Friday, July 10, 2015

Let's Talk Disney World: 15 All Important Tips to Magic Kingdom

One of these days I will likely get around to making my vacation photo montage. I hope. I mean, I haven't really thought about it since getting back home, and I haven't pulled all the pictures and videos off the memory cards, but that doesn't mean I WONT, I just means... well, it might mean I wont. We will see.  But there is one thing from vacation I want to get down here in a post, just to share the knowledge with other future Disney travelers.  In reality, I know there are approximately one billion posts just like this on mommy blogs throughout the blogosphere, but STILL. MY VOICE MATTERS! So here is a list of 15 Disney tips I think are worth sharing.  Mixed in with lots of pictures from our trip, because OBVIOUSLY.

Tip 1. So when planning out trip I used the Unofficial Guide To Disney.  If you only want one piece of advice, here it is.  Buy this book. Read it. Trust it. Pay for the App.  Trust it too.  Your trip will be SO MUCH BETTER FOR IT! This is not a trip where you should wing it. You need a plan.  Or at least, we needed a plan. We were there on two EXTREMELY busy days and the book and app allowed us to ride every single thing we wanted to ride, and to ride some things 2 and even 3 times. All that PLUS both days we took a 4-5 hour break/nap in our rooms*.  It helped make our trip so amazing for all three of us, so if you are going to Disney, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. 

Tip 2: If you are wanting to stay in an economy resort and only need one room for your family, I highly recommend the Pop Century.  It's just like all the other economy hotels (or so I hear...) but it has it's own shuttle, which makes it INFINITELY BETTER!  The room is small, but the hotel is neat. Henry loved it, and we were completely satisfied. When you book your room, I suggest paying the extra $10 a night to be close to the shuttle drop off location. It was WELL WORTH IT.
Tip 3: When taking the shuttle to Magic Kindgom for the first time, Try to get in the back of the bus where the seats are higher and let your kid sit on the driver side. They will be able to see the top of the castle, and they MIGHT start yelling "MAMA! MAMA! I SEE THE CASTLEEE!!!" And fill the entire bus with the magic of Disney before you even get to the gates.

Tip 4: Arrive Early.  Did you know the Magic Kingdom has a "Rope Drop" opening every day? If you are there around 30 minutes before the official opening time  you can see the mayor come out and welcome you to the park. Then singers and dancers come out and sing this "Good Morning" song, THEN the train pulls up full of Mickey and all the Disney Characters.
Guys, it is so freaking magical that I cried a little.  SERIOUSLY.  After that they open the gates and allow people to pour in and it is just awesome watching the crowd head down main street towards the castle. We have it all on video, so if I get around to uploading it I will share.
Tip 5: If you want to meet Elsa and Anna, use a fastpass.  Nick wasn't sure about this but I TRUSTED THE BOOK!  There was always an insane line but we walked right in. Fast Passes are magical. We didn't meet a lot of characters, but Elsa, Anna, and Repunzel were on my Henry's list. We all loved it.

Tip 6: No matter what, meet Mickey.
Everyone.  It's totally worth it.  He did the Hot Dog Dance with Henry and it was AWESOME.

Tip 7: Roll with the punches.  I never really considered rain.  Other events (BIRTHDAYS) I obsess over the weather but it seriously never occurred to me.  We had a lot of rain our first evening (And more importantly, a lot of lightening and thunder) and then more our second night, but that was after midnight as we were leaving, so I hate to complain there. Still, it rained, and through the magic of Disney, we just didn't let it get to us. We ate, we did indoor rides, we sat it out. And in the end, we got the absolute best seats in the house for the fireworks since lots of people had cleared out.  So, WIN!
Tip 8: Take the time to watch the fireworks show from directly in front of the castle.  It ALSO made me cry. (THERE WERE A LOT OF TEARS OF JOY DURING THIS TRIP)
Tip 9: If you want to be sure to ride the coasters, plan on doing it early in the day if you are there in the summer. This might just be because we happened to get rain both evenings, but guys it rains in Florida in the summer.  And if it's thundering, they shut down the coasters. We had saved the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain for the evenings. Henry would have been really bummed if we missed them, but luckily we spent two days at Magic Kingdom and were able to ride them on day 2.
Tip 10: The snack food is good, the real food is sometimes not.  Day one we had burgers for dinner and they were really not great. Day two we spent more and went to the Liberty Tavern. It's pricy and also a little unusual to have a full on Thanksgiving meal at an amusement park, but for us it was worth it to eat quality food for the first time in days. Next time I will work harder on planning out where to eat.
Tip 11: Sometimes buying the light up souvenir is totally worth it.
Tip 12: A really great place to catch the Electrical Parade without having to spend a long time waiting is right where it ends near Splash Mountain. We got there just a little before it started and had a great spot.

Tip 13: taking pictures on rides doesn't really work well.  Epically if they are in the dark. I kept trying anyway.

Tip 14: Ride the classics. They will bring back your own childhood memories. (Assuming your childhood memories include a trip to Disney).

Tip 15: Try your best NOT to look like the most scared person in the picture of Splash Mountain. But if you fail, it will be okay. Your spouse just might make fun of you. (The girl in front me of looks like she is on the lazy river!)

Okay, that's all I've got for now, but I have more pictures to share. Some of them I might have already posted, but am too lazy to go look. So, here are ALL of the pictures I love from our Disney trip.  It was amazing. So much better than I could have hoped.  We can't WAIT to go back.

*When the book says you should take a 4-5 hour break in the heat of the day, you will be like "NO! I don't want to lose all that time!" but TRUST ME, it will be worth it, especially if you have two days in the park to work with. With the crazy heat and the growing crowd, Nick and I needed the break as much as Henry did. Plus, it makes the evening/run to the fireworks down right easy. We were in the park from 7:30am-noonish, then came back at 5pm and stayed until 1am. It was perfect and still gave us 13.5 hours at the park, which was PLENTY.


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