Favorite thing: This may sound silly, but if you plan on visiting Disney, I strongly suggest that you bring your own bottle of water. The best thing to do is to bring a frozen bottle of water and drink it as it melts. When you run out, simply refill your water bottle at one of the many drinking fountains located throughout the park. Otherwise you'll get stuck paying for bottled water and at $2.50 a pop, that can add up really, really fast.
Free things @ Disney World during Thanksgiving & New Years:
At the Contemporary Resort & its 14th floor California Grill about 1/2 hour before the Magic Kingdom fireworks start. You have to go to either the 2nd or 4th floor to catch an express elevator to the restaurant. Tell the check-in desk that you don’t have reservations but are going to the California Grill for drinks (you really don’t have to buy anything) & to watch the fireworks. It is Disney's tallest building with large windows & 2 outdoor view walkways - 1 on each side for a unique view! Bonus: the martinis are quite nice but pricey.
After fireworks, take the lobby's monorail on the 4th floor & ride it around to The Grand Floridian & Polynesian Village resorts. You can go inside each resort to see their Christmas decorations. Kids will think the monorail is an “adventure” & it’s free!
The monorail also goes to Epcot & it runs above parts of Epcot so you can see how large Epcot & World Showcase are. To get there from the Contemporary resort monorail station, ride to the transportation center, disembark & board the Epcot monorail.
Check the Wilderness Lodge lobby. They usually have a great gingerbread house collection & outside @ the pool area, follow the sidewalk down to the geyser area also to a boat dock. Take a Disney boat to another resort or just stay on the boat for a roundtrip. It’s free.
During the day, go to Animal Kingdom Lodge resort & after you check the pool & lobby, go out back thru the lobby & view live animals roaming the area (free) from 3 viewing areas on both sides of the lobby and 1 around the pool. At night there's an African-born guide with night-vision binoculars so you can view animals roaming the grounds. The guides are extremely helpful & friendly as are all Disney employees (they are called cast members).
Fondest memory: Some WDW observations & experiences:
WDW, in the midst of summer, can be difficult at best due to the heat & humidity if you are not used to it. My favorite time to visit is between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One advantage about staying at a Disney “Value Priced” property is that they have value-priced food courts with cafeteria-style café & deli-priced food for the whole family on-site. They also have children’s play areas and themed swimming pools.
Suggestion: buy a foam cooler ($5.00) & milk, juice, cereal, finger foods at a local grocery store & fill the chest with ice (free) if your room does not have a refrigerator.
You don’t have to stay on property to be able to take the Disney transportation system of boats, monorail, buses, etc. free-but they always have the right to ask for Disney guest ID.
Every Disney resort has a gatehouse with security & they will ask for your photo ID unless you have a Disney car pass on your dashboard. Tell the guard you're checking the resort or going to dine. Show ID & drive to a self-parking area.
All Disney’s Resorts are decorated for Christmas-time holidays, so resort-hop just to look at the beautiful special themed decorations in the grand lobbies. Their gift shops can be sensory overload for the kids.
Downtown Disney & Pleasure Island are free now. Park at one end of the parking lot & walk all of the shops- a Lego store with an outside play area, & all sorts of Legos that children can just play with as long as they want. The stores are all child friendly & have toys, candy & clothes. Boats the Rainforest Café station go from Downtown Disney to other resorts.
Anyplace near a theme park or Downtown Disney provides a nice viewing of fireworks displays.
If you are at WDW during January, you can watch the annual Disney marathon like I did this year. Events occur year-round and checking the Disney websites for special events at a time you are considering is advisable.
Favorite thing: So many of us feel as though doing the Disney thing is something you "must" do. This can be a FUN place but also be careful...it can be extremely pricey. I would suggest staying at one of the Disney resorts that fits your budget. Much easier and much cheaper. Definitely try to do all that you can to go on the off-season.
MGM ‘s “Extreme stunt show” , “Laser show” and “Voyage of the little Mermaid “ live on stage, Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3-D are my favorite and very impressive shows, especially first one they show you the same cars ,motorbikes and trucks tricks as the use when they make the movie!!!
Fondest memory: Favorite characters,colorful parades.A cast memebers treat kids like royalty.You wish the day time would be much longer at this place!
