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Disney 101 Tips to plan a trip!

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Congratulations, you have decided to take your first trip to Disney!


Now where do you begin?


We love going to Disney! Living in Georgia we are lucky and we go a few times a year. Here is some info I have learned over all the many trips we have taken with my son and hope it makes your trip more enjoyable...... I mean it is the happiest place on earth! I do caution, things change with Disney, so please know this is info pre- covid as we have not gone since it began. Check their website for the most current up to date covid information.


Here is a list of our must haves when we go to Disney! When we my son was young, having these items made our trips much more enjoyable and super easy if my husband wasn't with us.





Driving from Atlanta is easy. If your child doesn't like long car rides Valdosta is a great half way spot to spend the night and you will see many doing the same thing. Once you get close to Orlando, there are a few toll booths.I HIGHLY suggest you get a Sunpass. You hang it on the car front window and you keep $10 on it at all times via a charge card on file. It will take the toll off at each booth. This can save you a ton of time as if it is a holiday, the toll lines are long. The first time we went one toll takes quarters only, so have about $5 worth for each way as this line was quicker. At the Florida Visitor Center you can buy a Sunpass or buy online ahead of time in the link above.


Disney has turned into a trip that most people like to plan ahead, way ahead, if you can, to make sure you get to see and eat everywhere you want to. (covid had changed a lot of this)





First thing I think you need to decide is do you want to book it all or use a Disney Travel agent? Disney Travel Agents are free and know a lot of tricks. They can also get you better deals if they happen after you book sometimes. I do suggest you find someone who has gone a lot and is willing to help a lot. Some give you free items like autograph books, stuffed animals, some give amazing advice, some book fast passes and dinner reservations, some don't. Get a feel for them before you book with them. It was nice during covid after long hours on hold trying to get a refund from when they were closed, I gave up and had our travel again do it, so less stress for me.


If you want to book on your own I suggest starting here. You must have a ticket AND a reservation to go to the parks Please make ure you have both or if they are sold out you can not get in.


After you have booked, create an account on mydisneyexperience.com. Make sure all your family or friends you are traveling with are linked before you make reservations and meals. Download the Disney World App too on every phone for those that go. This is great to see wait times for rides and pre-purchase meals on here.


You can start to book rooms 499 days ahead if you call Disney Reservations at 407-939-4357. You should research and think about what you and your family really wants to see while there and prioritize it.


There are three levels of Disney Resorts: Deluxe, Moderate, and Value. Find the one that works best for you. For example, if we are doing all day parks, we chose a moderate hotel as we will not be at the hotel much. If we want a down day or plan to go back more, we may choose Deluxe. Think about how much time you are really staying at the resort. I have known people to do split stays like have at one resort and half at another. You can do that, but for me it’s easier to stay at one.


They do have value resorts that are usually reachable to the parks by free buses. You can stay off property for a lot less. We have stayed At Animal Kingdom Lodge, Swan and Dolphin ( they give teachers a discount), Grand Floridian, Port New Orleans River side and off property when we just went for one day. All are different and have their own style. You just have to stay where its right for your family. The main advantage to staying on property is how quickly you can get to the parks, and you can book dining reservations for your whole stay. If you stay off property you can only book each day 60 days ahead. So if you stay off property for 5 days you would have to book the 60 day mark for each of those 5 days for dining reservations. If you stay on property you can book all 5 on the 60 day mark.



You also get magic hours when you stay on property resort. This means a certain park opens an hour early or stays open later for only on property hotels. They have a set park picked out each day. If you do not stay on property, I avoid these parks on these days as most go there.


Click here for the normal park hours.


Please note, around Halloween and in Nov and Dec they close early some nights. These nights they have Holiday parties at night for Halloween and Christmas, meaning you have to buy another ticket to get in for those hours. With the holiday ticket only, you can go as early as 4:00. If you do not have it you have to be out by 7:00 I believe. They wrist band people to make sure only those with holiday tickets are there.




