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  1. #1

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    Question New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Hello everybody!

    My best friend and I will be graduating from high school this May and to celebrate we are going to Walt Disney World! Both of us are common Disneyland goers, and have our own strategies to making the best of a day in resort while avoiding crowds and getting everything awesome done. Yet with our trip approaching, I've begun to worry about making the most of Disney World, and while it seems similar it also seems totally upscale and kind of scary.

    We plan to leave June 4th and come back June 12th, spending seven days in the parks. So far we feel it'd be better to dedicate each day to one park rather than hopping around. Our tickets for the travel as well as the parks is already bought and confirmed, so they are good. At this point we have yet to purchase a hotel, but we are pretty certain on staying in the Disney World Resort Hotels, probably Pop Century. We also are planning on spending most our time in the parks, so no need to worry about car rental or Orlando tourism sites.

    Although I have been to Disneyland hundreds of times, know plenty about its history and secrets, and have good knowledge of weaving through the park, I know almost nothing about Walt Disney World. Money isn't really an issue since we've been saving up for over a year, so what are the must dos, the lesser known should dos, and etc? What is good to bring into the park? Being a native of California, I've never witnessed extreme heart or humidity, although my friend has lived in Texas before. She says lite and "flowy" attire is best; is there any other things I should do to prepare? What are the big differences between the two resorts?

    Essentially, what is your usually game plan for getting through the park, and what tips can you offer?

    Thank you in advance for your help! I'm so excited and can't wait!
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



  2. #2

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    I have a few tips that I usually tell Disneyland veterans going to WDW for the first time:

    1. Remember, WDW is GIGANTIC compared to DL. To get almost anywhere, you will have to take the on-site bus transportation. Problem is, WDW's bus service is, well, not the best. Plan to wait a while on busses when at the World. Although the monorail is also present at WDW, it only travels between a few hotels and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

    2. Unlike California, schools in Central Florida usually start summer vacation at the end of May (usually May 24-31). Because you are going at the beginning of June, be prepared for big crowds.

    3. PLAN. EVERYTHING. Make dining reservations and hotel reservations ASAP, and if you want to try it, opt-in for FastPass+ and the MagicBands while at WDW. Have a plan ready for everything you do at the World, but be prepared to allow for some "wiggle room" in your schedule as well.

    4. The parks are radically different than in California. The Magic Kingdom is basically an oversized Disneyland (without the Matterhorn, subs, or Toontown), Epcot is more scientific and cultural, Hollywood Studios is like California Adventure (but with a Hollywood theme), and Animal Kingdom is more serene and laid-back. Please, DO SOME RESEARCH on the rides and shows before planning your trip in order to decide which to see and which to skip. Most of the rides that are at both DL and WDW are basically the same (Soarin', Little Mermaid, etc.) Also, you might want to try WDW's two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) or go golfing on one of the World's greens while on vacation in Florida. Downtown Disney (soon to be "Disney Springs") is also a good stop at WDW.

    5. If you've seen Fantasmic! in California, skip it in Florida. Although Florida has the ampitheater, many native WDW guests agree that the west coast's version is 10x better, and you would be saving yourself a lot of headaches too. (It's a nightmare to grab a seat for it.) If you've seen World of Color, you might want to skip Illuminations at Epcot, too. Compared to World of Color, Illuminations is very underwhelming. Because you're a DL vet, I would see the Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom for your nighttime entertainment. (RIP SpectroMagic)

    6. If you can, visit the competition! Universal Orlando is the best it's ever been, with Harry Potter being constantly packed and Transformers opening in the summer. SeaWorld is opening a new penguin ride that's supposed to be really good too.

    7. Keep an open mind! Again, WDW and DL are drastically different. DL was Walt's original and can be described as "quaint". WDW, on the other hand, can be described as "spectacular." It's like watching the original version of a favorite film and then seeing the big-budget Hollywood remake 30 years later.

    8. Florida is VERY humid. Remember, WDW was built on a swamp. Bring lots of mosquito spray and be thankful that the Lovebugs probably won't be out in June. Also, Florida constantly has afternoon showers and thunderstorms in the summer. They usually start at about 3 or 4 p.m.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by MickeyM; 04-09-2013 at 07:49 PM.

  3. #3

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    I stayed at Pop Centurey in December; I think you'll like it!

    The average guest at WDW walks something like eight miles a day. So make sure you've got good walking shoes.

