View Full Version : WDW Must & Must Not Do's

11-03-2008, 10:20 AM
JTsMom mentioned in another thread that she was going to Disney, and I didn't want to hijack her thread with my opinions on what she just must do and what is just so not worth it. Since I figured so many of us have done this, planned so carefully, but still felt so lost on other things, thought we had it down pat, and then learned from 20/20 hindsight, that I thought I'd start a thread about must do's and must not's.

So, now that you've gone and returned, what is your top must do or few, your top must not do's, and why?

11-03-2008, 10:23 AM
:yay: Thanks Fairy!!!

11-03-2008, 10:35 AM
For me, here are somet hings I really felt strongly about once it was all said and done. Everyone's different, so of course, this may not be adaptable for you, but hope it gives you soemthing to think about :-)

Disney Dining Plan
They have a couple levels. Given how much we spent on property -- and for us it was unrealistic to go back to the hotel in between -- this would have saved us so much money. In fact, we probably wouldn't have used all the meal and snack opportunities that you get with your flat rate, and STILL would have saved money. I would really, really look into this. I talked to two families while there and asked them if they recomnmended it, and they both said no question. I really wish we'd done this.

Animal Kingdom
Several people told me the Animal Kingdom was just too much walking for a younger child and that it's not that great, the other parks are alot better. But, we decided to do it anyway, and we are so glad we did. It was spectacular. And their learning stations where the kids all get a stamp for their "passport" and then take an "oath" as a "Conservation Hero" was very exciting for my almost 4yo DS. Yes, alot of walking, but not any worse than Magic Kingdom. It was my favorite after Magic Kingdom.

Finding Nemo the Musical
Spectacular. I can't recommend it more highly. And it's at the Animal Kingdom. I cried watching DS love this show and be enthralled with it.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant
This is at the Magic Kingdom. You need to make reservations, but it should not be too difficult. Same exact food for lunch as for dinner, only a helluvalot cheaper. The Pooh characters "live" here and spend alot of good quality time with each table. Awesome food. Really excellent.

Ok, before ya'll flay me, I have to tell you that for us, this really was not great. We didn't go to the countries in the back, and I know alot of people just love that. Now, we did love the Nemo ride and Soarin, and the farm was pretty impressive; but if we had it all to do over, we would have avoided this very boring place. I could go on and on, so if you want to know more, PM me. Overall, I just thought it was alot of hype and not that much to really speak of.

Bear Jamboree Thing
I really didn't like this. Animal game heads on the wall, the bears with their stereotypical twangs, it was like the Grand Ole Opry for Dummies. It's not that I was insulted so much as disappointed. DS was not digging the heads on the walls. If you grow up in a hunting family with that sort of thing, then that might not be an issue, but DS has never seen that kind of thing, and no fewer than two other kids there were crying, terrified of the heads. I just hated this.

Ok, this is not Disney. And if it were much cooler weather, I'd maybe change my mind. But the work ethic here and the spirit here is so low compared to Disney that it was a letdown. Plus, there is NO SEATING. I mean, seriously, nothing. No shade, either. We were miserable here.

I have more, but that's it for now. Looking forward to seeing other posts!

-- Fairy

11-03-2008, 03:28 PM
Well, I don't know if I had any "Must Do" or "Must Not Do" items since I think there is no way to truly go wrong, but instead I have "I'm Really Glad I Did" and "Wish I Had" items.