They now have a progran called Genie Plus. It is like fast passes. You purchase it when you book your trip or the moning of your park. It is $15 a person per day. If you stay at a selcet Disney resort you can make your first reservation at 7 am. You can then chose your next selection 2 hours after teh park opens or once yours is scanned when you get to that ride. Repeat this process through the day. It will tell you when the next time you cna select a ride.



You can also purchase Indivdual Ligthening Lane at 7 am. There are only 2 in each park.




For for reservations for restaurants they start at 6 am est on the app/website or 7 am est by calling 407-wdw-DINE 180 days from your check in date .Due to covid they have shortened this to 60 days before. You can book up to 10 days of your trip if you stay on property. If you stay off property you have to book only one day at at time. So 60 days from each day meaning if you go 5 days and stay off property 5 days you will have to book on 5 different days.



I know it sounds crazy, but do get up early and have your list ready as they book up within minutes if you go at a high travel time. I usually make a list of our “must” eat places and then a backup list and go from there. I then plan my parks around that. While you can park hop, I think it’s easier with kids to stay at the same park all day. Start with your number one place you want to eat so you can get it first. They suggest 1.5 hours to get to a reservation from the park to another park or hotel.




Magic Band

Once you book closer to the trip they send you magic bands if you stay on property. These are like watch bands that each member will wear. It has your dining plan on it, fast passes, memory maker, door key, and you can choose to have your charge card associated with it to pay for things with just the wave of a hand. Yes they can turn it off on the kids bands. You will pick a color on line and they monogram it with a first name. I always take a picture of the number on the back of it so it’s easier to find our account if we lose it. They will replace it if you do, but takes time to go to where they are and redo it.


If you stay off property, you will have a charge card like ticket. I recommend a lanyard, so you can easy scan your fast passes that way. Otherwise you have to keep getting your card out. You can have them put it on an old magic band if you still have one. They last a few years.


I recommend you get a bitbelt to make sure yours does not fall off. I have been with people who have lost theirs and it’s a pain to get the new one. If you have a small child, you can snap out the outer layer of the magic band to make the band smaller. It took a good hour for her to go get new ones for her kids.






Magic Kingdom facts

*If you park, using the premier parking which is the closest you can get to Transportation at MK you get a free water for everyone in the car. It was $40 a car in November 2018 but so worth it for not having to get on the trolley to our car.


*Mondays are the busiest here.


*Did you know you can get “pixie dust” in your child’s hair for free at Harmony Barber Shop?


*Did you know that everyday there is a hoedown in Frontier land? Characters and performers come out to dance and sing dance with guests- it’s a great time to just have fun, get some pictures, and meet some cool characters.


*There are picnic table area on Tom Sawyer Island


*They have a place at MK where your child can get their first haircut and get a certificate.


*The Castle will light up and a short speech will sound thanking you for joining them in a day of fun? It’s called the “Kiss goodnight”. This is about 30 mins after they “close.”


*Start at Crow’s nest between Adventureland and Frontier land and to A Pirates Adventure –Treasure for the Seven Seas- It is an interactive scavenger hunt in Adventureland with 5 different scenarios. If you do 2 (say takes about 10 mins) you get a fast pass for Pirates of the Caribbean. You also get cards and a treasure map.


*Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger- There are 2 targets that will help you win. In the first room, find the left arm of the left robot and hit it for 100,000 points. When you are in planet Z and see evil Zurg aim for the bottom of the space scooter for another 100,000 points.


*There is a splash play area over near Dumbo.


*Space Mountain gift shop has a cell phone charging area. There is also near the Tangled restrooms to the side of It's a small world, in the fake tree trunks are chargers.




Epcot


*We love international travel so we got for $10 the passport from the gift shop when you first enter the World of Showcase. Each country they stamped it and we put stickers in. They also have puppets for them to color at each country for free- but BRING YOUR OWN MARKERS why on earth Disney sets out permanent sharpies for kids to color with is the only mistake I found they make. (again assume with covid they no longer do this)


*Disney Visa has a lounge in the American Pavillion for Disney Visa Card Holders.


