Tips for Disney Parks & Cruise Lines

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Here's a tip for solo travelers, teens, or anyone who needs some down-time: Consider downloading anticipated new music or bringing along a new book or e-book. Disney related or not, you'll associate it with your trip. It's good for long road/air trips, waiting in line, or just for some down-time between parks. - Pogo

Categories: Mousecellaneous
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Save yourself and others time going through park security by bringing in a drawstring backpack instead of a backpack with multiple zippers. Security tends to look into every zipped compartment, including things like zipped camera bags, sunglasses cases and cosmetic bags within the backpack or purse. Use clear, zipper-top bags for storing smaller items. - Sarah Zwickey

Categories: Other, Security, EPCOT
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I use an ECV to get around the parks. Several years ago I rode Toy Story Midway Mania [at Disney's Hollywood Studios] and was given a car with a push-button cannon. It made a world of difference as I am spastic and cannot pull the string fast enough to ever score very well. When they built the addition to the ride, they started routing me to the new "regular" load platform since I can walk a bit, but it only had regular cannons and the ride lost its magic. On my most recent visits I asked if they still had the push-button cannons, and lo and behold they sent me to the "old" handicapped load platform. It was such a wonderful experience, and shout out to cast member Melissa -- she let me ride twice because it wasn't crowded. In fact when I went back two months later, she recognized me and said hello. It made both trips absolutely magical for me. So if you are handicapped and can't pull the string, ask the ride attendant for the button car. There is only one car with the buttons so I'm adding to my future wait time, but it makes the ride so much more enjoyable! - Melissa Henderson

Categories: Health, ECVs, Hollywood Studios, Health, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios
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If you have the least problem getting around, get an ECV. Don't let pride keep you from having a wonderful time at Walt Disney World. I just returned and it was so easy to get around. I was solo and everyone was very kind to help me. Transportation and attractions are easy to navigate. - Ruby Ramey

Categories: Special Needs, Health, ECVs
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The Savor the Savanna experience at Animal Kingdom has undergone a food change recently. It was very different from the tin camp cans with a few bites of food. Now, it is set up as a sort of appetizer buffet. They said that the change came about to make it more like a cocktail party and less camp-like, like they do for the Wild Africa Trek tour. The offerings still include the spicy nut mix, and now there is also a selection of cheeses. We had a cheddar and goat cheese with grapes and strawberries. There are also fig cakes, pita, fennel and garlic hummus, cilantro lime shrimp, teriyaki beef jerky, prosciutto, edamame, and roasted cauliflower. For dessert, the offerings included a non-dairy brownie (which was more like a bite-size cookie), a strawberry cookie, an "African version" s'more with meringue and ganache, and another bite-size, bar-type cookie/treat. We found this set-up a bit more enjoyable. - Kelly Adams

Categories: Food & Beverage, Animal Kingdom
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At the risk of sounding like a cheap old crank, I would just like to encourage you to consider getting enough groceries to eat breakfast in your room. This is easy with a car, and quite possible otherwise. (We have had good experiences with Garden Grocer delivery.) Whether you save a lot of money depends on a number of variables, but more importantly, you save time -- and time IS money, especially at Disney World! Instead of lining up at the food court, family members can take turns showering/dressing and eating in the room (or out on your balcony or by a nearby garden or pool), and you'll have more time to make the rope drop to utilize those precious less-busy early morning hours in the parks. In addition, eating some healthy, familiar food to start off the day can help ward off unpleasant travel-related GI-upset episodes. It also is a convenience to have your own snacks and beverages handy at the end of a long day instead of hiking back to the food court. You still will have plenty of opportunities to experience Disney dining for lunch and dinner, at places of your choosing. - Theresa A.

Categories: Food & Beverage
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If you're like me, you might collect a Christmas tree bauble (or two) from the World each time you visit -- perhaps with a year on to commemorate a trip. Trouble is, we now have too many for our Christmas tree to easily support! As an alternative, I got some cheap curtain rods -- the telescoping sort -- wrapped them in tinsel, and mounted them along wall shelves, then suspended the baubles from them. It spreads the Disney all around the room, and hey, there's room for lots more! - Matthew

Categories: Souvenirs
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I love to help families plan their first trip to Walt Disney World. I have three tips they must follow, although I have plenty more. #1. Plan one year in advance to maximize savings. #2. Begin to exercise (walking) as a family, at least 3 to 4 months in advance. I tell them they might walk five-plus miles a day on concrete. #3. Set your expectations realistically. You can't do everything Disney has to offer, it's just too big. If you have low expectations and you meet them, it's a Magical day. High expectations will make it a Tragical day. - Alan R. Malesky

Categories: Planning
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Recently stayed at Disney's Old Key West Resort. If you ever end up being the "lucky one" to draw the pull-out couch, remember that you can always call Housekeeping to request an egg-crate mattress cover. Wow! What a difference! - Dan Murphy

Categories: Resorts, Old Key West, Resorts
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During our recent visit to Walt Disney World, we learned from a cast member that several same-day FastPasses for the attractions in Pandora - The World of Avatar are released at 10:45 a.m. each day. So if you have been having trouble getting a FastPass, go to My Disney Experience around 10:45 and try to grab one when they are released. - Tami

Categories: Animal Kingdom
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While enjoying Epcot's International Festival of the Holidays, check out the limited-time magical photo op outside of Mexico on the right of the pyramid, to the left of Donald Duck's usual meet-and-greet spot. Also note that for a limited time, Donald's meet-and-greet area is themed to the new Pixar film, "Coco." - Deb

Categories: Special Events, Christmas
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In addition to taking out all electronics bigger than a cell phone, TSA at the Orlando airport recently made everyone in my line and the security lines around me take out all food items --- every granola bar, every bag of Mickey treats --- and lay them in a single layer in the security bins. One lady had a whole duffle bag full of snacks and it took several bins and extra time for a TSA person and her to lay them all out in a single layer. I will definitely change the way I pack my carry-on! - Sally Schneider

Categories: Travel, Air Travel, Packing
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I have an advantage to share concerning staying onsite as opposed to offsite. Guests are able to use Chase Visa Disney Reward points to pay toward their resort stay. - Mickie Gibbs

Categories: Resorts, Rewards
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My tip for any park, in regard to parking, is to take a photo of the parking row (ex. Goofy 12) so that you don't forget where you are. As a bonus you'll have a unique photo collection when you get home. I had all of my parking row photos printed out and put in a collage. - Jacquie Peskett

Be prepared if you're doing The Pirates' League. Our dear son finally was old enough to participate in the Pirates League. We were gung-ho to select the Zombie Pirate look. The day of the reservation the cast member at the registration was steering many of the guests away from the "full make-up" because of the heat/humidity. We were so glad she did. Not only was my son constantly touching his face the whole afternoon, but the dark eye make-up was a bear to remove before bedtime. I had purchased travel-size make-up remover wipes before our vacation since I knew my son was going to have make-up on. The make-up artists do give you one wipe and make-up removal tips, but it took almost a whole package of wipes plus a lot of elbow grease to remove the black eyeliner, etc. I wish I had packed cold cream or Vaseline in addition to the make-up remover. - Judi Sifuentes

Categories: Mousecellaneous
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