Since there are no zombies, however, Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL is an EXCELLENT place to vacation, especially if you have small children. My family visited in 2012 and I took some good nuggets of information from that trip.
It was our first family vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth. One trip does not make us experts, but we did learn much from our adventure. Today I am beginning a series where I will be sharing some of the secrets we learned. If this blog goes viral, they may no longer be secrets, but I think it will still be helpful information. Here are some of those secrets:
1. Go Left: Prior to embarking on our journey to the eternal land of happiness we enlisted the advice of a Disney specialist named Lauren. Lauren provided us with some of the greatest advice we could ever hope to receive. Here is what she told us, ‘most people naturally move to the right. In just about everything you do, you will see the crowd go to the right. Go left. You will be able to beat the crowd by making this one move.’ She was right. When we got to a theme park, we went left and got to several rides and attractions before the crowd ever arrived. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean without waiting in line and were even in very short lines for Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, we hardly waited at all to see The Lion King at Animal Kingdom and rode several rides at Epcot without waiting by implementing this one piece of advice. We spent very little time in lines during the first half of the day and were hitting the previously busy attractions after much of the crowd had already left. We also found that the crowd typically went into the right line or the right door, so we went to the left lines and left doors and would often get ahead by making that one move.
2. Rain is your friend: If you go to Florida in June, expect rain because it is the beginning of Hurricane season. Actually, central Florida seems to often have short rain showers, so you need to plan for rain no matter what time of year you visit. Many people fear rain. I'm not sure they just don't like water or maybe fear melting - but people scatter when it rains. Read this statement three times: Rain is your friend…Rain is your friend…Rain is your friend. I wrote it three times because I knew you wouldn’t go back and reread it. Buy some ponchos and plan for rain. Florida can get hot, so a nice shower is a way to stay cool and get more Disney for your money.
Let me explain by sharing our own experience. It rained some every day we were at Disney, but it rained the most on our day at the Magic Kingdom. That was the day for which we had planned and anticipated for years. We were not going to allow a torrential downpour ruin our plans. We had just finished a princess dinner at The Grand Floridian and noticed that it was raining cats and dogs, so to speak. We had to make a decision – scrap our plans for the remainder of the day, wait it out, or view the rain as a blessing from above. We chose the blessing route and returned to the park. As we re-entered the park we noticed something interesting. There was a mass exodus. We were going against the flow… but we were the ones entering the Magic Kingdom. My daughter had been begging to ride Splash Mountain again so we went directly to that ride. One would reason that people would not shy away from a water ride in the rain, but that assumption was wrong. The ride was empty and running. We literally went straight in and had a log to ourselves. It was like the ride was opened just for us. We spent much of that afternoon in short lines and really enjoyed our time. None of us ever melted. The rain was our friend.
3. Use the Fast Pass Wisely: Disney has a system called the Disney Fast Pass. For someone who has never been, it sounds totally awesome. You go to the Fast Pass station, scan your park ticket (which is more like a credit card) and it gives you a ticket for the ride within a certain time slot, 3:30-4:30 for example. You come back to ride at some point during that hour and either don’t wait or you don’t wait long because those with a Fast Pass are given preference over those in the Standby line. There is a catch; you can just run from line to line and collect a ton of Fast Passes. There are restrictions, so it’s best to get one for a ride/attraction that you really desire and that has long lines. You will be very frustrated if you get a Fast Pass for It’s a Small World and are forced to wait in the standby line for Splash Mountain. Thanks to this system, we rode Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris in The Animal Kingdom for example.
This is the first of several blogs based on what we learned at Disney. I hope that our experience will be of value to anyone else planning an upcoming trip or hoping to escape the invasion in style.
-Tim (the adventure guy)