Category Archives: Tips and Tricks
Here is another great Chip Panel submission from Amy, lifelong Disney fan and mother of 3 up incoming Disney fanatics. I am adding this to the category of Tips and Tricks. To see why you will have to read the article..lol
I have loved Disneyworld since I was first there in 1976. So when I had my twins, I couldn’t wait to take them to Disneyworld. I finally convinced my husband they were old enough when they were 3. It was going to be an exciting trip, our first big family vacation, the twins first trip to Disneyworld and our first on property stay.
I read books about taking kids to the parks, I made lists of what to see and do, and figured out where to meet their favorite characters. Every day at the parks, was a new adventure, we saw all their favorite characters, went on every ride in Fantasyland. Everything was perfect, until my son, who was not yet potty trained, wet his pants.
We were having so much fun, trying to do and see everything the kids would love, that we forgot to change his pull up. There we were in the middle of Fantasyland with no extra clothes for him and a soaking wet child. Luckily, we were able to find a pair of shorts in one of the shops for about $30. There was only one style, in one color, no other choices. I had never spent that much money on a pair of children’s shorts, but what could I do except hand over the credit card.
For the next couple of years, every time my son wore those shorts, my husband and I vowed we would never let that kind of thing happen again!
Fast forward 5 years, we were back at Disneyworld. I was so excited to be taking my younger son to Disneyworld at the exact same age his brother and sister were on their first trip. We were doing great, balancing 3 year old activities with 8 year old activities, everyone was having a blast. And then disaster struck, the pull up had let us down again!
Off we marched to the Emporium to buy the little guy some new pants. This time instead of shorts, we ended up with $40 sweatpants, but again, there was only one style and one color. It was all I could do to hand over the credit card again while my husband took the soggy one off to the restroom to change clothes, muttering very unDisney like words the whole time.
Luckily, the little guy is now potty trained and he is our youngest, so there won’t be any more of these unplanned souvenirs on our next trip to Disneyworld.
If you happen to be at Disneyworld with us in October, you might just spot the infamous shorts and sweatpants being worn again if for no other reason than to remind mom and dad to build regular bathroom breaks into the schedule! I’ll be the one sporting the extra large backpack filled with changes of clothes for all 3 kids just incase.
Author: Amy Voorhees
Amy is now a member of thean elite group of Disney Guest Bloggers featured on the Chip and Company site. If you love Disney and enjoy writing you should apply to the ..Along with being immortalized on Chip and Company Website you will be entered in a drawing for a free $25 Disney Store Giveaway!
So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge – to visit the land of “Mouse”!
Everyone’s been but you, right?
Well, not everyone, but let an ole veteran give you some Disney Dos and Don’ts……..
DO as much research as you can before booking. It is actually more affordable than ever to visit, with various options offered to appeal to everyone. On the Disney web site, you can view various price levels of resorts from Value to Luxury, and determine which one fits into your budget long before actually booking.
DON’T put all of your eggs in one basket. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t spend the majority of your funds on a room. You will not be there as much as you think, and even Disney’s value resorts offer the “Disney Magic” in their interiors/exteriors.
DO remember this is the deep south and dress accordingly. If you are making a summer visit, try to dress in lightweight, breathable fabrics. Cotton shorts & shirts are best for all family members. Also, remember to pack swimwear & water shoes, as each resort has it’s own themed pool. If you’re traveling in winter months, wear layered clothing that can be removed easily, as parks will be cooler in the mornings/evenings and warmer mid-day.
DON’T make this a fashion show – you’ll end up regretting it. Cute children’s outfits, ladies’ dresses and cute pant suits…..all of those are fine – for your nights out to dinner, but not advisable for the parks. Children can easily get overheated if overdressed, and you’ll be climbing in and out of rides, ladies, so a dress is NOT your best option – if you get my drift. Also, stick with athletic shoes, which you have worn around home at least 2 weeks before vacation. There will be more walking than you can imagine, for hours at a time, and sandals, flip-flops, crocs, etc. will NOT lend you the support you need. Ladies – NO HIGH HEELS – if I’m telling you this, you know someone has actually done it.
DO be careful in choosing your vacationing “partners”. You’re going and you think it would be great if everyone went with you — not so much. If you have an aunt who lives to complain, or a friend with a difficult wife, leave them at home your first time visiting. Remember, you’ve worked a long time for this vacation, and it’s going to cost you quite a bit of money, so make it all about you and your household. Save “friendship” and “extended family” trips for another time, so you and yours can enjoy yourselves to the fullest.
DON’T tell young children of your travel plans if the trip is a year away. Children have NO CONCEPT of time, and from this day forward, you will hear “Is it time to go to Disney World yet?” It will be hard for you to conceal this, with it being your first time, and you’re as giddy as a kid yourself, but trust me, you will thank me later that you didn’t disclose to Little Johnny and Precious Janie in January that they will be visiting the Mouse in December.
DO talk to someone who has been before, whether family member, friend, or even someone on this forum. Most people are more than happy to inform you of their personal dos and don’ts.
