If you have ever visited Walt Disney World or Disneyland you know that a certain kind of family exists within the boundaries of the parks that is almost inhuman. The Disney Family. They are the ones up at dawn to get their character breakfast in and they last until the extra magic hours end past 1:00am. Well ladies and gents, I come from one of those families. I have been more times than I can count, my mother has been even more than that and was there the year it opened and my sister was a performer in Orlando. So I am writing this post due to the coming vacation season and for all those families at are making their first trip this year. So here is your guide to conquering Walt Disney World.
Eye on the Mouse: Keys to Success
To Save $$$- Disney Dining Plan! All you need is a restaurant reservation in the am & evening and a snack during the day. It works.
A family on average spends seven days on vacation including travel time. Disney doesn't work without a schedule. We see everything and here is how you do it:
-Arrival- Arrive. Get settled. Don't jump in the parks that first night, you'll waste a day on your hopper pass when you'll be too tired too early. Instead spend the night in Downtown Disney, grab a bite at The Earl of Sandwich and finish with ice cream from Ghiardelli's. An early bedtime leaves you refreshed in the am.
I recommend your first day be at the Magic Kingdom.
We start with a character breakfast. Chef Mickey's is our first choice because of it's close proximity to the Magic Kingdom at the Contemporary Resort. Get that 7:30 am slot so you can monorail over to Magic Kingdom for 9:00 start. (Fun fact: want to be picked to be the Grand Marshals of the afternoon parade? Get on Mains St. USA early during entry for hotel guests. That's when we were asked!) A good second choice is the 1900 Park Fare breakfast at the Grand Floridian.
Get those fast passes as soon as you walk into the park they sell out quick! My sister Kelly sets a meeting point with us and runs ahead with our passes to get them and meets us at one of the less popular ride. Grab Space Mountain first the Splash.
Oh yea... Here's Kelly as Rusty's Girl in the Christmas Parade.
Magic Kingdom Tips:
- If it is your second day at the park skip the parades and get on your favorite rides. Most people will be watching allowing you to get a couple Splash Mountain runs. Our personal favorite is Space Mountian.
-To get the Cinderellas Royal Table or Be Our Guest you have to be on the website to reserve as soon as it becomes available, keep refreshing. If you didn't make reservations the day it doesn't hurt to walk up and ask if there is room that evening. My mother has got in twice doing that. She's real Disney expert.
- Magic Kingdom does take two days. Fantasy Lands are very long. On your first visit hit the parades, fireworks, Tomorrowland, FantasyLand and Frontierland. On your second visit which will probably your half day hit Adventureland, revisit your favorite rides and of course see those fireworks again. I love Wishes!
Taking a much needed break waiting for a table at Tony's on Main St. USA
Day Two: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow AKA Epcot
Epcot is a a more leisurely day. One day is plenty but you do need to get there as soon as the park opens. No sleeping in at Disney!
-Get in there and head straight to Soarin' (My fave ride of all the parks.) Before the lines form sometimes you can get in three times. Then get your fast pass to Test Track. Test Track's line moves SO slow so fp is a MUST.
- Mission Space- ride at your own risk. Not a huge fan.
- You've done Figment, The Land, Test Track and Soarin' now before you fall asleep hit Ellen's Energy Adventure to rest up. It is 45 min long and gives your feet a rest.
- The World Showcase- hit it the second half of your day. Love the Maelstrom ride in Norway, a mini Splash Mountain.
- For dinner we have tried almost all of the World Showcase restaurants. Choose Biergarten in Germany.
Day Three: Animal Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom does not take a full day.
-Start with a yummy breakfast with Donald Duck at the Tusker House. Just like Chef Mickey's, great photo op and easier to reserve.
-Get those Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Passes as soon as the park opens and while waiting hit the It's Tough to be a Bug! 3-D in the Tree of Life while waiting for your time to roll around.
- If you plan on being soaked the rest of the day, hit the Bali River Rapids. My sister's and I's dinner was ruined on our first visit after riding. I never went on again!
Part Dos for Day Three and Your Day Four
- Use this time time to hit a water park or revisit your favorite park. (We are Typhoon Lagoon Fans!)
-Try the Disney Boardwalk near the Swan and Dolphin. Nice for a relaxing night with a view of the lagoon.
Finish with Hollywood Studios
-I say this because you HAVE to conclude your visit with FANTASMIC! Mickey triumphing over all of the Disney Villains fireworks show will leave you feeling like all your time at Disney was worth it.
-Research and see which restaurants give you guaranteed Fantasmic tickets. Although if you get in line as soon as they open the gates to the stadium you will get a seat. Grab a snack and during your hour wait on the bleachers prepare to do the wave!
-You don't need fast passes for Tower of Terror line moves very quickly.
- AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN get the fast pass to Toy Story Midway Mania. THEY SELL OUT.
- Use the single rider line for Rockin' Roller Coaster. Moves fast.
And to Finish- The Blanskchen Weber Family's Favorites
- The patriarch, aka my dad Dave, likes the Port Orleans Resort. Not as expensive as Grand Floridian but east access to the parks and he enjoys the boats you can rent to cruise around Disney's Seven Seas.
- Leave your purses behind and invest in a small backpack to carry your water especially if it is summer. Waters in the park are like 5.00.
-Hoop Dee Doo Revue was our favorite dining experience. Plan this on your Animal Kingdom day!
- Halloween is our favorite time to visit. Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween puts on the best show out of all the holidays. Don't believe me? Ask my Mom, she's been there for every single holiday.
- Favorite lunch snack, Popcorn!
- Invest in mouse ears every time.
-Wishes is worth seeing multiple times. Illuminations at Epcot can be missed if already seen.
-Take advantage of the monorail and your extra magic hours. Done with Magic Kingdom? Monorail to Epcot to see the park after the non Disney property guest filter out.
This blogpost does not even begin to cover everything. Much like the trip, there is to much to cover in one post! If you are planning a trip and need some guidance we can offer more than any travel book. Feel free to comment below and I can help!
Some more of our Disney Fun: