Disney done right
I’m far from a Disney fanatic, but I do love visiting the theme parks and have had the opportunity to do so five times as an adult and three times when I was a kid. I’ve been blessed enough to share those Disney encounters with my own kids. My wife and I even spent part of our honeymoon at Disney.
The seven-year anniversary of introducing our daughter to the Magic Kingdom is what inspired this post. I figured I’d share a few of the do’s and don’ts my family has picked up along the way. Again, I’m by no means an expert, these are just some things that worked (or didn’t) for us.
- Do visit during a non-peak time. We’ve been in January, March, June and October. The parks weren’t busy in January, but the weather was cold and dreary. March was over Spring Break. Lines were pretty long, but it wasn’t horrible. June was too hot and busy. October was by far the best. We’ve visited twice in October. Not only is the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party going on, but the lines aren’t out of control. In some cases, we got off a ride and right back on it. The weather is perfect for the parks and the water attractions too.
- Do stay on Disney property. All five adult trips we stayed on Disney property. There’s a sense of magic all around and the resorts all offer free bus rides to all the theme parks and Disney Springs.
- Don’t skimp on the extras. If your budget allows it, opt for the Memory Maker PhotoPass. In 2014, we spent $149 and the option gives you access to all the pictures that are taken of your party. When you’re on a ride, the pic “magically” connects to your Magic Band (you’ll get those when you book your vacation) and you don’t have to wait in line to buy photos.
- Do read the instructions you receive after booking your trip. I screwed up on this. We received luggage tags in the mail prior to leaving. But I failed to read the details and didn’t put them on all of our bags. Had I done that, we wouldn’t have had to wait at the luggage carousel. The Disney magic makes sure your bags are delivered to your room.
- Don’t cram too much into your trip. One mistake we’ve made in the past is not allowing a day to just relax. When we went over Spring Break the trip was much more low key and we left the area and spent an entire day at the beach. It was nice to chill and not worry about anything.
- Do download the My Disney Experience app. You can schedule FastPasses (something else I highly endorse), track your meal plan and see wait times for rides at all parks. Hours of operation and special attractions are also posted on a regular basis.
- Do embrace the magic. Yes, you’re paying for it. But it truly is a magical experience. Again if your budget allows, do some of the extras. The Bippity Boppity Boutique was a memorable experience for my daughter and niece. The cast members made those little girls feel so special during their makeover and the effects lasted for days after. I think most of the cost comes in the amount of hairspray and glitter that gets used.
- Do visit on your birthday. The last trip we made was on my 43rd birthday. As cheesy as it sounds, it was a bucket list item I didn’t know I had until I completed it.
- Don’t ignore a four-year-old when they say they have to poop. They mean it. They really do and it doesn’t matter if a toilet is nearby.
These are just a few things to keep in mind ahead of your visit to Disney. These tips won’t work for everyone, but they’ve been good for us. Most of all, remember to have a good time.
I'm a former TV news guy turned marketing manager. I like to blog, podcast and watch pro wrestling.