*They have a playground by mission space building


*Phone booth phone numbers to call in England at Epcot

Rt 407-827-9861

LT 407-827-9862

Center 407-827-9863


*They have a great baby center right before you go to the international area. It’s great to take a child in there to nurse or cool off. They have a little play area.





Hollywood Studios



*Did you know there is a sign at the box office of Muppetvision that says they are gone but the key is under the mat. If your child lifts the mat there is a key in the ground and the CM at the turnstile may give them a certificate.



*Try to get a before opening hour breakfast to get to sign up for Jedi experience before the crowd comes. When the park opens one parent and whatever kids are participating need to be there to sign up. If you have items to be inspected have one parent take kids in with no bags and other parent can meet you there. Kids need to go with the parent to sign up. You get a time to come back and fight the Jedi. So fun!!



Animal Kingdom

Take the train to see Rafiki and there is a petting zoo there. Ask inside for a nature book and they can go around the park and get stickers in it for free.



Dining/Dining Plan

Not offering due to covid at this time, but check as this can change

In order to have a dining plan at Walt Disney World, you must be staying at a Disney owned resort. Here is a breakdown of 3 of the more popular dining plans. (Disneyland doesn't offer a dining plan.)

Sometimes the plan saves you money and sometimes it does not. If you are doing character meals it usually pays off. They do have three levels of the dining plan so find the one that is right for you. We do the dining plan when we want to eat at a lot of nice places or character meals.



Quick Service Dining Plan - 2 snacks and 2 quick service meal credits per person per night of your stay and 1 refillable resort mug per person. This is a great plan for families that like to eat on the go and not slow down.




Plus Dining Plan - 2 snacks, 1 quick service meal and 1 table service meal credit per person per night of your stay and 1 refillable resort mug per person. This plan is the most popular of the 3. You can use the credits towards the character/princess meals. Most character/princess dining experiences are only 1 table service credit except Cinderella's Castle, signature dining, and dinner shows - all of these are 2 table service credits




Deluxe Dining Plan - 2 snacks and 3 table/quick service meal credits per person per night of your stay and 1 refillable resort mug per person. The credits for the meals are interchangeable with the quick service and table service meals. You will get a better value with this plan by using it mostly for table service meals but you can also use it on the quick service when you want a lighter meal. Another good value for this plan is using the credits towards the dinner shows and signature meals that use 2 dining credits

***please note - the credits are yours to use from when you check in until midnight the day you check out. Keep track of what you use - once they are gone, they are gone. There is no set schedule to using these credits at certain times. You can use them anytime during your stay


Disney does offer times where there free dining. If you can grab this, do. They have restrictions so price it out. We had to get park hopper passes and stay at a deluxe hotel to get it, but we wanted to stay there anyway. For example we stayed at the Grand Floridian. We were staying there anyway but they added free dining and the room rate was the same, so for us it was a win. Sometimes I notice people say they have to switch resorts to get the free dining, so then it may not be worth it as you are paying more.


*Children pricing are for under 10. They are no longer allowing them to order adult meals.


*Make sure if your child has a favorite character you books at a place where they are.


*Please note if you do dining plan, everyone on your account has to do it.


*Check out the Disney website for more info on the exact plan for you:


*This website is not a Disney website, but I do find it helpful to use to see if and which plan is right for our trip.


*If you want to get great pics of the castle or be in a park before the crowds, schedule an early breakfast. They will let you past the gate 20 mins before your reservation.


*If you want to save money do cheap breakfasts in the room if you can, buy lunch as your expensive meal and quick service for dinner. Most places have a lunch price and dinner price is higher for the same meal.


*Watch as some meals will use up 2 of your dining points. You can always share one meal. Now that my son is an adult on the meal plan if he and I are just a little hungry we share a meal then save points for when we go to the 2 point places.



