Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dreaming of Disney - a Day at the Park, pt 1

Wait! I almost forgot! Before you make those dining reservations, you have to check the MAGIC HOURS! If you stay on property, you get to enter the parks early, before the masses, or stay later, and I mean way later! But you have to refer to the calendar on the website for the days of your stay because the Magic Hours are different for each park. Not to mention the hours the parks are open change all the time. But the calendar is pretty accurate, even six months in advance or more.

The reason I say to check the Magic Hours is to help in planning your days. For instance, look for a night EPCOT is open late and plan to have a fabulous dinner at one of the countries there. Then you can see the laser show and still ride a few more rides while everyone else has to leave. A note that my sister observed and I concur with is that on days a park opens early, visit it then go to another park because for some odd reason the park seems extra crowded on those days. Also, on a day when there are no AM Magic Hours is a good time to book a character breakfast.

Here is a sample of a few days...

Day 1 - no Magic Hours in AM
             go to Magic Kingdom
             ride lots of rides, get fast passes!
             lunch at park, counter service
             more rides
             back to hotel, pool, relax, change
             Hollywood Studios has PM Magic Hours
             make it to dinner & fantasmic reservations
             see show and ride rides

Day 2 - EPCOT has AM Magic Hours
             go early, ride rides
             leave to make it to Down Town Disney lunch reservation
             go to room to relax, have dinner there
             go back to Magic Kingdom (usually open later than other parks)
Then there's always a day like

Day 3 - No AM Magic Hours
             go to Animal Kingdom for character breakfast
             ride rides, get fast passes
             do lunch
             more rides
             closes earlier than most parks
             no PM Magic Hours
             go to room, freshen up, go off property for dinner or stay at hotel
             if you're up for it, there's mini golf or movies

Like I said, this is a sample, you do what you want. If your goal is to ride rides, stay all day at one park. And if you are limited on time, the rides are priority. But I'm telling you, that break in the afternoon, at least for one of the days, is worth it! And avail yourself of the FAST PASS! The rides with the longest lines have kiosks out front dispensing fast passes. They allow you to come back at a designated time and enter the ride without waiting in the 30, 40 or 60 minutes in line through all the ropes.

I also have to say that getting there is part of the fun. We love riding the monorail. The kids always ask if we can ride in the front with the driver - don't know if they still do that. And the boats are fun too. My kids even like the bus rides sometimes, especially if we get a good, animated driver.
The next posts in this section will be about the best rides and features of each park.
Countdown to next trip (Nov 2011): 129 days 8=)
My references are my years going to the parks, the Disney website and Birnbaum Guides to Walt Disney World (2010) which I use for much of my planning.


Deb said...

The magic hour Li'l D and I got to experience on our trip a few weeks back? Truly magic. Getting to go on Li'l D's favorite ride (also one of my favorites, heh) by ourselves? And ride it five times in a row, without getting off? WIN!

Rhonda @Laugh Quotes said...

Seems so complicated for a day or two of fun, yet it is a great idea. Last time we went to Disneyland, we planned it around other travel - as we were taking a cruise out of LA. So, we arrived a day early - no plan of magic hours. No plan at all - turned out to be the first day of the new parade and massively over crowded. Main parking lot was full by 10am. Oh well. better plannng for us next time. - LOL

Theresa Milstein said...

If I ever go to Disney, I'm going to have to check this post. I really want to visit Harry Potter's theme park.

Tara Tyler said...

deb, glad you guys had a great time!
rhonda, some things are worth a little planning. and blogger is always messing w/our followers. i kno you're there =)
theresa, thks! i want to see hp too, btw he's @ universal =)

junebug said...

I will definitely use your tips when I plan a trip. I let my cousin use my time share to stay on the property in Feb. and they loved it.
I on the other hand hate crowds. I will spend a week there when my kids are old enough to have fun and remember it. I will plan the hell out of it so we get everything in because I do not plan to go again.

kjmckendry said...

I love Disney World! :)

V.R. Leavitt said...

I hope you have a great time! We live in Orlando and have been several times now. They cut a good deal for Florida residents. Can't wait to hear how it goes for you guys! Let the countdown begin!!

FirstTimeMom said...

hehe I LOVE planning Disney trips!! :D I agree, an afternoon break is a must. As are the fast passes. And I hate to inform you but after the monorail accident last year, they no longer allow passengers up front with the driver :(

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