Ten Top Walt Disney World Vacation Tips
This article appeared in the November 22, 1999, Issue #12 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)
Ten Top Walt Disney World Vacation Tips from the authors of PassPorter Walt Disney World®: The unique travel guide, planner, organizer, journal, and keepsake!
November 1999 Edition
November is the gateway to the holiday season at Walt Disney World, with Christmas decorations going up the day after Thanksgiving. But thanks to the Millennium Celebration and other festivities at Epcot, the entire month is one long party. This fall's crowds have been larger than usual, so be prepared to stroll a bit more slowly and wait a bit longer for your favorite rides. And as always, if you're dreaming of a Disney vacation, it's never too early to start planning.
Planning Your Adventure: The holiday vacation season is right around the corner, so if you'll be buying new clothes for your journey now is the time to do it. Comfortable, well broken-in footwear is essential, so buy 'em, wear 'em, and make sure your feet won't fail you when you need them most. Consider practice walks at your local park or mall. And try on all the clothes you plan to bring, so that if you have to replace those worn-out shorts you won't be paying resort rates.
Getting There (and Back!): Worried about traveling from the airport to Walt Disney World? It's easy! Mears and Transtar offer shuttle bus service to nearly every hotel in the Disney area. Just show up at their curbside kiosks. For groups of three or more, town car service can be cheaper. Book in advance with Tiffany Towncar (1-888-838-2161) or Mears (1-800-759-5219). Cabs are usually more expensive. If you rent a car be sure to pick up a road map. Walt Disney World is an easy 25 minute drive from the Orlando International Airport.
Staying in Style: Should you stay at a Disney resort, or "off property"? Lodging bargains are easy to come by in the Orlando area, but not at Walt Disney World's "on property" resorts. Still, there are other factors to consider. Disney fans love the 24-hour immersion in Disney "magic," the added convenience of staying at Disney's resorts, and the privilege of early entry to theme parks. Resort guests also save by using Disney's free transportation system in lieu of a car rental.
Touring the "World": Vacationers who try to "do it all" at Walt Disney World will arrive home more exhausted than when they left. Try to keep your list of "must do" items as short as possible, and leave lots of room in your schedule for rest and relaxation. You don't have to ride every ride to get full value from your ticket. There's lots you'll miss if you're scurrying about, and Disney magic will find you, even if you're sitting on a park bench.
Feasting and Snacking: Priority seating "reservations" at Disney's full-service restaurants can be hard to come by if you want to dine at traditional lunch and dinner times, and lines at the counter service eateries can be equally fearsome. Life is far easier if you plan to eat at off-peak hours. You can save a few bucks by eating an early supper at lunchtime prices.
Making More Magic: Walt Disney World is an autograph hunter's paradise. You never know when you or your children will bump into a favorite Disney character, so be prepared! Bring an autograph book and a thick-barreled pen or marker (the characters have trouble holding skinny pens). The look on your child's face will be priceless! If you forget to buy an autograph book in advance, nearly every Disney gift shop sells them, too.
Family Travel: It's easy to get separated in a busy theme park. First thing, select an easy-to-remember rendezvous point. Children should carry identification listing their name and the name of your hotel. Each Disney park gathers lost children at its central Lost & Found. Ask any Disney staff member for help getting reunited. Separated parties can also leave messages for each other at Guest Services, or use their hotel's voice mail system.
Special Events: Nibble and sip your way around the world at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, now through November 21. Kiosks throughout Epcot's World Showcase offer small servings of foods and wines, most priced from $1 to $4 (or sample a rare cognac for $25). Think of it as a huge, open-air Tapas bar. You can also pop in on cooking demonstrations and wine seminars. Sign up for special events at 407-WDW-DINE.
Holiday Disney Vacations: The period from Thanksgiving through New Years is an especially magical time at Walt Disney World. Every Disney theme park and resort hotel is decked-out in its holiday finest and Disney offers a wide range of activities and events to be sure you're in the right mood. The theme parks can be very crowded during the holidays, so look for celebrations and events at your hotel, too.
Saving Money: It's hard to control expenses on vacation, but set a good budget and stick to it. Budgets are like diets-once broken they tend to be abandoned. An overly strict budget can lead to all-out rebellion, especially since everyone's trying to have fun. Sensible budgets are less likely to be broken and if broken they're easier to get back on track. The PassPorter Walt Disney World travel guide can help, offering tools for setting and tracking your budget.
As special as any Walt Disney World vacation can be, it's even better when you plan ahead. There's so much to see and do, and so many hopes and dreams rest on a successful visit. Start planning now, and watch for more PassPorter Planning Tips in the months to come.
PassPorter Planning Tips are written by Jennifer Watson and Dave Marx, authors of PassPorter Walt Disney World: The unique travel guide, planner, organizer, journal, and keepsake! Available wherever books are sold. Visit their web site at http://www.passporter.com for more information, tips, reviews, and fun!
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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.