Our family spent a full week at Disney World Jan. 2-9 (a great time to go, by the way), and thanks to having an iPhone with me, I was able to post vacationing tips I picked up along the way. Now I’m offering them to you. I hope this helps those of you planning to visit one or all of the Disney parks sometime soon!
1. Never make a reservation for Chef Mickey’s less than two weeks before you plan to eat there. There won’t be any left! You can actually book reservations at a Disney restaurant up to three months in advance. Use this link to make your reservation there or at any other Disney restaurant.
2. If you reserve a character buffet meal, be prepared to empty your pockets. Not cheap. But, the food and entertainment are well worth the money. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at The Grand Floridian’s 1900 Park Fare. Cinderella’s evil stepsisters are hilarious!
3. If you’re going to force – yes, force – your kids to ride all of the Disney roller coasters like my husband and I did, you may as well show them the YouTube videos of each ride to prepare them! You can watch pretty good home videos of most of Disney’s rollercoasters on YouTube. Here’s one of Everest at Animal Kingdom.
4. Use the Disney mobile site to find out ride wait times while you’re walking around the park. They’re categorized as “see now,” “moderate” or “high demand.” You can also identify which rides offer fast passes, and whether fast passes are still available for that day.
5. Fast passes are good even AFTER the hour they expire as long as you use them that day.
6. If you stay at a Disney resort, look around for hidden Mickey faces in the bedspread, artwork, shower curtain and other places. I even found one in the shower wall marble work. Ask the bellhop for tips on where to look when he delivers your luggage. (And don’t forget to leave a tip!) This website also claims you can find hidden Mickeys at Disney restaurants, attractions and other areas—and that there are even hidden Donald Ducks, Minnie Mouses, Goofeys and other well known Disney characters located throughout many of these areas.
7. At Hollywood Studios, get fast passes to the new Toy Story Mania ride as soon as you get there. Fast passes ran out for that ride faster than any other ride at all four parks while we were there, and was a lot of fun! You don’t want to miss that one.
8. If you would like to see a full timeline of Disney’s history, there’s a detailed visual of it in Epcot’s Innoventions West building. For example, Epcot was planned in 1965 when the Magic Kingdom was planned, but wasn’t built until 1982.
9. If you participate in Disney pin trading, there are five hidden Mickey pins in each series – and only five – that have small silver Mickey faces on them. These are considered rare finds so be on the lookout for them.
10. If you don’t want to get stuck in the Magic Kingdom fireworks crowd, take the monorail to a Disney resort, order a drink at the bar and an ice cream for the kids, then head outside by the pool to watch the show. Disney even pipes in Jiminy Cricket’s narration through the hotel speakers.
That’s it for now! Feel free to post additional tips you have discovered in the comments section below this post.
Photo: My daughter, Katie, and I prepare to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom, her favorite ride!