Jessicajealousy

Walt Disney World for Newbies

11 posts in this topic

Hi!

 

My fiancee and I are currently planning our trip to Walt Disney World in Florida for our Honeymoon in September 2020.

We have booked most of our accommodation, plus tickets and flights.

 

I am wanting to hear suggestions/tips/strategies - basically, anything you like about how to navigate the parks and our time there.

We are starting with 3 nights at universal, then 4 nights at Port Orleans Riverside, 8 nights at B Resort, and then 2 nights in a moderate or deluxe resort (the only bit we haven't booked). We found an awesome deal on a 14-day park-hopper, so we have the ability to jump between parks.

Both of us have never been to the U.S, so any help is greatly appreciated :)

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Many experiences at Walt Disney World require you to plan them out in advance. The best advice I can give is to book things as soon as possible. Fastpass+ can make your day a whole lot easier but you'll tend to find the most popular rides are completely booked well in advance. For your first couple of days when you'll want to get everything done, get the dates in your calendar and book the major E-Tickets for each park (i.e Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, Soarin' at Epcot). If you don't book things early, you might find your only FP+ option to be Magic Carpets of Aladdin. The same applies to restaurants, so if you really want to eat at "Be Our Guest" you'll need to book well in advance.

If you're like me and leave things till the last minute, keep refreshing the Fastpass selection screen. People change their plans all the time, sometimes dropping their bookings for major attractions the day of.  I would often do this when I would be waiting for my morning coffee. 

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2 minutes ago, Zanstabar said:

Many experiences at Walt Disney World require you to plan them out in advance. The best advice I can give is to book things as soon as possible. Fastpass+ can make your day a whole lot easier but you'll tend to find the most popular rides are completely booked well in advance. For your first couple of days when you'll want to get everything done, get the dates in your calendar and book the major E-Tickets for each park (i.e Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, Soarin' at Epcot). If you don't book things early, you might find your only FP+ option to be Magic Carpets of Aladdin. The same applies to restaurants, so if you really want to eat at "Be Our Guest" you'll need to book well in advance.

If you're like me and leave things till the last minute, keep refreshing the Fastpass selection screen. People change their plans all the time, sometimes dropping their bookings for major attractions the day of.  I would often do this when I would be waiting for my morning coffee. 

Thank you! I am starting to get my head around FastPass - obviously, we can't book anything just yet, but we have started planning each day (in theory) as well as restaurants we would love to try.

I am just dying to try the Haunted Mansion! :D

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I just did a trip back in September and had a great time, I feel like I became an expert after how much research I did.

I would have recommended doing Disney first so you can take advantage of the free magical express from airport to the resort which is a magical way to start your trip. But on the other hand, when I did Disney first and then went to Universal, I found I didn’t enjoy Universal that much because Disney do everything so much better. 

Florida is very hot and humid most year round, so I would suggest planning your days in chunks, so you go out to one park early in the morning, then go back to the resort using the free bus service (or monorail or skyliner if your staying at one of those resorts), and have a chill at the resort until mid afternoon where you go to a different park. Doing rope drop to fireworks will burn you out very quickly so definitely try to split your days up. 
 

You should choose your fast passes ASAP (60days out for resort guests, they open up at 9pm AEST from memory), schedule the big ticket attractions that will have long standby queues if they are available (ie all the mountains, Peter Pan and Seven Dwarves at Magic Kingdom). Try and select your fastpasses for an hour or so after the park opens because earlier than that the rides will have short standby waits anyway because most people don’t arrive at rope drop. Then the next fastpass for an hour after that and so on, this means that on the day you’re there once you have used your three FP you can select more using My Disney Experience app, it also means that if you are splitting the day up in chunks like I mentioned that it will be midday when you finish your first 3 FP and then you can probably snag something good for when you plan to return later in the afternoon. A note on MDE, keep refreshing the app because often things will not show at first and then possibly pop up after a couple of refreshes. I used 15 fast passes on some days using this method (I was on my own in September though so there was a lot of FP selections)

Definitely book your table dining ASAP if you haven’t already, you can do so 180 days out free of charge ($10usd if you don’t cancel 24 hours before though if you change plans).

