What To Know Before You Go: Disney World
For some reason, I always have this desire to travel out of the country. For me, it offers an escape from the reality of what is America. However, we happened to be taking a family vacation to Orlando, Florida and I figured it was time to go ahead and scratch one of America's biggest attractions off my bucket list...Disney World! I've been to Universal Studios, Sea World and all of the other major attractions here in Orlando, but I had not yet been to Disney World so I was excited to go. One day I'd be bringing my own tribe of kids to Disney World, so why not get a good game plan and enjoy the park for myself this go round. Please note that all of the below information pertains to Magic Kingdom and it may vary slightly from park to park. I've compiled a list of things you need to know before embarking on a journey to Disney World to make the most of your trip...so lets chat!
T I C K E T S
Ticket prices do vary throughout the year, therefore your most accurate source for ticket pricing is the My Disney Experience app or website. Also, prices vary for Florida residents, so if you know anyone living in Florida or plan to travel to the park with someone from Florida it may be wise to have them buy your tickets to reduce costs. There are multi-day ticket options and a "Park Hopper" option where you can go from park to park with your ticket (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom). The best source I've found for Disney information is the My Disney Experience app or website. I will let you know this, once you buy whatever ticket you choose you're allowed in and out of the park until the park closes. That's correct, re-entry is allowed. Also, save your parking receipt as parking is also a one-time fee and will be honored upon re-entry if you choose to do so.
Let's talk a little more about this Disney Experience app. It's actually a very crafty and handy tool to have as you create your game plan for your day. Although we happened to buy tickets the day of I would suggest buying them beforehand, linking your tickets on the app and then looking at a map (found in the app) and planning out your day. One of my pet peeves is standing in line. I guess you could call me slightly impatient, but lines are simply not my happy place. Therefore, I walked up to the ticket window ready to buy a Fast Pass to skip every single line in this park. I just calculated that I would have to pay a little bit more and I would be good. However, Magic Kingdom doesn't offer this type of Fast Pass option. In order to avoid some of the lines you must reserve the time you want to ride a particular ride on the My Disney Experience App or you can wait until you get to the park and do it at a Fast Pass Kiosk. This allows you to walk up to the ride at your scheduled time and skip the line. My suggestion is to designate one person in your party to be responsible for linking everyone's tickets and reserving the rides through the app. This way everyone will be able to ride at once. You do have the option to do this once you get into the park at a Fast Pass kiosk, but why waste time doing it there when you can do it in the comfort of your hotel or home. The My Disney Experience app also lists show times for all events taking place in the park, including the world renowned Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and fireworks. The app is also good for showing wait times for rides throughout the park and reserving dining at the park too.
W H A T T O B R I N G
I am a fanny pack and Teva sandal kind of girl and I have absolutely no shame about it. However, as much as I love Teva sandals I can't recommend anything but sneakers for an adventure like this. It is a lot of walking and a lot of standing and the support of a good sneaker will come in handy at the end of the day. I like to travel light when it comes to amusement parks so even a backpack is too much to carry personally. My logic is the smaller the space I have to put things in, the less I will carry along with me. Less is simply more when you think about being at an amusement park in 92 degree weather. I would highly suggest buying all Disney paraphernalia outside of the park. Everything is inflated inside the park! I bought my Minnie Mouse Ears Headband, Mickey Mouse Fanny Pack, and a portable fan/spray bottle for less than $25 at Walmart. The ears alone are that much inside the park. Of course you don't have to go all out with a lot of paraphernalia, but it only seems right...it's Disney World! Also, don't forget to bring a towel to keep you nice and dry from all the sweating you will be doing. Now please remember that you're in Orlando meaning your guaranteed to get hit with a rain shower at least one time throughout the day each day you're in town, so bring a poncho! This is not an option, but a demand. Trust me, it will rain! We picked ours up for $1 at Target before we headed out to the park. Last but not least, if you really want to cut down on costs bring food, snacks, and drinks with you to the park. Unlike many parks where outside food is prohibited, you can bring all these things along with you into Disney World. Even if you don't want to bring all meals consider only bringing snacks and drinks to hold you over in between meals so you can at least save on these expenses.
G E T T I N G T H E R E
The park opens at 9am and closes at 10pm. Now although most people think getting there early is the best idea I would suggest otherwise. If I had to do it all over again I would be in absolutely no rush to get to the park when it opens. The traffic and the hassle just to get inside the park when it first opens definitely isn't worth it. We left the park at 4pm. The traffic and crowd we experienced coming was non-existent at this time of day. The journey into Magic Kingdom consists of paying for parking at a toll booth, parking in your designated area, standing in line to take a shuttle to the ticket booth/entrance, then standing in another line to pay for your ticket, and lastly standing in one more line to take a monorail or ferry to the actual Magic Kingdom park. It is a process to actually get into the park that took almost 1 hour. However, this time can be greatly reduced if you skip the morning rush and come in the afternoon. Most people are leaving in the afternoon after being defeated by the long lines and heat, so it's an even better opportunity to enjoy your time at the park.
Let me know your tips and tricks below on how you and your friends/family conquer or plan to conquer Disney World!