- Packed lunches - we stayed off-property, in a condo with a fridge. Every day I packed DD and DS lunches - similar to what they would have at school, PB&J sandwich, string cheese, and grapes. This was such a lifesaver - not only did we save $ on kids meals, and not only did we avoid having to search for something the kids would eat (do kids really eat BBQ sandwiches?), the best part was they could immediately sit down and start eating while DH waited in line for our food. Then I had them served and eating peacefully by the time my food arrived. Worked so well for us.
- Character lines - Ok, I was sooo skeptical about this. Of course we were going to do princesses and Mickey and Minnie. But when DH waited 45 minutes to see Tigger and Pooh? And then 30 minutes to see Pluto? The kids didn't even particularly like these characters before the trip! But we were lucky to have kids that really liked the characters and weren't afraid at all, and now we have so many really, really adorable pictures. And the kids get so excited to look at the pictures of them with the characters.
- Character lunch at Disney Hollywood Studios - This just happened to be where the kids' favorite characters were. They had a blast, and the food was by far the best we had in any park. It's expensive, though, but kudos to Disney for actually serving real food like arugula salad and salmon and pumpkin cheesecake.
- Magical Light Parade at MK. We hadn't originally even planned to watch the parade that night, and didn't secure seats on the route. But we were eating at a restaurant right on the route, so DH and FIL took the kids outside to see it, and they were all blown away. By far the most impressive parade anywhere.
- Brought my own stroller. DH gave me such a hard time about this, especially since it was a PITA to fold on the trams, until he saw that a double stroller rental was $31/day. But DS slept in the MBUD most days (I really don't think he would have slept in the rental, ever). I just about had a nervous breakdown, leaving it outside rides the first couple of days, but then I started to see fancier strollers left also and I relaxed.

- Start Sea World on the other side. I liked Sea World, and since we were in the area for 6 days, I thought it was worthy of a day. However, we started off by seeing the Shamu show, which was nice and not too crowded. But DH had his heart set on feeding the dolphins, which were at the opposite end of the park. By the time we got there in the late afternoon, the dolphins had been fed for the last time that day, and DH was really disappointed. I think if we had gone the other way around the park we could really have done more.
- Eat more dinners either at the condo or off-property. Downtown Disney was expensive, noisy, and crowded. It's fun maybe once, but be sure to go very early.
- Don't give in to the souvenirs as much. MIL and I went to Wal-Mart the first night to pick up groceries and ended up getting awesome, cheap t-shirts for the kids. We said we'd go back at the end, but we didn't. I think DD's princess hat was worth it - she wore it all week - but most of the rest of the stuff we bought - stuffed animals, toys, stickers - have been sort of tossed aside since we got home. Favorite souvenir by far is the autograph book with pictures with the characters.

11-03-2008, 06:50 PM
This is a great thread. We went to Disney in February and it was so hard to decide what to do and not do. Every family is different and kids have different interests but heres my list.

Would NOT do again:
Epcot: So boring for us. We wasted a day here that we could have spent at another park. If your kids are into science or different cultures you might enjoy it, but it was not for us. We did love Soarin though.

-Hollywood Studios, we didn't expect to enjoy this park as much as we did. We definitely could have done 2 days here. Faves were Little Mermaid, Motorcade Parade, Playhouse Disney Lunch(DD loved this, characters are very interactive).

-Animal Kingdom: I know some people say this park isn't worth a days visit. We loved it, DD loves animals so this was a great park for her. Faves: Nemo Musical (A must see, we all loved it), Safari (I would suggest doing this twice, once in morning and once later in the afternoon, you'll see different animals), Lion King.
Skip: Dinosaur (The jeep you ride it jerks all over the place, I felt like I was going to be thrown out), Tough to be a Bug (DD was terrified, and I also thought it was a little creepy!)

-Magic Kingdom: We spent 2 full days here.
Loved: Everything in Fantasyland, Buzz Lightyear, Monster Laugh Floor (DH enjoyed this), Pirates (I was worried DD would be scared but she loved it), Liberty Tree Tavern, The food was really good, lots of characters and they come to your table.
Skip: Country Bear Jamboree (very boring, outdated, they need to change this), Tiki Room, Stitch (This was the WORST attraction, you're strapped in this chair and the lights go out, pitch black, DD completely freaked out, lots of smoke then the smell it was soooo bad. Total waste of time), Cinderella's Castle - We went for lunch, didn't like the food, but DD enjoyed the princesses. The kids get wands and make a wish sometime during the meal, this was really cute. However, I think this is really overpriced, unless your kids are REALLY into the princesses.

