Walt Disney World

Disney December 2012 407

 

As an independent consultant with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise LineDisneyland® Resort, Adventures by Disney®, Aulani and other delightful destinations.
Start designing your dream vacation today!

 

Amanda@GlassSlipperConcierge.com

PARKS

Magic Kingdom

see all of our visits

  • fast passes – 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain
  • favorite rides
    • Adventureland – Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain
    • Liberty Square – Haunted Mansion
    • Fantasyland – 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Peter Pan, Small World
    • Tomorrowland – Space Mountain, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Peoplemover, Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear
    • favorite eats
      • Cinderella’s Royal Table – get the first breakfast reservation to walk down main street before the park opens
      • Be Our Guest – dinner is our favorite because you get to meet Beast; breakfast and lunch are also among our park favorites – preorder your meal to save tons of time
      • Peco’s Bills
      • Tortuga Cafe
      • Sleepy Hollow – we love the savory sandwiches for lunch and nutella and fruit for dessert anytime
      • Casey’s
      • Gaston’s Tavern – we always save room for a cinnamon roll and lefow’s brew for breakfast
      • Friar’s Nook – the pot roast mac and cheese is amazing
      • Plaza Restaurant – we love the burgers and they bring in ice cream from next door
      • Tony’s Town Square
      • Pinocchio Village Haus – great flatbreads; look for a table on the little balcony overlooking Fantasyland or inside by the window overlooking the Small World boats
      • Skipper Canteen – a new favorite with the most adventurous food in Magic Kingdom!
  • favorite treats
    • Dole Whip
    • Mickey pretzel

Epcot

  • see all of our visits
    • fast passes – Test Track, Frozen Ever After or Soarin, Spaceship Earth & The Seas with Nemo & Friends or The Land
    • other favorites – Journey into Imagination with Figment, Canada, American Adventure, Mexico, Character Spot (use the Disney Visa meet & greet if you have that card)
  • favorite treats
    • chocolate macaroon ice cream sandwich in France
    • cronut at Refreshment Port

Animal Kingdom

  • see all of our visits
    • fast passes – Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Safari
    • other favorites – Dinosaur, train to Discovery Island (petting zoo, vet), meet Minnie & Mickey, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical
    • nighttime entertainment – Rivers of Life, Tree Awakening, sunset safari
    • everything about Pandora World of Avatar
    • the beauty of Animal Kingdom in a photo tour
  • favorite eats
  • favorite treats
    • Dole Whip
    • Bloody Mary at Dawa Bar (get there early!)
    • Cocktail at Nomad Lounge

Hollywood Studios

  • see all of our visits
    • fast passes – Toy Story Midway Mania or Rockin Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror
    • other favorites – Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Muppets, Great Movie Ride, One Man’s Dream, Frozen Sing Along
  • favorite treats
    • carrot cake cookie
    • Mickey pretzel

Typhoon Lagoon

  • favorite treats
    • mini donuts
    • ice cream pail (don’t leave without it)

Blizzard Beach

  • favorite treats
    • mini donuts

Disney Springs (Downtown Disney)

see all of our visits

Winter Summerland Mini Golf

see all of our visits

Park Tips & Tricks

  • We take a small backpack into the park each day. We tie a colorful bag tag on the top strap with our cell phone contact information on the back.
  • Go to the dollar store and buy cheap throw away ponchos for everyone in your party for every day of your visit. They come in packs of 2 for $1. Best of all? We threw them away after the rain, rather than fighting to roll up wet plastic and fit it back into our pack.
  • You can take a small 6-pack cooler into the park with sealed, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Also, restaurants offer cups of ice cold tap water for free and you can use those to fill your own bottles.
  • We keep our camera in a large gallon sized zip top bag inside of the pack. We went on lots of water rides and it can rain daily.
  • We keep our signature/memory books and two large sharpie markers in the front pouch of our bag for easy access. You never know when someone famous might walk by :-)
  • In our backpack, we also bring wipes, hand sanitizer, cards, game pads and a phone charger.
  • At ages 3 and 6, we took our own stroller and tied a second colorful tag onto the handle so that we could see it from a distance. You can rent strollers in the park but I thought they were expensive and you have to leave them at the gate when you leave. So, if you are park hopping you have to rent another stroller in the next park. At ages 4 and 7 we didn’t take as stroller and it was SO much easier without one all together!
  • Make it a priority to familiarize yourself with My Disney Experience and to download the app. This will aid immensely with Fast Passes, dining, and wait times.
  • Learn how to use Extra Magic Hours and Fast Passes to make the most of your visit. We did both and found them very worthwhile.
  • When our kids were smaller, we did the Rider Switch program numerous times. For example, on rides where Whit was too little, I would tell the attendant we wanted to ride switch. He’d hand me a pass and then I’d wait in line with John and ride the ride. As soon as we were done, Honey and John would go right back to the attendant with his pass and they’d get to go in the fast pass lane. So, John got to ride a lot of things twice!
  • Go to the parades! Get a snack and stake out your place at least half hour before time. My littles adored them and Honey and I loved having a chance to sit on a curb and do nothing.
  • For big trips, we do the Memory Maker.  Here’s a great tip for you that we found out by accident… if you have friends going at the same time or within a month of you, you can SHARE the package!  As long as you are “friends” in your My Disney Experience accounts, all of the pics will show up.  One person has to purchase the package and that person will the the only one able to retrieve and distribute the pictures (unless you give your account log in info), but it’s so worth it!
  • Make a point to get to the Magic Kingdom one day before the park opens. You will love the opening ceremony!
  • We very rarely park hop… and we are annual passholders!  So, I don’t find that a necessary add-on.  Do some full, long days in the big parks (Magic Kingdom) and shorter days in the other parks.  We tend to all have more fun when we include pool time and resort time in our day.
  • If you can get up and be at the park at opening, DO IT!  You can easily knock out a hand full of rides in the first hour.  Then, schedule your fast passes to start mid-morning.  You’ll do so many things this way!

