Monday, July 21, 2014

10 Walt Disney World Attractions to See Before 10 AM

10 Attractions to See Before 10 AM at Walt Disney World

The family vacation. A time when Americans set out to spend time together, share entertaining experiences, and to take a break from busy schedules. 
lines at walt disney world
Statistically speaking, many of said families will venture down to Walt Disney World, as if it were a rite of passage. But upon arrival, they are more likely to find that tens of thousands of other folks planned to do exactly the same thing. Disney parks are plagued with particularly large crowds and long lines. Today folks think nothing of waiting 80 minutes for an attraction in seemingly endless switchbacks, herded in like cattle, in some of the most intense heat and humidity this country has to offer! 

A vacation should be relaxing, fun and memorable. You should remember the fun you had, not the waiting in line. So, it’s time to take back the vacation, time to breakout of the herd and see Walt Disney World as it was meant to be seen. 
With the help of a little planning, some technology and an alarm clock, we can uncover the secrets of how to avoid the lines in Walt Disney World.

For Kids, Teens, and Adults

Magic Kingdom

Space Mountain
Seven Dwarf's Mine Train
Big Thunder Mountain

Test Track

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Mania!
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Expedition Everest

For Young Children

Magic Kingdom

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38in. to ride)
Peter Pan's Flight
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Jungle Cruise

Spaceship Earth
Living with the Land
The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Mania!
Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Kilimanjaro Safaris

The first step on the enlightened path begins by arriving early. Entering the park as soon as it opens means you’ll beat out most of the crowds. Early morning will seem as though you have the entire park to yourself. You’ll actually be able to take photos without other people in them! But by 10:00 A.M, you’ll begin to sense a disquieting metamorphosis. The parks begin to get noticeably more crowded. Cast Members begin to reconfigure the chains in the queues and attractions that had no wait just moments ago, are suddenly 20 or even 3o minutes. These numbers will continue to double over the next hour; by 11 A.M. the parks are in full force. 

Put Technology on Your Side. Arriving early will definitely allow you the best advantage. So will the list of attractions we provide here. You can apply some technology to help you wait in line less. We reviewed, and recommended the Lines App from in a previous article. It does require a subscription we feel it’s well worth it as they offer more accurate wait times than the official posted times! Other apps area available as well, see our article on Best Walt Disney World iPhone Apps

What to do after 10 A.M. Visit the less popular attractions or those that eat large crowds of people (such as shows) for the afternoon and evening hours. Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom is a great example of an attraction you can save for afternoon or evenings. It loads thousands of people per hour and if there is a line, it is relatively quick. In Epcot, save World Showcase for late afternoon / evening. It is the best time to be there. In Hollywood Studios, see attractions like Indiana Jones Epcot Stunt Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast Live! and Disney Junior Live for later in the day. Over at Animal Kingdom, it's Finding Nemo, Festival of the Lion King and Flights of Wonder. 

Click here to see attraction height restrictions. This article also appears on The Best of Walt Disney World

Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Celebration Secrets: Create a Magical Moment at Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table is one the the most sought after dining experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort. Reservations sell out in minutes, 6 months in advance, it ranks among the top ten Walt Disney World Signature restaurant ratings by our readers, and to some, there's no better place to plan a magical moment.

So in the spirit of magical moments at Cinderella Castle here are a few, often-overlooked options to make dining at Cinderella's Royal Table, even more special.

Cinderella’s Signature Slipper Dessert. This is a white or dark chocolate slipper, filled with chocolate mousse and presented with fresh berries. Your Disney Vacation Planner can arrange to have this personalized with up to 4 words. These are $12.50* each, plus tax and gratuity.

cinderella's signature slipper chocolate dessert
Signature Slipper Dessert at Cinderella's Royal Table

Engraved Glass Slipper. To create a true fairytale, arrange to have an engraved glass slipper with a name (such as Princess _____ ) on one side, the date in the middle, and "Dreams Do Come True", or whatever you would like, on the other side. This is a popular option for marriage proposals, Disney will work with you to arrange the entire proposal. This costs $65.00* plus tax and 18% gratuity.

