Walt Disney World Hacks

Walt Disney World Hacks
                                                                                                   Walt Disney World Hacks

      The epic family trip to Walt Disney World was a success after all. There were a few rocky moments as to be expected, but everything turned out fine by the end of the day. Not even the temperature dipping down to 61 degrees with wind chill or parks filled to capacity could stop the Disney Magic from taking effect. We even had to tend to a sick child during the first day when we flew into Orlando, Florida.
       It’s no secret that I’m not a Disney World fan, but I am glad that I went with the family. My wife and children truly appreciated their gift and had the time of their lives. Of course the fun moments were usually interrupted  with disciplining children and dealing with sibling rivalry. My experiences at Disney World during this trip were quite different than previous visits because I tried to keep an open mind. The lessons that I learned from my wife were invaluable. I would like to share some of the these tips with you to ensure that you will have an enjoyable trip when you visit the Disney World.. Let’s start with the first of Walt Disney World Hacks.

Chilly Day In Hollywood Studios
              Chilly Day In Hollywood Studios

Dress Appropriately:
        The temperature dropped to 61 degrees on Animal Kingdom day and I was the only one in my family that dressed for the weather. My wife and children saw the beautiful Florida sun and decided to wear shorts and paid the price. Once the sun started to set, the temperature plummeted to the low 50’s. My wife and children were very uncomfortable in shorts and t-shirts, but persevered and made the best of the situation. Just remember that Florida gets cold just like everywhere else and its better to take off a layer, than not have the extra layer at all.
       Florida is famous for its tropical weather so make sure that you pack a poncho or umbrella. More than likely at some point during the week you will be caught in a rain storm. We were lucky and were only caught in the rain once, but if this had been the rainy season, it would have been a daily event.

Resort Transportation:                                                                                                                                                                                                              For starters, if you are staying on resort and are dependent upon Walt Disney World transportation, expect delays. It actually took 45 minutes before our Disney transportation bus arrived to the resort for Magic Kingdom. While waiting, we had multiple buses that were scheduled for our stop drive pass us because they were filled to capacity.
This became the norm, but I did find a number to call Walt Disney World transportation when experiencing delays longer than 20 minutes. You may want to jot down (407) 939-7433 just in case your transportation does not show up after 20 minutes. When I  called, they placed me on hold and when they came back on, they had the exact location and time of our next bus.

Security Checkpoint at Magic Kingdom
Security Checkpoint at Magic Kingdom

Security Checkpoint:
    The security checkpoints at Walt Disney World are taken much more seriously these days. Disney World deserves credit for ensuring the safety of their guest,  but it does cause unexpected delays. When we arrived at Magic Kingdom, our jaws dropped when we saw the line in front of us. It moved quick enough, but it was intimidating and time consuming. We discovered that if you don’t bring a bag, you are allowed to bypass the security check point and this can be quite useful knowledge if you are in a hurry. By the way, fanny packs count as a bag. I learned this when park security called my wife back to the checkpoint to be rechecked.

Coffee:
   If you are like me, you need a cup of coffee in the morning to get you going.  Walt Disney World does supply a complimentary coffee machine in your room, but I felt the coffee was quite weak. I figured I would grab some at the park and was astonished to find very long coffee lines.  The line for Starbucks actually appeared to be more like a line for a ride. I suggest bringing along some instant coffee or an energy drink to hold over til the lines subside. Nothing like waiting in line for 30 minutes for a cup of coffee while your family stands by patiently waiting on you

Food and Snacks:
   Did you know that you can bring small coolers into Walt Disney World? This is probably one of  Walt Disney World Hacks that is least known.  Its worth the hassle of bringing one into the park if you are on a tight budget. If you have a stroller, its very convenient to place the cooler in the undercarriage or on top by the handle bars. You can also save money by purchasing a 11.99 popcorn bucket with refills for only 1.99. This is a easy cheap way to have snacks throughout your stay at Walt Disney World. Just don’t lose the bucket three days into the trip like we did.

