Disney World tips


We spent 4 days in EuroDisney and my reaction when mmalloy told of 9 days at WDW in another thread was the same as yours - then she explained the size and I looked it over on Google maps… and wow.

However if you want a G-rated Vegas, you should totally go to Sun City in near Johannesburg, South Africa.
There you have your watersports, proper game park (no fences here), wave pool, waterslides… and a full casino.


As a Floridian, I can tell you to share your meal, they really don’t eat that much.


We just got back. I wanted to write in a quick THANK YOU for your help as it made a tremendous difference to my family’s enjoyment.

The lines app was critical as it helped us avoid the parks that were absolutely crazy. We managed to pretty much avoid waiting in line while we were there. We got in just before the crowds really went nuts.

Here’s a link to some pictures for anyone that’s interested:



Arise thread, your wisdom is summoned forth once more!

We are planning our first Disney World trip for January but I have a quick question about FastPass+. How important is it to sign up the day you are allowed to? The reason I ask is because I am tempted to get my wife the premier annual pass (valid in both the CA and FL parks ) instead of a disneyworld ticket but our current Disneyland passes won’t expire until 2 weeks before we go. If I wait until 2 weeks before the trip will I miss out on all the fast passes?


You need to be ready to sign up 60 days in advance (if staying on a resort hotel) for the popular rides. Otherwise, there won’t be any Fastpass+ available at all for those rides. Nothing preventing you from getting your premiere annual pass right now to be able to use it. Incidentally if you are not staying in a Disney resort, you only get 30 days ahead of time.


Staying at a non Disney hotel. I just can’t stay at a Disney hotel. The decent rooms are too expensive and the reasonable priced rooms are too shitty from pictures. So I guess I’m screwed at the 30 day mark regardless.


This seems to be our Disney World topic, so I have some updates since this is a year old.

I recently came back from a WDW trip, 9 days, 2 travel days, 1 resort only day and 6 days to the parks. This means I went to all 4 parks, two of them twice. I traveled with my sister and my 4 year old nephew. The main goal of this trip was to spend time with my family, so largely I ignored the rides my nephew couldn’t ride on except one… Flights of Passage. I’ll go more into that later.

Disney Resorts

My family largely stays at the onsite resorts as a matter of convenience. We usually do Moderates although parts of my family will do a Deluxe either through a DVC rental or a good sale. This time we did Port Orleans: Riverside.

There are several resorts going through a lot of construction. Try and check boards or ask around to see which ones are going through construction and which types. For example, we almost did Animal Kingdom’s rental but their primary pool is under construction so we bumped down.

Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside are two Moderate resorts that are actually kind of considered one, which means you can actually use either pool. It’s about a 10 minute walk from one Resort to the other. Riverside has the most stuff, larger pool, bigger store and sit-down restaurant. In general, you won’t get much out of me for too many sit down restaurants because keeping a 4 year old still through a whole meal is so… challenging. Anyway Port Orleans Riverside Buildings 34 and 35 are closest to the West Depot Bus stop. This is a nice bus stop because it’s the first one for Riverside which means, most mornings you get a seat to the trip to the parks and on the way back, if your’e standing you are often the first one off (unless it shares with French Quarter then you’re almost the first). Building 35, where we stayed, was also the only building in Riverside renovated, so it has USB ports on the outlet, an in wall digital wall safe, easily enough room for a surface pro and the two queens plus a small child pull out bed. One of the quiet pools is here too. There a main pool, heated, water-slide, life guards and etc, and these smaller unheated ones that are really only as quiet as the families in it. French Quarter has a new splash area for small children (remember only a 10 minute walk), that my nephew loved.

I consider the food at Port Orleans just… okay. French Quarter has the more Orleans style stuff, gumbo, jambalaya, beignets. Riverside has a carving station, some fancy dessert, cheesecake, and sandwich/salads. etc. You can see all the menues to these places online, with prices but…

We prefer to eat at the parks. Food courts are meant for arrival and departing days and when the little nephew needs to go back for a nap before food can be had.