*You also get snack credit with some meal plans so look for those. You can even use them at Ghirardelli candy store in Disney Springs. I save mine for the $7 hot pretzels as I like to get the most out of my snack money. Look for the snack sing symbol to see what is covered. At the end I use all our extra snack credits to buy snack gifts for friends back home.


*I encourage you to make reservations as they fill up way in advance and you are more than likely not able to just walk up. I try to plan our fast passes near the restaurants too. Please note you will be charged to change or cancel a reservation within 24 hours of your time. We went for 10 days one year and my husband didn’t like they we had it all planned out ahead, but was glad that we did, as the food was good and we had a place to eat.


*You can order your food ahead on the Disney app at certain restaurants.


*You can use snack options to get Starbucks.


*If you do not have to be at a certain park on a certain day, try your must have restaurant for everyday of your trip till you get it. Then work around it. I always suggest one park per day as you waste a lot of time switching parks with kids.



*For those that Gluten Free, here is a non Disney published list of places you may like.


*If you are not on the plan and not really hungry, order kid meals from quick service to save money.


*If you buy a If you buy a popcorn bucket at any Disney location you can get refills for $2 for the rest of the trip! Sometimes they let you use it on another trip, but they said they are cracking down on this.



They now offer walk up dining on the app. If you want to try to grab a reservation last minute but you need to be near the restaurant. Click here to read a blog about it.


Character Meals

During Covid times they have a few meals still with Characters. They will walk up and stand back for you to still be able to get pictures of your child with a character,


Here are the ones they have as of now

Magic Kingdom:

Be Our Guest, The Beast

Cinderellas Royal Table,Cinderella


Hollywood Studios:

Hollywood and Vine Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto


Epcot:

Garden Grill, Chi and Dale, Goofy, Pluto


Topolino's at the Riveria, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy


Chef Mickey at the Contemporary, Mickey and friends it changes



Magic Kingdom



They let people on Main Street at 8 am and then have rope drop usually at 9 am. Meaning you can then go to the areas to ride the ides.


I loved Cinderella’s Royal table in the castle (Includes photo) the girls get wands and the boys get swords. Michael loved it and he did not know any of the princesses before. It was about $50 per person. As my husband said of all the places we went with reservations the food was great for an amusement park. We did eat at Toy story pizza planet at Hollywood as we had no reservation one night. We got 2 small personal pizzas with 2 drinks and 2 small small salads for over $40. We were all still hungry so the places with no reservations are still expensive but not as much.



Pinocchio Village Inn over looks it's a small world.




Epcot


If you want a princess meal but can’t get in there try the Norway restaurant at Epot. They have kids in a parade around the place it is call Akerhaus.(included photo of family is free)


Biergarten Germany- 1:00 is performance.



Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood



A buffet place that when we went had Oso, June from Little Einsteins and Jake, but heard they change them every so often. We did this one for my son. They come around and then every 15 minutes they get the kids to dance and parade around if they want.


The one place I love to eat, but depends on if child can stay up. Narcosse at the Grand Floridian hotel. The Disney place recommended it. We saved it till end of trip. Good but pricey food. Get a 9pm reservation and ask for a good table looking at castle at 915 boats come by and you can go outside and watch a light boat show parade. Then at 10 the fireworks from Disney Castle with the soundtrack playing in the restaurant.




Hotels

*Call Goofy from a Disney Hotel at 8-224-2142 for a welcome greeting 8-224-2144 for a birdbath greeting.


*All hotels have mini fridges.



Grand Flordian

*You can dance with Cinderella and Prince Charming at 3:00 daily at the Grand Floridian in the lobby. Anyone can go.


* There is an electric Water parade every night in the lagoon


*Did you know that the salons at the GF, WL and YC all offer a princess package (hair makeup and nails) and it was less expensive and more beautifully done than the Bippity Bobbidi. If you are a Chase Disney card holder you get an additional discount as well.




Fort Wilderness

*Free meet and great with Chip and Dale by the campfire every night. You do not have to stay there to go.




