Posts Tagged With: Disneyland60

5 Ways to Make The Most of Your Disney Vacation

There are, as I mentioned, six Disney theme parks in the world, and I have been to three of them.  I won’t tell you how many times I’ve been to Walt Disney World, but I did work there for a while.  At this point, I know what I’m doing.  Here are a few tricks to make your Disney trip easier and more fun.

  1. Plan ahead.  The Disney properties are full of award-winning restaurants.  While you may be able to get reservations when you get there, it will be easier to book in advance.  If you know you want to meet a lot of characters, you can book a character meal and take care of two priorities in one.  It’s also a good idea to look at the maps and list of attractions before you go.  If we hadn’t, we would have missed La Tanière du Dragon at Disneyland Paris.  It’s unique to that park and tucked away; it would have been easy to miss if we hadn’t been looking for it.  Speaking of planning and knowing what you want to do…
  2. Fast passes are your friend.  They work a little differently at each resort.  At Walt Disney World, make the FastPass+ kiosk your first stop.  There are some rides that always have a long wait, but you can tell what’s popular that day and compare it to what you want to ride.  These you can change later if you want to do something different or, on the flip side, you can book them up to 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney hotel.

    At Disneyland, each ride has its own kiosk, so head straight for the one you want most.  Everything is close enough that it won’t be too far out of your way to begin with.  This is one of the ways the app will come in handy.  It can show you wait times for each attraction so you can tell which rides you’ll need the fast passes for.

    You can also get fast passes for the best view at certain shows, which reminds me…

  3. View your day holistically and prepare to stay late at least one night.  Every park has a show of some kind and it usually involves fireworks.  I’m biased: I think everybody needs to see Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios but, honestly, there are no bad shows at Disney, and they’re usually celebrating something.

    Each park also has parades, shows, and character meet-and-greets throughout the day.  Pay attention to the times and prioritize.  You’ve got a lot of options but you can miss them if you don’t time it right.

  4. Get the Park Hopper.  It’s a little more expensive, but trust me.  If you get to a park and realize it’s too crowded, if you have a meal reserved in one but want to start elsewhere, or if you get to your last day and realize there’s something you haven’t done yet, you’re going to be glad you have the option to go back and forth.  It makes scheduling SO much easier.
  5. Pick a couple of things to focus on and just let the rest happen.

    Most of these tips are about planning, which does help ensure you don’t miss out on your must-sees.  But you can also miss out if you aren’t open to possibilities.  There are often performers in the streets or you’ll notice a super short line for something you didn’t think you’d want to ride.  Plan for those things that are most important to you, but leave room for Disney magic.  It’s everywhere and it’s often the parts you don’t expect that you’ll remember most.

There’s not really such a thing as a bad Disney vacation…at least, not that I’ve experienced yet, but these things always make my trips a little less overwhelming.

Have fun at the Happiest Place on Earth, whichever one you decide to visit.

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Tuesday Update: Disneyland Edition

I attempted a video to talk a little about my appreciation for Walt Disney.


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My Top 5 Disney World Stories (Well, 4 of them)

I don’t have a single place I call home; I am lucky enough to have three.  There’s my hometown of course.  As much as I complain about it, it’s where my mom lives, where my dad’s buried, and where my bar’s at, not to mention the two closest friends I’ve got.  No matter how far I go, I’ll always come back to it eventually.

My second home has been Chapel Hill.  It’s where I formed so many of the ideas and friendships that shape me now, even if they aren’t still part of my life.  I had a hard time leaving UNC, but I knew it would have been harder if I hadn’t been heading to the other place I consider home: Disney World.

I spent four months working and living there, but it was a home to me before that, before I took the ferry alone, shivering against the breeze coming off the lake, and caught my first look at Cinderella’s castle in three years.  It was the moment I pulled up to the apartment complex and showed my ID to the man at the gate.  “Welcome home,” he said.

I had driven eight hours to get there, crying part of the way.  I cried because I knew how much I would miss my mom, my boyfriend, and Cora.  I knew I wouldn’t stay forever, that I had another home I would go back to, and gladly.  But man, did it feel right to hear that.

This Saturday, I’m flying to California to visit Disneyland for the first time.  I’ve been craving the familiarity of it, but I’m also excited to see what new stories I’ll get to experience while I’m there.

In that spirit, I’ve been thinking of my favorite stories from those four months I spent in Disney World.  I can’t tell you the best one because somebody from the company may hunt me down and kill me—or worse, never hire me again—but here’s the rest of the Top 5 list.

(It’s possible a few of these are also Top Secret, though not AS Top Secret…but you won’t tell on me, will you?)

  • I once overheard a security guard asking a little girl if she knew who his boss was. When she guessed Mickey Mouse, he said, “I don’t know how it works at your house, but Minnie runs the show around here.”
  • One night, after the park was closed, there was an exclusive event for Cast Members where we got to ride the Rock’N’Roller Coaster (basically my favorite ride ever) with the lights on. It’s incredible seeing the difference.  I did it three times.
  • I worked Fantasmic, helping Mickey get into his Sorcerer’s Robes for his big scene. When Maleficent is at her highest point, there’s a moment when the lights go dark.  It’s bad luck for someone not to wave.  Usually Mickey does it but, on my last night, he let me.
  • Also on my last day, I got to test the lift before the show. I was literally on top of the mountain.  The view is spectacular and being so far up with so little holding you back is thrilling.

Honorable mentions to:

  • The time a cute boy working in Epcot’s France Pavilion called me “Princess” in a French accent. (Even a taken, demisexual girl is not totally immune to that; it’s like a Southern boy calling you “darlin’.”)
  • The time I went on a scavenger hunt through Magic Kingdom.
  • The time my cousin (and my whole family) met Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie backstage between Fantasmic shows because I had connections.
  • That time I thought I passed Johnny Depp in the park.
  • Getting to be there when Hollywood Studios celebrated 25 years. Also, being among the first to work with Darth Goofy and the gang.
  • Meeting Belle (yes, again) and discussing books with her. (I recommended Of Mice and Men because it’s what I was reading at the time.)

Walt Disney World is full of stories, and these are just a few of mine.  (If you want some trivia about the park itself, comment and I will respond with one random fact/story each.)  I’m taking all of them with me on this new adventure, and I can’t wait to see what new magic I experience while I’m there.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss a single story, follow me on Snapchat (Wordsmith92) and Twitter.

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