Florida, home of Walt Disney World, is known as “The Sunshine State”, and this is where Walt Disney himself chose for his next major project, EPCOT, which actually became Walt Disney World. The day starts out lovely, hot and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. You have a Fast Pass for the Haunted Mansion, and you go right to front of the line, and within a few minutes you have hitched a ride on a “Doom Buggy”. After approximately 20 minutes, you exit the ride, and you are shocked to see
that there are dark clouds overhead and visitors are running to and fro seeking cover from a “rainshower?” What? Rain here in the “Sunshine State”.
Don’t panic! As local residents already know, these daily rain showers cool things down enough to give you a refreshing new start to your afternoon of fun! Usually after an hour or two, the rain will stop, the skies will clear, and that is the end of the rain for the day. It’s almost like a ritual. The clouds roll in; the ponchos and umbrellas come out; the skies clear, and the ponchos and umbrellas are put away. A piece of advice: A poncho a day keeps the raindrops away!
At Walt Disney World, you can count on crowds, with some months having heavier attendance, such as Spring Break, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. There is, however, ways to enjoy your Disney vacation even on the most crowded days. Here are a few suggestions:
- When all the rides have maximum waiting times, consider returning to your Resort for a refreshing dip in the pool, or remove your shoes and give your feet a little air time. This short break will renew you, not only physically but mentally also. Your body and brain will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the “World” once again.
- In Tomorrowland, get on board the PeopleMover, which never stops so there is seldom a long line, and even if there is, the conveyer belt which you step onto moves you right along to your vehicle, which is also always moving. This 10-minute ride around Tomorrowland not only is relaxing but also informative. As you pass windows overlooking several shops, you can view the merchandise offered, and get a bird’s eye view of other attractions. You will also pass windows overlooking “Space Mountain” and “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin”. While you’re up there above it all, you can check out which ride has smaller lines.
- When it gets really crowded, visit the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street and treat yourself to an old-fashioned, all American sundae, a scrumptious ice cream sandwich, or a refreshing ice cream float. There are no seats, but you can find a cozy little corner somewhere away from the bustling crowd, and chill out for a little while.
7. Car Problems
What happens if you get back to your car after a fun, exciting day at one of the Disney theme parks, and your car won’t start, and you and your family are in the middle of one huge parking lot? Stay calm! Call the Walt Disney World Operator (407-824-2222—enter this number as a contact on your cell phone). The Operator will connect you with the Car Care Center, which is a full-service automotive facility offering auto repairs, roadside assistance, and car rentals for guests of a Walt Disney World Resort.
Car Care One, a mobile service unit, provides basic roadside services to automobiles, SUVs, and small trucks up to one hour after Park closing. Guests requiring assistance more than one hour after closing can contact Resort Security for support(407-824-0976—another important number to put on your contact list). These roadside services include complimentary towing, fuel assistance, battery jump start, flat tire assistance, etc. No matter what the degree of car repair service you need, Disney “has your back”, and will do everything necessary to insure your Disney dream vacation is not interrupted.
6. Lost and Found
If you’ve misplaced something at a Walt Disney World Resort, their Lost and Found Recovery system can try to help you find it. Just go to any Lost & Found location for assistance. Items found at the theme parks and water parks are turned in to the specific park’s Lost & Found Guest Relations. After the park closes, the items are delivered to the Theme Parks Lost & Found at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center). Items left on monorails, watercraft, and Resort buses are also delivered to the TTC. Items found at Resort Hotels are turned into the Lobby Concierge. Disney cast members are the best at making sure lost items get returned to their rightful owners.
Being away from home when you or a member of your family starts feeling bad is not fun, but at Walt Disney World, medical help is always available. If you or your family member begins feeling ill at a theme park, just visit one of the conveniently located First Aid Centers. Nurses are available during normal park operating hours to offer over-the-counter medications, bandages, and other quick remedies. If an accident occurs, and you cannot make it to a First Aid Center, just find the nearest cast member and they will get help for you. In-room medical services are available at all Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. Simply touch “front desk” from your in-room phone for assistance 24 hours a day. Florida Hospital Central Care Walk-In Urgent Care Centers are open 8AM-midnight Monday through Friday, and 8AM-8PM Saturdays and Sundays.
In a worst case scenario, Walt Disney World has hundreds of automated external defibrillators around the parks, many of them strategically placed near thrill rides and fitness centers. There are phone next to them so that someone can call for help immediately. At Walt Disney World, there is no accident or illness that will be disregarded by any of the medical options available at every theme park or Resort Hotel.
4. Forgot Something?
For local residents, you have the option of leaving for a short period of time to retrieve whatever it was you left at home. For those guests who have traveled a great distance and are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, it becomes a greater challenge to replace whatever it was you left behind. No worries! You have several options. There are plenty of places to purchase what you need. The theme parks themselves, are a treasure trove of shops of all kinds. Every Resort, has its own small convenience and souvenir store, and there’s Downtown Disney. Whether you left your shoes, clothing, camera, film, batteries, etc., you will be able to find a replacement.
3. Ride Closings or Rehabs
You have finally arrived at Walt Disney World, “the most magical place on earth”! You’ve got your magic bands, you catch the bus to the Magic Kingdom, walk briskly to your favorite ride in Tomorrowland, Space Mountain, only to find out when you arrive that it’s closed, shut down. What a bummer! Don’t worry, be happy! In most cases, the ride is only temporarily shut down for minor maintenance, and the cast members who are standing out front will let you know approximately when the ride should re-open. In the meantime, you have the rest of the Magic Kingdom to explore! Rides that are being shut down for major renovations are usually listed on most Disney web pages, so you won’t be disappointed when you arrive, but instead you’ll know about the closing and make your plans accordingly.
2. Family Squabbles
Even though you and your family are in the “most magical place on earth”, eventually the close vicinity of all family members being together 24/7 can cause some moments of irritability. That Hotel room seems to be getting smaller every day. Everyone’s up at the crack of dawn to catch that first bus or get a close parking space, after having shut one of the Parks down the night before. Fatigue is setting in, and Moms and Dads sometimes tend to get a little crabby. This would be a good time to take a break from the Parks. Here are a few suggestions to help relieve family tension.
- Spend a whole or half day at your Disney or other Resort Hotel, where there will be no lines, no hustling to get to the next attraction, no crowds. Just relax and enjoy all the amenities offered by your Hotel. Take a dip in the pool, go for a leisurely walk, or rent a bicycle or boat.
- Visit one of the Disney themes Miniature Golf Courses: Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland.
- Do some shopping and dining at Downtown Disney.
After your break, you’ll appreciate the magic of Walt Disney World even more.
1. Not Planning Ahead
The single most important thing to consider when taking a Disney vacation is to plan ahead. For some of us though, that can only afford to visit once a year or once every couple of years, it can be difficult to make sure you’re buying the right tickets, choosing the Disney resort that best suits your needs and making restaurant and FastPass reservations in an informed manner. The best way you can ensure you’re getting the best deal for your money and have all your vacation ‘ducks in a row’ is to consult an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner like MickeyTravels. These guys are Disney experts and can help you plan and book your trip plus advise you on many aspects of your vacation to make it your best ever. The real win here is that their services are totally FREE to you and even after you book your trip, they’ll continue to make sure you’re getting the best available rate for should Disney prices change. If you’ve already booked your vacation, you can transfer your vacation details to their agency and they’ll work on your behalf to ensure the lowest cost possible.
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper