Every Disney vacation, whether it’s your first or twenty-first, can be unique and exciting by doing something a little differently each time you visit. Here are a few tips to make your trip magical and memorable.
10. “Stop and Smell the Roses”
Find a bench or someplace to sit in a heavily travelled area, purchase a refreshing beverage, popcorn, frozen treat, etc. and get ready for the show. Close your eyes for a minute and listen to all the different sounds—a train whistle, a boat horn, screams from passengers on a nearby attraction, horses’ hooves clopping, a trolley car bell ringing, hundreds of footsteps passing by, etc. Enjoy the tantalizing smells of popcorn, turkey legs, freshly baked cookies, hot dogs, or old-fashioned taffy, just to name a few. It is a production like no other, filled with exciting, exuberant, and ever-changing special effects.
9. Take Advantage of the Disney Photo Pass Option
There are official Disney Photographers at several locations in every Park. After your first photograph, the photographer will give you a Photo Pass card, and each time before you have your picture made, you hand them your card. What is especially unique about these photographs is the fact that you can claim your pictures at any time, at the Parks, or online for 45 days after the first picture is taken. This is an excellent way for the whole family to be in every photo.
8. Take a Break
In the summertime, during the heat of the day, choose some attractions that are inside, where it will be cool and relaxing. If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you might consider taking a break from the heat of the day for a quick dip in the pool, have lunch at the food court, or just take a short rest in your room. After this break, you will be invigorated and ready for more magical adventures.
7. Single Rider Line
For those adventurous fun seekers who don’t mind sharing a ride with a stranger, Disney has an option called “Single Rider” lines available on some of the more popular attractions. Single Rider line works by filling in any available seats in the ride vehicle not filled in by whole parties waiting in the Stand by and Fast Pass lines. This line will typically move faster than the Stand by line.
6. Disney Parks are Baby Friendly
Don’t let anyone tell you travelling to a Disney Park is not advisable with infants or toddlers. As a parent you will find out fairly soon that the Disney Parks are absolutely “baby friendly”. Every park has a “Baby Care Center”, where Mom can relax in a comfortable chair, or rocker, and she and the infant can relax, while the toddler enjoys the playroom. There is a fully stocked kitchen, where you can warm food and bottles, and each Care Center features complimentary feeding areas complete with high chairs. You can also purchase necessary items such as diapers, baby food, medications, etc.
5. Closing Down a Park
A unique way to experience any Disney theme park is to stay until the park closes. Usually after the last nighttime parade and fireworks show, a majority of the crowds head toward the exit areas. For this reason, you can get in several rides with no waiting. After your final ride, take a leisurely stroll toward Main Street. The Emporium on Main Street will be packed with wall to wall people. It is the last stop before the exits, and the last chance to get that perfect souvenir that you saw several days ago but didn’t buy. Don’t get in a rush. Find a place to sit and keep an eye on the crowds, and when there are fewer and fewer customers, get in there and purchase those special keepsakes of a very magical vacation.
4. Keep A Daily Disney Journal
Most Disney Park visitors experience that mild depression on their last day, so to ease the pain, try composing a Disney Park Journal. At the end of each day, if you’re not too tired, write down the events of the day including rides, meals, unusual happenings, really helpful or funny cast members and their names, etc. After you get home you will then be able to match many of your photos with the events and on what days they occurred, making a memorable scrapbook. Also, your journal enables you to have fun by creating a trivia game for the trip home or after you get home. For instance, “How many times did we ride Space Mt?”, “Where did we eat lunch on our second day?” You may need your journal for the answers.
3. Try Every Ride or Attraction At Least Once
Some rides or attractions may look a little frightening, while others appear to be for younger children only. A majority of the rides and attractions in the Disney Parks are designed for the entire family to ride together. That was Walt Disney’s pet peeve regarding an amusement park. This came from those times when he would sit on a bench and watch his daughters ride the carousel, while he sat there watching. Don’t be a sitter or a waiter; be a rider. Many of the thrill rides at Disney theme parks are manageable for even the faint hearted, at least once. I think you will be surprised how these rides are not that frightening after all, and are really quite exhilarating.
2. Shopping At The Parks
When you are trying to find that perfect gift for a relative or friend, be sure to pick one that can only be purchased at a Disney theme park. If you are not sure, ask a cast member, and they will be happy to assist you. Also, try to choose a souvenir that reflects your friend or relative’s personality. There are many personalized items; mugs, jewelry, hats, t-shirts; too many to name.
For those guests who are staying at a Disney Resort, every shop offers a package pickup service, and whatever gifts you choose can be sent to your resort for pickup later. This is especially helpful for those extra large or fragile items.
1. What to Wear
There are two key words when considering what clothing is best for a Disney vacation. They are “weather” and “comfort”. First of all, check the weather reports for the week prior to and after your vacation destination dates. This will give you a fairly accurate idea of what to expect as far as weather conditions. Pack accordingly. Whether it will be hot or cold, it is best to bring clothing that is comfortable and machine washable. Most hotels have laundry facilities. Rather than going out and buying a whole new wardrobe just for your Disney vacation, pack clothes that you have worn before and feel the most at ease in.
Regarding footwear, your feet will be traveling on miles of concrete daily, so protect them with good athletic shoes that you have had for a while. Now is definitely not the time or place to break in a new pair of shoes. It is also a good idea to wear socks that rise above the back of the shoe, which helps prevent blisters.
A Disney Theme Park vacation is the ultimate choice in family entertainment. Walt Disney imagined an amusement park where the whole family could enjoy every attraction together. His dream became a reality on July 17, 1955, when Disneyland opened their gates to the public. “To all who come to this happy place, Welcome” was Walt’s opening statement, and these few words have endured for over 50 years, and his dream is still growing and changing every day. We are the lucky benefactors of his dream. Thank you, Mr. Disney for sharing your magical dream with all of us! We’d love to hear from you! If you have any Disney tips, please share them with us in the comments below!.
Castle photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper