The best part of planning a trip is the amount of knowledge you gain and the worst part about early planning and booking is “WAITNG”. God save you, if you have told your kids that you would be visiting “Disney”soon, luckily we kept it as a secret from our daughter, not that we wanted it to be a surprise, just to save ourselves the torture of answering the question “Is it today that we are going to Disney” every morning. After such exhaustive planning, it’s only fair that we just pack our bags and leave, but “NO”. There is more to the booking fun.
Let me refresh your memory, you are yet to come a full circle with the bookings. Have you forgotten about the FastPass and Dining Reservations? Trust me, I haven’t put so much effort even when I was doing my Masters, so I know how it feels.
Quick Tips for FastPass and Dining Reservation:
- The first thing you do when you are planning your Disney vacation is to download the “Disney” app. It is so handy to manage all your bookings.
- Keep a watch on the “waiting time” for the rides and make a note in your timetable.(remember when I asked you to write down your daily plan in a paper)
- Make sure, you give yourself at least 2hrs of time gap between each fast pass, especially if the rides are in two different directions or else it could just be 30min apart.
- The fast pass bookings opens 60days before your vacation start day, if you are staying in the resort or else it would be 30days. So, when you get a reminder email, do not delay it even by an hour. The time slots keeps getting booked too soon.
- Once you exhaust your passes, you can go to the kiosk in the park and get one more additional pass. So, time it accordingly. If your last pass is at 9pm, you can’t take advantage of the extra pass.
- While in the park, if you see that the queue for the fast pass you have purchased is not too crowded, you can cancel it before the time slot and pick another ride. You can do this, only if you have the Disney app downloaded on the phone.
- Parks open at 9am, if you intend to make full use of your money then, be there every day at 9am. Have your first fast pass booked one hour later. You lose track of time when you enter the park and you would want to pose in every nook and corner of the park and your kid would be high even without sugar. So, give yourself some time to settle down.
- Check the map for special events and plan accordingly. Try not to miss those events, it’s a lot of fun.
- Since, you have just one restaurant to pick in each park make sure it’s within your budget and has good food.
- We picked the ones which had buffet, so you get a good spread and value for money.
- Make sure the restaurants are in the same park as that you are visiting.
- Character dining is nice just once or twice but then it gets onto your nerves. Even my daughter lost interest at one point.(I went a little overboard with this one)
- If you have more than one kid, it’s better to buy the autography books beforehand, instead of buying it in the park.
- Carry your own strollers, renting it there is a rip off. You can even buy them in the park.
- If you have little kids who love to dress up, make sure to pack their outfits. It’s like a Halloween day out there. My daughter very diligently wore only her princess costume every single day. Also, carry a spare clothes.
- If you are going there for special occasion, carry your own decorations and candles.
- Don’t keep any of your restaurant reservation which might clash with the fireworks (mostly at 8pm) and pray that your kids don’t have to go to the bathroom exactly during that time (wonder how they always manage to time this important business at the wrong time).
- Remember, that magic begins the moment you land in Florida, there are free pick-up and drops to the airport but, you need to book them in advance. Some of the airlines also have direct check-in of luggage in the resort itself.
- Finally, try to book a flight where you can reach early morning and leave late in the night. We reached previous day and spent the night in a hotel close to the airport.
Sit down Restaurants we visited:
Epcot: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – This is a Princess Character Dining, we had our lunch here. On the first day, we just went overboard and paid for this one.
Coral Reef Restaurant – Fine dining, we went in for the dinner thinking that, we will be seated next to the aquarium but, there are very few seating next to the aquarium. Nevertheless, it was a good restaurant.
Animal Kingdom: Tusker House – Buffet, Character Dining. We loved the food here.
Magic Kingdom: 1900 Park Fare, we had my daughters B’ day breakfast here before entering the park. Once you reach magic kingdom, you will have to take a speed boat to Grand Floridian Resort to get to this restaurant.
The Crystal Palace – We did the B’day dinner, it was again Character dining and the buffet was good.
Rides which are worth your FastPass:
Epcot: Frozen Ever After (Remember I have a 5yr old), Project Tomorrow, Mission Space, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth (very good), Soarin (don’t miss it), Test Track (my favorite)
Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris (little hyped)
Magic Kingdom: I really wished we could use all the FastPass here, this place is huge and kids gets totally overwhelmed.
My top picks would be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, It’s a small world, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain and Tower of Terror(My all-time favorite). Oh yes! if you have little girls, you may want to meet all possible princesses there, so you might have to save up your FastPass for that.
Universal Studio: Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and Star Tours the adventure continues
Finally, if you are in a mood to splurge a little more, I would suggest you buy the Photo Pass, it’s about UDS 169 but it will surely save the hassle of carrying your bulky camera and you will find photographers in every place and the best part that I liked was, the little videos you get of your ride, that is simply superb.
Disney World is much more than what you see, it’s the experience one has to feel. I don’t want to divulge too much and spoil the fun, let there be that element of surprise. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
LET THE MAGIC BEGIN!