Walt Disney World - 2010 Edition

Updated July 2, 2010

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  • MouseSaver Planning Tips
  • WDW Tips & Tricks    More Tips & Tricks    Compilation of Tips   
  • Strategies
    • Whether you go comando or relaxed, have an idea of what you want to see
    • Be there for Rope Drop - It is amazing the difference in crowds
    • Learn and use FASTPASS system
    • Eat at odd times for quicker service
  • Electronics
    • Bring your chargers for everything - cell phones, cameras, video cameras, laptops, etc. Charge everything every night.And bring a power strip so it's easy to plug all that stuff in every night. If the cord is not long, bring a three prong extension cord (6 to 10 ft), many hotel rooms only have one accessible outlet that is very inconveniently located.
    • Take a picture (cell phone/camera) of the back of your ticket when you recieve it - if you lose it this is your only hope of having it replaced
    • Program numbers you may need on your cell phone: Resort, Disney Dining Reservations, Restaurant, Disney Transportation - make sure to include ADR's (Advanced Dining Reservation Numbers)
    • Bring a ziplock bag with you to the parks to put cell phones and cameras in when you go on rides you can get wet on to keep them dry.
    • Put your name and address on anything important you take (cameras, cell phones...)
  • Comfort/Staying Healthy/Safety
    • Drink lots of water to keep your energy and enthusiasm - do not underestimate the importance of staying hydrated
    • First Aid Stations are your friends - bandaids, benadryl, etc - quick help for free
    • Carry plastic ponchos in your pocket
    • Don't pick a popular spot to meet back up. Spaceship Earth? No go. Way too many people to quickly reunite. Instead, pick a bland spot. We picked the info desk directly behind Spaceship Earth, and quickly found each other as it was never ever crowded. - It helps if it is close to a rest room.
    • Carry at least one does of pain meds (advil, tylenol etc). A headache will ruin your day.
    • If your health insurance pays better benefits for in-network providers (most do), research and learn which hospitals and urgent cares in the area you can go to. For example, CVS has walk-in clinics with nurse practitioners who can check for basic things like ear infections and strep throat, and write prescriptions for you. There is one close to WDW, and I found it was in our network.
  • Packing
    • While you're at the dollar store, get one of those over-the-door shoe organizers. We hung it on the closet door in our room and put wallets, keys, phones, cameras, etc in it so things were easily accessible and not all over the place.
  • Children
    • Safety - When children become separated from the parents it is extremely frightening for both - Here are some tips
      • Using one of the following methods 'tag' your child with your cell number and last name
        • Use a Sharpie. It will not wash off for several days
        • Buy temporary safety tatoos - they are somewhat water proof and good for a few days (I found some on Ebay in packs of 10 & 20 @about $1.00 per tattoo)
        • Buy box of hospital ID wrist bands/bracelets (Keep in mind that these are may be easily cut off)
      • It is helpful for both you and your child to know what the other was wearing
        • Take a picture of the child each morning with the clothes they will be wearing
        • Play the "What Am I Wearing?" game. Have your child take a good look at you, then close their eyes and tell you what you are wearing. It will help the child to recognize you in a crowd and to be able to describe you to a park employee
        • Speaking of children recognizing you in the park. I always thought that it is helpful to put bright colors on the kids, but I did not think that it might also be helpful for me to wear the bright color. Keep in mind the eye level of the child. Bright shoes and shorts/pants/skirt just might be the fashion statement you want to achieve.
      • Ask the front desk of your resort/hotel for business cards and tuck them into your kids' pockets. If one of them ever got lost, he'd be able to tell someone the name and phone number of the hotel/resort.
      • When you are separated:
        • Younger children - Tell your child to stay put and let you find her. The general consensus is that it is more safe for a child to look around (staying in the area) for a mom with young children to ask for help. This makes sense, when you think about it. Anyone could put on a badge and it is probably easier for small children to recognize a mom. It is recommended that you practice looking for moms with children.
        • Older children - Shortly after you enter the park get oriented by identifying landmarks together. Agree on a designated meeting place in case you get separated. Have them repeat it aloud so it sticks. Never choose the entrance or parking lot.
        • Remind all children to never exit the park and go to the parking lot.
    • Strollers
      • Do not convince yourself that your 4 year old who normally walks "everywhere" will be happy to do it in disney. And do not think anything of it when your 6 year old wants to ride in the stroller too.
      • (from a DISBoard member) When I planned our first WDW trip I couldn't figure out why people suggested a cover for the stroller - seemed like a waste of money to me. It was a beautiful summer day with lots of sunshine when we stopped for lunch in the Mexico pavilion. As we were leaving we noticed all the people coming in with ponchos, dripping wet. "Must be one of those Florida afternoon showers" - Yeah, right. Our stroller was soaked and there was two inches of water in the basket beneath where our backpack sat.
    • Take advantage of the baby care centers located in each park. They have changing area, place to mix formula, quiet place to feed your baby. They are cool, quiet, clean and have books and toys in a play area.
    • Sprinkling that Disney Magic
      • Take the little wedding size bubbles for your kids to blow while standing in line out side but do be considerate of others
      • (from a DISBoard member) Bring extra glow bracelets. Before the electric parade I only had a bracelet per kid and there was a girl sitting next to DD staring wistfully at her glow bracelet. There was a couple kids who left after the parade, leaving their glow bracelets behind and I snatched them up and handed them to her as we waited for the Wishes fireworks. She was so happy, then started chatting with DD and by the end of the fireworks they were hugging each other goodbye. I was also able to keep track of the kids wearing them as we were leaving MK. Left on the nightstand and they became mini nightlights.
    • Neverland Children's Club (at Polynesian - you do not have to be staying there) gets high ratings from parents