Resorts - Magic Bands

Magic Bands can be tied to a credit card. This pretty much means you can leave everything behind, bring your ID for alcohol, and I carried cash and a credit card just in case which I never used, to charge everything to at the resort and in the park. I believe this only works for guests who stay onsite. For off-site you can still get a magic band (might have to pay for it) and this gets you in the park and works for your FastPass. Without the band I think you get a FastPass card.


Your life will be miserable if you don’t do your Fastpasses. I let my sister do most of this because she put in all the effort to this planning but let me tell you about Avatar: Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom) 3 hour wait. No, I am not exaggerating. It often got up to 3 hours, and I never saw it below 90 minutes for Standby. With FastPass I was on the ride within a couple of minutes. They send a brochure or email about this. Onsite gets 60 days and offsite getse 30 days ahead to get them. I heard non-stop disappointment about the inability to get Flights of Passage during their stay. We had 6 days, two at animal kingdom, and that second day was largely so I could go on this ride. It was… pretty awesome. I don’t do heights, and i have to take Bonine for motion sickness, and I loved this ride. Flights is a Tier 1. The Na’vi River Ride is also Tier 1. You can only schedule one Tier 1 on a given day, always, always do Flights if you want that ride. The River ride fluctuated a lot, but was never near 180 minutes, we went on it twice one morning during the Magic Hours because my nephew really liked it and so did we.

Top Tier 1.

Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage (virtual awesome ride, heights, motion issues)
Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarves (rollercoaster) yes the 4 year old could ride
Hollywood Studios: Slinky Dog (rollercoaster) yes the 4 year old could ride
Epcot: not actually sure, Frozen (story kind of ride) is here, but I think the top rides are actually out of 4 year old height stuff

Epcot I liked the least. That and Hollywood Studios are like half-day parks which… is about to change. Star Wars will be in Hollywood next year. Guardians is getting a big coaster at Epcot.

Disney World App

So, Disney’s Wifi is pretty awful, on the resort and in the park. The application crashed pretty often, especially on Android. This App those is as key, to your FastPass and also the length of the lines for the rides. Buzz Light Year is not considered a top ride. Most the Disney sites will tell you not to waste a Fastpass on it. Well you only get one Tier 1 ride, so… I’d say they’re wrong. This ride was constantly around the 40+ minute length, and my nephew loves buzz. It’s a weak arcard and weak ride but the kids get to sit in a car and shoot things so… they love it.

Jedi Training

This is a pretty cool show in Hollywood Studios. You cannot sign up in advance. You need to go to the park, near the Outpost (Indiana Jones area) wait in line and sign your kids up. And then, they’re participating in a Jedi Show that’s pretty cool actually. There was a Photopass person there too and we could get close to take pictures too. I won’t spoil the show but there are some fun guests that show up in this show that thrills the kids.

I am not sure if anyone needs any more info but I will say my sister and her family go here infrequently, they’re on the East Coast. They’ve stayed at Swan and Bonnet Creek. Some of the offsite hotels got the extended hours. http://disneyspringshotels.com/2018-disney-springs-hotels-new-benefits-extra-magic-hours/ No one knows if they will do it again next year; they haven’t done this in the past. We did the extended hours on two days and hit hard to get rides while there. I did not do the Halloween party this year, but I did it in the past. It was fun and also a way to get some of the harder rides (note: not everyone is open. It’s Magic Kingdom only so no extra luck on the Flight of Passage issue but… Halloween Party can mean fewer folks in other parks at night).


To piggyback on the flight of passage talk. Your best bet if you don’t have fast passes is to show up at least a half hour before the park opens, probably closer to 1 hour to be safe. We did that on our trip and were the second group on. We then liked it so much we got up at the asscrack of dawn again another day and did it. Both times by the time we got out the line was already over 2 hours. We are talking 5 minutes after the park opened.


