Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Disney Tips and Tricks: What do know BEFORE you get into the Parks!

So as you know by now, my family and I spent a week in Orlando and enjoyed a wonderful vacation at Disney World at the end of June!  Of course we planned it during one of the busiest AND of course hottest most humid time of the year.  Hahaha!  But we learned a few tips and tricks I'd like to share with you!  

These are the things that worked for us (keep in mind we were traveling with a group of eight people including a 3 year old).  So use whatever works for you!

Tips and Tricks:  What to know BEFORE you get into the Parks!

1. ) Know your transportation:  we stayed at Shades of Green, a hotel on the Disney resort for military, vets and their families, and it took us a little bit of time to learn how the shuttles worked for each park.  

  • There were buses to and from the hotel to Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Downtown Disney (as well as the water parks Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) which only arrived once hourly.  To get to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, our shuttles (every 20 mins) dropped us off at the Transportation and Ticket center where we took the monorail to each park.  It appeared that many surrounding resorts's shuttles did the same thing so...my recommendation is to find out the NIGHT before your first venture out as to what the transportation looks like and the times your shuttles, etc. will arrive and depart.
  • If you are planning on driving into Disney and parking in their lots be prepared to pay a fee (for this trip it would have been $15/day) so make sure you add that into your budget.

2.)  Make sure to pack a small first aid kit:  you never know what will happen on a trip so we like to make sure we have at the very least a few necessary supplies such as:

  • Band aids
  • Neosporan (great for making sure the small cuts and scrapes DO NOT turn into an infection)
  • Pain reliever (aspirin, ibprophen, etc. b/c you will have aids and pains from all the walking each day)
  • Moleskin (we like to buy it for all the blisters we end up getting...mostly me for some reason..hmmm)
  • Foot wraps or compression socks (if you have a history of ankle/foot injuries like myself you may benefit from wrapping your feet up each morning before you head out to the parks.  This really helped my feet reduce the swelling and foot pain I felt the first day at the parks.)
  • Any child medicine you may need (we always carry a thermometer and some child fever reducer and homeopathic cough and cold meds....just in case!  We haven't had to use it yet on trips but it gives me as mom a sense of security I guess.)

Photo Credit
3.) Stay Hydrated!:  I cannot STRESS this enough b/c I know if I was reading this I would probably not take this tip as seriously as it should be taken!!!  This time of year is SO humid in Florida and you will be sweating within mins of walking outside.  This time my husband had the brilliant idea of purchasing these Camelbacks for our trip!  Each morning he filled up our Camelbacks with hotel ice (as full as possible) then poured one bottle of water over the ice and we had almost 3 quarts of cold water a day (each) that we carried on our backs.  This was MUCH, MUCH lighter than I though it was going to be AND the fact that we had water readily available all day long kept us hydrated and cool!  The water stayed cold while we were outside and we refilled once we got back to the hotel before our event trek back to the parks. 

Best part about these Camelbacks?  ALL the extra storage space which we filled with snacks, lunch and other necessities!  Want to know what we packed in these pockets?  Keep reading!!!

4.)  Pack snacks, and lunch:  If you do not have a plan to eat lunch with any characters I HIGHLY recommend you pack lunch daily...not only will it save you money but more importantly (I think) it will save you TIME...precious, precious time you will need to take advantage of getting around the parks.  Yes you will have to go through bag check every time you enter a park BUT the amount of time you save compared to standing in line ordering lunch and finding a seat somewhere in the park to eat is significant!  PLUS if you are traveling with kids, you always need to have snacks and food readily available to ward off any meltdowns that can very easily occur.
  • What did we pack?  Granola and Special K bars, fruit cups, sandwiches (all of which stayed cool when in the pocket NEXT to the Camelback's bladder...perfect and no need for a separate cooler), fruit buddies (If you don't know what these are, they are applesauce of varying flavors that are stored in small plastic bags so children can suck out the applesauce and eat on the go), fruit snacks, AND lollipops (for those desperate moments right before my son totally melted down into a puddle of tears!).
  • We also packed sunscreen, band aids, Neosporan, bug spray, moleskin and ibprophen...just in case!  Yes ALL of these things fit in our Camelbacks without difficulty!

5.)  Wear a good pair of shoes:  This is extremely important! I saw a ton of people walking around in flip flops and by midday there were many who were slowly making their way through the park.  The problem is not all the walking as much as it is all the WAITING you will be doing in lines.  So I suggesting wearing a good pair of sneakers with good arch supports...ones that are broken in and won't give you blisters due to being new.  You can always pack flip flops for later in the day (which I did, b/c my feet HATE to be suffocated in shoes all day) but wearing sneakers really helped for the busiest parts of the day!

