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Trip to Disney World

Review by Anna Z.
We just came back from Disney World and I just wanted to share a few notes here for those who are planning to go there sometimes soon.
Our son is 6 and a half and it was his first time there. I would say that after the child is 4 years old – he/she is ready for this trip but not sooner.
It was easy to be at Disney with our son because he was tall enough to go on all the rides and was too “mature” for all the kiddie rides so we didn’t have to waste time on carousels and pictures with every character walking around

I discovered a website that I found extremely helpful. Definitely check it out before you book your vacation because it gives you a lot of helpful info such as - best time to go in terms of crowds, which park is best to visit on which day (he has a schedule for every single day of the year), special events occurring in the park on each day of the year. In addition, this guy provides detailed guides and maps on some parks showing which rides should be visited first, where to obtain FastPass, etc.

We purchased a Dining Plan and I found it very useful. Someone here mentioned that food is not that great at Disney but I would have to disagree. Of course, there is plenty of junk but at the same time there are many restaurants with healthy options. The link above also provides very detailed review for almost every restaurant at Disney and he has lists for every park rating all the restaurants. I followed his recommendations and was very satisfied.

The best restaurants for dinner: – California Grill (very expensive but worth it), Ohana, Le Celier, Chef Mickey (kids love seeing Mickey right there and it gives you an opportunity to take plenty of pictures with Mickey and friends. Otherwise lines are 30-45 minutes long to take a picture with each character).

Good places for lunch – Biergarten in Epcot Center (if you like German food and many types of sausages), Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom (Vinnie the Pooh and all his friends are there, walking around so again a good opportunity for pictures without waiting).

All good restaurants get booked up very quickly so try to plan your trip at least 3 months ahead of time. Some events that we didn’t do but I heard very good reviews about – Breakfast with the Princesses (almost a must if you have a girl and she is into that), Pirates Show (your child is transformed into a Pirate, you travel by boat to Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks, Peter Pan and Captain Hook are present).

I would also recommend using Disney photographers, they are in every park. They will give you a card (photopass) that you will give to all the other photographers to scan when they take your picture and then all your photos will be in your personal account on Disney Website. You can get unlimited number of pictures on CD, order a photobook, photo gifts, etc. I really loved that feature.

Our favorite rides and shows that I would highly recommend to visit:

Hollywood Studios: Toy Story mania (make sure it is your first stop, Fast passes often run out by 11 am), Fantasmic (try to book a dinner package if you can, it is really nice), Lights Camera Actiona (stunt show with jumping cars, amazing tricks!), Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid.

Epcot Center: Soaring and Test Track (wouldn’t recommend for very young kids), Circle of Life and of course, Illuminations at night. Make sure you are at the right place when watching Illumination, some places by the lake wouln’t give you a complete view. The link above specifies the best places to see the fireworks from. Rides to avoid: Mission Space

Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, all the parades and definitely Wishes fireworks.

Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur, Mount Everest, Kali Rivers, Kilimanjaro Safari

First two weeks of December is a really good time to visit. The weather is perfect, not too hot. Lots of special events/parades/decorations due to Christmas and crowds are low.
More Tips/Recommendations