-Best Advice that I could give is to go EARLY!! We went to every park at opening and went to the most popular rides first. At MK we rode everything in Fantasyland twice as soon as we got there and we didn't stand in line at all. A lot of people like to leave the park but we just stayed and let DD nap in the stroller(this is great if it works for your kids but not all will nap in stroller). DH rode rides that DD wasn't tall enough for while she napped.
-We took a lunch for DD, she is picky and we always had to stand in line for food so we were happy she didn't have to wait to eat.
-If you go in the winter months make sure you take pants, the weather was up and down the whole week we were there. One day it didn't get out of the 60s, luckily we came from Colorado so we just wore our clothes we flew in.
-Character lines: DD loved this, I think its totally worth it to stand in line, we got great pictures and she remember meeting characters more than anything else.

**Forgot to mention Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios, this was so great. You have to get there early for a good seat though. We waited until about 20 min before the show started and we were way in the back on the left side. We could still see fine but the seats in the middle section are better.

11-03-2008, 07:05 PM
We went in Sept - group included 3 kids- ages 3, 5 and 9.

Things we would do again:
-Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. We ate everywhere we wanted, never took out a dollar, included plenty of snack credits for bottled waters, etc so we were able to travel light.
-Blizzard Beach! Even the 3 year old had a ball at the water parks, so much that we hit typhoon Lagoon too!
-lunch at Cinderella's Castle- yes, two meals on the dining plan but the food was really great and it was a lot less intimidating to our little guy than the characters were. And much more enjoyable for the grown ups than your standard character buffet.
-stay on Disney property
-illuminations at Epcot
-Dinner at California Grille (or Citrico's or Narcoosee's) for a great view of the MK fireworks and electric parade
-Great restaurants that the kids really loved: the new place in Italy in epcot, and Spoodles on the boardwalk. the wait staff was really great with the kids, particularly in Italy. and the food was really great.
-buy some small toys at home to bring as a "new toy" for dinners (Cars items were 2 for $5 at home- $7.00 each on Disney property!)
- I wouldn't miss Epcot for the world (pardon the pun!) So fun especially to walk around the countries before dinner with a drink (traveling with kids, it's a well needed drink!), seeing the living statues in France, the hysterical skit in Italy, doing some shopping. Soarin' was also a favorite attraction for our entire group.
things I wouldn't do again:
-Teppan Edo at Japanese pavillion- used to be great, now the show was lame, the food wasn't that great either.
-Plan to spend more than 1/2 a day at Disney Studios (and btw, run immediately to the new Toy Story ride for a fastpass or the fastpass will have you coming back at 7 that night!) or AK unless you are traveling with a true animal lover
-Disney Character Breakfast at Tusker House (bad food, and louder than loud, I'm guessing due to the high ceilings and large rooms)
-Downtown Disney without my own stroller (we went on a whim, and to pick up your disney stroller rental is at customer service- in the middle of it but no where near the buses, so I had to drag a small child through it and then wait in line for customer service).
For next time: buy pins on line from home to take with you and trade with cast members. Didn't know about this!

11-04-2008, 12:16 AM
I have thought about it and you've gotten a lot of good advice, but it so depends on the kids. DD has gone 3x at 15 months, 23 months and 3 years. DS went at 13 months.

We spent almost all of our time at MK. We went to Hollywood studios for the Playhouse Disney Live and that was it. Epcot, we skipped the world showcase. AK, we did the Safari, Dinoland and that was pretty much it. DD (just 3) had a lot of say during this trip and she wanted to spend most of our time in Fantasyland and in Toontown.

Here are some of our favs and not so favs.

Favorites --- things that have always been a hit and new things from our past trip.

