Saturday, September 5, 2015

Our Disney experience: NSR (non stampin related)

We had so many adventures this summer  but our family loved our Disney vacation. Prior to last summer we had gone to Disney four consecutive summers. Since we missed last summer we were very eager to return this year.  We have had lots of friends ask us for tips about going to Disney so I thought I would share what we do to make the most of the experience. Keep in mind that this is what has been working for our family. I can not guarantee that it will be best for you. That's my disclaimer...don't take my tips as hard and fast rules but I share them in hopes that it might help anyone planning a Disney vacation.

Tip 1: use a travel professional that knows Disney really well. We have used someone from Small World Vacations. (contact me if you want a referral)  I would suggest speaking with her by phone the first time so she can assess your needs and give suggestions. This helped us immeasurably! She knows all the resorts and discounts and everything! She will also constantly monitor your reservation for discounts that come up after you book and work to change your reservation so you can get the benefit of the deal.

Tip 2 :  Stay on a Disney resort hotel. Forget all those other Orlando hotels. We have always stayed at Port Orleans Riverside but from what I hear they are all clean and carry the trademark Disney hospitality. There is the perception that Disney hotels are more expensive than the local best western or whatever but this is not necessarily true. Remember at a Disney resort there is no need to rent a car because of the excellent transportation system and the knowledgeable and courteous Disney staff are plentiful and are just a button away on your room phone. In addition when you stay at a disney resort you don't have to pick up your baggage at the airport.  You can go straight from exiting the plane to the disney magical express bus which takes you to your resort.  Your bags magically show up in your room later. You are also entitled to early magic hours and can arrive at a park an hour earlier than the regular opening or stay later.

Mickey shaped pool!  I think our hotel had something like 6 swimming pools so it was never too busy! 

Tip 3: Get the dining plan!! (Even better get it free and book during a free dining promotion) You have to eat just makes sense to get the plan so you can eat on site and experience amazing character dinners or fine dining experience. When you use the plan you only have to pay tip at the sit down dinner places and nothing extra at the counter service places. I know we would never had paid for Olaf cupcakes, or buffet dinner with Mickey but to have it all included as part of the dining plan was fabulous and truly added to the experience. 

Tip 4: we fly from buffalo if we can get super cheap airfare. We've found that we can snag the cheap airfare if we watch the southwest airline web and book on the first day the flights are released. Kevin says to cross at the Peace bridge for shorter line ups.

Tip 5: get the most recent version of the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. Warning this book can cause you to feel overwhelmed but I have loved it for the tear out touring plans at the back and the comprehensive nature of the book. I use it as a reference book. 

Tip: 6 Get to the park early.  This is non negotiable.  More details are give in the unoffical guidebook but arriving at the park about 45-60 minutes early makes a big difference.  We pretty much never waited longer than 20 minutes for any ride, even the headliner rides because we followed the touring plans and booked our fast passes in advance AND arrived EARLY!  To give you an example, we were the first to enter the Magic Kingdom park and the big headliner ride there is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Disney had staff to pace the crowd as we all made a beeline to the ride.  We got on the ride and by the time we got off, the ride had already developed a 45 minute wait line up.

I guess I'll stop here.  It is very hard to express the incredible hospitality of the Disney experience.  They are experts and making the vacation experience memorable for everyone.  I've seen elderly and babies and everyone in between enjoy the disney experience.  I could tell so many stories of all the special touches we have encountered but that would make this post even longer than it already is.

I hope you all had a great summer and hope you enjoyed these pictures and tips from our Disney experience! 

1 comment:

  1. Love your photos! We went to Disney 6 yrs ago and got the Resort package. Best decision ever! Like you, we didn't want to leave. Such a great experience!