Hello my friends! As many of you know, we were recently in Disney World (What, has it been a month already?!?!). We are the type of people that usually go once a year, but at least once every other year. It seems that so many things are constantly changing that it is a new park every time we go. This year for some odd reason, we noticed some very upset people and figured it was time to write a list of things NOT to do in Disney World...
1. DO NOT USE YOUR STROLLER AS A BATTERING RAM! We are all headed places, we are all on vacation and guess what?? It's time to take it easy, not RACE places! You miss out on so much when you are running everywhere you go and you risk severely injuring someone. A man hit my daughter with his stroller because she was walking to slow and we had to take her to get bandaged up at first aid. She was BLEEDING due to this man racing his massive stroller somewhere. Believe me, I GET it, people are SLOW, we have 3 kids and have been taking them as young as 4 months old, we have had small strollers, massive strollers and even double strollers in the parks. This is still NO excuse to use it as a weapon to get what you want or to get to where you want. That man didn't apologize or even look at my daughter who had fallen to the floor in tears.
2. DO NOT go to Disney doing research.So many people show up, only to be upset that the lines are over an hour long (in the off season) and it's hot and the food is expensive and the souvenirs are pricey and the characters they wanted to see are not even out...the list is extensive, but all that can be avoided with a little research and not spending any money to do it. Your local library has the most current guide books, if they don't, request them and they will borrow them from another library. Look online, there are message boards, facebook pages and blogs all dedicated to the mouse and these people are 100% more than willing to help you!! I LOVE helping people get the best deal they can and answer any questions they may have. If we blog about Mickey, chances are we LOVE talking Mickey! Those that come back from Disney World saying NEVER AGAIN, are usually the ones that did not do the proper research.
3. DO NOT pay full price for your Disney World vacation. You will not believe how many people were surprised that we were eating 2 full meals a day for FREE on the Disney Dining plan when we just went. Of course it was too late for them to add it on to their package and that just made them grouchier when they asked about it. There is always some type of special going on! Google it first, call a travel agent (they are FREE!!), Not on a package? There are always room discounts and ticket discounts, DO NOT BUY THEM AT THE WINDOW!! You can save so much money with a little research and then put that in your souvenir fund and it's like getting gifts for free! Did you know that you can bring food and drinks into the park too? They do not force you to buy their food as other theme parks do, take advantage of this!
4. DO NOT get angry at long lines! Take out your camera, get silly and enjoy! Disney World Imagineers KNOW that that lines will get long and they design the queue area JUST FOR THAT! In every line you will see something you missed the last time around! This is something we miss with Fast Pass +, there are hardly any lines with that, we just seem to fly right in! Remember that your kids feed off of your energy, if you are putting bad vibes out there, they will begin getting cranky right away, which will only set you off. We bring a hidden mickey book with us in the parks and lines, there is always something to look for!! Did you know that each ride has a STORY? Read about it before hand and use this information to keep kids and the people around you interested as you walk through. I like to print out this information, even if I already know the story and pass it along to someone else that may not know it. This year our oldest was telling our youngest the stories as we went through!
5. DO NOT stay off property. I know this will get the biggest backlash, due to cost and other reasons, but this is only my opinion. When doing the proper research, it NEVER makes financial sense for us to stay off property and we are a family that often needs TWO rooms on Disney property. Off property buses usually have designated drop off and pick up times, if you don't use their buses you have to pay for parking. Disney has transportation 24-7 and if you do drive to Florida as we do, you can leave your car there the minute you arrive and not touch it until you leave! They have prices for all budgets and each resort is so unique that once again, no detail is ever overlooked. You can also take advantage of making dining and fastpass reservations before the masses, it is a great way to countdown until your vacation!!
6. DO NOT expect your maid to have followed you on vacation. So many people leave their messes on tables and benches expecting the Disney Robots to sweep right in and clean it up. One lady even changed a diaper on a bench and threw the diaper NEAR the garbage can, when she missed, she left it...Disney does work hard to keep the parks clean, but 9 times out of 10 it is fanatics like us that clean up your messes so that it can remain clean for others on their first visit! We always carry wipes with us to wipe down tables and or ride seats and the like.
7. DO NOT forget to make reservations ahead of time if you MUST eat somewhere! Restaurants get booked up FAST and that is because those staying on property get to book so far in advance. Character meals are how we see most of our MUST SEE characters, this way we don't have to waste park time waiting in character lines. My in park reservation tip is to book the first seating for breakfast in ANY park you want to get in early and then you are usually let into the park early and can ride those MUST ride rides ASAP! This helped us tremendously for those rides that only 30 minutes later are over an hour long and some even TWO hours long!!
8. DO NOT SLEEP IN!! I know this is a vacation, but it's not one of those types of vacations. Did you know that if you make it to rope drop (we were first in line at the gates every morning and every park), that you can make it on ALL the big name rides within 45 minutes?! Yup, we did this at Magic Kingdom in 35 minutes, Hollywood Studios in 30, Animal Kingdom in 45 (Safari ride is long and the park is very widespread) and Epcot in 35. All of this was done with a family of 5 (one little guy with short legs at 6 years old), not shoving or pushing anyone once as we went from ride to ride.We arrived at each park 1 hour and 15 minutes before opening and just brought our breakfast with us (pop tarts, pb&j's, bottles of water), because we knew we would just do an early lunch after all the rides were done and we had walked around some. We also brought Disney Trivia Books and cards to sit on the floor and play games or chat to kill the time.