Chef Mickey's for Breakfast
Driving the Monorail (ask the attendant if anyone is riding up front and if there isn't some already doing it, you get to ride in the front and you get cards saying that you "drove" the monorail)
Boma for Dinner
Haircuts at Magic Kingdom ---- this is a MUST DO for us. DH, DD and now DS all get theirs done. $14 for kids $18 for adults. You might have to wait but it is SOOOO worth it.
Seeing Tinkerbell Fly from the Castle during Wishes
Visiting the Tinkerbell shop and "watching" her fly around.
Preorder photopass -- this took so much stress out of visiting characters. We got to enjoy the kids interacting with the characters while the photopass people got the shots. Well worth the $100. (600 pics)
Tea at the Grand Floridian --- DD and I did this for the first time this trip. I can't wait to do it again.
Ordered Food from gardengrocer.com --- It is worth it to order a few cases of water alone.
Take food with us.
Buy ponchos at home and bring them.
Garden Grill at Epcot
Living Seas at Epcot
Fountain show at Epcot
Drummers/Dancers in Africa at AK
Tomorrowland Speedway at MK
Mickey Head Ice Cream Bars (we have a billion pictures of each DCs first one --- we just give it to them and let them go! It is so much fun.)
Letting the kids play at the All Star Resorts --- both kids love the all the huge things. We spent a morning there.
Playing on the beach at the Poly. -- you get an excellent view of the castle and awesome pictures.
When dining we eat Breakfast or Late Lunches/Early Dinners. It works out better for all of us and it is cheaper
Staying on property
Seeing any characters we can
Crystal Palace for Character meal.
Festival of the Lion King at AK
Look for treasure and jewels in the ground in Adventureland
Wishing well at Cinderellas Castle
Cinderella Fountain
Find Cinderella's horse on the carrousel
Push minnie's answering machine at her house in toontown
In the afternoon the Mayor and other townspeople come out in MK --- you can talk to them....VERY cool!
The movie theater in the back of the photo supply shop at MK. Great place to cool down and it is always empty
If you have time -- take a tour of Disney Vacation Club. FREE babysitting! DD didn't want to leave! They give you icecream and we got 2 $15 gift cards. It only takes an hour. They pick you up and take you back. Carseats are in the van for the kids and there is NO pressure at all. DH and DD went and he said it was worth it.

Not so Fav.--
Parades -- no one wanted to wait and no one wanted to sit
Fireworks -- DD doesn't like them and neither does DS. If you ask me, seeing Wishes once is enough. I am just not a fan or maybe I have seen it too much. We stayed at the Contemporary and it watched them from our room -- much better in my book.
Hollywood Studios -- not much there for us so we don't bother
Swimming --- to much of a pain for me.
The train at MK
Rafiki's Planet watch at AK
Fairy, I am so with you on that Country Bear Jamboree --- DH loves it and this was the first year we didn't do it. Thanks to DD's infatuation with Fantasyland!
DH and I LOVE Fantasmic, but we think that it would be hard for the kids to see and would probably scare the pants off them.
Downtown Disney.
Waking up Tinkerbell at the Tinkerbell store in MK --- this was a huge letdown for ALL of us. We should have just gotten in line for Dumbo.

(I will probaby edit a zillion more times as I remember more things.)

11-04-2008, 12:32 AM
Worth it:

Epcot: This is my boys' favorite park. DS1 loves Mission Space, Test Track, Ellen's Energy Adventure, Spaceship Earth, The Land boat ride, and both Innoventions (which are like a children's museum with lots of activities and play areas). He also loves doing the KidCot stops. DS2 loves Nemo (including the "mike mikes" outside the building), the Mexico boat ride, The Land boat ride and watching the monorail. Mom and Dad appreciate the huge variety of food offerings (finally, something other than the same awful Disney burgers and fried foods), both sit down and quick service. Honestly, in order to enjoy Epcot, you need to take the time to explore it. It's not a park to just zip through and gloss over - then it does feel like a dud. It's a park to slow down and savor a bit. Both last December and this more recent trip, both of my boys loved Epcot the best, hands down.

Food & Wine Festival at Epcot: We really enjoyed the different food offerings this month at Epcot, but boy was it crowded on Saturday night!

Garden Grill is one of our favorite character meals with some of the best character interaction around (usually 2-3 visits from each character in an hour, they sit and color with the kids or goof around with them). It's also very, very quiet for a character meal.

Crystal Palace: It's a zoo and the characters move by quickly, but the food is always good with tons of choices and different flavors. We usually do lunch because it is much cheaper than dinner.

DHS: Not my favorite park, but both boys adored the Toy Story ride (get fast passes right when the park opens or plan to spend an hour or so in line), and honestly, so did we. There are plenty of good character meet-and-greets. DS1 loves the Indiana Jones stunt show and the Lights Motors Action stunt show. DS2 hates shows of all types so he skipped those.

