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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

AMA: Share your questions about planning a holiday to Walt Disney World Resort Florida with Mumsnet Disney experts - £200 voucher to be won

122 replies

CeriMumsnet · 08/09/2022 11:33

Created for Disney

THIS Q&A IS NOW CLOSED. SEE THE DISNEY EXPERTS' ANSWERS HERE

Have you booked your family’s first trip to Walt Disney World and are now looking for tips on how to squeeze every ounce of magic out of the experience? Perhaps you’re unsure how the park will cater for all members of your family or you’d like some advice on booking your trip?

Seasoned Disney Mums Charlotte and Jemma are on hand to answer your questions about planning a family holiday to Walt Disney World in Florida.

  • Everyone who shares a question on the thread below by 22 September will be entered into a prize draw
  • One lucky Mumsnet user will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice
  • Charlotte and Jemma will be back online in a couple of weeks to answer some of your questions


About the experts:

Charlotte
‘Hi, I’m Charlotte (33) married to DH and we have a DD (7) and DS (4). We’ve been to Disney World Florida four times and it really does hold a special place in our hearts. In June 2019 Ben surprised me with a trip to Florida for my 30th birthday. At the time DD was 4 and DS was 1. This trip was an eye opener doing Disney with kids!
It’s our 10th Wedding Anniversary next year & we’re hoping to make our 5th trip - must save harder! My favourite things about Disney are the cast members and how they constantly go above and beyond to make your trip memorable, the atmosphere of knowing everyone there shares a love of Disney, and the nostalgia it brings. I don’t think I’ve made it through a trip to Disney without some happy tears!’

Jemma
“Hi, I’m Jemma! A mum of two gorgeous little girls, aged 5 and
3, and happily married to my DH. We are a Disney obsessed family and enjoy regular trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. My Disney obsession started in 1990 at the age of six, when my parents took me on my first trip to Walt Disney World and I’ve been back 14 times. I will never forget seeing Cinderella’s castle and how magical that first trip was. Every time I go back, it feels like home and my favourite thing about the parks is that there is so much to see and do! Every trip is exciting, there are always new things to experience…it really is the most magical place on earth.”

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!
MNHQ

Mumsnet Insight T&Cs apply
AMA: Share your questions about planning a holiday to Walt Disney World Resort Florida with Mumsnet Disney experts - £200 voucher to be won
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sweetkitty · 20/09/2022 23:10

We are starting to book for 2023, now that the DDP is no more is it worth the extra money to stay in a Disney hotel or would it be better staying outwith Disney as we want to go to Universal as well?

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Fivemoreminutes1 · 21/09/2022 09:49

Are there any hotels which have good views of the fireworks?

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 16:59

Hi Everyone, thanks for all your great questions! We're looking forward to answering them and hope this helps you plan your dream holiday!

Charlotte & Jemma

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:04

Brokendaughter · 08/09/2022 18:16

Do Disney have areas for people who need a quiet space, such as those with autistic traits?

When are the quietest times of year that would best suit those who can struggle in noisy crowded environments?

Hi @brokendaughter, they do! Disney has areas located around all of their parks that are labelled "Baby Care Centres". As the name suggests, they are very much catered with baby changing areas with convenient space to feed and nurse little ones. These centres also offer a time away from the parks which can be overwhelming for some, with seating and toilets also available. You know your children best so ensure you schedule regular breaks in quieter area's throughout the day. Personally, I have always found Epcot the more slower paced, least overwhelming park, and Magic Kingdom the busiest - something to think about when planning your days. The quietest time of year is January, however it's still not "quiet", so do bear this in mind.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:05

2anddonefornow · 10/09/2022 19:59

With needing to book parks in advance, how do you realistically work out how many days your family would like to spend in each one? Also when considering dining options.m, how do you coordinate parks to match up? First timers and finding the logistics trickier than I think need be.

Hi @2anddonefornow - great question! It can be tricky. I would recommend doing your research by watching Youtube videos, reading about the parks and asking your family members what they want to do whilst you're in Orlando. That way, you can figure out if there's a park there's a lot more you'd like to do in than others. I would suggest at least 2 days in each park (excluding the Water Parks - these can be done in a day or less). Once you've booked your park reservations, you can plan your dining. Remember - there's ample quick service restaurants available too where booking isn't required.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:06

AdmiralButterfly · 12/09/2022 12:01

Are we going to spend the whole day in queues? I am kind of dreading it even though the kids so excited.

