Destination Disney...what to do...what to avoid!!!
If you've just read my Role Mommy Confession about my recent trip to Disney World, I also wanted to offer some Role Mommy tips to surviving Disney so that you don't have to suffer on any lines or get stuck eating fast food every single day of your visit. So without further ado, here are some Role Mommy Disney Do's...
1. Do make time to see the shows at Disney. These are Broadway quality productions with special effects, amazing singers, costumes, you name it. My personal favorite this time around was the new musical: "Finding Nemo" at the Animal Kingdom park. Close second was the "High School Musical" pep rally at MGM where my daughter got the chance to dance with the performers (along with about 100 kids too). There's also a great show at the castle by Magic Kingdom, plus parades galore in every park. Both MGM and Epcot have great evening shows and Magic Kingdom has a terrific fireworks display and parade late at night too.
2. Do get fast passes for everything imaginable. Now the only problem is you can't get two fast passes for two rides at the same exact time. So, if you're travelling with a group, decide which of you really want to go on one ride and who is willing to go on the other one. If you opt to go on standby, if the line looks short, beware! Usually, when you get inside, the lines whip around and around and around and it'll take you at least 45 minutes to get on the ride.
3. For kids 10 and under, Do go on Splash Mountain, It's A Small World, the Peter Pan Ride (my son's personal favorite), Pirates of the Caribbean, the Kali rapids ride in Animal Kingdom, Aladdin's magic carpet ride and any other ride in Magic Kingdom that is far away from the flying Dumbo...most of the rides further back in the park (aka. Aladdin are an exact replica of Dumbo, so walk a little and you'll save time on the line).
4. Do go on the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom (I believe it's Frontier Land). We had a fabulous guide named Lindsay who let our daughter drive the boat...look her up when you get there - she'll be glad you did!
5. Do go on the Animal Kingdom safari - the animals are amazing and the ride is a lot of fun. If you're pregant, you can't go because it's a bit bumpy but other than that, it's a blast.
6. Do go on Soarin' in Epcot - but we didn't since the lines were too long...we were told it's beyond amazing so if and when we do go back, I'll give that one a shot.
7. Do make reservations far in advance if you want to attend a character breakfast. Our personal favorite is the Donald breakfast in Animal Kingdom although our friend Shari, who is quite a Disney connoiusseur swears by the Chef Mickey spread.
8. Make sure you make a reservation in advance for the Hoop de Doo review...I'm sure I spelled it wrong, but it's a lot of fun. Another fun dinner locale - the Prime Time cafe in MGM - a throwback to the 50's with waiters and waitresses who make sure you mind your manners while you're eating in their kitchen! Another decent restaurant with a great view of the parade...Tony's Town Square in Magic Kingdom - located right when you walk into the park.
9. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and make sure the kids hit the bathroom before you get on a line for a ride (especially Pirates of the Caribbean - there's nowhere to relieve yourself unless you let your kid tinkle in a fountain...no worries - I was tempted but didn't do it).
10. Make sure you don't overschedule your day. You can attempt to do 3 parks in one day but you and your family will be basket cases around dinner time. You're better off doing one park for the day and perhaps dinner in another park.
1. Don't select the Disney dining plan unless you've read the brochure for the dining plan cover to cover. I pretty much used up all our dinners in the first two days because I didn't follow directions. Also - I didn't really want to have dessert with every meal so I could have done without the extra five pounds I'm now packing from that dining decision.
2. Avoid the standby line for any ride that looks empty but then has a location where the line keeps whipping around and around and around and you never really know when the actual ride will start. The Kali rapids and Pirates of the Caribbean both fit the bill on that one. Kali rapids has a fast pass, Pirates, I believe does not but it is worth it to ride - it's amazing.
3. Don't do fast food every day. If you're going to have McDonald's french fries during your stay...and it is tempting because there are fries in many locations, limit yourself to 2 servings for the entire duration of your visit. Your hips will thank you when you return.
4. If you're travelling with little kids, don't take them on the Snow White ride...it may look cute, but it's pretty scary.
5. Don't walk around the park without a cell phone or walkie talkie. If you lose your group because they've wandered off to a character signing and you're too busy getting a fast pass, if you don't have a working cell phone, you're out of luck.
6. Don't try to get an autograph from the Disney Princesses in toon town...if it's Spring Break...you'll be there all day. Instead, make a reservation at Epcot at the Storybook Princess castle in Norway...the princesses will come to you and you'll be eating at the same time. If that's not easy, I don't know what is.
7. If you're on the lookout to get an autograph from Mickey don't do it at Magic Kingdom - the best place to find him is at MGM - down by the Little Einsteins and JoJo's circus, Mickey has his own room where you can get his autograph and not have to wait for hours for it.
8. Don't buy your kids a present every time they see a store. That's where I went wrong. Every time I bought my son something he kept wanting more. He then started making deals with his grandparents and his aunt...got to the point where he came home with a suitcase full of stuff...that he'll never play with and I'll have to store somewhere in the basement.
9. Don't expect your kids to love everything. If you like scary rides, they might not. So if you're hankering to go on the Tower of Terror, split up and get your fast pass while your little ones head off with their grandparents to get some autographs.
10. Don't go to Disney World on Spring Break!!!! It is the most crowded time of the year. Even though the weather is beautiful, the crowds are insane and will add to the stress of the trip. Pick an off season and your Disney adventure will truly be the stuff that dreams are made of.
So that's the 411 on my Disney adventure...hope these do's and don'ts help if you're planning to pay a visit sometime soon. To return to Role Mommy, Click Here.