There are a gazillion websites out there that tell you how to get the best deals on Disney trips and special Disney tips. I’ve compiled a few of my own, some of which I don’t remember seeing on those sites. Hopefully you already know some of the basic tips, like how to use fast passes, and the magic house at the parks. Here are some things you may not know.
In April, I took a 2-week trip which consisted of 2 work conferences, and time in between to go to my sister-in-law’s gorgeous beach wedding and 3.5 days at Disney World. My friend was able to hook us up with a great deal and we enjoyed our stay at this moderate Disney resort – Caribbean Beach.
Carribbean Beach Review
- We don’t have any major praises or any major complaints about the resort.
- Pro: One of my favorite things was that we could watch the fireworks from our resort’s pool. Two of the nights we were back at our resort and in the pool by the evening, and my son loved seeing the fireworks as we splashed in the pool.
- Minor Con: Mickey Waffles! This complaint might be the same at all resorts, but one morning I ordered my son the Mickey waffles. In the picture, it showed Mickey waffles that looked huge and included a side of fresh fruit and bacon and sausage. In reality, the waffles were teeny tiny, he had to choose one side of bacon OR sausage, and he received pre-packaged sugar-free applesauce. Now he had plenty to eat, but I was excited about his big Mickey waffles and they were not impressive. But this is typical of restaurants everywhere – the food always looks better in pictures and on commercials than it does when it comes out! Again, not a huge issue; just an observation.
- I wasn’t sure if we needed to spend a day at Epcot, but I’m so glad we did. There were several slow-moving rides that my son loved. This was a short day for us and we headed back to our resort for an afternoon nap and pool time.
- We only got to spend about 3 hours here before we had to head to the airport. I would have liked a little more time, but I think a half day would be sufficient. The dinosaur area was fun for my little guy!
- We did not make it to Hollywood Studios and instead spent 2 days at Magic Kingdom. I heard that most of the rides were too big for my 2-year-old.
- Magic Kingdom Electrical Lights Parade: So the parade occurs at 2 different times. You have to get set up EARLY if you want a front row spot for first parade. I think the later time is 11 pm. Yes, that is late and way past my son’s bedtime. But after we had a horrible spot for the first parade, we ended up running around and going on some more rides since many people leave the park after the first parade. After going on some rides, we headed out of the park as the new parade was beginning. Much less people watching this later parade. I wish we would have just gone on rides during the first parade and planned on setting up a little early for the 2nd parade.
- Magic Kingdom Mickey Meet & Greet: This is a tip that my friend gave me when we went the first time, and it worked out well both times. Right inside the Magic Kingdom to the right in a large building, there is an area for Mickey Meet & Greet and the Princess Meet & Greet. The best part is, you can get fast passes to do this! I highly recommend this. My son got his own few minutes with Mickey and we got great pictures! And, it is indoors and air-conditioned!
- Age: This was my son’s second time at Disney World. I was always against taking my son to Disney World until he was old enough to really enjoy it, but let me tell you, 2.5 years old is the perfect time to take a kid! First and foremost, kids are free until age 3. Also, he was old enough that he knew Mickey, but he was young enough that he didn’t know many of the characters. Why is that a good thing? Well, we were able to bypass all of the LONG lines to meet the characters. Standing in line for 45 minutes, waiting to see Daisy Duck was NOT something I wanted to do. And I wasn’t sure he could last in a line that long! Another good thing about this age is that he didn’t ask me to buy him everything in the gift shops. We walked through them, but he didn’t want me to buy him stuff like some of the older kids do.
- Strollers: Rather than haul our stroller down to Orlando, we rented a stroller. I had heard that the Disney strollers don’t recline and aren’t comfortable so I wanted to get something better. There are many stroller rental options and I selected a company that I found through a blogger review – Theme Park Strollers. The stroller arrived at the resort for us, it was clean, and we LOVED the stroller. It was a city mini, and I paid the extra money for the rain canopy and cup holder. We LOVED the city mini, so much so that we are thinking about buying a double for when baby #2 is here. Expensive and a little out of our price range? Yes. But we loved how easy it was to fold up, it wasn’t heavy, and it ran smooth. You could navigate it with one hand. My other strollers aren’t that easy.
- Pregnancy: I was at the start of my third trimester when we went this time. It was hot, and sometimes hard for me to breathe. By the end of each day, I was exhausted. There wasn’t much seating available throughout the parks, which I found disappointing for all of the pregnant women and older people who needed a break here and there!
We didn’t plan far enough in advance to get restaurant reservations at the cooler restaurants, and we opted out of the character meals since my son doesn’t really know many of the characters.
I wouldn’t change much about our trip – great memories! My son asks repeatedly if we can go on the bus and go to Disney (since we always took a bus from the resort to the parks). If only it were that easy…
Do you have any “secret” tips to share?