Christmastime at Walt Disney World is absolutely magical! In addition to all of the amazing rides, restaurants, and characters, the parks and resorts truly deck the halls and offer unique holiday experiences. WDW's signature Christmas event, however, is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.
This special party offers extra festive experiences for guests in the evening hours on select nights at the park; but a purchased ticket is required to participate in the festivities.
There is a lot of debate over whether the party is worth it; and while we always enjoy it, we have learned that there are other ways to enjoy the special Very Merry Christmas Party magic without paying for an event ticket.
How? Read on!
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
This parade is one of our favorite parts of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! If you are familiar with the traditional three o'clock Magic Kingdom parade, you will notice that this festive version is totally different and unique! Oh! Did we mention that Santa Claus makes an appearance too?
We prefer to watch Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade on Main Street as the illuminated castle is the perfect backdrop and fake snow actually rains down from the top of the buildings during the parade. It's absolutely magical!
But there is a way to see this parade without splurging on Christmas Party tickets! In mid to late December, the Magic Kingdom uses this parade in place of the three o'clock parade! Is it as cool during the day as opposed to at night? Not as much. But the festive air is still alive and well, the characters dressed in the Christmas dress are present, and you're getting to see the fantastic parade without the cost of party tickets!
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
So if you don't partake in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, how do you get to experience the snow on Main Street?
Well... We have good news! You can at Hollywood Studios during their Christmas event which comes free with the cost of admission, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!
This holiday display takes place on the park's Streets of America which are completely covered with hundreds of lights synchronized to classic Christmas songs. After sunset, all of the lights come on for the most amazing lights display you have ever seen! Plus, it snows here too! Immerse yourself in the spirit of the season and experience snow in Florida for FREE without springing for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets.
A big draw at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is the characters. All throughout the Magic Kingdom, characters are dressed in holiday wear and rare characters make an appearance, such as all seven of the seven dwarfs at one time! There are also special Christmas character dance parties scattered through out the park too.
So can you enjoy meeting with characters if you don't partake in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?
Yes, you can! You can often find Disney characters dressed in their holiday wear throughout the parks during this time of year, as well as at the resorts! Now while you may not get to meet with rare characters or all of the seven dwarfs at one time, you can meet with Santa Mickey, Mickey and Minnie in elegant Christmas apparel, Donald in his lumberjack gear, and even Lilo and Stich in holiday sweaters at the parks and deluxe resorts.
Want to know when and where to find them? Some resorts have a schedule for when these characters make an appearance, so just ask!
Now what about the dance parties? Well, character dance parties aren't as unique as you might think. In fact, characters make appearances at dance parties in the Magic Kingdom (primarily in Tomorrowland) all year long! While you don't get to enjoy a variety of dance parties, you still get show off your moves with a few faves during regular nights of the year.
A big perk of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is the FREE cookies and hot chocolate which are served at select locations throughout the park; but on occasion, you can get free refreshments at certain deluxe Disney resorts from time to time during the holiday season!
Wilderness Lodge has had tables of hot chocolate and apple cider for guests in the lobby during the holidays in years past, and we are sure other resorts have done the same, especially when the mild Florida weather takes a downward dip.
But while something free is always great, there are lots of special holiday treats to be found throughout the parks and resorts during Christmastime which, in our opinion, we would rather splurge on than cookies and cocoa.
Almost every bakery throughout the park has special treats for sale, ranging from some amazing holiday cupcakes, snowman-themed candied apples, gingerbread cookies, festive fudge and candy, and so much more!
So while we do enjoy Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, we know that not everyone may have the chance to enjoy it for themselves; but hopefully you now know that you can partake in some of the party's experiences without the splurging on tickets!
So you're planning your first trip to Walt Disney World and you want that classic Disney World Vacation with as much pixie dust and Mouse Ears and FastPasses you and your family can stand, right?
But how do you do it all? How do create that full Disney experience for you and the kids? What goes into a Walt Disney World Vacation anyway?
Worry no more because we're here to help! Today, we are going to list what you must do for that full Disney World Experience!
1.) Visit All Four Parks - For the complete Disney World Vacation, you MUST visit all four of the Disney parks. Each park offers different sides of the Disney magic; and you won't have the full experience until visit them all!
