Tips & Tricks for Disney World

Cinderella's CastleA recent family visit to Florida over the holidays made for the perfect excuse to take a side trip to Disney. What could be prettier than the parks Disney’d out to the extreme with lights, wreaths and holidays decorations everywhere you look? I soon discovered that the days around Christmas are some of the highest admission days of the year. I learned a few pointers along the way that will help make your visit to Disney World as fun and pain free as possible.

Take Advantage of Fast Pass: This is a great feature that allows you to book rides at the times that work best for you. You then get to essentially skip the lines, which makes your wait time very short.

Stay at a Hotel with Extended Hours: Resorts located on Disney property, like the Grand Floridian, are the ideal choices because of location alone. If you’d prefer not to splurge on one a pricey Disney property, at least choose a hotel that offers extended park hours. This will allow you to enter the parks earlier and stay later, which helps avoid some of the masses. The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista is a nice property that offers this perk.

Wear Comfortable Shoes: Don’t make the mistake of trying to look stylish. Opt for the tennis shoes. It’s worth it, plus there’s no one to impress. Trust me.

Make Restaurant Reservations: The table service dining establishments at the parks didn’t even allow walk-ins. Be sure to book lunch and dinner reservations far in advance to guarantee a table. Beware, there is also a fee for cancelling a reservation. We had great meals at a few restaurants in the parks, notably the Rose & Crown Pub and Coral Reef at Epcot.

Download the Disney World App: It’s a handy place to find out wait times for rides, learn about special events like the parade, manage your fast pass bookings and view your restaurant reservations.

Leave During the Afternoon Rush: Since you’re allowed to re-enter the parks, we decided to leave during the mid-day peak to escape the crowds. This allowed for a quick recharge at our hotel, followed by a stop at Downtown Disney for dinner. Given the huge afternoon crowds, I highly recommend taking a break during the peak hours.disney

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