Wednesday, May 12

Disney Magic Kingdom Tips

We did it, Disneyland, in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster - closed and forgotten within the first year. - Walt Disney


For Eva's fifth birthday, we took her to Disney World. This was my fourth time to Disney so I wasn't totally ignorant of the value of strategic planning for a successful trip. But when a friend heard we were spending only one day at Magic Kingdom and offered up some helpful tips, I was impressed. The tips were fantastic and thus I will now pass them on to you. But first... the video.
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1. Go Early. The park opens at 9:00. 90% of parkgoers will arrive at 8:30. Plan to arrive at 7:30. You'll get a great parking spot, ride the monorail over without a wait, buy your ticket without a wait and be standing in line at 8:30 with the first fifty to enter the park. It's a pleasant 30 minute wait. At 8:55 a welcome show begins and you are in an excellent position. The characters, including Mickey and the various Princesses will come in on a train to welcome you to the Park, the excitement level is off the charts.

Gates open at 9:00.
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Go in, rent a double stroller on your left, purchase an autograph book if you haven't already done so, and proceed to your favorite ride. Because of traffic and long monorail & ticket lines, you have until 11:00 before the other 90% of parkgoers are fully in the park. Be aggressive, don't spend your time shopping.

2. Rent a Double Stroller. You are wondering why the double stroller. Disney lets you bring soft coolers and backpacks into the park. Take a large soft cooler full of drinks and lots of water. Take a backpack full of snacks.
The double stroller ($30 in 2010) will carry these items for you, as well as one kid and you will have a kid who wants to ride a lot, regardless of their age. The stroller will also carry all your purchases and it has two drink holders, so it'll carry your drink, too. It's a marvelous invention. Strollers are parked outside the rides and nobody messes with your stuff.
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3. Do the Fast Pass. The popular, really busy rides have a Fast Pass entry. Go ahead of time, punch your ticket and you'll be assigned a time to return and get on the ride with almost no wait. Don't zig-zag all over the park to do it and wear yourself out, but be strategic and take advantage of it when possible.

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4. Take a Break. This can be difficult to do, but trust me, take a break from 12-2 or 1-3 or more. The Park is at its peak with crowds, the sun is high and hot. You've been there 3-4 hours and your feet hurt. You're grumpy. You're saying bad things about the mouse. Turn in your stroller, keep your receipt so you can get another one at no charge when you return and walk away. Go to your air conditioned motel, nap, eat lunch, swim, whatever. Return to the park refreshed at 3 or 4, you'll feel the excitement you had at 9:00.
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While other kids are screaming, parents tempers flying, they are hot and sweaty, you are totally refreshed and having a great time.
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The park will come alive and seem new all over again.
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5. Ask for Character Schedules. Go to the information desk and ask where and what time would you be most likely to see Snow White or Pinnochio or Woody or whomever. There are scheduled times and rooms to visit, but then there are also places where they tend to "hang out" and surprise you. If you can't ask at the info. booth, ask various employees, some will know and some won't, keep asking.
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6. Birthdays. If you are celebrating a birthday, as Eva was, you can get a Birthday pin to wear around. There is a limited quantity of these, so that's another reason to go early. You can get your pin outside the gates before the park opens at the little info. booth. The pin will have your name on it and just about every park employee you see will say "Happy Birthday Eva!" The most impressive time for us was when we got on the ferry. As we boarded, Eva saw the captain up in his little room. She waved. He waved. Then he boomed over the loud speakers "Happy Birthday, Eva!" She was so proud.
Then, after we set sail, he came down and presented her with a ring, set with a glittering pink gem, and he put it on her finger.
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As he walked away Eva sighed, "I'm never taking this ring off." (I think it was gone within 2 hours)
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Those are all the tips I have, they came from a guy named Ron who goes to Disney every year. Thanks, Ron!
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Oh, here's a little tip. You take the autograph book around for all the characters and princesses to sign and each page has a sleeve for a photo. If you take your own photos for this, take them landscape instead of portrait. I took most of mine portrait (see to the right) and then I noticed the autograph book sleeves are made for a landscape layout.
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A warning. I had no idea how devastating the Day After Disney would be to a five year old.
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Eva woke up the next day, jumped out of bed, pulled me down to her level and nearly shouted "What are we going to do today?!!!" When I told her our plans, she burst into tears.
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Be prepared. Nothing can compare to Disney.
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You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. - Walt Disney

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Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
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We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.
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If you can dream it, you can do it.

I believe in being an innovator.
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- Walt Disney

1 comment:

Dual said...
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