The final guest post of the week comes from Nikki at Yorkshire Wonders. She is sharing her six tips for visiting Walt Disney World in Florida. Take it away Nikki:
If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida (woohoo – go for it!), here are my tips for getting the most out of your time. The list is not comprehensive by any means, and I am assuming you are visiting the parks for the full two weeks.
Don’t do Magic Kingdom on the first day.
Bit controversial this one! I know, you will want to visit Magic Kingdom on your first day, but my advice to you is to resist! The thing is, that although the children will be excited to go, they will also get tired and grumpy really fast after the travel the day before! I would say save it until day two, then you will still have it to look forward to and can do something less intense the first day.
Try and book during the ‘Free Disney Dining’ offer
Now, this is one to consider ahead of time and might be too late by the time you are reading these tips, but on the off chance that it isn’t, I am telling you now!
The first time we visited we did not have Disney Dining. For the uninitiated, there are a few Disney Dining Plans, but they all include some sort of free meal plan. For our next trip we have the standard Dining Plan. This currently includes a Quick Service Meal, (think self-serve, generally fast food), a Table Service Meal (a nice sit down meal, where you get waited upon), two ‘snacks’ (anything from ice cream to chili fries) per day, and a Refillable Drinks cup for the duration of your stay (can only be refilled in the resorts and not the parks).
I think this is going to make a massive difference to our experience, as then we can try all the fabulous restaurants in Disney itself. Now, I know I am from Yorkshire and we are known for having long pockets, but I really think that your average Disney table service restaurant is incredibly expensive. Take the Coral Reef restaurant in Epcot. It’s a fairly standard priced table service restaurant and Disney class it as $$ (on a scale of $ to $$$$). The exchange rate is not great for us at the moment and an average priced starter is £9 and a main is £24. Times that by two, chuck in a couple of kids meals, drinks and a hefty 20% tip and you are looking at £120 for your meal. While that might be fine occasionally, it does add up over two weeks. Not to mention £40 for your quick service meal at lunch and drinks and snacks during the day. So, if you can manage to get the Dining Plan for free, then definitely do!
Take a water bottle
While I am on the subject of money saving, I would recommend taking a water bottle with you. There are water fountains all around the parks, and you can stop for a quick drink, but I think filling a water bottle easier and you can drink while you are queueing for a ride. It saves so much in buying drinks this way. You can also ask for a free cup of iced water from any of the food and drink places too. If, like me, you are not keen on boring old water, you can take those little ultra concentrated squash bottles (they are tiny and will fit in the palm of your hand). It just takes a few drops to make your water a bit more palatable. If you are ultra organised and have a freezer where you are staying then freeze some squash overnight in bottles and it will gradually defrost but stay cold in the hot Florida sun.
Plan early starts the first week
The first few days you are there, you are likely to wake up very early due to the time difference. (not to mention being very excited!) Make the most of this to get into the parks early as that is when they are generally less busy. Take advantage too, of the Extra Magic Hours if you are staying in a Disney property as again, it will be less busy then. Perhaps consider park hopping later in the morning though as parks with Extra Magic Hours will be busier than normal during regular hours.
Consider the fine art of napping
On a similar vein, plan to see fireworks more in the second week when you have adjusted to the time difference more. Last year we visited when the children were just 5 and 7 and we only managed fireworks the once (and I love fireworks – we were all just too tired!). We are visiting again in May and my plan this time is to try and have a family nap in the afternoon so we can go out again in the evening and have a relaxed meal and see the parks lit up at night. Whether this plan will work or not remains to be seen, as I can imagine my two will not be impressed at my suggesting they nap!
Get a suite or a balcony
If you are not staying in a villa then consider getting a suite or a room with a balcony when you go, especially if the children are young. This way you pan out them to bed in the bedroom or sit out on the balcony yourself as they fall asleep. Otherwise you will either have to sit very quiet or go to sleep at the same time they do! We will have a balcony on our next trip and I intend this to be the place I relax with a glass of wine and put my feet up!
What brilliant tips and super photos. You can find Nikki over on her Facebook page.
Thanks to all my wonderful guest posters! Hope you have enjoyed my Disney guest posters, it’s been fab to have you all.