210 minute wait for Avatar at Animal Kingdom
210 minute wait for Avatar at Animal Kingdom

Fastpass:
     Please use the Fastpass system. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting in line for hours on end when you don’t have to. Walt Disney World hacks have utilized this system for many years now and it is always evolving. Fast Passes used to be distributed throughout the park via kiosk on printed out tickets with a time window for  you to arrive at a ride. This allowed guest to bypass the longest of lines and have a better experience at the park. The system is still the same, but if you are staying on resort, you will receive a magic band. This band is now used in place of the old school printed out tickets. If you are staying off resort, you can get a plastic card in its place.                                                                              If you forget about all the other Walt Disney World Hacks that I just described, please remember this one.  My wife  registered in advance for three of the earliest available Fast Passes, then once we rode all three of those rides, she would use the Disney App to sign up for more passes. It blew my mind how well this worked at Magic Kingdom. Just remember that these reservations need to be made in advance in order for this to work for you. 60 days out for those staying on resort and 30 days if you have accommodations else where.

 Restroom:
     Due to the popularity of Walt Disney World these days, you will find that the most basic of amenities can be strained. Pay attention to where all bathrooms are located and make a mental note. Some are much busier than others and this may matter at the most inconvenient of times. When the parks are extremely crowded, both men and women restrooms have lines going out of the doors. 

Alcohol:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           If you are staying on resort and enjoy to have a nightcap in the evenings, I suggest bringing your own alcohol. The cheapest beer starts at $8 and goes up from there. I am not a heavy drinker, but I enjoy to have a drink every now and then. I chose to say no to the inflated alcohol prices and I will have a beer when I go home. 

Disney App and Message Boards:
       Walt Disney World has an awesome app that seems like it is integrated into everything. This app is a great resource for maps, waiting time for rides, scheduling fast passes, and so much more.  I suggest for you to have this app loaded on your phone ready to go before you arrive to the theme park.                                                                                                                             Please take advantage of message boards like DisBoards to gain as much knowledge as possible about Walt Disney World before going on your adventure. The more knowledge that you obtain before your trip will help guarantee your success.

In conclusion, Walt Disney World with all its faults is still the happiest place on earth. You just need to plan ahead to guarantee the success of the trip.

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Walt Disney World Hacks

Walt Disney World Resort Vacation 2/25/20

Walt Disney World Vacation
                                                                           Walt Disney World Resort Vacation

Here I am soaring at an altitude of 10,000 feet creating a blog entry from my cellphone on the Samsung Notepad App. Not quite sure how this is going to work out, but I am just too excited not to share the events of today. My wife and I decided to surprise the children with a trip to Florida via flight. They were expecting to drive down, but this time things are different.

My parents retired about five years and moved to the sunny state of Florida. Up until today, we have driven cross country with children from Pennsylvania on the average of once every 6 months. My wife and I decided to change things up on this trip by flying to Florida in style with the family on Southwestern Airlines. We are also going to spend 7 days at Walt Disney World Resort after spending two days with my parents.

My wife has been extremely excited about this Walt Disney World Resort vacation because I presented it to her as a well deserved gift. She has had an undying passion for the Walt Disney World ever since I met her 16 years. I must admit I used to love going to Walt Disney World equally as much as her, but have soured towards the theme park over the years due to inflated cost.

After much deliberation, my wife decided to have a scavenger hunt around the house where the children found various clues. Eventually the clues led to a big cling wrap ball with candy and treats wrapped up in it at different layers. After some time, the kids reached the center after taking about 5 turns of 10 seconds each and found the luggage tags. They just threw them to the side and failed to read them. I looked over at my wife and she said ‘not yet’ to me, ‘there is more’.

At this point like a good husband, I got up and walked into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. The temptation to spill the beans was too great and I know myself. I got about halfway through my cup when I heard the children yell out that we were flying. It made sense to them then because we traditionally drove down overnight immediately once they arrived home from school and this was already the next day. The oldest was excited, the middle child was nervous, and the youngest is sick.

No family trip is complete with out one of the kids getting sick and almost ruining everything. She was a little soldier and persevered even though her stomach was aching with some type of virus. Thank God it wasn’t a full blown stomach virus with vomiting and bathroom runs every 10 minutes. We would have surely had to postpone the trip then.

The airport went as smoothly as possible with all the added security measures after 9/11. To be quite honest, the kids did a good job not being too excited and following every instruction given to the best of their ability. Once through the TSA checkpoint, we headed down the flight terminal and found a seat.

The youngest gave us a bit of a scare when she requested a drink. My wife brought her a Gatorade and she immediately said that she needed to throw up. My wife rushed her to the bathroom and all she did was use the facilities fortunately. We realize that we are blessed and the situation could have been much worst, if not disastrous.

Once it was time to board the plane, my wife’s research paid off. Even though we were registered as boarding group B, we were able to board as a family because the youngest was under 6 years old. We handed off the stroller and found seats directly across from each other.

