TTT: Disney Tips

February 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm 3 comments

In case you couldn’t figure it out from my recent posts, I ADORED Disney World.  It was absolutely magical, and I’m still in a great mood from our visit.  Having now been there, I’m ready to offer advice.

*Image of Hello Kitty ID holder is from AlwaysShop4‘s auction.

1.  Wear your most comfortable and supportive shoes. 
Disney is not the place to be worried about looking too “American tourist” in your bright white “trainers.”  Wear your best athletic shoes and consider investing in some inserts.  Your feet will thank you.  I wore my really nice running shoes, and my feet still felt abused at the end of each day.  I’ll definitely get inserts next time.  Keep in mind that it’s not just the walking around that takes a toll (expect at least 5 miles per day, usually more – Osh‘s friend said they averaged 14 miles per day); you’ll also be standing around in lines a fair bit.  Don’t forget that good socks are important too.

2. Stay at a Walt Disney World resort. 
Staying on Disney is great for a number of reasons.  They have free shuttles to/from the Orlando airport (Magic Express); you don’t even have to pick up your luggage when you arrive!  You can use your room key to charge stuff while in the parks or at your resort – very handy!  When you buy something at a park, you can usually have it sent to your room or at least the gift shop at your resort.  (Of course, if you’re leaving that day or it’s after 1 pm on your next to last day, this isn’t going to work.  It’s still super neat!)  They also have buses to take you to the parks.  I believe other hotels have shuttles as well, but, obviously, those will take longer since they’re further away.  The pick up/drop off spots at the parks for Disney resorts are also closer to the parks than the other spots.

There are options for every budget.  We stayed at a “value resort,” Pop Century.  In the off season, rates for value resorts start at $82 per night.  Don’t expect these to be particularly nice though.  They’re just really cute motels where housekeeping bursts into your room before 9 am if you forget to put your “do not disturb” tag out.  Mini-fridges aren’t standard, but you can rent one for $10 per night if you need one.  A word of warning – catching a bus to the value resorts seems to be more of a hassle than the other resorts.  The value resorts are gigantic and popular for their affordability.  This means you might have to wait in a long line and watch several buses going to your resort leave without you while you’re exhausted.

If I weren’t too worried about spending money, I’d really like to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (from $215 per night).  You can see the animals from some rooms and several public areas there.  That would be so neat!  The Contemporary Resort (from $239, one of the first 3 Disney hotels) would be another top pick because the monorail goes right through it and many rooms have great views of Magic Kingdom.  The dream place to stay (other than Cinderella’s castle!) is the Grand Floridian (from $339) – monorail access, home to Victoria & Albert’s (Disney’s only restaurant excluding kids under 10), and the possibility of a view of Cinderella’s castle.

3.  Carry a lanyard/pass holder.
As I noted before, you can make charges to your room key, so you probably just need to carry an ID and your room key (and your park ticket if you haven’t purchased a package through Disney; if you have, that’s hooked up to your room key as well).  The only thing I had on my person at all times was my Hello Kitty pass holder (I looped it through my belt loops so I didn’t have to carry the weight on my neck) and my little camera in my pocket.  That was great – it allowed me to have my hands free for ice cream and to not worry about stashing stuff on rides (though most rides have a spot to stash stuff if that’s an actual concern).

4.  Check the weather forecast and be prepared to bring a change of clothes.
Since the temp during our visit varied pretty widely (from low 60s to mid 80s), we wore shorts and tees in and stashed jeans and sweatshirts in a locker (~$5 per day).  We swung back by the lockers after dark to make our quick-change.  We also had to be prepared for cooler weather when we left home, so we carried shorts and tees in our carry-ons and changed on the bus (Magical Express buses have bathrooms, don’t try to change on a bus to a park!).

5.  Don’t forget your camera!
The first two days (Epcot and Magic Kingdom), I brought my DSLR with us and stashed it in the locker for most of the day.  I wish we’d had more time – I would’ve liked to have taken a lap around all the parks just to take pics with my good camera.  I did get some nice shots with it at Epcot.  I carried my compact camera in my pocket all day every day, and I recommend that you do the same.


Entry filed under: Travel Tips.

Asheville – The Corner Kitchen Sunset Photography

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kosar's Mama  |  February 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I might have to pick your brain sometime on how to get the most for my money. I was looking into Shades of Green since I qualify. John and I have to go during peak season (spring summer or winter break) so I know I will pay through the nose to see Disney.

  • 2. Colleen  |  February 14, 2008 at 2:56 am

    We ate at Animal Kingdom Lodge one night because Melissa wanted to check it out for a future stay. She ruled it out very quickly. The place is packed with people and just chaos. Very very loud…The food was delish though. About 2 hours was all we could handle…but the gift shop was wonderful.

  • 3. Colleen  |  February 14, 2008 at 2:57 am

    oh…and Photo Pass is a great option as well. I am ordering our CD today.


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