AK: The safari is great, and DH and I love Expedition Everest. But beyond that, we don't get a lot out of AK (remember, DS2 doesn't do shows - too bad because the Lion King show is amazing). It's the one park that DS2 begged to leave. We loved the Tusker House breakfast in December; couldn't get in on this last trip so can't say if it is the same or not.

MK: A classic, but it gets so crowded due to narrow walkways. DS1 loves all the mountains. DS2 loves the usuals - Dumbo, Small World, Peter Pan, Pooh. DS1 loved Philharmagic last time but we didn't get there this time. Both boys thought that the Jungle Cruise was a total blast - they talked about our driver (who was big on physical comedy) for days. Pirates is always a hit with them, too.

Staying at the Swan, if you qualify for one of the discounts (teachers, nurses, government workers). It's a fantastic location, great room, wonderful beds, one of the best deals on property.

We enjoy the dinner at Boma but didn't make it there this time. If you have time, take an hour to walk around Animal Kingdom Lodge - it is really beautiful, and the animals are so cool to see so close.

We pack our own healthy snacks for the day to save quite a few bucks on junk snacks. Much easier to watch what is going in the kids' mouths when you choose it in advance!

Skip it:

Dining Plan: We've done it twice, and felt like we spent a lot of energy making reservations (gotta be in the right park on the right day), running around to make it to our reservations, and sitting in restaurants that are, on average, okay but not great. And you get way more food than you'd normally order, so plan to put on a few pounds or more if you go this route. This last trip, we skipped it, and were much happier. We did a couple of character meals but did breakfast in the room and counter service for our other meals and the speed and timing just works better with young kids IMO (unless they are used to sitting in a restaurant daily). Now that the DP excludes tips, I don't think it is as good a deal as before, unless you work hard to choose the most expensive options most of the time.

DS1 would advise skipping the following rides:

MK: Haunted Mansion. Stitch would have done him in, so we didn't try it.
AK: Dinosaur, Tough to be a Bug. Expedition Everest was tolerable but he did close his eyes midway through it.
DHS: Tower of Terror. But he loves Rock n Roller Coaster!
Epcot: Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

DS2's list to skip is far too long and unique to him, so I won't list it here!

Most of the souvenirs. They are overpriced and end up discarded so soon after the trip. Our boys also love the photos that we take, so I make them photo books at CVS after the trip. DS1 loves pressed pennies so we always get a few of those. DS2 loves diecast cars, so that's what he gets. That's about all that comes home with us!

I'll come back and edit if I think of more!

11-04-2008, 09:53 AM
I love this thread! It's so helpful to see everyone's opinions, even though they are all so different!

I probably should give a little background on our stiuation. I've been to all of the parks except AK many, many times, but never with a preschooler. DH has been to DisneyLAND many times, but never WDW. It's DS's very first trip, and boy is he excited! Unfortunately, he is just shy of 40", so unless he decides to grow a half inch or so in the next 25 days, the "big" rides are out for him, which realllllllly stinks, b/c I know he'd love BTMtn.

We're going for 8 days, if you include our arrival day. I'm a bit on the OCD side when it comes to planning, and I've read the Unofficial Guide, and subscribed to Tour Guide Mike, not to mention reading a ton of posts here and on disboards. We're staying at Coronado Springs, and we're on the basic dining plan (I did the math both ways, and figured even if we skip a couple of meals, we'll still fare better with it b/c of all of the character meals). I booked to seperate reservations, so we only have the DDP for 7 days and Hoop de doo uses up 2 credits, which should help also. Here's what we have planned so far:

Arrival Day- Check in, get settled, explore the resort, Hoop De Do for dinner. (It's our anniversary too)

Full Day1- MK, BF at Ohana's. If, by some miracle we're up for it, we may hop to the studios for the EMH PH Disney dance party, but I doubt it highly.

Day 2- Epcot. I have a back up res for Crystal Palace at 8, but probably will skip it so we can be at the park for the 9 opening.

Day 3-AK, and it's my b-day, so we wanted to do something special for dinner. We have a res for Italy, but also one for Le Cellier. The problem is it's really late- 8:40, so I think I'm going to have to give it up, unless I manage to find an earlier opening.

Day 4-Chef Mickey's at 7. God awful early/not a convenient day, but the only one I could get, and I had to trade for it. I really want to do this one b/c DS loves the classic characters. I keep working on alternate days/times, but so far, this is as good as it gets. Then Epcot.