SPECIAL EVENTS

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SORCERERS OF THE MAGIC KINGDOM

In this interactive game only available in the Magic Kingdom, kids of all ages are invited to become an apprentice sorcerer and help the wizard Merlin fight the forces of evil…
Hades, god of the Underworld, is looking to make Magic Kingdom park his new summer home. But first, he must reassemble the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom, whose 4 shards are scattered in hidden locations throughout the park. A brigade of Disney baddies is helping him retrieve the pieces, and it’s up to you to stop them!

 

see how we play: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom


 

PRESSED PENNY SOUVENIRS

At ages six and nine, my boys favorite Disney souvenir is to collect pressed pennies!  There LOADS of the machines all over the Walt Disney properties. In Florida you can find many in every park, as well as at every resort. And each machine has multiple options for designs.


DISNEY RESORTS

There are so many beautiful and memorable places to stay on the Disney property. The service is always top notch and you will want to be sure to allow extra time in your trip to soak up all of the fun things there are to do at your resort. Keep in mind that when you stay on property you will get to use Extra Magic Hours, make you dining reservations early and have transportation around the property included.

Every Disney resort has a ton to offer, from theming to dining and experiences.  I recommend leaving time in your stay to really enjoy the resort, as well as the parks.  If you are going five or more days, consider splurging on a deluxe or moderate.  If you will be there just for a weekend and in the parks from open to close, a value will be great.

Favorites
Deluxe: Animal Kingdom Lodge (atmosphere) / Yacht & Beach Club (overall)
Moderate: Port Orleans French Quarter (for 4) / Coronado Springs (for adults only)
Value: Pop Century (for regular rooms) / Art of Animation (for suites and large parties)

Read our resort reviews here:

There are TONS of activities and the resorts and I recommend making time to explore as many as possible.  We usually plan some time each day of our stay to just enjoy the resort.  Some of our favorites are:

 


DISNEY RESORT DINING

Some of our favorite places to eat in Disney aren’t even in the parks, but at the resorts!  That means you don’t need a park ticket OR a room to enjoy them.  One of the things I always encourage people to do is to try all the different dining options at your resort.  Every one offers unique and fun experiences!  Here are our reviews:
Tips & Tricks (for dining in parks AND resorts)
  • For our first trip, we bought a package that included our resort, park access and dining. We found that the dining plan was a little excessive and we could barely eat everything! I’d still do it again, but I’d be very smart about using the dining credits for very expensive places like Cinderella’s Royal Table and not on more affordable sit down dining. We didn’t have the dining plan this last trip and it was pretty painful to have to pull out the cash every time we ate or snacked. If you are planning a character meal or premium dining experience each day, I would go with the plan no matter the length of your trip.
  • If you end up with a bunch of snack credits left at the end of your trip, head into the Main Street Confectionery and get a bag of goodies to go!
  • For breakfasts, I pack juice boxes and things like pop tarts and cereal bars for the kids. They eat them in the room and we save our money for lunches and dinners. See more here.
  • Speaking of reservations, we find lunch reservations to be VERY hard to get to. We always seemed to be on the wrong side of the park racing to make it. We much prefer to  end our day with a reservation. Consider how long it will take you to get to your dining place as it’s usually longer than you think! Now we only make one sit down reservation per day and that is usually for dinner.
  • Be sure to make your dining reservations at the 180 day mark.
  • If there is a reservation you have your heart set on but couldn’t get, I have used and can highly recommend Disney Dining Buddy.

GoPRO TRIP REVIEWS

We love capturing quick trip reviews on our GoPro.  See our videos here:

  • Sep 2015: Yacht Club Resort, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
  • Dec 2015: Pop Century Resort, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Diagon Alley
  • June 2016: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks
  • Sept 2016: Polynesian Resort, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Club Villain, Epcot and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
  • Dec 2016: Christmas in Disney Parks

DISNEY’S MAGICAL EXPRESS

If you are flying into the Orlando airport and staying at a Disney resort, you must use Disney’s Magical Express!! This airport to resort transfer service is free and you will be treated with the amazing Disney service from the moment you step off the plane. Be sure to have your Magic Bands on to get the fun started right away!!


FAMILY PHOTO SESSION

Consider taking family photos in the most magical place on earth!!  We have done this twice and they are all treasured photos of very memorable trips.  We use our friend at Portrayable Photography but Disney also offers their own service!


OTHER TIPS & TRICKS

  • There were tons of dining experiences and shows that we didn’t want to miss so we planned both of our trips almost a year in advance.
  • Make your dining reservations 180 days in advance the minute the system opens. Have a plan as to what park you want to go to on which day so that you know where to book your meals/shows.
  • The park time opening calendar will be posted sometime before that 180 day mark. Check the Disney website so that you will know which parks have Extra Magic Hours on which days. This will help with those dining reservations.
  • If you have a down day, consider going to Downtown Disney. It’s “free” and there are great places to eat (T-Rex Cafe and Rainforest Cafe were our favorites). There is also a Lego store and a movie theater!
  • I packed inexpensive dollar store treats for my littles for each morning. “Mickey” left them a little note and a treat as a surprise when they woke up and it kept us from spending a DIME on souvenirs until the last day when we let them each pick something out. See more here.
  • We splurged ($2.49) and had Mickey call our littles before our trip. It was cute and they are still talking about it! Look here for the details.
  • Kids under the age of three are FREE! We made sure to squeeze in our first visit just a couple of months before the baby’s third birthday and had a grand time!!