And, wow was it exhausting! I have two girls a 9-year-old and a 3-year-old, both super excited about going and staying, but I did not realize just how tired I would be at the end of each day – I guess that is age for you (or for me!).
We won a trip to stay on Disney property and we received tickets for each of the parks and for each of us – or the 4 of us. It was really great, but as I said it was also tiring. I guess because it had been so long since we were able to go, or since I remember visiting, but I had to share my thoughts and ideas for going to Disney.
Since we received the tickets for free we did not go on-line to purchase them (as most people do when planning a trip) but I did know that we would need to make dinner reservations for at least one of the evenings, so I did do that. So, when purchasing your tickets or even getting them ahead of time, designate which tickets will be used for which day and schedule your FastPass.
I did not realize that these are free (soon discovered this) and that you can book 3 FastPass’ ahead of time. However, plan ALL of the 3 for first thing in the morning, because you cannot add to the list until all 3 have been used. You can, however, change any of them if you would like, but best make them all for the morning and add as soon as you can. Try as we could – there were several rides we could not FastPass – Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train was one. Evidently, this is very popular and the wait time is at least 70 minutes. We did not end up on this particular ride. You can FastPass meet-n-greets for the different characters – so you have little ones that want to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daisy or Donald – try to do those in the morning, or expect up to a 30-60 minute wait.
The first day, after we checked-in, we went to Hollywood Studios – unless the Star Wars ride are working, this park really could be missed. There were some sit-down movie-type rides, but if I had done it over we would have gone to Animal Kingdom and missed the Studios. We tried to get some of the FastPass there, but since we did not understand it and around 4 or so we received the text that our room was ready – we headed over there to get settled. We went to the pool, and then the hotel had movies playing every night outside the hotel (staring at 8 PM) and we were able to see Frozen on Monday evening. Although my oldest daughter will protest, it is a favorite of both and we sang along to ALL of the songs.
I made reservation for the Magic Kingdom to eat at the Crystal Palace – which is where you get to meet Winne Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore – and they come to your table and you get to take pictures, however, if you don’t have a camera or even an autograph book you probably won’t get one (at least when we were there no one was on-hand to take photos). This is also a great place for a buffet for children and adults.
The vast majority of the places, especially for dinner, were reservation only. I tried to make a reservation in Cinderella’s Castle, but even ahead of time it was not available so we were not able to go there. I did, when we returned back to the hotel make reservation for the Nine Dragons at Epcot the next evening and did make more FastPass reservations. Again, try to do this well-ahead of time – you won’t be able to get on or see a lot of the park.
We also went to Epcot during the Flower & Garden time – and it is so well-done. Plants and flowers were created just as most of the movies – Lightning McQueen and Mator from the movie Cars, Elsa and Anna from Frozen, Captain Hook, Tick-Tock Crock and Peter Pan were in Great Britain – or the ones that really stood out to me. We adventured around Epcot trying to find all of the rides that were inside and had seats (this made it much cooler) and helped out our feet A LOT!
We had a great time and I do not regret it at all. I wish we had more than the 3-4 days. We were so tired from visiting Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and then Epcot we could not even get to Animal Kingdom. We asked the girls if it would be ok to sleep-in, relax at the pool, walk around the boardwalk and then head home, and we were thankful they agreed!
I always say – next time I will know – but I doubt we will get that kind of a chance again. There are so many things to do at Walt Disney World for free, that even staying a week you would not be able to do half of them. I was also thankful to be able to come home and have another 3 days to recoup.
Thanks to GreenBuilder for giving us the chance to go and it meant more to me to spend time with my husband and children than it did to spend the days at the parks!
So, make reservations for best places for dinner – including Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom or Disney Princess Storybook Dining at Epcot – these you can meet Disney Princesses which your little girls will like. There’s also Sci Fi Dine In Theater at Hollywood Studios and Epcot has the Coral Reef Restaurant where you can watch fish neat the Seas with Nemo. I found some of this information on another blog – http://www.everythingmouse.com/top-10-best-walt-disney-world-restaurants-for-kids – which I wish I had found before our trip – but that’s another story.
Try to make your FastPass reservations as soon as possible – honestly, if you can’t decide on the day – pick one – Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are best for Magic Kingdom, Monday’s and Thursday’s can be better for Epcot, Sunday’s Monday’s Tuesday’s and Friday’s are better for Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios can be better on Monday’s Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s – most of the time the weekends are more crowded with locals also visiting.
Good luck and let me know if you have gone or getting ready to go and I can try to give you more information. Even though it is a bit more expensive to stay on Disney property – it could be worth it because of the staff and service you get as well as transportation to and from hotel.