Use a crowd calendar to find out the quietest days for each park to start planning where you want to go on each day. Rule of thumb is the park with extra magic hours will be busier than normal - so take advantage of the extra magic hours and then plan to hop somewhere else once the park gets busy. The day after a park had EMH it should be slightly less busy too. 
 

Im assuming that 14day ticket comes with memory maker included? Take advantage of it, stop at heaps of photo pass spots (there are photographers all over the park). The photos are incredible, my 8 days at WDW I came away with 200+ photos taken by photo pass photographers and on ride photos. 

There are some queues you need to wait in at least once (without fastpass). Flight of Passage, Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarves, Peter Pan, Smugglers Run, Expedition Everest and Pirates are all so detailed in the line that they are must do experiences in themselves. (I’m probably forgetting a few here too)

Take some time to explore resorts! It sounds like you’re going to get a mix of resorts anyway, but there are some great activities to do at each resort. 


I had planned so much of my days out before I went and found that my days became a lot more spontaneous when I arrived, so don’t stress about planning every minute. Take advantage of the free transport on Disney property, it makes life easy. On the nights you stay until park close, I would suggest having a wander around the parks and let them empty out a lot, otherwise you’ll be waiting in decently long lines for busses as everyone leaves. 

I could go on forever about Disney tips, I’m going again next September and already planning and thinking about what I want to do next time. 

Tips for universal, don’t buy express passes until the day of because you might not need them if the park is quiet. Hagrids wait times was always inflated whenever I rode, I did it in about 30 minutes using single rider the first time, and about 70 minutes the second time when single rider was closed (posted 90mins). If you are any bit prone to motion sickness, take motion sickness tablets with you to universal 80% of the rides are screen based and can really mess you up if you’re prone to sickness. Lastly, skip fast and furious, it’s not worth your time, it’s garbage. 
 

Feel free to reply with any specific questions, I love talking Disney. 

Edited by ejpdtd

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37 minutes ago, ejpdtd said:

I just did a trip back in September and had a great time, I feel like I became an expert after how much research I did.

I would have recommended doing Disney first so you can take advantage of the free magical express from airport to the resort which is a magical way to start your trip. But on the other hand, when I did Disney first and then went to Universal, I found I didn’t enjoy Universal that much because Disney do everything so much better. 

Florida is very hot and humid most year round, so I would suggest planning your days in chunks, so you go out to one park early in the morning, then go back to the resort using the free bus service (or monorail or skyliner if your staying at one of those resorts), and have a chill at the resort until mid afternoon where you go to a different park. Doing rope drop to fireworks will burn you out very quickly so definitely try to split your days up. 
 

You should choose your fast passes ASAP (60days out for resort guests, the open up at 9pm AEST from memory), schedule the big ticket attractions that will have long standby queues if they are available (ie all the mountains, Peter Pan and Seven Dwarves at Magic Mountain). Try and select your fastpasses for an hour or so after the park opens because earlier than that the rides will have short standby waits anyway because most people don’t arrive at rope drop. Then the next fastpass for an hour after that and so on, this means that on the day you’re there once you have used your three FP you can select more using My Disney Experience app, it also means that if you are splitting the day up in chunks like I mentioned that it will be midday when you finish your first 3 FP and then you can probably snag something good for when you plan to return later in the afternoon. A note on MDE, keep refreshing the app because often things will not show at first and then possibly pop up after a couple of refreshes. 

Definitely book your table dining ASAP if you haven’t already, you can do so 180 days out free of charge ($10usd if you don’t cancel 24 hours before though if you change plans).

Use a crowd calendar to find out the quietest days for each park to start planning where you want to go on each day. Rule of thumb is the park with extra magic hours will be busier than normal - so take advantage of the extra magic hours and then plan to hop somewhere else once the park gets busy. The day after a park had EMH it should be slightly less busy too. 
 

Im assuming that 14day ticket comes with memory maker included? Take advantage of it, stop at heaps of photo pass spots (there are photographers all over the park). The photos are incredible, my 8 days at WDW I came away with 200+ photos taken by photo pass photographers and on ride photos. 