As usual, the excitement of take off was infectious but suddenly died off to in-flight boredom not much different from a road trip. The sky turned from clear blue to being filled with clouds that looked like someone threw a bag of cotton balls in the air. The middle child who chose to sit with me asked what were the white things. With a brief chuckle I told her they were clouds.

So here we are soaring above Georgia heading to Florida to start our well deserved vacation. I sure hope things go off with out a hitch and we can surprise the kids on Tuesday morning when my wife tells them about Walt Disney World Resort Vacation.

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Walt Disney World Resort Vacation

 

What’s All the Hoopla about Disney World

          I am just another middle aged guy with a wife who is absolutely mesmerized by the Walt Disney franchise. She has begun to spread her fascination of Disney onto our little girls and it’s all they talk about. Even right now, as I type this blog, I hear “Love Is An Open Door” playing on the television. I will admit Frozen was a good movie, but my gosh, must I endure this movie for another 4 years since the older girls have moved on but the youngest has just fallen in love with Elsa.   
What’s All the Hoopla about Disney World
What’s All the Hoopla about Disney World

 

          My lovely and loyal wife’s passion with Disney does not just stop with the movies but also includes Disney World theme park. This theme park is not just the most magical place on earth, but also one of the most expensive places to visit. But what is a good husband and father to do other than fulfill his wife and children’s dream of visiting Disney. Not once, not twice, but over and over again. I wish they would take some inspiration from Frozen and just Let It Go, but that will never happen.

          Let me explain why I have become so anti-Disney over years, because this was not always the case. I had the great fortune of growing up in a middle class family that was able to visit Disney World twice during my youth. I remember begging my father in the late eighties to purchase a Goofy hat that was fairly expensive and him succumbing to my poor puppy dog eyes. Those family trips we took to Disney World are priceless to me and nothing will ever take them away.
          I returned to Disney World as an adult in 2004 with two children from an unsuccessful marriage and my girlfriend who is now my wife. The cost of the trip was somewhere between the cost of $1800 and $2400 including a few bells and whistles. We decided to surprise the children by waking them up in the middle of night and telling them we were headed to Disney World via the airport. Quite an exciting event since they had never flown before.
          The trip was absolutely awesome other than the fact that it rained everyday around 3:00pm with a significant temperature drop until the next day. That didn’t stop us from having the time of our lives. Disney World was still fairly priced and you received a bang for your buck. The dining plan was still fairly priced and it included everything from snacks, sodas, and restaurants if you took the time to make reservations in advance. When I say restaurants, I mean all the restaurants except Chef Mickeys which was worth the additional cost.
          I remember standing there at the age of 28 caught up in the hoopla watching the fireworks go off at Magic Kingdom one night deciding that I was daring enough to dream a dream. I was amazed with Disney World and wanted to buy some stock when I returned home. I didn’t unfortunately because it only cost $30.00 a share back then. It now goes for $140 a share. My loss is someone else’s gain I guess.
          We are going to jump forward now to year 2020 with me disenfranchised with Disney World and this is why. The theme park has lost its way and is being led by greedy corporate America and not Walt Disney’s dream. The cost to visit Disney has more than doubled and this does not include any bells and whistles. It doesn’t even include a meal plan. It’s gotten so bad that Disney heiress Abigail Disney came forward and voiced her dissatisfaction with the direction that the Walt Disney executives have chosen.
While planning our next trip, we agreed to forego the meal plan because it is just too expensive and we will pack sandwiches instead. I then mentioned drinks and she told me what the budget was for refreshments. I looked at her like she was crazy as she informed me that the sodas were over $4 a bottle. At this point I said WTF and that I was done with Disney World. Somehow in less than 20 years I went from eating steak dinners with grilled tuna appetizers to tuna fish sandwiches and bottle water for double the price. Something is very wrong here.
Walt Disney World at some point will be brought back to reality when they lose their most loyal fans. Disney was built upon the American dream and it feels like they have turned their backs on hard working middle class American families. They are more intent in bringing in travelers from abroad who are willing to pay a higher price to visit Disney World. Their share price currently is phenomenal, but I suggest this will change over time because I am a true believer in supply in demand. But this demand won’t stop until people like me put their feet down, refuse to give Disney World another dime and spend their hard earned money elsewhere.

Learn More About  Walt Disney World Resort At Disboards.com

What’s All the Hoopla about Disney World