Friday, March 22, 2013

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Disney Vacation Magical

If you have friends or family that have gone to Disney World before, I'm sure you have at least a few of them that had not so magical reviews. But others that absolutely loved it... so what was the difference?

The biggest difference was they allowed themselves to get CRANKY. And cranky guests cannot keep it magical. What you need to think about, is what makes you cranky, and then avoid it. Easier said than done:)

Well let's think about the most common reasons full grown adults and children get cranky- tired, crowds, hungry, long lines. Those at least are my biggest reason for getiing cranky. If you are over-tired, forced to walk in huge crowds with people constatnly knocking into you and your kids, have to wait forever to get food, or have to wait in long lines, all of us will get cranky. So here are my top tips and secrets to avoid getting cranking and keep it magical:

1. Don't overestimate the amount of time you can physically spend in a park and still enjoy yourself. Many people literally think they can stay in the same park all day- for like 10-12 hours. Even if your kids are teenagers, it is just not possible to spend that long in one park without getting a bit cranky. So don't plan on it. If you have small children, plan on 4-5 hours MAX. If your kids are older or it is just adults, plan on 5-7 hours MAX.

2. How do you get everything in if you are only there for 4 hours? BE THERE BEFORE THE PARK OPENS. Please trust me on this. If you get to the park around lunchtime, you will have to wait 2 or 3 times longer for almost every ride (at least the popular ones) and you will be waiting in long lines and will not get to do everything you want. You will be much more rested if you get to the park 20-30 minutes before the "rope drop" and then you can speed through the lines for Space Mountain, Dumbo, Splash Mountain, Peter Pan's Flight, Soarin, Rock-n-roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Toy Story Midway Mania, Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. These are all attractions that are virtually impossible to get on later in the day without a wait. And I consider anything over 15 minutes a wait. So get to the park before it opens, get to your priority attractions and get fastpasses and be done before or after lunch.

3. Take a break every afternoon even if you don't have small kids. Then hang out at the pool or just relax. You can get back into the parks in the evening. Take this time to relax and recharge so you do not get cranky.

4. Use the evenings to see the shows, plan character dinners or dinner shows, and just focus on keeping it magical. I don't recommend trying to get in rides during the evening. As I stated in #2, the lines are atrocious for most attractions from lunchtime to closing. If you are going to a park, it needs to be to see a show like Fantasmic or to see a parade and fireworks. And you need to go knowing that IT WILL BE CROWDED. Believe it or not, just knowing this makes you a lot more relaxed. And no matter what, be at the park entrance at least 1 1/2 hours before the show/parade/fireworks you are planning to see. If possible, find your viewing location and stake out your territory. Have a group go get food/snacks and bring back so that you have something to do while waiting on the main event. You can take the kids to rides with minimal lines as long as you stress they need to be back 20 minutes before the show. Another word of advice, pay attention to parade and fireworks times if you are planning dinner reservations. For example, if Wishes fireworks are at 8:00, you will have a hard time getting to Cinderella's Royal Table anywhere between 7:30 and 8:45. But don't plan on doing these EVERY evening, take a few off.

5. Avoid Extra Magic Hours. I know it sounds contradictory, but trust me. Extra Magic Hours are like a BIG ARROW pointing all Disney resort guests to the same park on the same day. Even if the EMH are from 8-11 pm, that park will be the busiest of all parks that day even at 12:00 in the afternoon. The only exception is if you are going in the evening for a show/parade/fireworks. Remember, you have already prepared yourself that it is going to be crowded and you are not planning on hitting any big rides where you will have to wait in those long lines, right? Also, be sure to read my advice on how to decide which park which day. I go into more detail there.

And that is it, 5 rules to keep it magical. Don't break them and you will have a magical trip. However, please visit my other pages to learn more tips and secrets- the more you know, the more magic you'll create!  Let the Memories Begin!