- Get the Photo Pass- I was disappointed that I didn't learn about this option until we were literally walking out the door to go home. The Photo Pass cost $200, you wear a card and every time your picture is taken they just scan that card. You get ALL the images for this cost. To put it in perspective, I spent $120 on 8 images. Disney took at least 100 pictures of us or more. You get the photography rights so you can print out as many as you'd like and you can create fun borders at no additional cost. It would have certainly been worth it every penny.
- Character Dining- Do not go to Disney World and NOT do the Character Dining. This was absolutely our favorite aspect of the parks. The food is surprisingly good, mostly buffet style. I am not typically a fan of buffet style dining but like everything else in Disney it's clean, good, lots of choices, well prepared and the service is first class. Each of the Character Dining restaurants feature 5 characters...this means, you don't have to stand in line. The characters come right to your table! You can take as many pictures as you want and they do not rush you. I was so impressed with how much attention each Character gave to my daughter...and even to me! So it's like dinner and a show FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST. *We had the deluxe dining meal plan, which meant that whether we ate a soup and sandwich or had a huge buffet with all the characters it was the same value. ALTHOUGH THESE RESERVATIONS MUST BE BOOKED 3-6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE. The sooner the better...but take a lesson from me...don't make reservations for breakfast. You have to allow a lot of time to get around and wait for the shuttles as well as walking from point a to point b so when we had 9h30 reservations that meant that we had to get up at 7h in the morning and leave by 8h! I was not too pleased with myself, but I had booked late and this was all that was available. I also didn't realize how long it took to get around Disney World, it's humongous.
- Stay at a Disney Resort- Similarly, I would not recommend going to Disney World without staying in one of their outstanding resorts. Of course the cost is a little higher but there are innumerable amenities that are included. And I don't how many times we said that we would not have enjoyed our trip had we not stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Character Dining and Animal Kingdom Lodge were what made our trip truly special and unique. The way I look at it is that you're going to spend a lot of money...might as well spend a little more to get the full experience. I'd rather spend a ton of money and be completely pleased than spend a lot of money and just have an 'alright' time.
- Book you whole package through GO DISNEY- I booked our reservation through Disney's exclusive 'travel agency' at 407-934-7639. I got the tickets to the parks, our meal plan, and accommodations all on 1 phone call. In order to book your reservation all you need is to deposit $100/person and you can make the reservations 8 months in advance. Then the trip has to be paid in full 45 days before your stay. It's a travel agency just for Disney parks, cruises and resorts. It is very convenient and they treat you like you're the best customer they've ever had. It is also nice to have access to all your reservations in one spot. Either with one phone call or simply visiting their website you can make changes to your reservations, I preferred to call in when I had to make changes to my reservation because they could answer any questions I had. Also, I highly suggest the travel insurance it's not that much of an extra fee (maybe $60 if I remember correctly) and could be totally worth it. I actually changed the dates of our trip 3 times with no penalties or additional fees.
- Get the Deluxe Dining Meal Plan- With this we had 3 meals per day-we could sit down and get a full service meal at a restaurant or a quick service meal (like a fast food meal-but MUCH better) actually one of my top 5 best meals I've ever had in my life was at one of these 'quick service meals' in downtown Disney. We also got 2 snacks each (chips, cookies...) and we each got a Disney refillable mug. It was plenty of food and since our daughter was not yet 3 we did not have to get a meal plan for her.
- Fast Pass- The fast pass had me positively confused. I think I get it now though. You get 3 Fast Passes with your ticket per day. You go online to pick which attraction/ride you wanted to go to and pick a time. Then you get to totally bypass the entire line. This worked out for a few times. Some attractions, like meeting Pocahontas, did not have the option. It is a great convenience, and was awesome to walk right in while others are standing in a 45 minute line. Makes you feel like a VIP. For instance when we went to meet Belle, there was a 45 minute wait in line, we walked right up, swiped our Magic Bands and walked right in- it was wonderful.
- Magic Bands- Unfortunately we had some problems with our Magic Bands because I had added on an extra night last minute, but the idea of them is very cool. You go online, pick your color and character. Then the bands are overnighted to you. Your magic band is everything, your room key, your meal vouchers, your tickets to the park, you also scan them when you want to make a purchase at a gift shop, at the bar at your hotel...it's everything...and they're water proof, you can wear them in the pool. Our bands didn't work flawlessly so I'll just say that Disney World more than made up for the problems we experienced with our Magic Bands. The Magic Bands are new to Disney and they are still working out all the kinks.
- Stock up on some things for our hotel room- With our Deluxe Dining Meal Plan we all got a Disney Refillable mug that we could fill up with pop or water all day free of charge at our resort. However, we all drink a lot of water and it was kind of a pain to go downstairs to the cafe where we could get the drinks every time we wanted something. I would have liked to have had about 3 cases of water to have in our room...which came with a fridge.
- Park Hopper- We didn't get the Park Hopper and I was mad at myself for it, it was only a difference of maybe $20-$30 extra/person/day (so only $120 total). I had it in my head that we would only be in one park/day and have no reason to go to more than one park. First of all, to be able to take advantage of all the character dining you would need this option. We had to be very precise when making all of our reservations and plans. Incidentally we had limited ourselves by not having the Park Hopper. Luckily there was one day where our hotel gave us the Park Hopper passes for free because we had some problems with our reservation. It was so nice, that day we had gone to the Animal Kingdom, then back to our hotel and in the evening we were able to go to the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks at night. We wouldn't have been able to that if they hadn't given us the Park Hopper that day. Unexpectedly this ended up being a very interesting evening for us as it was the day we met the English family and spent 6 hours with them!
- Do not rent a car- Don't waste your money, unless you are certain that you will be going off the resort. Disney World is gigantic, it's actually larger than 17 different countries. There is a shuttle to take you anywhere you need to go and everything else can be delivered at a reasonable cost. Also if you fly a Disney Shuttle will pick you from the airport. I made sure to take note of those who chose to drive into the parks...it was quite a long walk to the entrance.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
10 Tips to enhance your trip to Disney World
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