  • If you stay at any Disney resort you have unlimited bus access to any Disney park anytime, even downtown Disney. No need for a car
  • We actually just got back from Disney. I would recommend staying at the Disney resort (we stayed at all stars) its a "hotel" but more like a motel. I hear all the hotels are the same there though. The positive is that you get free bus servi...ce to all the parks both ways as many times as you want. The negative is its more like a motel but you won't be in your room anyway because you will always be out. Also they have different things that they do for kids like movies night and lots of games.
  • We stayed in Downtown Disney hotel, had unlimited shuttle access to the parks and enjoyed spending time in downtown Disney every night... and the hotel was not as expensive as the ones on Disney property.
  • Inside Disney. Port Orleans French quarters. Very nice hotel inside Disney
  • Most hotels offer free shuttle service to all parks. It makes no difference where you stay. We were there last year and stayed at Nickalodean hotel and it was awesome. Each room is a suite with a kitchen, living room, and bedrooms. The pool area is like a water park. There is a 4-d theater. They also do all the character stuff and breakfast, just like Disney. Prices are reasonable- not too crazy.
  • Definetely stay in disney that way you won't need a car. I recommend a resort where you'll have a kitchen and will be able to feed your child breatkfast and return for lunch or break if needed. yacht club or beach club is great. there are always people on craigslist florida renting their units
  • If you have a chance, visit Discovery Cove! Swimming with dolphins is unforgettable experience. It is one day all inclusive resort. Must make a reservation in advance.
  • Discovery Cove is close to Sea World which also was great!!!
  • You will enjoy your trip regardless in which place you stay. As long as it Disney or Sea World. Haven't been to Nick, so can't say anything. Some people are happy with that too.
  • We stayed at the Buena Vista Palace and Spa near Downtown Disney. Beautiful, modern rooms, great price, free transportation to all the parks
  • We stayed at downtown Disney.. Like said above all shuttle buses are free. It all depends on you, at first we wanted to stay at Nickolodeon.. But we weren't planning to stay at the hotel much... We went for 8 days, we did 6 parks. So basically we left at 8 am came back at 10-11 pm. So we didn't spend much time in the food is not expensive..
  • We stayed in Animal Kingdom Resort. The grounds are beautiful, the interior are very nice, the pool is great with a slide and surrounded by hidden hottubs. We had the meal plan. We atrocious breakfast at the resort every morning which was very nice. Top quality service and food. We used the meal plan in all the restaurants we were planning to eat at. Animal Kingdom Resort was an amazing place.
  • We rented a car at the airport and did shipping for food at wal-mart on the way to the hotel. We also had a meal plan for children with our room reservation. Kids eat free at any restorant in the hotel. They had a good variety of food.
  • We took water, fruits and snacks with us to the parks. Of'course bought ice creams and extra minor meals on demand at location but it wasn't as much as if it could, if we didn't bring anything in the picnic bag.
  • We just got back from Disney caribean beach, pools and beach were amazing, having food court there was great also cant beat the free transportation everywhere (all Disney) btw depending how old your kids are look at all the ride height requ...irements. We wasted nearly $500 in a day on universal studios even though my son is abouve the 48 inches required all the rides there are terrifying beginning with the Simpsons.
  • Convenient ones - Swan and Dolphin, they are very closed to Magic Kingdom and Epcot and Animal Kingdom, just a short ride by a nice water taxi, or a charter bus (which is free of charge).
  • We booked through their website without any travel agents. Don't forget that if you stay in Disney resort you get a great deal on admission to parks and other things like extra park hours.
  • We stayed at all stars on Disney property it was very convenient. The best restaurants are in Epcot. We went to the French restaurant which was amazing and also morraccan which was also delish. They have good food in downtown Disney also
  • Grand Floridian is a great hotel right in disney
  • All Star movies resort which is part of Disney Property. It is very moderately priced, very clean, has two pools. Not luxury by any means, but we spent most of the time in the parks so it was fine. The bus shuttles run to the parks very frequently.
  • We stayed at the Palisades Resort - outside of Disney and no shuttle provided - but we rented a car. Centrally located between Disney and Universal, close to the supermarket, and many restaurants. We had a two bedroom condo and it was spacious and spotless clean - tons of space and privacy for parents and kids.

  • Restaurants: Emeril's in Universal, Cinderellas Royal table for breakfast, Chef Mickeys for breakfast, Rainforest Cafes,Magical kingdom, Legoland, animal kingdom
  • The Buena Vista Palace in Downtown Disney. My review on the hotel for the parents who wish to go to Disney and would like more info: hotel is very nice and clean, modern rooms with extremely comfortable beds, many pools, beautiful and huge territory. Service is of a 5 star hotel, shuttles directly to every park, and it's located directly across the street from Downtown Disney which we enjoyed very much in the evening. If anyone wants for info about parks etc or anything else about the hotel, feel free to PM me. We had an experience of a lifetime with our 5 yr old son.