6.)  Wear sunscreen daily and use bug spray at night:  The sun is HOT in Florida.  It seems every time I go down there, I get sun poison on the same part of my body.  So this time, I lathered up on my sunscreen daily!  Bring hats to give you some shade!  And make sure you use bug spray at night b/c those mosquitoes are OUT at night time!!!

7.) Bring a fan spray bottle:  head on over to Walmart or where ever and buy yourself a fan spray bottle b/c you can get for 1/3rd the price it is selling for in the parks.  We brought our own fan spray bottles from home and it was a brilliant way to keep ourselves cooled off during the day!  (make sure your spray bottle has a lanyard so you can hang it on your neck, bags or, like us, the stroller)

8.) Bring ponchos with you in case of rain:  this time of year is hurricane season it can rain EVERY DAY if it so chooses.  And it may rain heavy for a bit but it will eventually stop so you don't want to miss out on a full day at the parks if you can wait out the storm and keep dry.  It costs $10 a pop for a poncho inside the park so you would be better off buying ponchos prior to entering the park and they are packed to neatly that they will add nothing to your bag of goodies!

9.)  Use ziplock bags:  put your personal identifications, park tickets, money, and all other important items in ziplock bags to protect them from water, sweat, humidity, etc.  Also carry several extras (of varying sizes) in your bags b/c you never know when you will need to use some ziplock bags!!! (Also great for storing wet clothes until you can get back to the hotel)

10.)  Bring at least 1 pen:  you will need a writing utensil for character autographs if you are getting them but if not you still may need a pen for notes, etc.  I like to use the pen to make off all the shows, rides, parades, etc. we did throughout the day on the park brochure so we could easily keep track of what we still wanted to accomplish before the day was through.

11.)  If you are bringing a stroller.... I recommend you use an umbrella stroller b/c its small and easy to maneuver.  IF you MUST bring a double stroller, I will tell you that the frontal seating strollers seem to be much easier to maneuver and fit better on buses and in stroller parking than the horizontal seating double strollers.  But that is up to you to decide what works best for your family.  I really liked our small umbrella stroller with a roof for shade but use what works for your family!  Now let's all agree on some ground rules shall we:
  • if you have a stroller...keep to the RIGHT!
  • if you are planning on stopping and checking on your child...stop on the RIGHT!
  • if you are walking slowing and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells...that's great, and make sure you do it while keeping to the RIGHT!
  • Do NOT cut off other groups that are walking just b/c you have a stroller!
  • Do NOT let your child drive the stroller around and bump into others.
  • If you or your child accidentally bump another person, APOLOGIZE!
These seem like logical social rules to me but I was shocked and surprised to see that the majority of stroller users are unaware or disregarded typical social rules so I felt I should state them here!

12.)  Transfer Paper Tickets to Plastic Cards Night Before:  there are a number of ways to get discounted tickets and I don't know all of them BUT what is important is if you do buy discounted tickets and they are paper tickets you MUST go to customer service to get them transferred to a plastic ticket (card) BEFORE you go into the parks.  We did not know this and spent an hour in line the first morning waiting to get these tickets transferred to the plastic entrance cards.  You can actually transfer your cards the night before you go to the parks as long as you go to customer service (which is at the entrance of all parks AND in Downtown Disney) and your card is NOT activated until you actually ENTER a park!  So that can definitely save you time!

These are my tips and tricks you need to know BEFORE you get into the parks.  Want to know what my tips are for INSIDE the parks?  Check out part 2 of this series next week!  

Has something else worked for you?  Feel free to share in the comments!!!!

You can also find some great Disney tips on what used to be called Oh, How Pintearesting blog but is now All Y'all Need.  Just scroll down on the right and find her Disney tab, click and read all about her recommendations and suggestions!!!!

Happy Talking!!!
post signature


  1. Maria, so impressed you did everything with such a big group! Those are wonderful, well-thought-out tips and why we usually go in December. Still big crowds but cooler weather. Every time I've taken a few First Aid things, we haven't needed them and every time I've left them out, we needed them. Looking forward to Part 2!

    All Y'all Need

  2. Wow! We just were at Disney World too... the last week of July (which turned into August). Didn't have any of this advice (with the exception of decent shoes and some sunscreen) before hand, but we did ok... My feet were so sore after tromping around all day. Hope you all had a blast!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...