Monday, 23 February 2015

Disney World Adventures - What You Need To Know Part 1

As you may know (if you follow me on Instagram), about a month ago, my husband and I went to Disney World !!!!! Best decision in terms of a vacation spot and it was loads of fun! There are so many things to discover and unfold while at Disney World. I have so many tips and tricks, and opinions to share! This might be a very lengthy post but I definitely want to provide my opinion on different aspects of the trip. This is Part 1 of  2 blog posts.

Best Time of Year to Visit Disney World (Orlando, Florida)
We booked our vacation in January for the lower cost, comfortable weather and given that it was off-peak season. Best decision! Weather was great - we had sun everyday with no rain! We wanted to avoid the very hot, sticky summer days waiting in line. Transportation, the crowds and line-ups were all short and very decent.

The other time that I would recommend travelling to Disney World, is going the first week after school starts (which is after the Labour Day long weekend in the United States). I was told by staff there, that there are no line ups (in fact, ride operators ask if you want to go on the ride again!) and the weather is very warm but not hot.

Where We Stayed At
We both went to Disney World when we were younger with our families. But this time around, we wanted to get the 'true' Disney experience for a whole week! This obviously meant staying on a Disney resort. We stayed at the Disney's All Stars Music resort. We were looking for the cheapest option as we knew that we would only be using the hotel room for sleeping and taking a shower. Believe it or not, that's exactly what we did! When we left our room early in the morning, we did not get back until late at night. For the price we paid, it was worth the deal! It had all the conveniences we needed. We even had a fridge!

Magic Bands
Disney recently came out with this technology that tracks everything related to your stay. Best thing ever! You literally don't need to carry anything around with you when you have your Magic Band! It's your hotel room key, your ticket to get into the park and your credit card for purchases. It even tracks your Fast Pass and dining reservations as well. I definitely recommend this! If you book ahead of time, you can even customize your Magic Band - so cool!

Best Fast Pass Selections to Make - In My Opinion
One advantage of the theme parks is that you can reserve Fast Pass times. Fast Pass is basically allows you to reserve a time slot for a ride that you can select before attending the theme park. The advantage to this is that the wait time is significantly less than the 'normal' wait time. I highly recommend that you download the My Disney Experience app and use this to track ride times as well as you can manage your Fast Pass selections. If you need to change a ride or time slot you can easily do so through the app.

The disadvantage is that you can only pre-book up to three Fast Pass selections per day. However, after you've exhausted all of your Fast Pass selections, you can still line up at a Fast Pass kiosk located around each park to select another ride and time, but you can only get one Fast Pass at a time using this method. My advice is to go on very popular rides as soon as the park opens and ride them until about noon. For popular rides that you don't have a chance to ride in the morning, book your Fast Pass selections for after lunch when it gets really busy in the parks. After dinner, line ups tend to shorten so you can use that opportunity to go back on a favourite ride, or catch that one you haven't went on yet. You can always use the My Disney Experience app to gauge time.

Another tip, ride the most popular rides as soon as you enter the park as many times as you can. Then, reserve a Fast Past time after lunch and ride again!

Okay enough talking! My recommendations for Fast Pass selections by park are:
Magic Kingdom - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Peter Pan's Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Very popular! Definitely get a Fast Pass for this one!),  and Space Mountain. Attractions that you should visit first thing in the morning or late in the evening are Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, Jungle Cruise, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Stich's Great Escape, Tomorrowland Speedway and Under The Seas - Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Splash Mountain was closed while I was there. My favourite rides at Magic Kingdom were Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan's Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Mickey's PhilharMagic.

You could easily use two days to explore Magic Kingdom as it is massive and there is simply too much to see!

Animal Kingdom - Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, Kali Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Attractions that you should visit first thing in the morning or late in the evening are the animal exhibits and trails, It's Tough To Be a Bug, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo - The Musical and Flights of Wonder.

My favourites were Dinosaur (I rode it twice! It was so good!), Kilimanjaro Safaris and Finding Nemo.

Hollywood Studios - Rock n Roller Coaster, Star Tours - The Adventure Continues, Toy Story Midway Mania! (Fast Pass this for sure! There are never any short wait times for this ride) and The Twilight Zone - Tower of Terror. Attractions that you should visit first thing in the morning or late in the evening are The Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Lights, Motors, Actions and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

My favourites were Toy Story Midway Mania!, The Great Movie Ride, Beauty and Beast - Live on Stage, Indiana Jones and the Lights, Motors, Actions show.

Epcot - Mission Space, Soarin, Spaceship Earth and Test Track (awesome ride!).  Attractions that you should visit first thing in the morning or late in the evening are Turtle Talk with Crush, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Living with the Land, Ellen's Energy Adventure and the world showcases and their exhibits.

My favourites were Soarin, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Living with the Land and the world showcases.

Parades and Firework Displays You Must See
Magic Kingdom - Celebrate the Magic, Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, Magic Kingdom Welcome Show and Main Street Electrical Parade. If you only have time for one, I would recommend watching the Celebrate the Magic and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular shows. Words cannot explain how magical these displays are! So glad I stayed to watch these!

Animal Kingdom - There were no parades or fireworks that we watched at this park.

Hollywood Studios - Fantasmic! - You definitely have to check this one out! If you can, try to be there at least an hour or an hour and a half before seating starts. We went about 45 minutes before, but couldn't get a seat so we had to stand (And this was during their off peak season).

Epcot - IllumiNations - Love this display! Make sure you pick out a spot about an hour to 45 minutes prior to the show. Try to stay as close to the entrance of the park as possible, as when the fireworks display is over, it's easier to just avoid the crowds to the buses.

I bought a couple of things but I didn't go all out with shopping since I think pictures and memories are the best souvenirs! I got a wonderful pair of sparkly Minnie ears that I wore everyday to the parks. I was in need of a oven mitt and apron, so I opted for getting ones that are Disney. We also bought a 1000 piece Disney puzzle with artwork by Thomas Kinkade to challenge ourselves. My husband and I were so inspired by Walt Disney's dream and passion, that we ended up buying his autobiography and a FAQ book on Disney and the theme parks. I'm reading the autobiography right now and it is definitely amazing!

There are so many things to shop for at Disney that it can be very hard to choose what you want. They got everything from Christmas ornaments and decor, to makeup, jewelry, kitchen gadgets, tech accessories, food items - you name it and they got it! You can pretty much Disney-fy anything!

The other great thing about staying on Disney resort is that when you purchase an item, you can get it delivered to your room for free! That way you don't need to carry it around with you everywhere you go.

What To Pack Before Hand
Since it can rain at any moment's notice, I would highly recommend buying some ponchos at your local Dollar Store. Disney's ponchos can run you a bill of up to $20! I also packed an umbrella just in case.

Definitely pack a pair of comfortable shoes for lots of walking! You could always pack another pair to switch out of. It's guaranteed that you will do plenty of walking. It's also nice to get a pedometer to track your steps. I have an app on my phone that was able to track. We did the following steps each day:

Downtown Disney - 17582
Magic Kingdom - 23512
Animal Kingdom - 19575
Hollywood Studios - 16078
Epcot - 23872

Ladies, take a small cross body bag for when your walking around the park. It's easiest to sling over your shoulder and be on your way.

Taking a backpack is also a good idea since its easy to carry around the park. I could also recommend packing some wet ones and tissue just in case.

A warm sweater in case you're going in the colder months.


I can talk a lot more about Disney World and the adventures I had! If I did, we'd be here all day! Stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll talk specifically about the food at Disney World. If there is anything I didn't touch upon that you would like to know about, please let me know in the comments below! I'd be happy to share my recommendations with you!


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