There are some queues you need to wait in at least once (without fastpass). Flight of Passage, Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarves, Peter Pan, Smugglers Run, Expedition Everest and Pirates are all so detailed in the line that they are must do experiences in themselves. (I’m probably forgetting a few here too)

Take some time to explore resorts! It sounds like you’re going to get a mix of resorts anyway, but there are some great activities to do at each resort. 


I had planned so much of my days out before I went and found that my days because a lot more spontaneous when I arrived, so don’t stress about planning every minute. Take advantage of the free transport on Disney property, it makes life easy. On the nights you stay until park close, I would suggest having a wonder around the parks and let them empty out a lot, otherwise you’ll be waiting in decently long lines for busses as everyone leaves. 

I could go on forever about Disney tips, I’m going again next September and already planning and thinking about what I want to do next time. 

Tips for universal, don’t buy express passes until the day of because you might not need them if the park is quiet. Hagrids wait times was always inflated whenever I rode, I did it in about 30 minutes using single rider the first time, and about 70 minutes the second time when single rider was closed (posted 90mins). If you are any bit prone to motion sickness, take motion sickness tablets with you to universal 80% of the rides are screen based and can really mess you up if you’re prone to sickness. Lastly, skip fast and furious, it’s not worth your time, it’s garbage. 
 

Feel free to reply with any specific questions, I love talking Disney. 

I'm pretty sure I wet my pants when you said skip Fast & Furious - I've seen clips on YouTube and it looks SO BAD!

 

We can't do dining reservations until March, and FastPass until July (I've got them in my calendar so I don't forget!)

Did you ride the orange side of Mission Space? Is too crazy?
Also good tip on the queue rides - I had seem some videos on seven dwarves queue, as well as seeing Hondo on Smugglers Run (you miss him if in single rider)!

 

On a side note - what did you roughly spend on food per day? It's the only thing we find we are struggling to budget (and tips!). We aren't interested in dining plan as it seems like a huge waste of money - but as I've never been to America I'm not sure how much we should be budgeting for tips, and what the average food prices are for Disney. Do you have any suggestions?

Where did you stay on property?

 

Lastly - did you do any pin trading? :)

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8 minutes ago, Jessicajealousy said:

Did you ride the orange side of Mission Space? Is too crazy?

Ohh, this is my specific area of expertise. I worked that ride back in 2016. So the orange side will have you feel 2.5g’s when it’s spinning at its maximum speed of about 60km/h. It does 3 spins like this lasting around 30 seconds each, total ride time is around 4min 20sec. It is also a pretty enclosed space inside the capsule, so not recommended if you have claustrophobia (if you do and want to try it, let the cast member know and they can close the capsule for a few seconds and then re-open it to check if you’re okay with how enclosed it is).

 

With all that said, it’s a great ride experience and really thrilling. The best way to avoid motion sickness on the ride is to always keep looking straight ahead at the screen. 

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15 hours ago, Jessicajealousy said:

I'm pretty sure I wet my pants when you said skip Fast & Furious - I've seen clips on YouTube and it looks SO BAD!

 

We can't do dining reservations until March, and FastPass until July (I've got them in my calendar so I don't forget!)

Did you ride the orange side of Mission Space? Is too crazy?
Also good tip on the queue rides - I had seem some videos on seven dwarves queue, as well as seeing Hondo on Smugglers Run (you miss him if in single rider)!

 

On a side note - what did you roughly spend on food per day? It's the only thing we find we are struggling to budget (and tips!). We aren't interested in dining plan as it seems like a huge waste of money - but as I've never been to America I'm not sure how much we should be budgeting for tips, and what the average food prices are for Disney. Do you have any suggestions?

Where did you stay on property?

 

Lastly - did you do any pin trading? :)

Oh awesome timing, you will be going pretty much the same time as me next year which is great. Should be pretty quiet, and you’ll get to ride the 3 new ones being Mickeys Runaway Railway, Rise of Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouile Adventure (although they’ll all be new to you since it’s your first time!) You’ll also be there around Halloween Horror Nights time at universal which I highly recommend if you’re into that sort of thing.