DON’T assume something is a stupid question. I will guarantee someone before you asked the same question. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
Hopefully, these tips will aid you in having the most magical vacation ever! Happy Disney Days! DeAnna Welch
DeAnna is now a member of thean elite group of Disney Guest Bloggers featured on the Chip and Company site. If you love Disney and enjoy writing you should apply to the ..Along with being immortalized on Chip and Company Website you will be entered in a drawing for a free $25 Disney Store Giveaway!
My Husband and I try to get to Disney World at least two times a year. Ok, truth be told, I like to go to Disney at least two times a year and I drag him along with me. He usually complains about going right up until we are there and then magically he is swept away into a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable vacation.
We are newly weds of just two and a half years and with no children to entertain Disney World is a completely different type of vacation. Often, our friends and family ask us why we choose to keep going back to Disney when clearly there are so many other choices. The answer to us is simple. Disney offers us every single thing we could want in a vacation without compromise.
We have Disney for grown ups down to a science. We choose to stay at a deluxe resort, usually the Wilderness Lodge, for the quiet atmosphere and fantastic restaurants. If you have never been to Artist Point, make reservations now and thank me later. We wake up each morning, grab a quick bite to eat and head off to the park of our choosing. We are thrill seekers and we know that getting to the parks before they open will allow us the enjoyment of seeing the opening festivities that occur at rope drop and it will get us on the rides we want without any wait at all. Most families with small children don’t arrive at the parks until later in the morning and if they are there at park opening they will not be heading straight for the big thrills. We usually fast pass one attraction as we walk right onto another. The Animal Kingdom is a fabulous park to do first thing in the morning as Expedition Everest usually runs out of fast passes by mid day. We can usually ride it two times before heading over to the safari or the river rapids.
As lunch approaches the parks really start to fill up. This is when we make our escape. If we are at Epcot we will eat lunch at the world showcase, otherwise we head back to the hotel to eat, lounge at the pool with a cocktail, and rest. At the Wilderness lodge you can lay on the sand beach with a rum runner and your Disney vacation becomes a Caribbean get away! Sometimes we may choose to draw the curtains in our room, turn on the AC and nap! As an adult we start to miss out on the luxury that is napping. Doing this for an hour not only recharges your batteries, but it lets you indulge in something that our normal day to day routines don’t allow! Vacation is all about indulgences after all!
I always schedule dinner in the vicinity of the park we will be attending for the evening. Knowing what parks have extra magic hours is a bonus when making advance dining reservations. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance of your trip and park hours are usually posted way ahead of time so knowing where you are going to be on any given night of your vacation is pretty easy! If we are spending the evening at The Magic Kingdom I make sure to book the California Grill. This is one of our favorite restaurants on the property. It is a signature dining experience and for that reason it will cost you 2 table service credits if you are on the dining plan. It is very important to note that the Grill is one of the most spectacular views you will ever have of the fireworks over the castle. They also go the extra mile here and pipe in the music so it is like watching the show on Main Street USA! If you dine at the California Grill early in the evening, save your receipt and you can go back up at show time! If our evening is at Epcot I book into a restaurant in the World Showcase. We love Le Cellier steak house in Canada for a sit down meal and the Tangerine Café in Morocco if we want to play things by ear at a quick service venue.
As adults we have figured out that there is truly only so much time we can spend in the amusement parks and want some of our vacation to reflect the fact that we are actually on vacation. Before each trip we pick 2-3 activities that we would like to do. These activities cost extra and we make sure to budget accordingly. We have had spa treatments, gone horseback riding, rented sea raycers, shopped at down town Disney, and been canoeing just to name a few! We have also made time for tours that are specifically for adults! One tour we went on was the backstage safari tour at Animal Kingdom. If you attend the early outing, the group is generally small and you usually beat the heat! This tour is for guests over the age of 16 and as an adult doing Disney sans children, we found that it was a great escape from the crying babies and stroller brigades!
Enjoying Disney World can be done at any age, but it is really special to be able to enjoy this magical place as an adult. Disney can actually be a romantic getaway, a fantastic pal’s trip, or a fabulous place to celebrate a graduation! Finding activities, amusements, and restaurants that reflect your age and interests will make your vacation everything that you want it to be!
Some Great Grown Up Ideas
- California Grill
- Horseback Riding
- La Cava del Tequila
- Spa Treatments
- Bike Rentals
- Victoria and Alberts
- Guided Fishing Excursions
- Richard Petty Driving Experience
- World Show Case
- Artist Point
- Down Town Disney
- Cirque Du Soleil
- Back Stage Safari
- World Showcase
Article by Jessica Hayes
There is so much to do at Disney World and often we plan big. On our last trip, which was in March of 2010, we realized our budget would not allow for park tickets for all eight days of our stay. We opted for a 5 day hopper and decided to leave three days open for pure exploration and whimsy. One of these days which started as a fly by the seat of our pants kind of day, ended as one of our most memorable to date.