Swan and Dolphin

They give teacher discounts




Animal Kingdom Check out my tips from our trip here




Wilderness Lodge

• Can take a boat to Magic Kingdom






Fun Facts

*The do not sell gum or scissors at the parks.


*Everywhere in Disney is Pin Trading. Just ask everywhere and cast members,


*The nurse’s aid area has real nurses




The ABC's of Disney


Annual Pass

Depending how long you stay, sometimes this is a good investment with the discounts it gets and a free Memory Maker with it.


Autograph book (not happeing due to covid right now)

buy one there or bring something special to have signed. Bring a good pen one one that will not bleed to the next page. Always have it ready as you may see them when you are walking. We kept it in a baggie to keep it dry from rain. I used those free stickers you get in the mail for the Disney DVD and had the characters sing next to their sticker. It helped when we came back to know who signed.


Baby Stations

They have at least one at each park. I went into nursing room to get to try to get my son to sleep in the cool air and they have a small playroom if the kids need to cool off. They have every baby thing you may need if you forget and you can buy it there.




Buses

Every Disney resort has buses to the different parks. Look for the bus with our park on it. They have monitors now that tell you what time the next bus comes.


If you have a regular stroller, not handicap, you need to clear out the bottom of the stroller to fold it up. You must carry the stroller on board. I would have everything ready so when the bus pulled up, my husband had the stroller and I took our son on. If I was alone I had my son walk in front of me and I walked behind with the stroller. I had a stroller bag attached to the handle bars and it made for easy fold up and to keep my items all in one place.

Some Some resort’s buses will stop at multiple locations picking up guests along the way. Below are the resorts that are bundled together in their transit to the water parks:



Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort


Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club, Disney’s Beach Club, and Disney’s BoardWalk Resort


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort – Jambo House and Kidani Village


Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and Disney’s All-Star Movies


Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort


Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort


Select resorts will have specific bus stops that service the waterparks:



Cell Charger

Bring extra power packs. They do not sell chargers in the gift shops. I carry external charger in and my phone while my son napped in his stroller. T They have fuel rods at some locations. You buy the first one for $30. You scan it and then return it to the box for a fully charged one. I do this a few times a trip (after I run through my back up charger.) They are not the long time charger.


You can find stations here:


Magic Kingdom:


• Curtain Call Collectibles - Main Street, U.S.A.


• Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe - Frontierland


• Tomorrowland Light and Power Company - Tomorrowland


• Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Tomorrowland


• Big Top Souvenirs - Story Book Circus


• Epcot:


• Camera Center


• Disney Traders


• International Gateway




• Disney's Hollywood Studios:


• Celebrity 5 & 10


• Rock Around the Shop


• Disney's Animal Kingdom:


• near Island Mercantile




• Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park:


• inside Beach Haus



• Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park


• near Singapore Sal's




• ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex


• ESPN Clubhouse Shop


• ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill


• HP Fieldhouse




Magic Kingdom:


• Curtain Call Collectibles - Main Street, U.S.A.


• Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe - Frontierland


• Tomorrowland Light and Power Company - Tomorrowland


• Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Tomorrowland


• Big Top Souvenirs - Story Book Circus



Discount Places

We always stop here to get souvenirs cheaper

Disney Character Warehouse 4969 International Drive

Disney Character Warehouse at Orlando Premium Outlets 8200 Vineland Ave #1252

Walmart 3250 Vineland Road, Kissimee, Florida 34746


Disney Springs

World of Coke has a 3rd floor cafe Make sure to get a flgiht of coke!

Luxury of Time by Diamonds International gives you a free neckalce! 1530 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Saturday11AM–10:30PMSunday11AM–9:30PMMonday11AM–9:30PMTuesday11AM–9:30PMWednesday11AM–9:30PMThursday11AM–9:30PMFriday11AM–10:30PM

Disney Visa Card

This is a great card to get when you want to save up. You get Disney Dollars for every so much you spend. You get 10% off when you spend $50 or more at the Disney Store, access to a character picture place, and other discounts.


