so much fun to be inside the parks after dark.

10. DO wear the Just Married, Happy Anniversary, Birthday buttons, if appropriate. This is actually something we have never done before, but I’ve heard that Cast Members do pay attention to the buttons and you may score yourself free ice cream or dessert!

So there you have it, my Ten Magical Tips. We are still perfecting the art of vacation at Disney, but I hope these tips prove to be helpful!

This is my last post on Disney until next year. If you have any questions about our trip or just Disney in general, please let me know.

PS. Can you identify where the first photo was taken?

5 comments:

  1. So we're 9 out of 10 on this. Not bad. I should add one more item tho. Having a Suggy around to handle all the planning of the park schedule and dining reservations is KEY. It makes traveling to WDW so much nicer. I found my Suggy during undergrad. Lost her for a bit, but found her again. Definitely not easy to come by. But I hear they hail from the mysterious island of Formosa. ^__^

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  2. Thanks for the magical tips!! was the picture taken in the magical place WDW?

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  3. is that the inside roof of the China pavillion?

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  4. hehe, I'm getting to be a dizzy expert too.:)

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