It was worth the visit and I’m happy I experienced Disney. I now understand why families come back a few times per year for many years. However, I’m not sure how they can afford it. The bottom line is you cannot possible see and do everything in a week. Granted I’m simply not into shopping and rides are not my thing, but even so there is lots to see and do.
Here’s my Disney Survival Guide. Not that I know it all but I’m a quick study. Here’s my advise on making your magical adventure a little more magical.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Stock up on something other than carbs. Don’t forget to grab some fruit from the buffet table on the way out the door.
Walking shoes. Make sure you have at least one good pair. If you want to see any of the parks even getting from the parking lots or bus drop off area is a hike. Flip flops are a no no and I would recommend against open toe sandals, way too many kamikaze child carriage pushing parents on some form of time induced death mission. On days were I knew the potential of greeting wet where high I wore water shoes. However, if you are going to be in then all day make sure they provide enough support.
Clothing. In the August heat none would be nice but that ain’t happening. So in light of not scaring the natives I recommend any type of fast drying clothing. I really like EMS Techwick tee shirts. For my bottom 1/2 I wore fast drying workout shorts with build in briefs. Cargo shorts are too heavy and bathing suits with regular net type fabric built in briefs are a big no no. Just try walking in them for a few hours and certain parts of you will be very sorry. Nuf said on that subject. Beyond that I would completely avoid cotton unless feeling and looking like a wet noodle is your idea of a fashion statement.
We also brought light rain jackets but never actually used them. Most folks buy the clear Disney ponchos but I can’t imagine that walking around in a plastic bag is too comfortable, but you will look like the masses!
Water, water, everywhere. Drink it from the time you get up till the time you go to bed. We brought large water bottles and typically re-filled them a few times during the day. At breakfast we had our waiter or waitress fill them with ice water. The bottles are insulated (somewhat) and the ice lasted for a few hours.
Some form of Camelbak may be a good alternative. Depending on the size you may also be able to bring a few essentials, like your wallet, phone, etc. I think if I come back I’ll bring one. The bottom line is stay hydrated or you’ll be hurting.
Plan your trip. If you never visited Disney before it may be a good idea to talk to someone who has (within the last few years) or get a book and read up on it.
Jess is a reader and planned out all our activities ahead of leaving home. However, having very little knowledge of the park (except when she visited as a child) we had no idea where things were or the relationship between then. A scaled map might help as the Disney maps are not to scale, but do show everything. So talking to someone with first hand experience will help.
If you are taking the Disney Buses (which I highly recommend) you need to leave yourself plenty of time to walk from the bus to the ride or whatever it is you are doing.
Disney Fastpass. Create a Disney account, get and install the app on your phone and take advantage of Fastpass. You can book your rides out to 90 days depending on how you booked your vacation (My Disney Experience, etc.). Your fast pass will not get you completely out of waiting in lines, but it will significantly reduce your wait times. One example for us was 5 of 6 minutes verses 2 hours! Fastpass will give you a time range which allows you a little fudge room on getting to the ride and from it to your next activity. Not having Fastpass is like having a Porsche with a three cylinder engine.
Reservation for everything are highly recommended. Everyone needs to eat so you may as well plan ahead and reserve a table. Again, you may not sit down at exactly the time you booked, but it’s better than trying to survive on cotton candy and ice cream from the many street vendors.
Keep in mind that you are a captive audience. Everything cost more money. A tall coffee at the local Starbucks is $1.89 and at Disney it’s $2.40.
Rental strollers. If you think your child cannot walk around all day bring or rent a stroller. Disney has very sturdy single or doubles for rent. It’s not cheap, but it’s easier than carrying a child out at the end of the day. Remember kids have shorter legs and once they wear out that’s it. I witnessed a few melt downs and you can’t really blame the kids….
Communication. Figure out a way to communicate with the other members of your party. Either use cell phones, walkie-talkies, or even text. Most of the park has wifi and unfortunately most kids have iPods….so text at will.
In a perfect world if you could stay out of the parks during the hottest periods of the day that would be ideal. Understandability this is not possible all the time…..but pre planning so your are indoors at least some of the time will help. It’s hot in Florida anytime if you are from the great north east, but August is a tad warmer and more humid.
Having said all that I think I’ll like visit Disney again. I’ll be a little more prepared and I hope you will be also. Thanks to Lenore and Jess for making this all happen.