Emails

emails guest.services@disneyworld.com or call 407-939-2273 or disability.services@disneyparks.com


Fireworks



Bring a towel or something to sit on. I always bought Disney glow sticks from the dollar store ahead of time so I did not spend the $15 on the Disney ones. I did buy one one year at Disney so I bring that with us each year now.


Make sure to get a place early and people will stand in front of you. There is limited seating, so please give those to the elder/handicap people. We also brought bubble for those wait times and before fireworks got small Mickey ones from Party City like you give in birthday prize bags to make it more special. This was great and entertained kids around us too. Just make sure those around you don’t mind. You may want to buy cheap glow sticks before you come as they can be $10 and up.


Free Buttons

Go to guess services at any park for a free buttons for birthdays, anniversaries or any celebration, including first visit.




Gift Cards

If you want to spend less on your trip, did you know you can buy them cheaper at Sam’s club? Go to this website to combine them as much as you can. You can fit $1000 on a card. https://www.disneygiftcard.com/ Then you can use to pay off trip even with a Disney travel Agent. Make sure to keep all the cards just encase you cancel the trip, somewhere I read you may have to have it go back on the gift cards.




Where can I use my Disney Gift Card?


The Disney Gift Card can be used for purchases at participating locations such as:


• Walt Disney World® Resort


• Disneyland® Resort


• Disney store locations in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico


• ShopDisney.com


• Disney Cruise Line


• Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa


• Disney's Beach Resorts


• Adventures by Disney®


• Disney PhotoPass®


Handicapp

They do have a They do have a DAS pass you can apply for. Go to a main gate and they will ask you questions to see if you qualify. If you qualify they scan your band or card for you and your party up to 5 or 6 people. When you get to a ride you tell the CM you want a DAS pass for the ride and they scan your band and give you a return time. You can come back any time after that. They are getting stricter on who can get them. Please do not abuse this I you do not need it. They had to change it because people were taking advantage of it and just did not want to wait in line.

(again think this may have changed slightly with covid)



You can rent You can rent Electric scooters at the park. I highly recommend you book this ahead of time with Disney or one of the outside companies. Many will deliver them to your resort for when you arrive. You can use on the buses and monorail.




Height Restrictions

Check this non Disney site that made a list for the height restrictions for most rides.


Laundry

Did you know you can find out when your laundry is done? Check it out here. https://www.laundryview.com/selectProperty


Lost and Found

Did you know if you lose something you can fill out a form here. A friend’s daughter lost her air pods while on a roller coaster they fell out. She got them mailed back to her a few weeks later. Disney magic for sure! Lost and found online https://www.chargerback.com/disneyworld


Magic Express

As of January 2022 they will no longer have the Magical Express, a bus from the airport to hotels. They are building a train from the airport to downtown Disney but this would be a pain with luggage,


Memory Maker

This is Disney’s photo package. If you can, buy it ahead and you will save some money. The photos show up pretty soon after in your app. If you ever are missing one, email them and give them any details you can, like time of day who was in it and what they were wearing and they usually can find it. If you want a photo pass, buy one month before trip on line, to get it cheaper. They have one kind for $200 or $170. We got the 170 for 130 as we got it early. Honestly, they will take pictures on your camera for you so you may not need it. You use to be able to ask a cast member to use your camera to take pictures, but due to covid they have stopped this. I love pictures, If I had to save money I would have skipped this as mine came out good. The only difference between the two, is the $200 gets you ride pictures (but none the little kids go on) and the pictures at meals (but you already get prints when you go there.) Take a picture of photopass and your entrance cards- if you lose them, they will replace them easier. Your magic band will have the activation and be for your family.


We buy it when we go for a couple of days, or have lots of people with us. It is good for all people on your reservation. If we just take a quick trip there we just do our iphones.


Monorail

The train that goes from Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian. They have one fro Magic Kingdom to Epcot but during covid it is not running as of now.




Park Hopper

This ticket allows you to go to more than one park a day. I find it easier with small kids to just stay at one park per day. You have to pay for the upgrade for every day you are there. You can not just get it for a certain day of your trip. Plus remember you lose time going from park to park. During covid you have to wait till a certain time before you can go ot another park. Check here for up to date information.