I also have a res at Garden Grill this night, but assuming we make it to CM, we're probably going to cancel it b/c it's just too much for one day imo.

Day 5-MK, Crystal Palace Lunch, unless we end up doing the one earlier in the week.

Day 6-Studios, and lunch at 50's Prime Time

Day 7- Free day. I figure we'll do whatever we enjoyed the most/didn't see enough of, or DTD or something.

We're also going to see the Spectro parade that night.

This probably sounds like a lot, but we plan on breaking in the middle of the day, and going with the flow. The only thing we're really set on is getting to the parks early, and riding as much as possible in the first hours so as to avoid the later lines b/c DS is NOT going to do well with waiting.

11-04-2008, 03:46 PM
Chef Mickeys is so worth it. You can take a breakfast bus from your resort to the MK (sometimes they will take you right to the contemporary if there are enough people.) Then you can just hope the monorail to Epcot. I would do it if you can.

Your schedule looks good!

11-04-2008, 03:50 PM
Oh go to the DISigns forum on the disboards and have someone make you an image for a t-shirt. The kids loved theirs. Plain white shirts and ironon transfers and you have a great souvenier! Those people inspired us to make our own shirt for DS's first haircut!

11-04-2008, 03:50 PM
I love this thread! It's so helpful to see everyone's opinions, even though they are all so different!

Day 4-Chef Mickey's at 7. God awful early/not a convenient day, but the only one I could get, and I had to trade for it. I really want to do this one b/c DS loves the classic characters. I keep working on alternate days/times, but so far, this is as good as it gets. Then Epcot.

I think the classic characters are at Tusker House at Animal Kingdom (breakfast only). That is what we are doing - haven't gone yet, so no review! The ADRs were really easy to get. Well, I called way in advance, but when I called closer to and thought about moving them around, they still had some available.

I have heard great things about Chef Mickeys, so not trying to change your mind, just thought maybe Tusker would be easier for you to fit in if you do it on Animal Kingdom day!

I am also loving this thread - we are taking a really short first trip (with kids) next week!

11-04-2008, 04:21 PM
Lori - I'd try to stay close to the park that you're visiting that day when you make your ressies. That will help you get to the park earlier, and will end up minimizing the time you spend in line (they are so much shorter in the AM vs. later in the day). As far as Chef Mickey's vs. Garden Grill, we've done CM twice and GG three times. CM is crazy - loud and busy - and the food is pretty mediocre. There are many characters, but they move fast through the tables. GG is quiet and peaceful, the characters linger a lot longer at your table, and the food IMO is much, much better. If you are choosing between those two, I'd definitely pick GG.

You also might want to rethink the 7am ADR unless you are REALLY early risers. If you are driving, you need to allow about a half hour, but if you are bussing it, you need to allow more like 45 minutes or so. That's an early morning (even for my early risers) at Disney! With the late evening ADRs, keep in mind that you'll probably be seated later than your ressie, then you have to order, wait for food, etc. I'd keep on calling for something earlier that evening (how about Coral Reef?).

11-04-2008, 04:57 PM
I agree that 7am is crazy early. You will also see Mickey & Goofy at Ohanas breakfast. I did enjoy Chef Mickey's, though. I will also say for us the boys started to be less excited by the character meals toward the end of the trip (overkill?) but the first 1 or 2 were super exciting.

Other recs for EPCOT -we love the restaurant in Mexico. Atmosphere is GREAT. Spoodles is a short walk down the boardwalk and we love that too.

So many great things to do and see, I can't wait to go again.

My number one favorite momment in WDW with my kids was SpectroMagic. And our afternoon at the pool was alot of fun and a good break from the park. My DS must've rode down the slide 1000x.

Have a great trip!

11-04-2008, 06:00 PM
Goofy is at Ohana's too? I hadn't heard that- hmmmm.

I've been calling Every. Single. Day. trying to get Tusker House, which I would actually prefer based on Lori's rec, but so far- nothing. Well, technically I do still have a res for our first day, but that's not going to work b/c we want to do MK that day.

You never know though- could still happen!