    It will probably rain at some point. I bring dollar-store plastic ponchos instead of lugging an umbrella.

    There are SO MANY food options on property! You can check out the menus on allears(dot)net and get some idea of where you might like to eat.

    kennythepirate(dot)com is a great resource for finding characters at the World.

  4. #4

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Thanks for the info! I've heard about the FastPass+ program, but do you know if it's actaully started being implemented yet? Also, is it something you pay extra for or does it come with the park ticket? When it comes to planning, my friend and I don't really know anything about the restaurants. Are there any you'd recommend to a couple of teenagers? Oh and one last one, how strictly should we plan out the day? Should we just have a vague list of to-dos or should we have specific times we want to go to each thing? Thanks again. c:
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    To highlight what has been said.
    It will rain and you will walk a lot.Buy ponchos when it rains, keep the reciept, if it tears they will exchange it for free. Bring good walking shoes.
    I know you have tickets but going to Sea World may be worth a side trip, and Universal just for Harry Potter too. If you want go there in the morning see the few great attrations and spend the afternoon and night at WDW.
    For table service restaraunts make ADRS right away.

    To discount what has been said.
    It will be busy, but schools in Central Florida don't matter. You will see most guests are from everywhere else. Don't plan to skip shows like F!, you have 7 days, do it and see it all.


    How old are you, did you graduate from high school or college? If you like to, ask some of the College Programs where to go at night. The CPs go to House of Blues in DTD and take party buses to other clubs in greater Orlando.

    With that much time you might want to visit the water parks. Upgrade your tickets when there for $57 and you can go to a water park once per day or 7 time total. Or just get a water park ticket for one water park for the same price.

    To avoid crowds. Hop, go to the EMH am park, hop to another. Works but not as well, start in one park and in the evening hop to the EMH pm park. EMH parks have the worst crowds so being in them maily for the EMH but out of them most of the day helps. If not staying onsite, don't go to a EMH hosting park at all, they are most crowded.

    Do stay onsite. Disney Magical Express to get to the resort is free. Disney Transport around the resort is free. It's all very easy. Offsite few hotels have a shuttle to/from the airport unless you stay near the airport, and then they may not have a shuttle to the parks. In any case offsite hotels rarely have free shuttles to the park and are barely ever convinient.

    There are shuttle from WDW resort to USO and SW. Ticket/transport packages are easy to find and usually cost about the ticket price saveing on transport.

    You will probably make good use out of a PhotoPass Plus package.


    I'm really hesitant to say this. FP+ is being rolled in, so it may be fully implemented or only partially, nobody knows at this point.
    You know how to use FP in DLR right? In WDW it's basically the same but on many more attractions. With FP+ you can only use them in one park per day and are limited in the number of FPs you can get in one day.

    Because the hours of the parks are different day to day, simply make a list of opening and closing times for each day to keep track. This way on you 7th day you don't pick a park to start at and find out it doesn't open until 10am, or go to one that closes at 8pm instead of 11.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  6. #6

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Check over at easywdw.com Awesome site with recommended touring days based on historic crowds. He was spot on during my December trip.

  7. #7

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Keep it coming guys! We'll be graduating from high school, and I'm wondering if it would be worth it to get the dining plan? From what I've read, you get one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack a day, although I'm not sure on the price. Also, was it something I could only of bought with a vacation package, or is there another way? Thanks again for all the wonderful advice!
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



  8. #8

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    You can only get the DP with a hotel +ticket package. Honestly, I don't think it's really worth it unless you plan to eat the most expensive thing on the menu. There's lots of debate about the DP, but I think it's better to just pay as you go. You won't be restricted and you can eat without feeling you have to constantly get your money's worth. Just my 2 cents.

  9. #9

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    This may be a stretch on the budget. Do either of you want a Premium AP for DLR?

    Is so you could upgrade your tickets to a Premier AP good at both WDW and DLR. Then as a WDW passholders you get some discounts. Not everywhere but some. In DLR it's pretty much everywhere. In WDW it's on a handful of Table Service Locations, Disney owned, which excludes a bunch of Epcot World Showcase and a thing or two in each park.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
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  10. #10

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Nah, neither of us has one. Still wondering what places are good for getting food? Anybody care to name their favorites?
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



  11. #11

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Are you big or light eaters? There are a lot of buffets but if you don't eat a lot they may not be worth the price.
    Be Cool Stay in School!
    Next year I'm trying for a summer internship at Stark Industries.