Packages

Some people feel they save money sending amazon packages to the resort of items they may need while there. Most resorts charge $5 a package for delivery.


This is on hold due to covid! If you are shopping on property did you know you can have your purchases sent to your room? Just ask at the gift shop. I always keep my receipts just encase something got lost.


Parking: Prices may have gone up

Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night


Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night


Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night


Valet is $33 a night at Deluxe resorts.

(Please note these may have gone up)


When my mom travels with us, she has a handicap parking and Disney is very nice and waves parking fees for handicap parking with a valid handicap parking pass.

If you leave your hotel and drive to If you leave your hotel and drive to TTC to catch the monorail, the parking is included. When you move around the property it’s all included.


Penny Press

You will see them everywhere, even hotels. Make sure to have the exact amount. Some are now $1.01. We keep ours in an M and M container, but it can cause airport TSA problems as it does not show up on x-ray machine and they sometimes have to hand check my bag for them. I now keep them on top of my luggage for them to easily see.


Click here for locations


Pin Trading

They do pin trading at all parks and most hotels. You can buy them there and if you see any cast member with them on they will trade. You can also ask at gift shops and they have a bunch to trade from a book. Just as at the register or you may see a little sign with some on them near the register. We bought a bunch off amazon before we left but make sure you get the real Disney pins. My son started with wearing his pins on this lanyard. WE also had a paper in it with our cell numbers in it if he got lost.


Reusable Cups

You can purchase these or they come with the dining plan. This allows you to get free refills at your hotel the length of your stay on the meal plan or however long you purchase it for. They are also great to bring to the parks to get ice for water. During covid times you must refill in a paper cup then dump into your cup.



Ride Swap

This is made so If you are a family of 4 and someone does not want to ride the ride or are to small the other child can ride with mom, then ride swap and ride with dad. Click here for more info.



Smoking

Disney Parks are now smoke free Here is where you can go to smoke if you are in a park.


MK - outside the park, and past security. 1 smoking area in total.


Animal kingdom - outside the park near Rain Forrest cafe. 1 smoking area in total.


Epcot - 2 smoking areas, both outside the parks but before security checkpoints. One by the big ball, the other by UK.


Hollywood studios - outside the park and security near the big flag posts.





Souvenirs off property


Disney Outlet 4969 International Blvd Orlando


Theme Park Connection another place to buy stuff cheap 2160 Premier Road Orlando


Walmart 3250 Vineland Road, Kissimmee Florida 34746 has great Disney items for half the park prices!




Strollers

If you think you may need it, bring it. I loved it when my son was younger to just hold our stuff. Do not worry if you think they are too old. Bring it. Nothing worse than a cranky kid! The ones you rent are a hard seat. Starting May 1, 2019 they are enforcing the rules of the size of strollers and no wagons! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-rules/



To get on/off buses you always have to fold up the stroller, so have bags or hooks to hang things on to make it a quick on and off bus. If you take boat from hotel you can keep the stroller open if it is not to crowded.



They may move your stroller around the area when you park it to go on a ride, so it may not be exactly where you left it. Some people put a tile on it, others decorate it so theirs sticks out.


Stroller extras that help make the trip easy:

Bag

Clips

Rain Cover

Fan



What should I bring to the park: here is my amazon list

Masks-they will get sweaty in hot months so we like disposable so you can trash and grab a new one


Extra battery pack for cell phone


Camera and all its items


A baggie or cell phone cover for rain


Umbrellas and ponchos, it will rain!! Did you know if you take a Disney one back if it tears, they will give you a new one free!


An extra rain poncho works great to cover a stroller in the rain


Rain shoes are great


We kept an extra set of clothes in a baggie encase it rained the extra clothes stayed dry.


Magic bands-do not worry if you lose or forget them, they will replace them


You can bring in soft drinks and waters in plastic bottles/snacks


Autograph book (always have it handy). Bring gallon size baggies to keep it in when it rains. Place the pen in there to for easy access.


