A few years ago we had seasonal passes to Walt Disney World. That is one of the perks of living in Florida. Over the course of two years we learned quite a bit about the parks and some tips that might be helpful for visitors, especially from out of state.
#10: Plan your trip well in advance. One of the things I have observed is a lot of people come to Orlando with the goal of seeing everything but really have no plan. Yes, it is possible to get cheap theme park tickets if you are willing and qualify for a time share presentation. Most presentations will last at least 90 minutes but they have a way of taking a great chunk of time. Also, some are more reputable than others. For example Westgate Resorts are very high pressure while others like BlueGreen have a classier presentation.
#9: Consider booking a package through Disney including meals. Package deals that include hotel, tickets and meals can be quite affordable. If you book a package deal the meal plan is better option than buying food in the park al acart.
#8: Stay on property. Staying on property has many advantages. Disney has a wide variety of lodging options ranging from campgrounds to luxury accommodations. One of the perks of staying on the property is transportation. Disney provides transportation to and from the airport as well as from on-property lodging to the parks. This eliminates the need for a rental car and paying for parking. Also, Disney offers Extra Magic hours to those staying on property. This gives you extra time in the park. Be sure to check on the nights and parks being offered during you stay. We were only able to use this feature once or twice most of the time it didn’t fit with our plans.
#7: Make dinning reservations for sit down meals. Reservations make it easier to get in at sit down restaurants. If wish to dine at one of the premier locations like Cinderella’s Castle or other character dining you must make reservations early. Reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance by calling 1-(407) WDW-DINE.
#6: Plan for breaks during the day. If you stay on property it is possible to return to your hotel and take a break during the afternoon and return to the park later. Shows like the Muppet 3-D at Disney’s Holleywood Studios is a great place to cool off and even catch a short nap.
#5: Lunch prices at the buffets and higher end places are usually cheaper than dinner. One expection is if it is character dinning. We like to eat at the German restruant in EPCOT for lunch and then eat a light dinner. Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is another favorite but it is character dinning at lunch so unless you have preschoolers stick with dinner.
#4: Give yourself time to enjoy the trip. Don’t try to pack too much into one short trip. Many people come to Orlando planning to visit all of the Disney Parks, Sea World and Universial. That can be quite a bit to pack into even a one week trip.
#3: Drink lots of water. I know this one is common sense. Avoid drinking too many sodas. I try to drink water exept at meal times.
#2: The food at Disney is not the standard theme park faire. Disney has some amazing food options. Where else can you get smoked salmon in the food court. Oh, and they have the best mac and cheese. Disney has everything from sit down restaurants to food stands. QSLs or quick service locations offer restaurant quality food served fast. Some of our favorites include:
- Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn and Cafe has very good burgers complete with a topping bars. Liberty Tree Tavern is a great lunch location for sit down dining. Make reservations for this one. At night it offers character dininng. The market in front of Liberty Tree is a great place to pick up fruit or other snacks.
- EPCOT: The food may be one of the best parts about EPCOT. Biergarten (the German Restaurant) is the Big Guy’s favorite. Go at lunch time and be sure to get reservations. This is a buffet so we usually just eat a light dinner. My favorite is the fish and chips stand behind the British Pub. It is a lot cheaper there than in the restaurant.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studio: Hollywood & Vine is one of our favorites and it has a buffet. There is one catch: For breakfast and dinner Hollywood & Vine is character dining with Playhouse Disney. So unless you have preschoolers stick with dinner and be sure to make reservations. Oh, and check out the kids buffet it has some good offerings including Mac and Cheese. The ABC Commissary is a nice food court with many options.
- Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom has the least food offerings of all the parks. Tusker House was our favorite. It now offers a buffet for lunch and dinner. The chicken is cooked over an open flame and is very good.
#1: Avoid the summer. The best time to visit Disney is in October and Novemeber and late January to February. The weather is not to hot and for those from colder states may be a welcome change.
Now it is your turn. What are some of your favorite travel tips?