As guests of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge we decided one sunny morning that we would spend our day at Fort Wilderness Campground. My husband and I strolled to the campground along the trail that connects the two resorts. We spotted several deer and armadillos (which we found fascinating and later learned that the locals find them to be a nuisance!)
When we arrived at Fort Wilderness we lingered around the pony petting area admiring the petite animals as they ate their breakfast. We toured the barn where the horses that pull the trolleys on Main Street USA reside and reviewed the role of horses in the history of Disney World. We then made our way to the Tri Circle D Ranch where we decided to take a guided horseback ride. This was hands down the most fun “extra curricular” activity we have done at Disney! The ride itself was quite tame, but the guides were hilarious and so informative! We got tons of inside stories and tips! My husband and I were the only ones on the trail ride so it was very personal. We both enjoyed every minute of it! We took the first ride of the morning which was extremely peaceful and the heat of the sun had not yet made being outdoors unbearable.
After our ride we tipped our guides and headed to the Trails End Restaurant for a late breakfast. The prices were great and the food was even better! All you care to enjoy biscuits and gravy, Mickey waffles, grits, muffins, bacon, and cinnamon buns left us ready to pop!
To digest we sat on the beach and watched the world go by. We played horse shoes, had a few cocktails and snacks at Crockets Tavern, and generally lazed our afternoon away. We played checkers and jenga on the tavern porch and for a moment we were not in Disney World, but back at the turn of the century when things were simple and life was not decorated by the noise of ipods, TV’s, or cell phones.
We rented bicycles and toured the campground and as the sun began to set we made our way to the nightly campfire where we ate marshmallows with Chip and Dale and even joined in on a sing along!
Our night completed with a 9:30 showing of the Hoop Dee Doo Review at Pioneer Hall. Since we were attending the final performance of the evening we were able to get seats last minute in the tier three section of the hall. The seats were actually great, but for those of you who have not been to Pioneer Hall, there really is not a bad seat in the house. The show was outstanding and one I recommend to all of my friends. It was funny, upbeat, and the food really hit the spot!
We made our way back to the lodge having experienced a slower side of Disney, a side that was welcomed and refreshing. Now, each time we return, we try to block off a bit of time to visit Fort Wilderness and take in the world that once was.
By Jessica Hayes
I’m going to Disney World!!!! OK, so that’s a cliché now, but it is no less exciting when you say it. Go on, give it a try. I’ll wait right here for you to finish.
I know I turn into a giddy little kid when I start talking about either my last visit to the World or the upcoming trip. It’s seven months, three weeks and six days until my next visit, by the way. If you give me a minute, I could tell you the hours, minutes and seconds, but I’m sure you are not interested.
Anyway! The whole point to my story is to talk about one of the necessities of every Disney vacation – souvenirs. We all know this can be a pretty big expense if we aren’t careful … or if my DH lets me go shopping by myself. A few of the souvies I have to have from each visit is a new Mickey ears hat, a T-shirt for that year, a pen and one big souvie. This year it was the Samurai Mickey statue. He’s just too cute for words.
However, my DH has his own idea about what constitutes a souvie. Other than his baseball cap, his idea of a souvie is not quite what the rest of us think of. I have to give him credit, though. His costs a lot less than mine. But then, what he keeps as souvies is what the rest of us call trash.
I’m not kidding.
From this past vacation, he brought home several napkins from various places (they have to have the restaurant’s name on them), a soda cup, a French fry container, a Dole Whip cup, a hotdog sleeve, the EMH wrist bands (we have one in every color now) and a popcorn box. Not the plastic souvie container, mind you, the paper box. He has also collected fast passes for each and every ride that offers one.
One of his favorites now is actually meant to be a souvie – the squished pennies. We now have two full penny books and are working on a third. Of course, this means carrying glucose tablet tubes around filled with pennies and quarters. It is quite fun trying to find new ones now, I must admit.
And then there are the “spur of the moment” souvies he finds. For example, the wet paint sign, the magic masking tape and the opening ceremony streamers from the Magic Kingdom. Now, the wet paint sign and the streamers are self explanatory. But you may be asking what the heck is magic masking tape? Well, let me tell you.
Have you noticed that, when the parks are setting up for the parades, they put a line of masking tape down on the ground? Have you also noticed that the thousands and thousands of visitors never cross this tape line? Just a simple line of masking tape on the ground and all these excited and eager people lining up to see the parade simply stay behind it, no questions. Impressive.
Is there any other place in the country where this would happen? I would love to see this tried in some place like New York City or DC or in any of the regular amusement parks across the country. I think in most of these places, they could put up Jersey walls and people would still try to cross it.
Anyway, we now have a piece of this magic masking tape in our latest scrap book … along with the streamers, wet paint sign, fast passes and a few other things such as our room key and tickets. The rest of his “souvies” are in his man cave on his shelves. And, yes, they were washed before we packed them.
What can I say? I have a very strange DH … and wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, he does share my love of all things Disney. He just likes their trash. And that does leave the majority of our souvie money for me. Can’t beat that!
Story and photos by SFC(ret) Jane Usero