2.) Stay AT LEAST Four Days-You really need at least a day for each park; and you probably need two for the Magic Kingdom, not counting spending time at your resort pool, checking out Downtown Disney or one of Disney's water parks, resort hopping, and, of course, getting some sleep and relaxation! So be sure to stay at least four days, but preferably more.
3.) Get a Personalized Pair of Mouse Ears-This is a Disney tradition that you must partake in when visiting, especially during your first visit.
4.) Stay at a Disney Resort-Disney World offers a vast variety of themed resorts for different tastes and budgets; and has divided their collection of resorts into three categories: Values, Moderates, and Deluxe Resorts. The first is, of course, the cheapest category offering larger than life Disney décor; and the second are slightly more luxurious with themes reflecting different places from around the world, such as the American South to the Caribbean. Lastly, the Deluxe Category is the most extravagant with breathtaking lobbies, popular restaurants, shops and pools, and conveniences. While many guests stay off property in cheaper hotels, we think staying at a Disney Resort completes your Disney Vacation and lets you stay within the Disney Magic 24/7.
5.) Book a Character Meal-Character Meals are dining experiences at particular Disney World park and resort restaurants, typically buffets, which have a handful of Disney Characters who stop by guest's tables to visit while you dine! Many believe this is one of the best ways to meet characters, (and we agree), and it's the set-up for those special Disney memories with the kids. Be sure to have an autograph book and camera ready!
6.) Ride the Monorail-What is the Monorail? The Monorail is a unique form of Disney transportation which is like a futuristic train which zooms above the parks and highways. The Monorail picks up and drops off guests at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and several Deluxe Resorts. In fact, at the Contemporary, the Monorail zooms straight through the lobby! Some guests enjoy riding the Monorail so much that they consider it an essential part of a Disney Vacation; and everyone who has taken a ride knows the famous, practically immortalized, voice which says, "Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantangze alejado de las puertas."
7.) Take Lots of Pictures-Capture the magic with lots of pictures! Of course, you want those classic staged pictures of you and your family in front of the castle, with characters, and sporting Mouse Ears. Although, also be sure to take those impromptu photos too. They will probably be the ones you treasure the most!
8.) Experience the Classics-Disney World is home to some of the latest and greatest ride experiences and technology; but it's also home to vintage, classic attractions that have charmed guests for decades; and for the perfect Disney Vacation, you need to experience them too! What are they, you might ask? The classics would be Dumbo, Peter Pan's Flight, "it's a small world", Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Space Mountain, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, and the Carousel of Progress.
9.) Resort Hop-What's this? Resort Hopping is when guests take a break from the parks and hop to the different Disney Resorts! It's a lot of fun to see the different lobbies, pools, picturesque views, restaurants, and themes that each Disney Resort has to offer; and you free to visit as much as you want, even if you are not a guest there.
10.) Ride the Disney Mountains-Many of Walt Disney World's most thrilling, and popular, attractions are themed around mountains; and to see some of Disney's best work, you need to experience these which are the indoor coaster, Space Mountain; Splash Mountain, which is an awesome log flume themed after the film Song of the South; a runaway mine train on Big Thunder Mountain; and an mountain expedition gone wrong featuring a run-in with a legendary Yeti on Expedition Everest.
11.) See the Parades and Fireworks-Be warned! Once you see a Disney parade and fireworks display, you will be spoiled for life. The Magic Kingdom offers two parades every day, one at 3 o'clock and the other which is illuminated and for after dark; and Hollywood Studios usually offers a parade in the afternoon. Also, at night, Epcot offers a fireworks show called Illuminations; but the real crown jewel is the Magic Kingdom's nightly firework's display, Wishes, which is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and features a live, illuminated Tinker Bell who flies from the top of the castle and down over the park! Be sure to bring tissues and take some time to watch your kids' faces and reactions. It's real Disney magic!
14.) Use the Disney Transportation-In addition to the Monorail, Disney also offers free bus transportation to and from the resorts and parks. While some may complain about the waits for the buses, and the occasional crowded conditions on board, they are convenient and just part of the Disney experience.