  12. #12

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    I'd say we are usually on the lighter side.
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



  13. #13

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZestyNoodle View Post
    Hello everybody!

    My best friend and I will be graduating from high school this May and to celebrate we are going to Walt Disney World! Both of us are common Disneyland goers, and have our own strategies to making the best of a day in resort while avoiding crowds and getting everything awesome done. Yet with our trip approaching, I've begun to worry about making the most of Disney World, and while it seems similar it also seems totally upscale and kind of scary.

    We plan to leave June 4th and come back June 12th, spending seven days in the parks. So far we feel it'd be better to dedicate each day to one park rather than hopping around. Our tickets for the travel as well as the parks is already bought and confirmed, so they are good. At this point we have yet to purchase a hotel, but we are pretty certain on staying in the Disney World Resort Hotels, probably Pop Century. We also are planning on spending most our time in the parks, so no need to worry about car rental or Orlando tourism sites.
    Full disclosure...I live in CA, am DLR AP holder, and also have traveled to FL quite often basically since I graduated high school myself. So I can well imagine your situation because it sounds nearly exactly like what I was wondering before I went on my first trip about 10 years ago.

    First off, your choice of when to go, obviously well-molded by when you're off school but regrettable. The very best time to visit WDW is mid-late January when both crowds and humidity are relatively light. Also water under the bridge, your choice of already buying admissions. WDW will give a small discount on tickets in addition to whatever hotel offer is chosen when booked together on its website. There are several other (legit) ways to obtain discount admission. Not to say you didn't already get discounted admission since it wasn't mentioned, but I thought I'd mention these for when you plan your next trip (because you WILL be planning another trip - trust me).

    You're also going to wish you had a rental car when you realize that not only is WDW's bus system not on any schedule whatsoever, but you can't get outside the resort for non-premium priced anything without an expensive cab ride. This becomes especially painful when you realize just how close places like Walmart and Target - oases away from $3 for a small bottle of OJ - are as they really are just minutes away. Yes rental car is an additional cost, and you're also not 25, but I say this just to point out that there are many useful functions of a rental car not just being able to hit up Universal and/or avoid the buses.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZestyNoodle
    Although I have been to Disneyland hundreds of times, know plenty about its history and secrets, and have good knowledge of weaving through the park, I know almost nothing about Walt Disney World. Money isn't really an issue since we've been saving up for over a year, so what are the must dos, the lesser known should dos, and etc? What is good to bring into the park? Being a native of California, I've never witnessed extreme heart or humidity, although my friend has lived in Texas before. She says lite and "flowy" attire is best; is there any other things I should do to prepare? What are the big differences between the two resorts?
    Here's how I describe FL humidity to anyone who is unfamiliar with it:

    Wake up and accept the fact that you will never be dry - EVER - the entire day. It could be 7am and after 5 minutes spent outside, you're sweating, it's hot, it's wet, it's like you've left the heat on in the car and you can't turn it off. So when you consider what you carry on your person around the parks, ask yourself how constantly sweating will affect you. Is the extra weight of whatever worth it?

    Next, as has been mentioned before, if you think you walked a lot during a day at DLR - even if you park hopped - you've barely taken a walk around the block compared to WDW parks. It doesn't matter which one you go to. They're all far more spread out than DLR parks are. WDW parks are larger in size, yes, but what really gets you is how much farther apart everything is. For example, at Disneyland we walk from Indy to Pirates in, what, 400 feet? At WDW major attractions are basically their own hubs of activity, and you have to walk from hub to hub to hub rather than how it is at Disneyland with Space Mountain, Star Tours, Subs all close together and it's just a quick walk across the Hub to the other lands. Another example - the whole of DCA (before Cars Land) can fit inside World Showcase Lagoon - the lake in Epcot. Walk from the Harbor drop off south on Harbor to Katella, turn west & walk down Katella to Disneyland and walk north up Disneyland Drive to Magic Way. This is about how much walking it takes JUST to walk through World Showcase which is only part of Epcot. You want to train? Try that. Oh by the way, that humidity I talked about earlier is there to boot.