9. DO NOT forget the stroller! What?? Yup, we have big kids and we STILL bring a stroller with us. WHY?? We keep a change of clothes in there, light sweaters or jackets and then have room for anything we may buy while in the parks, this is because we park hop and DO NOT go back to the room at ALL until around midnight or 1am! We are not racing through the parks with a battering ram..ummm I mean stroller, we park it right at the front of the park in the first stroller parking spot we come across and only head back if we need something. NO, in the 10 years of doing this have we ever had anything stolen from our stroller and NO it is not a pain to bring it around, it is super beneficial and we often had people complement our idea of a stroller for stuff!
10. DO NOT RUSH! If this is your first time, you are doing yourself a great disservice going from place to place without truly enjoying your time in the parks. Check out EVERYTHING, the paths, the gardens, the landscaping, the shops, the statues...they are all designed by Imagineers and they all have something pretty awesome to lend to the park. Taking in and photographing the small details are what you will remember the most. Remember, you can ride rides at any theme park, you chose Disney for other reasons! This is truly another WORLD! There are many learning stations throughout the park where the kids will learn things they may have and will never know! I know we learned some awesome things as parents!!
11. DO NOT start at the front of the park! So many people rush to the gates and just get in the first line they see, this is what most EVERYONE does! Head straight to the back and you will find the lines so much shorter and it's a great way to navigate your way through the park as you will be right at the exit when you are ready to leave! Also when a line splits off into two, go left. The brain has a natural desire to go right and that line will always be more crowded and as the park people know this, they make that queue line longer, so that it does look shorter. Try it, break up your group into 2 parties and you will get some interesting results.
12. DO NOT have a parental melt down. Are you about to lose your cool? Step away from your family for a second and gather your thoughts. Step into an air conditioned building and maybe just breathe in a bit. This happens to us all and you don't want to be the one group that someone else remembers most from vacation. We all paid a ton for this trip, we all did it for our kids, we all are usually 10.00 shy from not having any more vacation money left...on and on it goes but calling your kids names, hitting them or even just yelling at them in front of other people not only makes you look bad but also really does not do much for the self esteem of your child. NO, my children are not perfect and we have had to have a talking to about the gimmies or the desire to just hang out in the hotel room and watch tv ( we don't have tv at home, so it's a true novelty) but we take our child aside into a quiet area and chat with them eye to eye.
13. DO NOT BE RUDE TO CAST MEMBERS! The long lines, the heat, the rain, the cost of the vacation...none of it is their fault. They are berated all day and there is not much they can do, remember that. They will continue to smile and hope to make that moment magical for you, but it will eventually get to them, they are human too. A simple thank you and a look in the eye for the lady handing you a plate in the food court will not only help you relieve stress but will change their demeanor entirely. I witnessed this first hand when the waffle line was taking too long at Chef Mickey's and everyone was moaning and groaning to her, as soon as I smiled, she smiled and you could see the tension leave her shoulders. I asked how she was doing and we had a nice conversation. We learned that she was from out of the country and talked about that as we waited for the waffle refills to come in. Did you know that? Disney gets their cast members from all over the world and it's AWESOME to talk to them, you learn so much and can sometimes even make a friend for life! My son has an intense desire to go to London ( we go in 3 years!!)and he met someone from there, they hit it off chatting about all the places to see and what to do. Cast members are people too, just remember that most. Complaints can be taken to the guest services building by lost and found and they will help you with pretty much anything!
14. DO NOT buy Bandits for your Magic Band, they fall of repeatedly and even with the receipt, they could only replace one set for me. We knew this going into the deal and crazy glued the ones we ordered before our vacation to the band. I wish I had remembered the crazy glue on vacation, because I would have done the same for the ones we lost. These are soooo cute and you will have an INTENSE desire to buy them, but just know you will most likely lose them. It was a poor design on Disney's behalf and they are aware of this. I just wish they would collect them when they find them and pop them into a jar at lost and found so that you can just tell the cast members which ones you lost and they could go and check if there is one in the jar! Hahaha! We did have an AWESOME Big Thunder Mountain cast member that used his garbage grabber to grab one that we lost on the roof! My husband tried to get it with a light up sword and he was a hair too short, so this man came up and saved the day!
15. DO NOT chalk Disney up as too expensive! You can pay your trip off monthly, book over a year in advance, ask for gift cards as spending money for all holidays and birthdays, once at the parks you can get free souvenirs just by taking your time! There are free games with stickers and stamps and treasure maps and trading cards at almost every theme park! (By the way if anyone reading this has any Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Trading Cards they would like to trade, please let me know!!). There are way to make everything happen!! Believe me, we are a 1 income home :)
16. DO NOT forget you are on vacation! Smile, put on some Mickey Ears and have fun with your family!! This is a vacation that is most likely pricier than others you could have taken and you need to get every single pennies worth with memories!
Remember to enjoy every minute my friends!!!
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