Epcot is my most favorite park. It’s divided into two sections Tomorrow land and World Trade showcase. Lots fun for kids: like my child created her own robot with educational part about recycling, had a journey into imagination with Figment twice, stopped at every kidcot station, played in the leaping fountains and more.
Every country there representing their own country has employees from that country. So in a French restaurant we were served by French waiter and ate French cuisine, which was delicious! The same thing with China; the food doesn’t really differ from Chinese restaurants in our area though. I explored there that my child likes Alice, and she gave her a big hug for that confession. You can buy British tea from a little shop in England there that is neat too. Mexico has a ride through its history that is so relaxing just to sit in a boat and sail along spectacular banks of historical scenery. Morocco was not so exiting for me as for my child since I grew among pretty much the same stuff, Muslim countries has pretty much a lot in common mosaic walls, domes ,beads and thin fabrics. Norway is very woody and lovely too.
Fondest memory: We go to Disney before Christmas it’s so lovely there at this time-Christmas trees, all kind of Santa’s in Epcot, holiday spirit, lovely decorations everywhere!Night firework show in the pond area is fabulous. This one and the laser show in MGM Studios adorably wonderful.
My favorite things are shows; I don’t go to parks for roller coasters only.
I just love their shows all of them: they are interesting, short and funny. Festivals of the Lion King-live performance and 3D theaters are something really worth to watch, don’t miss parade it’s the best at the animal kingdom as I think!
Kids have a lot of things to do too. My child was a researcher, identifying whose sound it is –she enjoyed it I bet. She was delighted to meet a naked mole rat there (famous pet from Kim Possible) .Little “pet and brush an animal” spot is the reason you cannot move on, since children think that’s what exactly they are here for!
And just look around, look at these bird on the trees in my picture I think it’s millions of them.
Kilimanjaro safari is another fun you cannot miss-we even bought safari outfit to fit the scenery.
Fondest memory: It’s always a pleasure to meet your favorite character, you feel something special. If you love animals, can relax and enjoy the ride and know how to have fun it’s a double fun and enjoyable thing to visit a place like this one.I love the places that are family friendly and this one is a special one!
If you really want to get the most out of your Disney vacation, you can use a personal guide for your trip. Disney provides this VIP service (for a fee) where you basically have a personal guide to all the attractions. They know how to use the fast pass system, which rides to do first, make reservations at restaurants, arrange transportation, etc. You can basically see much more in a shorter time frame with less time worrying about the mechanics of the trip. I used Michael's VIP serivice as they can provide a tour guide for Universal Studios and other non Disney attractions as well. I really recommend this service! It's worth the extra cost.
I think arrangements for the VIP tour is made through the Disney Special Activities Office. Michaels' VIP tours web site is shown here:
Favorite thing: You can purchase tickets online for a slight extra cost for shipping and handling. I thought we could buy ours at our resort but they said for the one day tickets that they would just give us a voucher that we had to redeem. We kept seeing very long lines at the ticket booths at EPCOT and at the monorail transfer point so we waited until we got to the Magic Kingdom and I spotted a credit card purchase machine with no line right next to the Will Call which was also selling tickets. It was a bit later in the day though (around 11:30), it may be busier earlier in the day.
One of the things I like best about DisneyWorld is the introduction of FastPass which saves an incredible amount of time that you would have spent standing in line doing something else. Only the popular rides with the longest lines utilize FastPass, they are marked in the Park map, you get the FastPass by inserting your admission ticket into the FastPass machine in front of the attraction. The return time window is marked at the entrance to the ride and on the FastPass ticket.
We got a FastPass for Stitch's Great Escape (waste of time) first, our return window was about an hour later so we went off to go on something else while we were waiting for our slot. The FastPass line usually goes pretty quickly, certainly much quicker than standing in the general line.
Fast Pass was even more valuable at EPCOT where there are fewer attractions and longer standby wait times. Get your FastPass for Soarin' or Test Track as soon as you get to the Park, Soarin' actually ran out of FastPass slots by midafternoon. And check the FastPass to see when you can get the next one, sometimes it is before your current slot if the wait times are several hours.
There are several unofficial websites devoted strictly to Disney Parks with tips on how to save money, how to beat the crowds, what rides to go on, advice on hotels, really any advice you could think to ask you will probably find on these websites and discussion boards. Here are three that I've found helpful:
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