Sunday, February 5, 2012
10 top reasons to go or not go to Disney World and other tidbits
Ten Top Reasons to Go to Disney World with 4 kids:
1. They are still excited about seeing the characters and getting there autographs
2. Watching my 5yr old hug the chipmunks like they are real ( he still thinks so) and watching my now 10yr old wanting pictures with everyone as well even though he knows they aren't real
3. My kids are now tall enough to go on every ride that I love which is every endorphin filled roller coaster, tower of terror, Dr. Doom, whatever, its the best. Hubby doesn't like the coasters so this was a great turn around this year.
4. If you stay in a place that has a small kitchen you can call a new service at Disney called Garden Grocer and you can order groceries online and have them waiting for you in the hotel room for only a $12 charge, it saved us a ton of money because we didn't have to eat breakfast or buy lunch anyway.
5. having 4 kids walking in the park all day with no stroller = 4 very tired kids at the end of the day
6. if you keep them on the tea cup ride for a few go arounds they will never ask you for a snack during the day, at least a snack that costs you money.
7. Did I mention the rides
8. I think I'm running out of good reasons to take them
9. It's a magical place? ( give me a friggin break)
10. It made my kids happy for about 2hrs a day
10 top Reasons not to take 4 kids to Disney World
1. They couldn't agree on anything, 1 wanted to go one way, the other the other way, it got crazy sometimes
2. When someone didn't reach the height requirement it was another meltdown especially if the other 3 were able to go on the ride. That sucked.
3. Most of the food they sold in the park was terrible and so expensive. they just now are starting to have fruit and veggie stands in the park and water, however, 1 banana was $2.99 and a bottle of water was over $3.00
4. Having to continuously say "no" to my kids on buying things. We told them they could get 1 thing in Disney World, however when that 1 thing was bought ( which all 4 did on day 2) they continuously asked for things each day and if I said 'NO" once I said it 100 times, I'm tired of being the bad guy
5. When we go to Disney World we go in late january so that the crowds are minimal and the lines aren't long but the downside is the weather isn't the best. With 4 kids and no ability to get them to swim in the pools and get some wiggles out is tough and this time most days the lines weren't bad but somedays the lines were stupidly long, well over 1-2hrs, its just awful. Managing 4 kids in lines that long, " Not Fun"
6. After 5 days of fighting and tired children if I heard, " Have a Magical Day" one more time I was going to throttle someone.
7. Unable to drink enough alcohol to keep me numb
8. Having to get up at 4am-4:30am each morning to get my workouts in because we needed to get to the parks by 8:30am so we could get on the rides
9. Sleeping in the same room with my 4 kids, not so much fun.
10. Kids being older and having to have to fight with them to do their homework on a daily basis before going to the Park, that sucked.
11. Oh did I say I hated to hear, " Have a Magical F*&^&*(in day" really bothered me.
Ok enough of the top ten, hear are some of my tips about going to Disney World. I have been to Disney a few times with and without kids and I have made mistakes along the way but feel now I have it down to a system, so hear goes.
Flights: If you can, take your kids out of school during the week to fly to Orlando, try not to go during vacation weeks, the prices of flights go up significantly and the times of flights are a bit more limited. think about buying roses on valentines day, how much are they 1 week before Valentines Day and how much they are on the day, the mark up is at least 50%.
JetBlue to Orlando is amazing and they TV's for the kids on the chairs, if you can fly jet blue not only is the flight one of the cheapest out there but the service and the plane itself is great.
Transportation: If you are staying in one of the Disney Hotels ( i.e., in the Park) make your transportation with magical express. You will be given bag tags before you go to the airport of which you will place on your checked luggage, AFter you check in at the airport you will not see them again until you check in at your hotel. It is a great service as long as you don't need anything from your luggage immediately when you land. My recommendation is to pack everything you need for the day, bathing suits, shorts, whatever in a carry on and go about your day when you arrive at your hotel. Not having to have to wait at the baggage claim is awesome.
The Magical Express buses get you to your hotel with no problems, its very easy. I believe this is a free service with the Disney in Park Hotels, so take advantage.