I did regrettably ride Orange Mission space. I had booked a fastpass for it, and when it came time to ride I just so happened to be prettty drunk from walking around food and wine, so my inebriated self ignored the countless warnings they give that it is an intense ride. As soon as I got sat down my eyes started watering and was a very uncomfortable experience, thankfully I managed to avoid a protein spill though. I hated it and won’t be doing orange again (but I am not great with motion sickness). I would suggest trying green and if you can handle the screen being that close and the confined space then maybe give orange a go. 
 

Yeah the single rider lines can be useful but definitely need to check out the normal lines first, I did Smugglers run once normally then single rider from there out and it was generally a walk on from single rider. 
 

I ate mostly quick service and a couple of table service meals and on average I think I was about 110$aud a day, some days more when I had table service and other less when it was just service. That average includes snacks and beers as well. Honestly I didn’t really keep track because my card was linked to my magic band so I just tapped my magic band Willy nilly and bought alll the things. 

I wouldn’t stress too much about tipping. Anywhere it is expected to tip at Disney there will be a little tip section at the bottom of the receipt with a suggested tip of 18% that it has calculated for you. But you can write in any amount. I would generally just do 15%. The only places I tipped in Disney were; Magical Express ($1 per bag), Table service meals, and in Ogas cantina. You should also tip Mousekeeping ($1 pp per day) if you don’t choose to opt out of housekeeping. And also bell services (1$ per bag they handle), but I just grabbed my bags myself so I avoided that too. 

Universal it will be very clear when you are expected to tip, as I mentioned above, when you sign on the eftpos machines it will pop up with an option to tip 15% or 18% that you have to press. I only experienced that when I bought beer, other times at universal I just ate at quick service. 

 

I stayed at All Star Sports at Disney and loved it, a bit dated but the theming was great and they had some great sweet treats in their food court, the all stars are known for their cupcakes. It is definitely more crowded than the Moderate and Deluxe will be for you. 
Then at universal I stayed off property just on I-drive which was walking distance to city walk. 

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I stayed at Pop Century. I went the forego room servicing thing and scored the gift card. Would’ve been nice to be able to select to get it serviced mid stay, but I was so eager at 7am to get over you Magic Kingdom I didn’t think to ask.

With the fast pass bookings, they open 60 days prior to your check-in date for the entire length of your stay. This means anyone booking in for a 15-20 day stay can book fast passes essentially 80 days in advance so the rides you definitely want FP for are often taken. As has been said though, keep an eye on MDE all day and keep refreshing because things come up. 

Also, if there’s something you really want to get on, try to score a fast pass for something that has just broken. When operations update FP to the fact it’s closed you’ll be issued a park-wide (with some exceptions) fast pass. Usually what you want to get on is covered by this. I did this to get on Kali River Rapids.

I bought breakfast in the food hall at the resort and paid about $13US. Quick Service meal in park around the same amount. Bottle of water is $3 US I think, bottle of Coke $4.50.

Washing is $3 per load, $1 for laundry powder from the vending machine, $3 per dryer load. All payable by card. 

As has been mentioned, you can wear yourself out very quickly with early starts late nights and that Florida humidity and heat. Take a hat, because the parks lack shade, and an umbrella for the afternoon rain.

i didn’t pin trade but I did start collecting pins during this trip. I did pick up one tip though - buy the starter kits with the less desirable pins, particularly in the multipacks or the lucky dip ones. Then trade them with cast members, because they’re not allowed to say no. If you want one they’ve got, it’s up to you which you give them in exchange, not them. They’ll often have more desirable pins you can swap the cheap ones for. Also, remember you only swap the pins, not the backings.

I found the best pin choices were at the outfitters at Animal Kingdom. 

 

Mission Space orange is an evil contraption that should not exist. I wandered around feeling unwell for the next 2 hours after riding it. You can probably achieve a similar sensation by dropping a deadlift barbell onto your chest for 5 minutes.

Also, Dinosaur is ROUGH and so jerky.

So give yourself time to get through it all, don’t go too hard too fast or you’ll wipe yourself out - I did. I got a half day at AK before returning to the hotel and slept til about 7pm then felt too groggy to go do much that night.

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