Hi @AdmiralButterfly we totally get this fear! There can be a lot of queuing involved, however, please don't let this put you off. There are tools such as Genie+ and Lightening Lane options to ensure your queuing is minimal, as well as "virtual queues" where you are designated a time to go back to the ride, rather than wait in a physical line. If you do find yourself queuing for certain attractions, you can use the My Disney Experience App to find out live wait times, plus the themeing throughout the queues are great to keep the kids entertained, as well as air-conditioned to keep you all cool! To help pass the time, we took snacks, fidget toys and played games such as eye spy.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:07

notyetpregnant · 13/09/2022 07:40

Hi! I have a trip to Disney World booked in Jan but have since found out I'm pregnant and due in February. So we're thinking of moving our trip to September when baby will be 7months- do you have any tips for travelling with a child of this age, managing jet lag etc?

Hi @notyetpregnant - firstly, congratulations! What lovely news. That sounds like a great plan to move your trip. We'd recommend ensuring you have plenty of ways to keep your little one cool. Florida heat is no joke, so a fan to be clipped to the pushchair and light clothing is a must, as well as ensuring you all stay hydrated. Disney have "Baby Care Centres" dotted throughout all the parks which offer quiet areas to feed, nurse and change your little ones. If you're wanting to ride the rides that your baby is unable to go on, Disney offer a "parent switch" where one of you can ride, the other waits with the baby, and then you can switch without having to re-queue! In terms of jetlag, we'd recommend the same advice for everyone - got at your own pace and do what you need to do to ensure your family gets the most from your trip.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:08

Wargghhhh · 13/09/2022 07:55

We will be going to Disney in August more than likely - what are your tips for coping in the heat - not just the kids, the adults too!

Hi @Wargghhhh - good question. Florida heat is another level of humidity! Hand held fans, light/airy clothing, lots of fluids are all musts. You can also purchase online neck coolers which look like game changers (I'll be sure to take one on my next trip!) Make sure you take your own water bottles - there's locations throughout the parks where you can get them filled up with iced water for free. Take advantage of this and stay hydrated!

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:09

sborber · 13/09/2022 09:03

DH and I keep debating whether it's worth going with our 2 DS - but they're 2 and 1yo... The trip would certainly be for us more than them, but is it worth it? Can you save money with kids being younger? TIA

Hi @sborber thanks for your question. There's pros and cons for travelling with little ones all that way. I personally took my 1 year old in 2019, and it was hard work, but I don't regret it for a moment! Under the age of 3, children are free in Disney, and your 1 year old will travel for free, so you'll definitely save money. Bare in mind this is a tiring trip for adults and seasoned visitors, so just ensure you cater for their energy levels/tolerance of heat and queues. Having said that, they will both get so much out of it still! There are age appropriate rides, characters to meet, parades to enjoy and so much more. You and DH can also take advantage of the "parent switch" facility to enjoy the bigger rides too if you wish!

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:11

Fivemoreminutes1 · 13/09/2022 09:06

Out of Epcot and Animal Kingdom, which is best for older children? And which resorts are better for older children?

Hi @Fivemoreminutes1 - that's a tricky one! Both offer some great entertainment for older children. Animal Kingdom offers some incredible photo opportunities, especially in Pandora. It's also home to some great rides if your children are thrill seekers, such as Expedition Everest and Flight Of Passage. On the other hand, Epcot is more of a "grown up" park. It's still full of Disney magic, but you can enjoy the world showcase which older children would love, as well as rides such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Test Track which are both high speed and great fun!

Charlotte
^^

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:11

Richteafinger · 13/09/2022 15:21

What do you think the minimum age is for kids to really enjoy and appreciate Disney?

Hi @Richteafinger thanks for your question. This is a tricky one! I have traveled with my children to Disney parks from the age of 7 months old and they have always appreciated it on some level. Having said that, my eldest is now 7 and loves it even more each time we visit. Realistically I'd say from the age of 4 years old they really embrace the magic, they have a memory of it and they have that bit more stamina than previous years.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:12

Nispero · 13/09/2022 15:32

If kids aren't familiar with Disney characters yet is it a waste of money to go or is it a magical experience regardless of Disney knowledge?

Hi @Nispero that's a good question. Firstly, there are many ways to introduce your kids to Disney characters if you'd prefer them to know them before your trip. Films, books, Youtube would all offer a great introduction to the characters. However, even without knowing the characters, it's impossible not to get wrapped up in the Disney magic once you're there. You'll be filled with joy and leave your worries behind, the characters are just an added bonus to the environment that Disney have created.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:21

MyBestFriendKenny · 14/09/2022 11:40

I'd like tips on getting the most out of each day, my youngest DS is 7 so hoping that they'll all be up to long days of excitement!

