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Welcome to the Mumsnet Disney World forum UK, here you can share your Disney secrets for planning the perfect holiday to Walt Disney World Florida.

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Walt Disney World in Florida

Share your tips for planning a holiday to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida - £200 voucher to be won

123 replies

CeriMumsnet · 08/09/2022 10:45

Created for Disney

From finding the best package for you and counting down the days with the kids, to the logistics of navigating the park and ensuring the whole family has a great time, we want to know your tips for planning that magical family holiday to Walt Disney World in Florida.

  • Post your tips and stories in the thread below to be entered into a prize draw
  • One lucky MNer will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice.

Here’s what Disney has to say:

"The magic is... a fairy tale castle, a galaxy far, far away, pixie dust. It’s that look of amazement on your loved ones’ faces. It’s that family time you’ll cherish forever and ever. And now, book your dream Disney holiday now and you’ll not only lock in today’s price, but also get plenty of time to pay for it.

Simply put down a deposit from £50 per person, then pay the rest in flexible instalments - you decide how much and when. All with no fees or interest..”

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

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OP posts:
Chelsea26 · 08/09/2022 14:56

Comfortable shoes!

Bring the buggy even if they rarely use it anymore…

Costumes/teddies for the little ones if they have them as it makes the ‘real’ characters in the parade give them a special wave

Use the parade times to go on big rides with older kids (although they should watch it at least once!)

JubileeTrifle · 08/09/2022 15:05

Plan for the heat. Some days are just too hot and you might be able to go to the park early and in the evening, but need a break in the middle. If you are staying on site you can go back to your hotel and pool. Or plan a long lunch inside, plenty of air conditioning.
If the weather turns bad, lots of people will leave. If you stay and can ride out the storm in a food place it will be really quiet just after. No queues.

Fivemoreminutes1 · 08/09/2022 15:07

Measure your dc before you go and check ride height requirements in advance so you know what you can and can’t do (and to avoid disappointed Dc!)
Do the shows in the afternoon when it’s hottest (and when it tends to rain). Some of them are under cover.
Eat at off peak times to avoid queues.
Check which rides have single rider lines and make use of them.

wonderstuff · 08/09/2022 16:12

Disney is not like other holidays, lots of planning make it much smoother, although without fastpasses it has changed quite a bit since the pandemic.

Lean into the jet lag, being awake at 4 or 5 am means it's easy to get to WDW parks for rope drop, if you're staying off site there are a few 24hr Denny's on I Drive that we found useful.

Staying on site means that you don't have to drive anywhere, a big bonus with car hire being so expensive and the roads in Orlando being so congested. Some resorts have better access to the parks than others, we liked Art of Animation for really easy access to Hollywood Studios and Epcot and decent sized rooms.

Eating at Disney is really expensive, remember that at table service restaurants a tip of 15-20% of the bill is expected (this isn't particular to Disney, it's the culture across the US), so look ahead at prices, all the menus are online, and be realistic with your budget. First time we went we didn't do this and were shocked - these days we plan our budget and it's much less painful.

You absolutely can't do everything, so plan some days away from the parks or everyone gets stressed - in our family we call it 'over Disney' - it's so tempting to do one more thing or try to pack in every ride possible, but especially with little kids you can 'over Disney' and everyone ends up too tired and grumpy.

mumto2teenagers · 08/09/2022 16:52

Planning is key, and realise you won't get to do everything.

If you have a young child take a buggy even if they no longer use one at home.

Ride on the more popular rides when the parade is on, but also try and see the parade once.

Choose indoor rides and attractions for the hottest part of the day.

Parks are open late so pan some evenings there.

Ashhead24 · 08/09/2022 16:56

This is on my to do in the next few years so good to read the tips. Just waiting for the kids to be a bit older.

Sleepybumble · 08/09/2022 17:07

There's lots of water fountains. Stay hydrated! It's easy to get too swept up in the excitement and forget to drink well. A headache is the last thing you need there.

Asuwere · 08/09/2022 19:31

I haven't been yet but currently planning and that's my biggest tip - plan! I'm hoping if I do all the planning beforehand, then I have more chance of getting everything done that we want, staying within budget and actually enjoying it Smile

Avidreader12 · 10/09/2022 21:42

Don’t overplan it’s meant to be a holiday not a route march. I was told you need to plan meals, rides etc, etc to inch of your life by people who regularly go on a Disney Florida holiday. We did the opposite, went in Hollywood studios the first day handed my kid the map and went with it & it was great. No rushing around no pressure to fit everything in. Stay on Disney accommodation if you can. Pop was great for transport using the Skyliner.

Figmentofimagination · 10/09/2022 22:05

I have lots and lots of tips (been to Disney World nearly 30 times since I was 3) but the one I'll say now is always remember cast members are people. Be polite and respectful to them, you never know what Disney magic you may get in return.

mnahmnah · 10/09/2022 22:10

You can’t do everything! Do your research, decide which rides are a must-do and wing the rest. You will always find magic!

Fivemoreminutes1 · 11/09/2022 09:40

I definitely recommend staying as close as possible, especially if you have small dc. It means you can go back to your accommodation for an early-afternoon nap. Trust me, everyone will need a rest if you get up early for rope drop and then plan on seeing the fireworks in the evening. It’s a long time to be on your feet all day and the heat + excitement takes its toll.

Fivemoreminutes1 · 11/09/2022 10:49

If your budget allows, plan for a day where you don’t go into the parks at all. Spend the day relaxing at your hotel (enjoy the pool mid-day when everyone else is in the park) and maybe head to Disney Springs in the evening. You could in fact even spend a whole day at Disney Springs as there’s so much to do. Last time we went, there were street performers, live music, an art trail, street food stalls….

