Monday, July 29, 2013

millions of wdw photos and zillions of unsolicited advice.

^^^ Kudos to that guy for driving us to and from the parks every single day!  

^^^Remember that time when McKenna got poison ivy rashes all over her arms and legs right before we left for Disney World???  What a trooper that girl is!  It meant walking all over the parks covered in calamine lotion and bandaids, but she was unstoppable.

^^^ I guess we have a thing for cultural hats.

Thanks to Jim and Heidi for the pics below!

Betwixt the four videos and all of these photos, I think this family vacation was well documented {heck, yes!!!}. In six days, we experienced more Disney than we could ever possibly hope for. I think that pretty much makes us Disney World experts and so I feel compelled to offer unsolicited travel advice. I mean, who wouldn't want the inside scoop from a professional monorail rider?  

So, here goes...

1.  We purchased 5-day Park Hopper tickets from AAA.  We got a little discount plus we paid no tax.  We also were given Diamond Parking Passes which allowed us the luxury of parking near the entrance!  Booya!  I have to tell you, Husband had a hard time purchasing these tickets.  He prefers riskier behavior, which means purchasing cheap tickets from seedy gas stations near the park.  He still wishes he would have tried it, but I honestly don't understand how that works.  Disney World parks now have these tricky machines that match your fingerprint to the card now, so my vote is to go the legit route, suck it up, and pay the dough.  

2.  Our ticket package also came with free passes to other Disney attractions, like Disney Quest {a giant arcade at Downtown Disney}, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon.  This was insanely awesome, as we spent two full days at each of the water parks.  They were such a wonderful break from the amusement park lines and heat.  Highly recommend!  Also a lifesaver... cabana rentals.  It's expensive, but worth the money.  We paid $300 bucks to rent our own covered cabana and totally thought it was worth the money.  A shady place to relax away from the crowds?  Sold and sold.  Our rental came with towels, water bottles, and drink refills.  We also had cabana-side food service, which we had to obviously pay for our food, but it was brought to our cabana.  No food lines!!!  Cabanas are good stuff, however, if you don't prefer to rent one, it is still really easy to get to the park at opening and put towels on chairs for saving.  There was no running or racing for spots.  Actually, there was ONE lady running, but she looked like a dork and no one else cared to race after her.  There are TONS of lounge chairs.  It's Disney, sillies.  These people think of everything.

3.  Ponchos.  Bring them if you're traveling in July.  It's too hot for jackets, trust me.  But everyday {without fail} there is a downpour at a nonspecific time and those cheap, plastic ponchos were a lifesaver.  It also works to run to the nearest shop or covered ride, but that's what everyone else is doing too, so get there first to avoid a long line.  The rain is also another reason not to bother putting too much effort into your hair.  I survived on braids, bun and hats.  

4.  Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom.  Get there.  It's a quick serve restaurant and it never seemed busy, which is crazy.  It's right next to The Haunted Mansion and on the way to Fantasy World.  The fish and chips are to die for.  I'm totally serious.  I would go back to Disney World just to eat these things.  

5.  We rented a house as opposed to a hotel.  We had a pool, laundry, kitchen, need I say more.  

6.  If you want to be at a Disney World park at opening, remember that to get to Magic Kingdom, you need to take the Monorail or the Ferry, so leave yourself plenty of time.  And if you close the park down after that crowded Electrical Light Parade {of my worst nightmare}, remember that there will be a loooooooooong line for the monorail to get back over to the the parking lot.  Take the ferry.  It's a much shorter line and many more people can ride that thing.  Plus, the cool breeze over the water feels pretty darn good on tired faces.  Or go ahead and squish onto the monorail.  I won't judge.

7.  Let's go back to that darn light parade.  It hasn't changed since it first started back in the day, so you have my permission to skip that madness if you want to.  Do take a gander at the castle, however, as awesome images are projected onto it before the parade.  That is amazing!  

8.  Do cool off in the Tiki Room.  It's usually empty and it's a perfect spot to collect your brain cells to endure more hot sun and long lines.  Do also cool off in It's a Small World.  I think it should be a law that you have to ride that thing.

9.  Use the Fast Pass like a coupon.  Always have one going.  You'll need it for Splash Mountain, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain Railroad for sure.  If you don't use a Fast Pass and I catch you waiting 120 minutes in line for Splash Mountain, I am going to thump you on the head.

10.  Download the Head's Up app on your phone and play the heck out of that game while you're in line.  You'll have others doing the same thing after they see how happy you are.

So, that's it.  I think.  It's all I can remember for now, so you're off the hook.  It was a fantastic, drama-free trip and that's all I can really ask for.  Disney knows how to deliver.  


  1. you guys look like you had the most amazing time! love all the pictures, and the tips? Perfect!

  2. Looks like a great trip! We went in late October/early November 2011 (after a cruise). It was great! So glad I took my son as a child. I had never been and it was really a cool place.


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