15.) Sample the Popular Disney Snacks-Disney food is just as magical and themed as the parks, resorts, and attractions themselves; and are a big part of a Disney Vacation. For the perfect vacation, you have to give a few a try. We recommend Mickey Waffles, the trademark Mickey Premium Bar, the popular and addicting Dole Whip, a themed cupcake, a Mickey Caramel Apple, and Disney popcorn! When you visit Epcot's World Showcase, be sure to sample some of their famous cultural treats too!
16.) Get Into Pin Trading-A popular Disney World pastime is Pin Trading! You will find almost everywhere at the parks and resorts racks and carts of small pins representing the parks, attractions, resorts, characters, and more. These pins are to collect, but they are also trade; and some are pretty valuable! Disney Cast Members are obligated to trade with you, and do so happily. It's a lot of fun to see what pins you can find; and they make great mementos of your trip and what you liked best. We personally like to collect pins of our favorite rides and try to get a pin for each new resort we visit!
17.) Relax-What? At Disney World? Is this possible? Yes, it is! A Disney Vacation can be exhausting, but in a good way, of course; but to keep you and your family happy, relaxation is necessary. Take some time out to sleep in, to hang out at your resort, or to chill at the pool. Also, we strongly suggest that you don't plan every minute of your trip. Instead, have an outline or a to-do list. For one, you never will be able to do it all in a certain period of time. There are just too many factors working against you; and no one wants their time scheduled and dictated to on vacation. So relax, let some things happen, and just enjoy being there. Some of your best Disney World memories will probably arise from these moments!
So this is what we think is necessary for that Disney World Vacation of your dreams that will live in your families memories for years to come; but keep in mind that a "dream come true vacation" doesn't meant\ that it will be flawless. There is sure to sunburns, aching feet, long lines, and more during your trip, and if you have kids, you can expect a few tempers and tears; but what makes it perfect is really appreciating the family time you're having all together in one of the happiest, most magical, places on earth!
Trying to decide whether or not to visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach during your Disney World Vacation? Don't know which water park ticket option to choose?
We can help with that! This is a question we still ask ourselves after many visits to the water parks; and we have taken advantage of the different options.
When it comes to buying water park tickets, you have two main options: to buy a one day ticket or choose the water park fun and more option.
If you choose to purchase a one day ticket, you can only visit a water park once; but with the water park fun and more option, you can visit a water park every day of your trip if you want!
But let's get to the real deciding factor: the price! For convenience, we've broken things down for you. The scenario we have chosen is someone with a 5 day Park Hopper. Take a look!
Water Park Fun and More Ticket Option = $60.21 extra per person in addition to previous ticket purchases
Pros: as many visits as you want
ability to visit both Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach
Cons: only one water park visit per day
must have a vacation package to purchase
1 Day Water Park Ticket = $55.38 extra per person in addition to previous ticket purchases
Pros: cheaper price
no vacation package purchase required
So which option would you choose?
Looking to maximize your vacation? Are you torn between an inland Florida vacation to WDW and the surf and sun from the beach?
Guess what? You can have both!
Whenever we visit WDW, we usually either drive or fly straight to Orlando and then immediately make a beeline for our resort to drop off our stuff and rush to the Magic Kingdom as soon as possible!
But on our last trip, we decided to stop by the beach for a day or two before heading to WDW. Even though Disney is located at the center of the state, some of Florida's best beaches aren't that far away! We drove to Daytona Beach, and by using Hotwire.com, landed a nice hotel room with a balcony right on the beach for under $100!
Tip: Book a room with hotwire.com the day you plan to arrive for the cheapest prices! While it may seem risky, the low prices really pay off which saves you more cash for WDW!
All we had to do was walk out of our hotel and we were on a gorgeous, warm, white sand beach! The best part was that Daytona was only about an hour away from WDW; and so once we had our fill of the beach, we knew that we could be in our Disney resort room by dinner!
If Daytona Beach doesn't sound appealing, considering visiting Cocoa Beach, which is also less than an hour and a half away from the magic!
So if you and the family would like to maximize your time in Florida, and enjoy the theme park and beach experience, consider these options! Even if you're flying, you can still rent a car and enjoy!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Are you trying to decide which resort would be best for you and your family, as well as your vacation budget? How do you decide if a moderate or deluxe is worth the splurge over a value? Will you be missing out if you choose the least expensive?