engraved glass slipper at cinderella's royal table
The engraved glass slipper at Walt Disney World Resort
Her Royal Highness, a Fairytale Celebration at Cinderella's Royal Table. Add this package to make the guest-of-honor feel like a true princess. Included are a Princess balloon centerpiece, a collectable crystal tiara to crown your guest a princess for the the day, and a signature Disney Princess cake. This is a popular add-on especially for those who have recently visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

her royal highness package at Cinderella's royal table
Her Royal Highness Package at Cinderella's Royal Table

Arranging these extra special events isn't easy. They cannot be arranged by calling Walt Disney World Dining or Special Occasions,  and the ordering process usually involves contacting special, internal departments.  We recommend booking your entire trip with a travel agent who specializes in Walt Disney World and who knows how to reach out to these special departments. For example, your travel agent may need to contact the bakery at either the Contemporary Resort or Disney's Grand Floridian Resort depending on what your special order.

Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

*Prices are subject to change. Please note that theme park admission is required when dining at Cinderella's Royal Table. 

Weekly Recap - The Best of Walt Disney World

Here's what happened this week in case you missed it! 

Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New: Minimum Age Requirement on Disney Cruise Line

Most cruise lines have minimum age restrictions, primarily for safety reasons. Disney Cruise Line has changed its minimum age requirement to be more consistent the cruise line industry.

Effective July 18, 2014, for all new bookings for sailings commencing after Jan. 1, 2015, the minimum age to sail aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships will increase from 12 weeks to 6 months of age on most itineraries.

The minimum age for Transatlantic, Hawai'i and Panama Canal itineraries will increase to 1 year of age.

It's a Small World Nursery on Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Magic

Infants and toddlers who meet the age requirement  have a special place onboard Disney Cruise Line ships. They are cared for and entertained with toys, books, crafts and games at Flounder’s Reef Nursery (Disney Wonder) and at It’s a Small World Nursery (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic). Disney Cruise Line’s babysitting services offer the longest operating hours of any cruise company. As an added convenience, all baby products needed for a Disney cruise can be pre-arranged by your travel agent and delivered directly to your stateroom upon arrival.

Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Walt Disney World Tickets Actually Cost

The last time ticket prices increased at Walt Disney World Resort, it was national news. Reporters commented on how a one-day theme park ticket went to nearly $100. Since those stories were reported, there is a misconception that people will spend $100 per person, per day to visit Walt Disney World.

But the ticket cost actually goes down the longer you stay so a seven day ticket won't be $700. As a Disney Destinations Specialist, I like to say, "the longer you stay, the cheaper it is to play."

For example, if you plan to spend seven days at Walt Disney World, a 2014 child ticket is $43 per day. That's $314.00. An adult 7-day ticket is $46.29 per day or $334.00.

Disney does this for many reasons:  it's easier to explain to someone that they are spending $43 per day for their seven day vacation. Also if a family is trying to decide on a 6 or 7 day vacation, they'll see the difference in cost between a 6-day ticket and a 7-day ticket is just $6.05 (ages 10+). That might persuade them to stay an extra day and that means more hotel and dining revenue.

The longer you stay at Walt Disney World, the cheaper it is to play. 
Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Walt Disney World Rates 2015 Coming Soon!

Walt Disney World Resort package rates for 2015 will become available on July 30, 2014. These packages will be valid for arrivals Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2015.

Darren Wittko is the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rare Photos: Life-Size Mockups of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort

Anytime a new resort is built at Walt Disney World, it's a big deal. Disney Parks and Resorts and Walt Disney Imagineering come together to design a beautiful, uniquely themed property that people won't find anywhere else. I wanted to share a great article, by written by Jim Hill when Disney's Art of Animation Resort was still rumored. He discusses the process Disney takes when designing and building a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

In these photos from Jeff Lange, we see how Disney Parks and Resorts creates life-size mockups of what the selected design. It's rumored that Michael Eisner actually stayed overnight in some of the models to get a true sense of what an overnight stay will feel like for Disney guests.

Jeff Lange Photo, from Jim Hill Media 
Jeff Lange Photo, from Jim Hill Media. Notice the mock up of Disney's All Star Music in the background. 

For more information on Walt Disney World Resort hotels including ratings and best rooms, visit www.bestwdw.com9