ColinRobinsonsfamiliar · 11/09/2022 11:00

If you have a villa, freeze bottles of water overnight to enjoy in the heat at the parks but also to keep your packed lunch cool & fresh. (Much cheaper option if you have a few kids)

Download local restaurants apps as they post coupons to use and knock a few dollars off your meals.

Comfortable backpacks with sections to fit all of your bits and pieces, lunch, water in.

Very very important… comfy shoes, you walk miles, comfort is vital to your enjoyment.

Factor in chill days by the pool, order pizza and relax.

Plan your route around the park taking in the rides you want to get on. Queues are huge so accept your will only get onto much less than you think.

Budget for parking at each park, it’s extortionate.

Fivemoreminutes1 · 11/09/2022 12:53

Check the ride/show refurbishment calendar before you go. The official ride refurbishment list is on Disney's website as part of the park hours calendar.

If your chosen hotel isn’t available for your planned dates, think about doing a split stay. If you split your trip between two Disney hotels, Disney will even transport your luggage from your first hotel to your second. It’s also good if you want to experience more than one hotel.

ShaunaTheSheep · 11/09/2022 13:10

Plan plan plan, but most importantly be flexible and prepared to rip up the plan and go with the flow once you are there.

Stay on site, if you can, because the hotels are magical (Port Orleans Riverside ♥️) and taking the transportation (buses, boats, monorail) is all part of the experience.

Use Uber/Lyft instead of hiring a car whilst staying in the Disney bubble.

Get a photo pass for those magical shots up Main Street USA and on the rides.

Have an air-conditioned snooze on a slow ride when the opportunity presents itself. Spaceship Earth inside the geodesic dome at Epcot (sadly closed) was the best for this!

Don't miss the water parks.

Figmentofimagination · 11/09/2022 22:00

@ShaunaTheSheep - spaceship earth isn't closed, it's still running. I last went on it in February. But yes you are right it's good for an air conditioned nap. Judi Dench's voice is very soothing.

fairydust11 · 11/09/2022 22:12

I haven’t been yet, but currently at the planning stage - It is pretty overwhelming trying to work out when to go, where to stay and whether to hire a car or not. I have found the current Disney offer doesn’t cover the Easter holiday period and from research so far - this seems the best time to go…Lots of decisions still to be made.

ShaunaTheSheep · 12/09/2022 13:02

Figmentofimagination · 11/09/2022 22:00

@ShaunaTheSheep - spaceship earth isn't closed, it's still running. I last went on it in February. But yes you are right it's good for an air conditioned nap. Judi Dench's voice is very soothing.

My mistake, it was due to close when we were last there, pre-Covid. Glad I am not the only one appreciating its soporific charms.

Meowser72 · 13/09/2022 07:53

You need a smartphone to use Genie/Genie+/mobile ordering. Disney wifi is free but a bit hit and miss, so for things like virtual queues that sell out quickly (Guardians of the Galaxy at the moment; there is no standby queue) it’s better to use mobile data. UK operators will throttle your speed even if you have an inclusive roaming package. It is better to get a separate sim for data in the US. T-mobile and Airolo both offer e-sim options, where it’s all done via an app (if your phone is compatible) - no physical sim needed and your UK sim can remain in your phone.

EscapeTheCastle · 13/09/2022 11:44

When the planning is done and you are there, happily inside the parks make sure you take the time to look around and enjoy the details.

Its easy to miss the small magic when you're dashing about.
I really enjoyed the gardens and landscaping, beautiful flowerbeds and vistas.

I loved the photo pass as its quite rare to get a family picture with everyone in it! I really treasure those photos from my trip there in 2018. You can get ride photos too on the photopass which are always a lot of fun.

Jammydodged · 13/09/2022 11:47

Fail to plan - plan to fail

We had a spreadsheet and honestly it was very much needed. We planned every single day as two halves - morning and afternoon.
Be organised and prepare for the heat.
We also did the day in halves as often we’d had enough by dinner time and needed to get out of the heat.

FMSucks · 13/09/2022 12:00

I really only have one tip as everything else is null and void without it - download the Disney World app and book the parks months in advance because they will not let you in otherwise. You cannot rock up to the gates and get in anymore.

Orangelizard · 13/09/2022 16:46

Order a grocery delivery to your hotel and have breakfast in the room to save an absolute fortune! Example Disney prices - a piece of fruit is $4.99 plus tax and a croissant is $6 (Coronado Springs Hotel, breakfast menu) so the costs really add up.

The other benefit is not having to walk to the food court which in some cases can be 10 minutes away on foot - save your steps for in the parks!

FlibbertyGibbitt · 13/09/2022 20:57

Get your Esta first. Lasts for two years.
Try to book flights and accommodation separately as can be a lot cheaper.
book a car separately, check insurance is included. Purchase a break down cover and protect excess as well so you don’t get shafted at hire companies.
use your phone as a sat nav, switch Wi-Fi on, Google maps then switch off data. It will still work.
dont over plan . Florida is HARD work
have a big breakfast , buffet places are really good value for all you can eat.
Remember it’s tropical so will rain most days.
Buy water from a supermarket as the taps in the parks obtain water which is very chlorinated 💩
have some chill days !

prepare for jet lag both ways 😱
HAVE FUN….my most favourite holidays EVER
oh and every ride has a shop. EVERY ride, therefore the small ones will want everything ! 🥳

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