You’ve talked to your travel agent, read the guide books, and now you believe that you are ready to experience a family vacation to Disney World with your family. However, for many tourists, this vacation taken the first, second, and even the third time, can lead to an intense sensory overload, not to mention too many dehydrating days in the sun, leading one to believe that they missed a lot of what this wonderful area had to offer. As a Floridian, whose family has worked at Disney throughout the years, maps of all four of Disney’s theme parks are forever burned into my memory as are some great survival tips that you and your family might be interested in.
First and foremost, decide as a family what is most important for you all to see. This will vary with the age of your children and your different interests. However, when everyone can decide on a plan, it’s time to plot out your day. For example, if a trip to the Magic Kingdom is agreed upon, decide which rides you MUST go on. Hopefully, you have obtained maps of the theme parks from your travel agent, your travel package, etc. so you know which rides are at what park and where they are. If you haven’t already checked it out, go to Disney’s website. It is a very valuable source of information. So, if your family decides that they must go on Space Mountain first, make that the first ride and bypass everything else. There will be time in the day to backtrack. Also, arrive at least half an hour before the park opens. This will give you time to be at the front gates, ready to make a run towards Space Mountain when the park opens. Be aware of what rides have fast pass tickets available. This will also help your planning as well. Since there are so many rides in the Magic Kingdom, you may not get to go on all of them in a day so only go on the rides you and your family have dreamed about and make it a priority to go on only them.
If going on your Disney vacation during the summer, please stay hydrated. During midday, when the sun beats down and reflects on the concrete, it can really feel like an oven. Contrary to popular belief, you can bring your own water bottles and snacks with you into the park. Just bring a tote bag and, though all bags are checked, Disney officials don’t mind if you have a couple of drinks and a pack of granola bars. Just don’t go overboard. Food prices are high at Disney. Water usually costs around 2.00. Also, from 11:30 in the morning until around 4:00, the theme parks are very busy and the day is at its hottest. Don’t overstress yourself during these times. Instead, find some shade and take a break from the day or go on a ride that you hopefully have a fast pass for. Since the lines are also extraordinary long during these times, if you don’t have a fast pass, go on one of the more unpopular rides where the lines are the shortest. In the Magic Kingdom these rides are The Carousel of Progress and the Hall of Presidents. At Epcot, the pavilion at Mexico is the best place to go and the little boat ride there is very enjoyable.
Another point that I have to stress is eating lunch and dinner. Please make reservations for the fancier sit-down restaurants because if you do not make them, you will be disappointed. Also, the theme parks only have so many fast food restaurants and around 11:30, these places are packed! Believe me, it is no fun having to wait in line for thirty minutes only to have the only place to sit and eat be directly in the hot sun. So if you can, try to eat lunch around 11:00 or at about 1:30. This way you can eat in air conditioning and not have to wait so long. The same is said about dinner. Eat around 4:30 or after 7:00 to have a relaxing meal.
Above all, have fun! This is why so many families experience the Disney vacation year after year and now you can do it right and have a memorable, great time!