These are common questions and can definitely complicate the planning process, but we are here to help! In today's post, we will list several reasons for why a value resort may, or may not, be best for your family!
First of all, Disney has three levels of resorts: deluxe, moderate, and value. Deluxe Resorts are the most spectacular and expensive, Moderates are cheaper with nice lobbies, themes, and grounds, but with outdoor wings for the rooms. Lastly, Value Resorts are the cheapest, offer kid friendly themes, but the least amount of benefits.
So should you chose a Value? Here are the reasons why this resort option would be best for you!
4. Budget-This is the most obvious, but if you have a tight budget, a value is probably the best choice for you. The taxes at Disney, as well as the prices of souvenirs, food, and drinks, are higher than you might expect. You also need to take into account how important the extras are to you. Are you going to buy waterpark tickets or take in a dinner show or enjoy a few sit down restaurants? That can definitely put a strain on your wallet! Most people definitely go over budget while on vacation, so if you need to stay under budget, choose a value!
3. Kids-If you have young kids, such as pre-school and under, we don't think a value is the best choice. Sometimes value rooms can be located a good distance away from the lobby, which can be a strain on families with little ones. Deluxes, in our opinion, are the most convenient for families with young kids and we think you should definitely take advantage of these resorts now. Why? Because the older your kids get, the more expensive your vacations get. So enjoy the few conveniences you get with toddlers now while you can!
However, if you school-age kids and pre-teens who like being on the go, we recommend a value. Chances are you and the kids won't spend much time at your resort, so pick a value! Also, the kid friendly themes are sure to be a hit at this age!
2. Stamina-As we've already said, value resorts can be spread out and you may have to walk a good distance to reach your room or the lobby. If this isn't a problem for you and and you like being on the go, then choose a value! Although, if this sounds horrible, or your health isn't that great, a value is definitely not for you. Choose a deluxe!
1. Vacation Personality-Are you a resort/pool person, or are you a park person? Your vacation personality can play a big factor in what resort you should choose. If you like relaxing at the resort and taking in some time at the pool, we don't recommend a value; but if you like spending all day in the parks, don't waste money on a resort that you won't spend time at! Choose a value instead!
Disney's new MyMagic+ is a new efficient and personalized way to enjoy your Disney vacation and it's announcement has us Disney bloggers buzzing with the changes and possibilities!
If you haven't heard, MyMagic+ acts like your Key to the World Card, but more convenient and personalized. You will have an arm band which contains your park tickets, room key, dining reservations, viewing spots for the parades and fireworks, and more! You can also make, change, and add reservations in a moment by the use of your smart phone! Wow!
What really has us thinking and planning is the ability to reserve up to three FastPasses in advance with the new MyMagic+, as this will definitely impact your park planning!
Right now, MyMagic+ is in its early stages, but it is currently being used at the Magic Kingdom! However, even though guests can use this new system, some are also still using their Key to the World cards too. What does this mean? More FastPasses!
Guests who are at WDW now, or who are going very soon, go ahead and reserve your FastPasses online with MyMagic+. We suggest snatching FastPasses for attractions which are hard to get. For example, Toy Story Midway Mania and Soarin' consistently run out of FastPasses rather early in comparison to other attractions. Space Mountain, Peter Pan's Flight, and Test Track are a few others which often run out of FastPasses or which you might not get until late in the day.
Now that you have these guaranteed FastPasses, use your Key to the World card at the park for more FastPasses! If you can get two FastPasses with your card, along with your reserved MyMagic+ FastPasses, that can mean five FastPasses in
one day! You and your family could easily conquer some big ticket attractions with hardly any waits!
So if you're headed to WDW soon, use this transition period to your advantage and be sure to give us your feedback on Disney's new MyMagic+!
If you haven't already heard, Disney has recently announced the introduction of the new MyMagic+ system which will revolutionize a good deal of the vacation planning process and how you go about your day at the parks.
MyMagic+ is a wristband that guests will wear which will serve as your Key to the World card (tickets and resort room entry), as well as enables you to reserve FastPasses for three attractions in advance, allows you to interact with interactive ride queues, saves your spot for parades and fireworks, and more!
We are already looking for how this new personalized system will provide some extra benefits and change some of the options Disney already has in place; and from what we have determined so far, we believe that MyMagic+ will make the Base Ticket Option much more attractive to guests.