Hi @MyBestFriendKenny - totally understandable. It's a lot of money and a long way to travel, so making the most out of your days is crucial. "Rope drop" is a term you'll probably hear a lot - it's basically getting to the parks before they actually open so you're straight in and will miss a lot of the queues before the crowds descend. The days can be long, so we'd recommend nipping back to your accommodation mid afternoon for a break and then heading back at around dinner time to stay until close. I'd also consider a pram for your 7 year old...it may sound excessive but you will walk around 7 miles per day in the heat. You can pick them up in local Walmarts/super markets or hire them in the parks if you did decide to.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:22

burwellmum · 14/09/2022 13:46

I've never been. I hate rollercoasters - at what age/height can children go on rides without an accompanying adult?

Hi @burwellmum - I hear you! I'm not the biggest fans of large rollercoasters either these days. Please rest assured there's so much more to Disney than rides, so you'll find ample things to enjoy aside from rollercoasters. However, for the thrill seekers in the family, height restrictions can be found on the My Disney Exprerience App & the Walt Disney World website. That way, you can figure out in advance if there are any rides your children may want to ride that have a height restriction in place.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:24

BristolMum96 · 14/09/2022 06:55

Are the parks physically accessible for wheelchairs? What about ‘wheelchair buggies’ such as maclaren major, are they taken seriously?

Hi @BristolMum96 @Fivemoreminutes1 and @kateandme - Walt Disney World has incredible accessibility and one of it's many strengths is accommodating guests with special requirements and mobility issues. Remember to ask for an accessible room at your resort, and look at maps before you go to know how best get around (however the parks themselves are mostly very flat). There is ample safe spaces to park your wheelchair if you walk to an attraction as well. You can of course bring your own, or rent them on site if you prefer. Disney also offer something called a "DAS" pass - a Disability Access Service to help accommodate guests with disabilities. It's a program offered at the parks to assist guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability. You can find out more about this on the Walt Disney World website.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:25

ImStillMe · 14/09/2022 18:50

I feel sick on rides....but accidentally ended up on one which I thought woukd be more sedate. Where can I find out what a ride is like?

Hi @ImStillMe - oh no! Sorry to hear that. Cast Members are priceless in circumstances like this - they're always on hand and happy to help, and I have always found them incredibly open and honest to make sure you have all the information you need to judge it for yourself. I'd highly recommend speaking to them before you queue (you will always find a cast member at the entrance to a ride before the queue begins). You can also read about the ride on physical signs place in front of the attraction entrance, or read descriptions of the ride on the My Disney App.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:27

ladyluck13 · 14/09/2022 20:01

I'm planning for the future. At what age is it best to take kids, so they enjoy it and not be too difficult to travel? I was thinking 7 or 8 years myself. Also I don't drive, is it easily accessible for non drivers?

Hi @ladyluck13 thanks for your question. 7 and 8 is a great age! They will have some stamina, most likely a favourite film/character, they'll be at a height to go on the majority of rides if they wish, and they'll certainly remember it. Having said that, we think every age can enjoy Disney, so whether you decide to go sooner or later, you won't regret it! In terms of transport, there are several options. Staying onsite at an official Disney resort will give you free access to transport to and from the parks for the duration of your stay which is a huge benefit. Alternatively if you stay offsite, public buses and Uber/Lyft is a great option but do remember to factor this in to your budget.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:27

Cotswoldmama · 14/09/2022 21:00

How many days do you need to really explore the whole place? And what's a realistic budget needed each day for food and drinks. Thanks!

Hi @Cotswoldmama - realistically, we would say 14 nights. To travel all that way, it makes it very much worth your while. It also allows you explore all the parks without feeling rushed. With four theme parks and two water parks to cover, we would suggest one day for a water park, two days in each themepark, leaving 4/5 days for enjoying other attractions in Orlando, repeating your favourites or even having some slow days around the pool - trust us, you'll need some down time!

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:29

munchbunch12 · 14/09/2022 21:14

My DCs love fast, exciting rides, what would be the best ones for them? They are both over 140cm tall.

Hi @munchbunch12 and @CantStandMeow ·ah how exciting! There's some amazing rides to please everyone, however for your thrill seekers we'd recommend the following: Magic Kingdom - Space Mountain & Big Thunder Mountain, Hollywood Studios - Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash & Rise of the Resistance, Epcot - Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind & Test Track, Animal Kingdom - Expedition Everest & Flight of Passage. These are all amazing! Fast, exciting and showcase incredible attention to detail.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:30

Elpheba · 15/09/2022 07:15

Which area of the park would you say is best to start with for 4 and 6 year olds? What would be your key bits not to miss for this age?