Sue Says: Celebrate the Happiest Birthday Ever! By Sue Pisaturo, Owner of Small World Vacations

Disney Cast Members love to make you feel special. In the theme parks and at the resorts, they smile and greet you as if you are lifelong friends. On your birthday, they go above and beyond to join in your celebration and make you feel like a VIP. What better place to create special birthday memories than in Walt Disney World, the place where magic lives?! Whether the guest of honor is you or someone you love, let your imagination run wild when planning a celebration vacation in Walt Disney World. You can order everything from special dining to princess tea parties, from yacht cruises to treasure hunting on a pirate sailing adventure, from horseback riding on a quiet trail to parasailing thrills. You also can plan incredible group experiences, from dessert parties to a fireworks cruise to a private party with Disney entertainment. Here are some free must-dos to make your birthday even happier, Disney-style: When booking your vacation, let your travel agent or Disney know it is a birthday celebration. Upon check-in at your resort, remind the Cast Member about your big day. Make City Hall or Guest Relations your first stop at the theme parks. Ask for a birthday button. Cast Members and guests will share their best wishes. Often times, Cast Members and Disney characters surprise birthday guests with extra magic! Dial 0 from your resort room phone and ask for a birthday call from Goofy. Mention the birthday each time you dine at a table service meal. See what happens! From the simple to the spectacular, a birthday wish can come true for any budget. Call Disney at (407) WDW-BDAY for assistance with your special plans. Here are some happy birthday ideas from Small World Vacations agents and guests: Wear a silly Disney birthday cake hat complete with candles. Let everyone know, “It’s my birthday!” Order a 6” birthday cake to be enjoyed at a restaurant or in your room. Call the cake hot line at (407) 827-2253 at least 48 hours in advance. Other sizes are available. Surprise the birthday guest with a festively decorated resort room. Call the Disney Florist at (407) 827-3505 or check out http://www.disneyflorist.com/product/waltdisneyworldflorist-Mickey-Birthday-Disney-Decorate-Minnie-Goofy-Donald-Duck-Pluto-Tinker-Bell/display Before leaving home, decorate a T-shirt for the birthday guest to wear in the parks. For a unique birthday “cake,” order the Kitchen Sink, a gigantic sundae at Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club. Get a birthday haircut to remember at the Main Street Barber in the Magic Kingdom. Purchase an Epcot Passport and receive birthday wishes from around the world. Special kid stations are set up in each country with International Cast Members who will personalize a greeting in their native language. Celebrate with the Disney Characters at one of the themed character meals such as Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table or the Crystal Palace. Or try a dinner show like the Hoop Dee Doo! Children of all ages can transform themselves into a Princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or a Pirate at the Pirates League. Hang Ten with surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. It will be a gnarly birthday! Soar 400 feet in the air in a tethered balloon ride called Characters in Flight in Downtown Disney. Children age 4-10 will never forget their special birthday when they participate in either the Grand Adventures in Cooking, a Pirate Adventure Cruise or a Wonderland Tea Party. Call (407) WDW-DINE to set up one of these interactive experiences at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Disney’s PhotoPass is a great way to commemorate your special day when you get home. Order mugs, calendars, mousepads, photo CDs, photo albums, etc. at http://www.disneyphotopass.com Spend your big day uncovering Disney magic on a behind the scenes tour. Call (407) WDW-TOUR. Daredevil celebrants can press the pedal to the metal at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Call (800) BE-PETTY for prices and schedules. Romantic birthday celebrations can include dinner at the Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s restaurant, or a window table at the California Grill followed by Cirque Du Soleil or a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness or Disney’s Riverside Resort. Set sail on a Fireworks Birthday cruise in a decorated pontoon boat complete with snacks, birthday cake and a prime spot for the Wishes or Illuminations fireworks. Other watercraft rental choices include the Grand One yacht or the Breathless 2, a 1930s-style mahogany runabout. Call (407) WDW-PLAY for prices and details. Book 90 days in advance. Throw a kids’ birthday party complete with activities, food and party favors at Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney, at Blizzard Beach, at the Neverland Club in the Polynesian or at Winter Summerland Miniature Golf. Call (407) WDW-PLAY at least a week in advance. Personalize an interactive, one-of-a-kind celebration where the sky is the limit. Check out http://www.giftsofalifetime.com Customize your birthday celebration online at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/celebrations/customizations/