Disney offers several Ticket Options, but the two most popular and debated are Base Tickets and Park Hoppers.
Base Tickets only allow guests to visit one park per day; but Park Hoppers, which cost a little extra, enable guests to visit as many parks a day as they please.
We have been big fans of the Park Hopper option for years, as the advantage of time and flexibility is well worth the price and is necessary to really experience the best of Walt Disney World, especially if it's your first visit.
However, with MyMagic+, the ability to better maximize your time which you have with a ParkHopper can now be enjoyed by guests with Base Tickets. For example, being able to reserve three FastPasses will prevent the need to return to a park you have already visited for that one big ticket attraction that had too long of a wait. Also, you will more have time to enjoy park attractions in the evening hours or before the fireworks knowing that your viewing spot is reserved.
This was not the case in years prior as guests have always had to find a spot and hold it way in advance, cutting into valuable park time which has made the Park Hopper option much more appealing.
In addition to extra time, Park Hoppers have always been attractive for their extra flexibility and allowing guests spontanity. In short, guests with this ticket option didn't have to be so concerned with scheduling.
But with MyMagic+, guests can be as spontaneous as they please in that they can cancel or make dining reservations, get FastPasses and spots for parades and fireworks, in a moment with the use of their smart phone! So if you would rather cancel your reservations at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater for a few extra rides on Tower of Terror, you can in moments!
While there are still some definite advantages to the Park Hopper, it appears that MyMagic+ will provide some advantages to the Base Ticket guest that they may not have enjoyed before. We are sure there will be more advantages to come as well. Only time will tell!
Planning a trip to WDW? Confused with all the acronyms you find on the message boards and Disney sites? Do you feel like other Disney regulars are speaking in code?
We're here to help you! In today's post, we are going to explain to you what some of those confusing Disney acronyms actually mean so you can navigate the blogs, sites, discussion boards, and more with ease.
Walt Disney World's newest theme park which entertains, educates, and celebrates the real animals of our world. Unlike other parks, Animal Kingdom is alive!
AKL-Animal Kingdom Lodge
This African inspired resort just has to be seen! Located next door to the Animal Kingdom park, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers rooms with views of live, roaming African wildlife!
If you like visiting Walt Disney World on a regular basis, you may consider purchasing an annual pass so that you can visit the parks anytime for a whole year!
BLT-Bay Lake Towers
The Contemporary Resort's vacation club wing is called Bay Lake Tower. It offers excellent views of the Magic Kingdom!
This resort is located between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, right across the water from the Yacht and Beach Club. It offers a vintage, seaside experience.
Cast Members are Disney employees. They are called Cast Members because they are hired to play a role in the giant, magical show that Disney is putting on when you're there.
CRT-Cinderella's Royal Table
This restaurant offers a medieval atmosphere, along with Cinderella and friends, inside the iconic Cinderella Castle! It's one of the most popular restaurants in all of Walt Disney World.
This Walt Disney World shopping complex requires no admission and offers dozens of shops and restaurants to visit and enjoy!
Walt Disney World's sister park, and the original Disney park, located in California. The layout of the WDW's Magic Kingdom is a copy of Disneyland's; and many Disneyland attractions can also be found at WDW.
DVC-Disney Vacation Club
The Disney Vacation Club is a club you can join for a fee for "points" to pay for a variety of Disney vacations, as well as get a few perks too!
EMH-Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours are bonus hours granted to guests staying at Disney Resorts. They give guests more time to enjoy some of the favorite attractions after the park has closed!
Fort Wilderness is a rustic, resort and campground located near the Magic Kingdom. If you don't have a camper, you can rent on of the resort's cabins which offer spacious accomodations, a kitchen, and more, just like you would at home.
Future World is the name for a section of Epcot where you can see and experience Epcot's thrill rides, as well as learn about the future!
GF-Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is Walt Disney World's flagship resort offering classy, Victorian design and luxury, lots of shops and restaurants, and close proximity to the Magic Kingdom.
GMR-The Great Movie Ride
This attraction is the centerpiece of the Hollywood Studios theme park. It takes you through living scenes of many classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age!
MCO-Orlando International Airport
Many guests travel through this airport to reach Walt Disney World; and at this airport, you can take advantage of Disney's free service, Magical Express!