    My plan for survival in June 2004 - about the same time of year you're going - is this. ALWAYS walk through the shops whenever possible. All shops have huge A/C going on, and many are open walled like the shops on Main Street & Buena Vista Street. Walk through them & their A/C EVERY. POSSIBLE. TIME. that you can. Also ALWAYS get free water whenever you go past any place that has a soda fountain. All that sweating you're doing is water leaving your body. It MUST be replaced, therefore you MUST do this. However, don't stand in line either - just be polite, duck in a pick-up window if you have to, and quickly ask for ice water. Do this EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you pass a place that sells fountain drinks. This will keep you hydrated and kill the urge to splurge on bottled water. Every fountain machine has a water spout. Ask for it and you will save a ton of money, and yourself from dehydration.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZestyNoodle
    Essentially, what is your usually game plan for getting through the park, and what tips can you offer?

    Oh right, then there's the little matter of navigating the parks and their crowds. Well, I'll state the obvious and use FastPass as much as possible. With FP windows being enforced, you're going to be checking your watch a lot so make sure you bring one. Always get a new FP as soon as the last FP you got says you can. Shows - both stage and 3D theatre type - can be a very welcome haven out of the humidity and away from the long waits for attractions. Seek them out however & whenever possible. I highly suggest doing multiple laps on the Carousel of Progress. Don't be stuck in line as much as you can and you just might survive the crowds and humidity.

    The game plan for getting through a WDW park is much the same as a DLR one. So, you can consider that your DLR experience gives you a leg up on your competition. Keep in mind, though, that fewer attractions per park puts a premium on the attractions that are there. Since that's true, you're going to see FP tickets go MUCH faster than they do at Disneyland. Think of it this way - if EVERY ride's FastPass/wait time behaved like Disneyland's Space Mountain during summer, what would you do? That's how you have to think here. Always get your "MUST DO" list done first - be it via FastPass or whatever strategy you have - and then go from there. Also keep in mind that WDW parks don't stay open until midnight like DLR parks do. Once in a while on-property WDW guests only get to stay late, but that's twice a week per park at best. Always know what park has evening Extra Magic Hours and when on any given day you're at a WDW park.

    In terms of what to do - I'd recommend focusing on what isn't at Disneyland. Namely rides like Test Track, Mission Space, Spaceship Earth, Peoplemover, Carousel of Progress, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, Great Movie Ride, Rock n' Roller Coaster, as well as shows like Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Lights Motors Action!, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo The Musical, The American Adventure, O Canada!, Reflections of China, Mickey's Philharmagic, One Man's Dream, etc and make sure your trip isn't over before you can see them. Then you can think about rides that are close cousins of what you know from Disneyland but are NOT the same such as Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain, Astro Orbiter, it's a small world, teacups under a roof, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tower of Terror, Jungle Cruise. Finally there are the attraction who are identical clones inside different buildings with different entrances and queues like Soarin', Toy Story Midway Mania, Little Mermaid, and Star Tours. Also try to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade from Main Street, as you may not get this chance in Disneyland depending on how the rumors pan out.


    I'll end with this. Your anxiety over WDW being upscale and scary is normal. WDW can be an amazing money sucker if you let it be one. If you just have to go for all the upcharges and upsold experiences you see around you, it will be. However, if you start planning now, you can target exactly which restaurants and experiences you want to do so you're not tempted into shell shocking your wallet when you're there. Get on the website and start making dining reservations RIGHT NOW! Think of any restaurant you want to eat at like it's Blue Bayou. Act & plan accordingly. Do look into Fantasia Gardens mini-golf as it is very fun, stays open very late, and is one of the cheapest & most fun activities WDW offers. If you have some more cash to spend, visit Wilderness Lodge and rent a boat of some form for an unforgettable cruise on Bay Lake that offers views of Contemporary Resort & Cinderella Castle you can't get any other way. You'll be totally on your own in your boat on the water, and it's just you and WDW.

    Well I hope that helps coming from a fellow Disneylander. Stay cool, stay hydrated, stay in motion to avoid melting, and visit Epcot's Club Cool and try the Beverly! You'll never forget it (although you'll probably wish you could )!

    "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom." -- James 3:13

  14. #14

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    My goodness, thank you so much! This is fabulous!
    "I do what I likes, and I suits me"



  15. #15

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    Re: New to Disney World: Trip Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZestyNoodle View Post
    I'd say we are usually on the lighter side.
    I'd rule out the buffets, but do you want to do any character meals?

    If so what sort of characters do you prefer?
    Be Cool Stay in School!
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