Renting CArs: If you are staying in the Park they have bus transportation that takes you to and from every park you want to go to, except Universal and Islands of Adventure, Sea World and Busch Gardens. If you want to rent I would suggest you go to your concierge and go through Mears transportation and the bus/car will pick up your family or whomever is leaving your hotel to that destination for the day and bring you to the park and will pick you up. The cost is less than what it would cost you to rent a car and less hassle. Just my opinion.
Food: Ok, no joke, the park is expensive, restaurants are expensive. With my family of 6 it was crazy, one dinner the first night cost us way over $250,00, if you multiply that by 3 meals a day for 5 days it would be insane. If you get a hotel room with a small kitchenette you can call an online grocery store in Orlando called: www.gardengrocer.com. They have a ton of organic/non-organic, gluten free, whatever, groceries you can order from and pay online and they will deliver it to your hotel room for only a $12 fee. Most of the groceries were very reasonable especially the fruits and veggies, not bad, but at the end of the day I paid $150.00 for 5 days worth of groceries and we ate breakfast and prepared lunches everyday. We saved a bundle.
Also, bring your own water bottles with you to the hotel fill them with water before leaving for the parks, this will save you a ton of money. There are plenty of water bubblers around the park to refill them, at $3.00 a bottle of Dasani you can save on this as well.
Park Hopper Passes: Ok, no matter what getting into the parks is expensive so the only way to do it right is to buy the park hopper passes which gets you into the Disneys 4 major theme parks, ( Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Hits). This does not include Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure where Harry Potter is, it doesn't include Sea World or any Water Parks, etc... so make sure you are aware of this. Buying a park hopper pass allows you to go to any park multiple times a day for the amount of days you have purchased them. For ex: if we wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom in the morning and Epcot in the afternoon we could or even add Animal Kingdom in as well, it just doesn't matter.
These passes are expensive but its less expensive to buy the pass then it is to buy a daily pass anywhere.
Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure ( Harry Potter). You want to buy a pass that allows you to go in between these parks during the day, they are side by side and you can walk to both of them but depending on how crowded the parks are you want to be able to go to both whenever to increase your abilities to hit all the rides and see all the shows. With Harry Potter now at Islands of Adventure the parks are filled so buy this pass, it will run yoiu about $159.00 per person and you have to get transportation to the park if you don't have a car.
VERY IMPORTANT: When you are traveling off season to Disney World ( if I mentioned to you this is a big savings for you and if you don't have to wait in line with little kids its the best time to go), you need to do a few things first:
1. Go online and check each park and what hours they are open, what days they have early hours or late hours and also during the off season months rides at different parks are closed for refurbishing, it is important to know what rides are closed so you can plan accordingly.
For example: In the magic kingdom two of the best rides are Thunder Mountain and Splash mountain during our time there last week Thunder Mountain was closed, Thunder mountain and Splash mountain are right next to each other so with one of the rides closed what does that do to the other ride? Splash mountain was packed and the wait was huge, at 9am in the morning there was already a 1hr wait, so we knew we were going to need to get a fast pass to come back to this ride so my kids didn't have to wait, you have to plan or you will get screwed.
Another ex: Animal Kingdom has1 water ride called kali river rapids and it was closed so the roller coaster ( Everest) was going to be packed. You just have to plan your day, either get their right when the park opens or if that isn't your plan just get a fast pass.
So my point is: Check out each park online and see what rides may be closed, you definitely want to know for the little ones at Magic Kingdom because FantasyLand is packed anyway and if Dumbo or Snow White or Peter Pan is closed you want to know.
Fast Passes: If you don't know what this is this is Huge. A fast pass is when a ride is packed you can take your park ticket and put it in a machine and will tell you when you can come back and get on the ride very quickly. On each ride there will be a sign that shows you the fast pass time that is given at that moment and its on your pass. When you return to the ride there are two entrances ones for regular rides and one for fast pass riders, its a great service and I highly recommend it. The only negative thing with fast passes is not all rides have them and you can't get two fast passes for the same time slot. Its not that big of a deal but with lots of kids you try to make the most of the time you have in the park.
Ok this is enough for now, I need to write about Harry Potter tonight, its a separate post. I may have also forgotten to write about a few more things but if you have questions let me know and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Have a Magical Day.