The Magic Kingdom is the most popular park at Walt Disney World and came from the mind of Walt Disney himself. It's home to Cinderella Castle and many of Disney's iconic attractions.
MVMCP-Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Beginning in November, you can purchase tickets to an exclusive Christmas park at the Magic Kingdom featuring a special parade, fireworks display, shows, snacks, merchandise, and even character dance parties!
Port Orleans is two resorts: Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter. Both offer a southern themed flare for their guests and belongs to the moderate resort category.
PoTC-Pirates of the Caribbean
This attraction is one of Disney's most famous rides. Created by Walt Disney himself, it has been a staple at the Magic Kingdom; and was the inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. References from the film have no made it into the ride as well.
POFQ-Port Orleans French Quarter
This half of the Port Orleans Resort is themed after New Orleans.
Poly-The Polynesian Resort is often referred to as The Poly. This resort gives guests a bit of a Hawaiian vacation in central Florida, just across the lake from the Magic Kingdom!
POR-Port Orleans Riverside
This half of the Port Orleans Resort offers guests a taste of what southern life was like on the banks of the Mississippi River.
ToT-Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a popular drop attraction at Hollywood Studios. This attraction's building is tall and resembles an old, Hollywood hotel gone wrong.
TSMM-Toy Story Midway Mania
This attraction is notorious for the longest lines at WDW, but it's awesome, detailed queue and ride itself is awesome! The story is that you shrink down to the size of a toy and enjoy a series of aracade games in the Toy Story world. It's 3D and interactive and a competition between you and those in the ride with you.
This Epcot attraction has been redone and is due to open this coming month!
TTA-Tomorrowland Transit Authority
This Magic Kingdom attraction is a simple ride which moves guests above Tomorrowland in a swift moving tram to get a glimpse of this part of the park and inside some attractions!
TTC-Transportation and Ticket Center
Located near the Magic Kingdom, the Transportation and Ticket Center is where many guests park before hopping aboard a monorail to Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. It's also where guests transfer from the Magic Kingdom monorail loop to the Epcot monorail.
WDW-Walt Disney World
This acronym stands for Walt Disney World!
This resort is themed after our country's gorgeous, national park lodges. Wilderness Lodge is huge, appears to be made of logs, and features a comfy, yet majestic atmosphere, along with a giant fireplace and bubbling spring in the lobby.
WLV-Wilderness Lodge Villas
The Disney Vacation Club offers a special wing of Wilderness Lodge.
This is a section of Epcot which displays eleven pavilions representing different nations from around the world!
We hope our acronym guide has helped you decipher the Disney code!
So you're going to Walt Disney World and you need a plan; but with four theme parks, numerous resorts, dozens and dozens of restaurants, two water parks, and a shopping complex, how in the world does a Disney rookie begin? How do you when to go where, what ticket option to choose, and how to squeeze all of the Disney magic into one trip?
Today's blogging mission is to help you answer just that, specifically on how to know when to visit where. After all, no one who only has a few days to experience the famous Walt Disney World wants to visit a park only to discover that certain times and crowds prevent them from experiencing the best, right?
Exactly. So let's start by breaking down the best times of day by park.
Magic Kingdom: Early Morning/Evening
The Magic Kingdom is the most magical, and most popular, park of them all! When should you visit? Definitely not on the weekends. That's when locals flock through the gates. The Magic Kingdom has so many things to see and do, so you need to maximize the time you are given. Therefore, we recommend visiting during weekdays, particularly Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; and be sure to arrive when the park opens. You will probably get more done in the hour or two after opening than you will in several hours once the park begins to fill up!
Also, if you need to take a break, do so during the heat of the day, when the crowds and temps are at their worst. The evening hours are usually less crowded, especially during the nighttime parade and fireworks display. If there's two showings of this nighttime entertainment the night you're visiting, ride the rides during the first showing and catch the second round later!
Epcot: Anytime/Early Morning/Late Evening
When should you visit Epcot? Well, first you need to know that Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World and World Showcase. The World Showcase, which offers eleven pavilions representing different countries from around the world, can be crowded at times but can be seen and experienced at any time of day; but the best time is probably when it first opens in late morning.