Oh hey, I didn’t know we had a thread just for this! Would have really come in handy a couple months ago when I took the family to Disney World. But it all turned out ok. Speaking of FastPass, we had an ace in the hole - my brother in law had torn the meniscus in his knee and rode a scooter around the two days we were in the park, and on quite a few rides we hadn’t been able to book FastPass for, they just let us in the line anyway. Score!


Yeah, Seven Dwarves is almost as bad. We did the Be Our Quest breakfast and saw the mob arrive at Seven Dwarves after the park opened. I’ve seen zombie hordes less scary than that Mass. Seven Dwarves is fun and shortish but Flight of Passage is pretty amazing. The video gamer in me wanted more control. I had to remind myself it was a ride and not an incredibly immersive video game of my dreams, of course playing something like that for hours probably would make me feel sick but… if they do anything like it for star wars, say a ship… that will be 3 hours too.


We will be visiting soon, staying at Saratoga Springs. We have stayed there before and it is a handy location for access to Disney Springs (previously known as Downtown Disney). We were able to walk over.

We are visiting Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. And we are totally fastpassing Buzz Lightyear. My daughter was two when we last went and the now 4 year old is insistent that we go on the ride. I’m good with that. What’s not to like about riding around and going pew pew with your laser gun?

Making dining reservations for sit down dinners was surprisingly hard. Apparently, the prime restaurants and prime times get booked up 6 months in advance. I ended up booking tentative reservations at crappy times as our fallback and checked two or three times a day until I lucked into a cancelation. There is a $10 per person no show charge. I was told people book several reservation until they make up their mind which one they really want. The no show charge ensures they cancel ahead of time.

We plan to spend one day wandering around to one or two of the other resort. Any recommendations on n which ones are interesting?


For what it’s worth, I hit three parks in two days. Day one, Magic Kingdom, because I guess you have to? But to be honest, my kids (4 and 6 yrs old) weren’t really wild about it. But I think that was mainly due to the long lines for lots of things. We got Fastpass for a few things but not all the stuff we wanted to see. I really wanted to do the Haunted House because I always liked it when I was younger, but my wife was worried it would scare the kids, and they probably were a little young for that. Pirates of the Caribbean has added Captain Jack Sparrow into certain spots of the ride, which I found jarring. We did Aladdin’s flying carpet, the big carousel near the castle, a roller coaster in Tomorrowland (not Space Mountain) and some other random stuff. It was oddly inconsequential.

The next morning we went to Animal Kingdom and that was pretty great! The river rapids ride is a blast, and there’s a 3D bug show based on Bug’s Life that’s pretty fun, and the Lion King show is pretty cool too. There’s a Dinosaur time traveling ride that is pitch black and weird and scared my kids, but I thought it was fun. I think Animal Kingdom was best, personally.

In the afternoon we went to Disney Hollywood which was pretty good. There’s a fun Toy Story ride where you ride in a cart and shoot video game targets, my kids really liked that. We sat through a Frozen show and a Star Wars show, both were kind of meh, but again the kids liked them. We got on a Buzz Lightyear spinaround thing (is that what you guys were talking about?) that was kind of a letdown after the wait. Hollywood is pretty ok. Oh, and Captain Phasma and a bunch of stormtroopers did a procession down Main Street while we were there. There was a little boy along the side of the street swinging a light saber and the procession stopped and stared at him for a second, Phasma said something like “Watch that one.” I thought that was kind of funny.

We stayed in the Animation section of hotels, in the Cars part specifically. At night we’d do quick meals at their café which weren’t great but weren’t bad. We were usually wiped out from the walking by that point anyway. But it was all fun, and my kids were happy, so net positive.


Character meals are pretty difficult to get, and they’re hugely expensive but for some reason a number of people don’t know that Tusker House Restaurant is a Character Restaurant that wasn’t too hard for us to get. It also has kind of a unique menu, African inspired.

