|This is first thing in the morning and it is already a zoo.|
|Astro Orbiter which is a pretty run of the mill ride. Not worth a long wait.|
The most important thing you need to know about Disney World is it will be crowded. We went between Christmas and New Year's and it was a madhouse. Wall to wall people everywhere. They actually closed the park part way through the day because it was full. It won't be as busy if you go at other times of the year but from what I gather there is never a time when the place is not busy. Two main ways to deal with the crowds is to get there early, like before they open early, and make a beeline for the ride/attraction you really want to do before the line ups get out of control, and to make use of FastPass+ which allows you to make reservations for three attractions per day. It comes standard with every admission so there is no extra cost. Very popular attractions will actually run out of FastPasses so you will want to make your reservations as soon as possible. I did ours online a couple weeks before our trip and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was already all out of FastPasses. We used our FastPasses for Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We were able to get on the rides within a few minutes of arriving which sure beat waiting in line for over an hour for each one.
|Goofing around in line for The Haunted Mansion|
If you end up standing in line for a long time some lineups are actually part of the fun. The line up for the Haunted Mansion for instance has tons of fun stuff to look at and play with. The line up also moves quickly which at least provides the illusion that you are getting to the front of the line in a timely manner. Buy the kids a snack before entering a long line and let them eat it while waiting rather than having to stop after and getting something. Some rides aren't worth waiting in long line ups - the Astro Orbiter for instance or the People Mover - while others aren't terribly exciting (the Carousel) but have quick or short line ups so are worth doing if you are going by.
|One of the many fun, random things to do in Disney World.|
Chances are you will only wind up doing about a half a dozen rides in a day since the line ups are long and there is so much other stuff to do. My kids loved the parades that seemed to pop up every few hours and the shows that were going on several times a day. Seeing characters like Alice and the Mad Hatter wander around was also a highlight. They also liked the gift shops - A LOT! My kids discovered pin trading while at Disney World and were instantly hooked. They can't wait to go back, due in large part because they want to trade their pins. By the way, one trick I learned is to buy a bundle of pins at one of the discount souvenir shops on International Drive so that your kids have some to trade. My kids spent their allowance money on pins they liked and then didn't want to trade them away so the discount bundle of pins is a good way to ensure they have some they can bear to part with.
|Enjoying a Dole Float.|
Things to remember:
- It takes a long time to actually get into the park. You have to park and then take a shuttle to the ferry or monorail which then takes you to the park. Once you are there you have to wait to scan your tickets/wristband and then wait again to go through security. That was what I meant when I said you should get there before the park even opens because you can do all of that before the park opens and be ready to go as soon as the rope drops.
- You do have to pay for parking so have some cash ready for that.
- If you are staying at a resort they will deliver your gift store purchases to your hotel so that you don't have to lug them around.
- People always mention that Disney World is expensive and that is true but I didn't find it any more expensive that the other attractions in Orlando. Universal Studios is more expensive for instance. You can definitely spend a fortune while in the park if you aren't careful but you can also bring in your own food. Managing expectations about souvenirs and the like with your kids will also help a lot.