Who hasn't thought about and planned the Family Trip to Disney? When I was in college I had the great privilege of participating in the Walt Disney World College Program. Specifically, I was a cast member on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
A few weeks ago, we topped that experience with a surprise 3rd birthday trip for our son. Here are my recommendations...
1. Magic Bands. Just like everything Disney, the new Magic Bands are just as they say they are...MAGIC!! These amazing bands are customized by color and name well in advance of your trip. Your bands will be mailed to your doorstep, loaded with your complete itinerary. When you check-in to your Disney resort, your bands will be activated with a tap of the wrist and ready to use for park admission, fast passes, and dining reservations.
2. Stay on Disney Property. Avoid potential aggravation and stay on property. Disney cast members are trained by the best customer service experts in the world. Enjoy your trip and the convenience of Disney transportation to and from your resort. Also, guests staying on property can take advantage of extended hours in the parks to enjoy the attractions with fewer guests, i.e. less time waiting in line!! Finally, be sure to coordinate your flights with Disney's Magical Express, which will pick you up from the airport and drop you off at your resort's doorstep. It was also take you back to the airport for your return flight.
3. Schedule Fast Passes in Advance. Map out your route in each park and schedule your day accordingly. For example, on day one in the Magic Kingdom, I scheduled our first fast pass at Town Square Theater and we met Mickey Mouse within minutes of entering the park. From there, we went to Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland. We had a break for lunch and then had another fast pass for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We also had plenty of time to enjoy whatever our son wanted to experience. On day two, I scheduled fast passes for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid. It was perfect and wonderful to speed through the long lines of some of the most popular attractions for toddlers.
4. Use the My Disney Experience App. By way of the app, you will be able to switch fast passes to conform to the reality of your day. If you are running late or too early and don't need to use up your fast pass because there's no wait time, just switch your fast pass allotment (you only get three each day) to another attraction. You can also check dining availability with the app and find out which princesses and characters are in the park near you!!
5. Experience Disney World at the Holidays. If it's at all possible, Disney World is actually even more magical during the holidays. Even Santa makes an appearance at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom and it snows on Main Street U.S.A. It is lovely and no expense is spared when it comes to decorations!!
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