Now I keep hearing about how good Disney food is, and I mostly disagree. It often varies from almost high school cafeteria bad to okay to a little better than okay. There are some gems though and I thought the variety of the buffet was great. 35 a plate for breakfast was pretty steep but there were 4 characters there.

My 4 year old nephew was fine. Heck he was more terrified of It’s Hard to be a Bug theater type “ride” and was rushed out of that, along with like a dozen other kids. Fantasmic, the show, really scared him, the dragon and snake park. Also, he still struggles with reality so he cried out for Mickey like three times. It was cute and sad and then cute again. He was just sitting on my lap yelling Mickey. What happened to Mickey. I tried to assure him he was okay.

You never know with kids. 7 Dwarves was his first grown-up coaster… he really liked it. My sister, not as much although she liked it more the second time. She didn’t really like them much when we were kids either.

Ooh for anyone who hasn’t been on coasters for awhile, the newer ones, Dwarves and Slink Dog… they were a lot smoother than the old rides. Just a more pleasant ride overall.

Well this one is also a shooter. You sit and spin, yes, but you shoot at target Z’s.


We decided to take a pass on the $35 character breakfast. Tusker House was one of the restaurants we have a reservation for. It took days of trying before we lucked into a dinner reservation there.

As for food quality, Disney food can be all over the map. Several years ago, we had lunch at Nine Dragons in Epcot. Perhaps because I’m Chinese, my standards for Chinese food are too high. But I’m pretty sure that the reason we hated the meal was because the food was complete crap. Dinner that same day at the Japanese Teppanyaki was decent, on par with any decent place outside of Disney though admittedly at Disney prices.


We just got back from our Disney World trip. We had a great time and our daughter was delighted for the entire trip (except when we went shopping).

Tusker House was a big hit with our daughter. It’s a buffet and the food was pretty decent. The characters cam around to our table multiple times, and they held a parade with the kids all in a line with maracas. The only blemish was that Mickey seemed to be phoning it in. Not a lot of interaction. On the other hand, Goofy was a really hamming it up and interacting with everybody with joyful abandon.

We stayed at the Saratoga Springs resort, but did some resort hopping using Disney transportation. We spent a half day at Animal Kingdom lodge. They have multiple areas were you can get a view of the animals that inhabit the resort and it costs nothing but your time to travel there.

Our daughter really wanted to meet Chip and Dale, but we missed them in the park. The person running the activities at our resort told us that Chip and Dale have a campfire sing-a-long at the Fort Wilderness campgrounds. We went there for the evening. It’s 40 minute sing-a-long led by a cowboy featuring a lot of corny jokes. Perfect for younger kids. There’s a movie shown after the sing-a-long. It’s also free, although it takes a bit of travel to get there.


Any tips on to where to take my Wife for dinner for her birthday in disneyworld? We currently have a reservation at Le Cellier but I want to change out of that. Not to toot my own horn but I make some damn amazing steaks so a steakhouse is kind of redundant. I wanted be our guest but it’ll be a last minute luck out to get a reservation there. I’m looking for something unique. It’s her birthday so willing to spend, but 50ish a head would be preferable.


We had a good experience at Jiko. It’s in the Animal Kingdom resort. As for Be Our Guest, I recommend checking back periodically as reservations tend to shift around a lot.


Are the animals out at night? That would definitely be a plus.


Sanaa (also at the Animal Kingdom Lodge) has a view of the animals, I believe. We have not eaten there but I do know that’s it’s not as pricey as Jiko.


I had a birthday dinner at Teppan Edo in Epcot a few years ago. The food was comparable to any of the other teppan restaurants I’ve been to. And the chef put on a pretty good show although that seems to be the luck of the draw based on what I saw at other tables.

As for getting a reservation, you can sign on to the Disney Experience web site and do searches for restaurants and seating times. Disney charges $10 per person in the party for a no-show so people are very motivated to notify them off cancelations. Be persistent (I checked daily until I lucked into a good seating time) and you might be able to get a spot at the restaurant you want,.