Monday, February 3, 2014

Top Ten Monday: Tips On Surviving a Trip to Disney!

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Top Ten Survival Tips to Disney

Walt Disney World is one of my MOST FAVORITE places and I have the blessing of living only a few hours away from the parks. Thanks to my parents I have visited Disney off and on since I was a kid. There are a good many lessons we have learned over the years about how to survive a trip to Disney, especially during the summer when Florida is boiling with such high temperatures it’s a surprise anyone can go outside and not melt!

Having just returned from trip to all four parks last weekend and ending up with the flu the night I got back home, I thought it would be a fun idea to pass along the wisdom I’ve learned over the years to those of you planning on taking a trip in the future =)

1. Do Thy Homework. Walt Disney World is made up of A LOT of different parks. There are four theme parks. Two water parks. Downtown Disney which is filled with tons of restaurants and shops. Tons of hotels. It’s way better to know where you want to go and better to know where your hotel is. Trust me, driving around trying to find a vacancy, especially during the summer when tourists come flocking, is so not how you want to spend your time before your Disney-related fun. Townhouse is the best way to go if you have a really large party. (Getting a townhouse is also a good way to save money on food. You can cook dinner the night before and breakfast every morning before heading out *wink*)

2. Ticket Check. This another area you definitely want to do your homework on. Disney has a variety of tickets they offer for a variety of events they do throughout the year and for how to spend your day at the parks. There’s the Regular Admission which is a 1-Day ticket to one park. Or a 3-day ticket to visit one park or a 4-Day pass. But Disney also has rules to every type of ticket. There are block out dates you have to pay specific attention to. You also have to decide if you want to add any options to the ticket you buy like the Park Hopper option which will allow you to hop from one theme park to another without getting into any trouble. But adding options to your ticket changes the price so be sure to pay close attention when purchasing. There are special events that go on throughout the year in all Disney parks which means the parks shut down at certain times to Regular Ticket holders but stay opened to those who not only purchase the Regular Ticket but also the ticket for the special event. So Do Your Homework! (P.S. You also have to pay for parking so take that into consideration when making a budget. UNLESS you have an Annual Pass then you don’t have to pay for parking).

3. Car of Choice. Taking your own car may seem like the logical thing to do but it will actually be a better idea to rent, especially if you’re going with a big group of people. The milage driving to Disney would place on your car, especially from a different state would suck not including the wear on your tires. We always rent a car even though we only live a few hours away. (Make sure to factor gas into the budget!)

4. Shoes Do Matter. Disney is HUUUUUGE! You will spend HOURS on your feet. Standing in line. Walking around from end of the park to another. Your feet will HATE you if you do not have the proper footwear to survive an entire day running around. Do NOT wear sandals, boots, heels (you figure this would be a given but you would be surprised) or flats. As much as anyone wants to look super cute when they’re surrounded by hundreds of strangers, it’s not worth having feet problems later. Best bet to go with always is a really good pair of sneakers. If you plan on going more than one day to more than one park, bring two different pair of sneakers to wear the different pair the next day so you’re feet will be more uncomfortable.

5. It’s All About the Hair.  Florida has ridiculous weather and being out in the open all day will eventually wreak havoc on your hair. No doubt about it. You can straighten your hair, put as much anti-frizz crap as you want in it but it’s still not going to be able to withstand the force of Mother Nature. Best bet to go with is to wear your hair 1) in a ponytail or 2) in a braid or 3) in a bun. Wearing your hair down, especially during the summer, will not only leave you with a puff ball of a bee hive but make you even hotter and annoyed.

6. A Royal Dinner. The parks have many places to eat and in selective restaurants guests can eat with Disney Princesses. You have to make a reservation ahead of time because the restaurants (like Belle’s Castle in Magic Kingdom or Akershus Royal Banquet at Epcot) fill up VERY quickly all year round.

7. Weather Protected. Whether it’s summer time in Florida or winter time, you can always count on rain coming to pay a visit. During the summer, make sure to pack a raincoat. It’s easier than carrying an umbrella and rain season in Florida hits hard throughout June and July in Florida since Hurricane Season begins June 1st. September is also a very rainy month. During October to February, pack a raincoat AND a jacket. We may not get cold weather the same way the north does but when you combine heavy rain and high winds, you will definitely be freezing!

8. Avoid a Visit to the Doctor. Since the weather shifts from hot to rainy back to hot again or from cold to rainy whenever it feels like it and throw in hundreds of people who may or may not wash their hands after going to the bathroom or sneezing or eating, it’s really easy to catch the flu or possibly something worse. Packing cold medicine is a good idea but there are also precautions you can take before you actually start to feel sick. Take vitamins like Ester C to boost your immune system. Airborne is also really good. Allergy medicine such as Non-Drowsy Clartin to keep on hand while at the park will be most helpful too as well as Ibuprofen or Advil. Pack a small bottle of antibacterial soap too and/or wipes.

9. Backup Ready. If you have kids, packing an extra pair of clothes, socks, and underwear is definitely a good way to go. Kids get messy very quickly and sweaty and since some rides at Disney do get you wet, bringing extra clothes, particularly for the little ones, will help keep them comfortable and you less stressed. (Make sure you chose a bag that isn’t too heavy and one you won’t mind carrying around throughout the day).

10. Keepsakes. There are some really awesome and beautiful things sold throughout all the parks in Disney BUT they are quite pricy, so save buying souvenirs for the family for the stores outside of Disney around the hotels and such. You’ll find really great gifts for far cheaper prices. BUT inside the park there are specific gifts you won’t find anywhere else like the different types of Minnie and Mickey hats or the variety of cool Nightmare Before Christmas stuff or the Disney collectible cups. Those are worth spending some money on because they really are beautiful keepsakes ;)

So that wraps up this edition of Disney-related tips. It may seem like a lot of work to plan a trip to Walt Disney World but trust me, it is definitely worth all the work! They aren't lying when they say it's the happiest place on earth ;)

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