Suntan lotion/bug spray


Hand sanitizer: I saw on that ride handles have the most germs so hand sanitize after every ride


Glow sticks


Towel to sit on for parade or fireworks


Fan


Gloves/hat if in winter months


Most of the hotels give bug spray if you need it


Cooler- you can bring a soft sided cooler in. We brought drinks in plastic bottles and snacks. It helped save money. we love the back pack ones.


Walmart has lots of mickey snacks so got these for my son when he was little


You can get a cup of ice for free at any food stand, just ask.


If you travel by air: Did you know that if you're staying at a Disney resort and flying on American, United, Southwest, Delta (Domestic only), JetBlue, or Alaska Airlines, you may be able to utilize the Resort Airline Check-In Service? The service is open from 5am-12pm. You can check your luggage and not have to worry about hauling it through the airport and dealing with long lines at the ticket counters. You can also receive your boarding passes for your family. You have to check in at least 3 hours prior to your flight time and you must have an assigned seat or boarding group, in Southwest's case.



Stay all day?

People ask all the time should I stay all day or go back to the hotel etc. This is a personal choice. For us we stayed all day. When my son was young he would fall asleep in his stroller so I would just sit somewhere and charge my phone and play on it while he slept. This was easier to me than getting back on the bus, go back to the room, nap and do it all to come back. I have friends who love to go back and swim for a bit then come back for fireworks. It’s all up to what you think is best for your family.


*As with anything, the information in this can change without my knowledge. This is written off what we have experienced over our 10 +trips there. Please always refer to your Disney TA, or the Disney website or current info.


I told my son if he was good I told my son if he was good Magic Mickey came each night and left a gift. There might be a fun shirt for the next day, a dollar tree glow stick etc. This helped cut down on buying stuff each day. Dollar tree has tons of stuff that I bought ahead of time.





Water Park Buses

For those going to For those going to water parks they have improved the buses: Beginning on March 17, 2019 when traveling by bus to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks guests will no longer have to take multiple buses in order to get there. Previously guests had to take a bus to Disney Springs and then transfer to another bus in order to reach Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, and similarly to reach Disney’s Blizzard Beach guests first had to take a bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom before transferring over to the water park.




Some Some resort’s buses will stop at multiple locations picking up guests along the way. Below are the resorts that are bundled together in their transit to the water parks:




Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort


Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club, Disney’s Beach Club, and Disney’s BoardWalk Resort


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort – Jambo House and Kidani Village


Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and Disney’s All-Star Movies


Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort


Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort


Select resorts will have specific bus stops that service the waterparks:




Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Old Port Royale Stop


Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – El Centro/Stop #1


Disney’s Old Key West Resort – Hospitality House Stop


Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – South Bus Depot


Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort (including Treehouse Villas) –





Click on the links below for other tips on these Disney places:


What to pack for Disney



Other fun places in Orlando


T Rex


Boathouse


Disney Cruise


Mickeys Merry Christmas Party https://www.facebook.com/pg/Oh-the-Places-Your-Family-Will-Go-1493891320861059/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2131459747104210


Disney Springs Christmas Trail https://www.facebook.com/pg/Oh-the-Places-Your-Family-Will-Go-1493891320861059/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2131458557104329


Animal Kingdom https://www.facebook.com/pg/Oh-the-Places-Your-Family-Will-Go-1493891320861059/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2041396899443829


Disney Springs https://www.facebook.com/pg/Oh-the-Places-Your-Family-Will-Go-1493891320861059/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2041400332776819


Disney Cruise


Animal Kingdom


Saana at Animal Kingdom Lodge




Check back each Tuesday to learn tips for your families trips! Check here for other trips I have posted about!


In this every changing world, this information is to the best of my knowledge accurate but things can change daily, so I suggest you always double check before you visit.

*I am an Amazon Affliate and I may receive credit for your purchases, but it costs you nothing extra.

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