Hi @Elpheba - my two children are 4 and 7, so this I'd be likely to consider this too! It's a tricky one as all the parks have something for the younger ones, however overall, Magic Kingdom is very geared up for it's younger guests. It hosts the most character meet and greets, has several parades and shows running throughout each day, as well as a lot of slower paced classic rides such as It's A Small World, Dumbo & Peter Pan's flight, not to mention the castle which children associate with Disney. Having said that, Hollywood Studios has incredible Toy Story theming (a real favourite for my children!) as well as a huge Star Wars area.

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:31

sashh · 15/09/2022 07:19

What is the point of spending hours on a plane to go to a made up place?

Hi @sashh thanks for your question. Walt Disney World isn't for everyone, we understand that! It's not a typically relaxing holiday, and as you say, it is man made whereas some people prefer to enjoy natural beauty. However, it has been lovingly built by incredibly talented creators and imagineers to provide an environment full of magic, nostalgia and a feeling of togetherness. For a lot, Disney and what it offers really does feel like "home". It offers endless entertainment from rides, to parades, stage shows and shopping. Perhaps you have to see it to believe it!

Charlotte

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WDWexperts · 23/09/2022 17:32

MuchoGoustoChezBurger · 15/09/2022 09:11

Similarly to a poster above I had a WDW trip booking for summer 2020 which obviously got canned. We are thinking of rebooking in the next few years but wondered if heading to the Californian WDL combining with a Route 66 type of holiday could be good for slightly older kids rather than a very theme park focused trip in Florida.

Hi @MuchoGoustoChezBurger - what a shame that your trip couldn't go ahead, but completely understandable. You know your family best and as long as you feel you'll be getting the most out of your time and money, I think both options sound amazing! Disneyland California is on my bucket list - it looks beautifully quaint whilst still offering the famous Disney fix, and if you can tag that on to enjoy other locations then why not! Of course, Walt Disney World also offers amazing entertainment for older children too - Disney Springs is a huge area including shops, restaurants and bars offering a real Disney feel without the characters and rides. It has live music and a really vibrant atmosphere that lasts late into the evening. Definitely somewhere I'd recommend spending time if you did decide to go to Florida.

Charlotte

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TwoWrightFeet · 25/09/2022 19:54

How long is the return window when using Genie+? I’m worried about being in a queue for another ride and missing my genie + spot.

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WDWexperts · 26/09/2022 09:23

Wheretowhereto · 11/09/2022 23:07

How does the Disney Genie work? How do we get the most out of it as a family of 4?

Hi @Wheretowhereto and @leanneth this is a really good question and also tricky! Disney Genie is a complimentary planning service on the Disney My Experience App. It is a great planning tool which allows you to view rides, shows, restaurants and character meet and greets and select which ones you would like to experience based on your interests, and personal preferences. This allows you to plan out everything you would like to experience before your visit and then on the day will help you navigate the park based on queue and attraction/show times. This can mean a lot of toing and froing across the park so this isn't for everybody. If like me you prefer to navigate the park in a certain order, then don't use it in the order it suggests, but rather use it to plan out the attractions and restaurants you would like to experience and gain quick access to view the queue times, menus and mobile order via the App when you're in the park. Genie Plus is a Paid service which costs $15 per person per day and allows you to book lightening lanes for a number of attractions, on the App on the day of your visit. Genie Plus can be purchased in advance as part of your ticket package with through most travel companies, or on the day of your visit via the My Experience App, but is an optional expense. I would consider the time of year you are going, if it's a busy time of year in the parks then it may be beneficial. Also work out your budget as Genie Plus can add up for families of four or more. Most of all, do your research...there are some great YouTube Vlogs which give you lots of information about Genie Plus which will help you make the right decision for your holiday. There are also individual Lightening Lane prices for the two most popular attractions in each park which you can pay for on the day, via the App. Again this is an optional expense but may be beneficial on the day of your visit if these popular attractions have a long queue time. In my opinion, if your heading to Disney World during a busy period, then Genie Plus is worth every penny.

Jemma

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WDWexperts · 26/09/2022 09:24

LidlCinnamonBun · 11/09/2022 23:12

Can I have some advice about the food there?
I can’t eat lots of fried food (IBS) and I eat mostly vegan food.
Thank you.

HI @LidlCinnamonBun and @CatNamedEaster ! I can totally relate to this question and there is no need to worry! Disney offers a great range of cuisine and over the years, I have found some wonderful restaurants and quick service counters that offer fresh and wholesome food that cater for dietary needs. The cast members are great and are happy to help with dietary requirements or point you in the direction of a particular restaurant. There are lots of great YouTube Vlogs that can help you get an idea of all of the different food in the parks and on the Disney My Experience App you can view up to date restaurant and quick service menus to help you plan your visit. If you are like me and love food, then the planning is all part of the fun!

Jemma

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