Epcot's Future World is a bit more tricky because it only has a few major attractions; but they are some of the most popular in all of WDW! Therefore, if you want a chance to ride Test Track or Soarin', you need to arrive early in the morning! Any other time throughout the day offers long, long lines, except maybe before Future World closes.
Hollywood Studios: Morning
Like the Magic Kingdom, you don't want to visit Hollywood Studios on the weekends. This park is home to lots of big attractions, so the crowds naturally follow. Therefore, to experience these popular rides, you need to arrive when the park opens and head straight for Toy Story Midway Mania. If not, you probably won't get another chance to ride this attraction that day.
Otherwise, we suggest going to Rock n' Roller Coaster or the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, although Tower of Terror does can offer shorter lines throughout the day.
Because Hollywood Studios is smaller, it fills up faster than the Magic Kingdom; and so you definitely should visit in the morning and save the shows for late morning and afternoons. Also, during the park's nighttime Fantasmic show, crowds are lighter, so this may be a good time to visit too; but keep in mind that many of the park's shows are closed in the evening.
Animal Kingdom: Morning/Evening
This park is a little trickier than other parks because Animal Kingdom is known for its intense heat and humidity; and you will walk more at this park if you want to see it all. Also, since most of the park's attractions are alive, because this park is about animals, they are not out and about much during the heat of the day.
Therefore, be sure to visit in the morning when its cool for you and the animals; and to get good FastPasses for the park's best attractions: Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest!
Animal Kingdom usually closes at sundown; but every once in awhile, they offer extra magic hours in the evening. If this happens during your trip, take advantage of it! Few guests get to see Animal Kingdom at night; but be sure to have visited earlier that day to see the animals in daylight too.
Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon: Morning
Disney water parks are amazing because they offer awesome slides, pools, and water attractions, plus an escape from the Florida humidity, all with a Disney twist. Therefore, you're guaranteed to have a blast! But when should you visit?
Most guests don't think head to the waterparks until lunchtime, the warmest part of the day; but in Florida, especially during the summer, it's hot all the time! So head out early so you don't have to wait in long, long lines for the best slides! Also, for less crowds, don't head here during the weekends, especially during the warm months.
Downtown Disney: Anytime
Because this is a shopping complex, the only lines you have to deal with are at the registers or when you're trying to get into a restaurant. As always, morning hours offer less crowds; and if lots of people are a problem for you, you definitely will want to visit early then.
In our experience, afternoons and evenings are definitely very busy, particularly during peak seasons; but that still shouldn't keep you from doing what you want if you know how to navigate through the crowds.
Therefore, while we can't always predict where and when the crowds will be, our recommendations are based off our experiences and we hope they will only add to your Disney experience, as well as help you schedule your vacation and made planning decisions!
Are you heading to Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving this year? It's a fun time to visit with the cool temperatures and Christmas festivities in full swing. But, we should say, there are a few things you need to know.
Crowds: Any holiday packs in the crowds at WDW, so expect long lines and lots of people at the parks and resorts. Thanksgiving levels are about the same as peak season in the summer, so you definitely want to plan to take advantage of early mornings and FastPasses during your stay.
Dining: Since it is Thanksgiving, food is definitely an important topic! Most restaurants, and resort food courts, serve Thanksgiving style meals on Thanksgiving; but restaurants that match the Thanksgiving decor are the most popular. The Disney restaurant that is in high demand on this holiday is Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom. Therefore, we suggest that you book an advance dining reservation for the restaurant of your choice ASAP.
Temperatures: If you are used to the summer temperatures at WDW, then the November weather may be a bit of a shock. The days can be warm, but not hot, hovering around the eighties. However, the temperatures at night can be much cooler, even cold! We suggest jeans, tees, and sweatshirts as opposed to tanks and shorts for Thanksgiving at WDW.
Activities:Even though it's Thanksgiving, WDW feels more like Christmas as the resort's Christmas decorations and festivities are up and running. n fact, you may forget that it's even Thanksgiving! At Hollywood Studios, you can enjoy The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, as well as decorations and entertainment at Epcot, a Christmas themed parade at Animal Kingdom and, on the weekends, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom! The resorts also offer fun and festive decor, such as a life-size gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian and massive, decorated Christmas trees!
Have you ever visited WDW at Thanksgiving? Share your experiences with us!