Thursday, June 16, 2016

Trip to Disney World Overview

Last week we took a trip to Disney World, spending a week there.  I went to Disney World as a kid, approximately 25 years ago, but this is the first trip to Disney World for my wife and kids.  We stayed at a Disney resort, spent five days in the parks, one each at Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, and Animal Kingdom, and two days at Magic Kingdom.  We also took a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center (more on this in a future post).  We had a blast!!!  Over this summer I'll post a few times on our trip, but here's some advice I have for those of you traveling to Disney World in the future.

1.  PhotoPass - Buy the PhotoPass package ($149).  It is WELL worth it.  We took a lot of pictures with our phone, but we didn't want to bring our better Canon camera in the parks.  It's hot, humid, and backpacking the camera and lenses was not something we wanted to do.  There are photographers all over Disney that simply scan your Magic Band and you download the pictures when you get home.  In five days at the parks, we had close to 500 pictures to download through PhotoPass.  Wow!  Well worth the $149!

2.  Dining Plans - Get a dining plan.  Yeah, it may seem expensive, but you get your money's worth!  We did the plan in which you get one table service meal, one quick service meal, and one snack each day.  Food at Disney is expensive.  Table service meals ranged from $175 - $210 BEFORE tip for the four of us.  Quick service meals were always in the $60 - $80 range for the four of us.  The dining plan takes care of all of this and I wasn't worried at all about how much we were spending because I had already paid for it prior to leaving.  Plus the food is EXCELLENT!

3.  Stay at Disney Resort - It may seem more expensive, but not really.  You avoid driving to the parks and paying for parking when you stay at a Disney resort.  You hop on a Disney shuttle bus and don't have to worry at all about traffic.  Super easy!  In addition, the resorts have pools, restaurants, and other activities.  Ours had a boat to Disney Springs and offered evening movies (free) and horse carriage rides.

4.  Character Dinners - Do these if you have kids.  You need reservations and they count as table service meals, but they are excellent.  We did four character meals and at each one, at least 4 Disney characters came by each table for pictures and autographs.  Very cool!

5.  Go to KSC - Okay, not part of Disney, but at only a 1 hour drive away, why not take a break from Disney and go to the Kennedy Space Center?  It was amazing!!!

6.  Ignore Weather Reports - Stop looking at the weather because it will just depress you.  It rains nearly every day, but usually in small spurts.  Buy ponchos and accept that you will get a bit wet.

7.  Don't Buy Cheap Ponchos - Tying in to the rain, don't buy cheap $1 ponchos.  We did and they immediately ripped upon first use.  We ended up buying more expensive ($8) ponchos at the Kennedy Space Center that were made with thicker plastic and had the KSC name on them.  Much better!

8.  Have Fun! - Most importantly, have fun!  There is so much to do that you can't possibly find yourself bored.  Enjoy your time and don't worry about the hot, humid, rainy weather.  Just accept it and go with the flow!

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