I've gone back and forth on the GG vs. CM thing, but I'd hate for DS to miss Goofy, Minnie and Donald- that's why TH would be ideal.

We are pretty early risers typically- we call DS the human fly b/c he never sleeps. I figured we'd have to leave around 6:15 to make CM, and normally we sleep until about 6:30, so we'll see. If we can't improve that res, I'll definitely skip Le Cellier and just do Italy instead.

11-04-2008, 06:10 PM
You can see Goofy, Minnie and Donald (along with Chip, Dale, Pluto and Mickey) at the Epcot character meet and greet near Innoventions. Stand in line once and you can visit each of the characters (and take pics, get Photopass pics, get autographs, etc). If that makes your decision any easier on CM's!

Is Minnie at TH? I didn't think so. I thought that it was Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, but maybe it has changed since we were there last December.

11-04-2008, 06:35 PM
I don't know why I'm so set on the meals. I guess I'm worried about getting him to stand in line for long enough to do the character interactions.

And I think you're right about Minnie and TH. WHY, why is this so difficult?!?!?!

How was your trip btw?

11-05-2008, 04:38 PM
Having just traveled there with a 3 year old, i can tell you that I think your schedule looks great (I am a big planner too!)- and your plan to break for rest in the afternoon is a good one, we napped every afternoon which led to happy evenings with a well rested child.

One thing about the character meals- has DS been exposed to characters before?? My DS was terrified of all except Chip and Dale (Garden Grill was a good meal for us!) So it never really mattered if characters were at these meals, because he wanted nothing to do with them.

I would stick with Chef Mickeys for classic characters. Tusker House at AK definitely didn't have Minnie Mouse (only saw Donald, Daisy and Mickey there), and honestly I think it was the worst meal we had the entire week.

As for your birthday dinner, we really loved dinner in Italy, though Le Cellier is supposed to be wonderful, the waiters in Italy were so fanastic with the kids that I would go back there in a second.

Have a wonderful trip!

11-05-2008, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the input! I think he's going to looove the characters. We've seen non-Disney characters, and he's really enjoyed them. He also went running up to someone's giant inflatable Mickey at Halloween and hugged and kissed it about a hundred times. LOL He keeps telling me he's going to give Mickey a big hug when he sees him. :love-retry: We'll see if this actually holds true, but he is pretty fearless in general about these sorts of things.

Thanks for the TH tip too- maybe I'll just give up on that one and focus on making CM's work instead. Good to know about Italy too. I've heard so many mixed reviews on all of the Epcot places that I don't know what to think. And when it comes down to it- it's just food! I can't believe how much time I've devoted to ADR's. I need an intervention. :ROTFLMAO:

11-05-2008, 05:28 PM
Oh go to the DISigns forum on the disboards and have someone make you an image for a t-shirt. The kids loved theirs. Plain white shirts and ironon transfers and you have a great souvenier! Those people inspired us to make our own shirt for DS's first haircut!

I've been working on a bunch of Disney things- I'll post some pics eventually. So far I've made a bunch of Mickey PJ's, and one set of Cars ones, a surfing Mickey tropical style shirt for DH, and I'm currently working on coordinating ones for DS and me for our Ohana's day. I'm appliqueing them. Have you seen the disboutique groups pics? Those women are amazing! I'm a total amateur, but it's still fun.

11-05-2008, 06:46 PM
Was it hard to make the T-shirts? I just stumbled on that site yesterday and was amazed at what they do. Unfortunately we leave on Friday Nov. 14 so I am running out of time.

Any tips would be appreciated.


11-05-2008, 07:01 PM
It just depends on how in-depth you want to get. If you do something like Kim mentioned, it's pretty easy. You basically pick a picture, print it onto an iron-on transparency, and you're done.

The ones I'm doing require a little bit more.... insanity on your part. LOL Basically, you pick a picture, then cut out little pieces of fabric- kind of like a puzzle- to re-create the picture. You can either iron it on- not as permanent, but probably good enough to wear a couple of times before it falls apart, or you can applique it, which requires stitching around each little puzzle piece. If you've never done it before, I probably wouldn't attempt it with less than 2 weeks to go. The iron on only method is more manageable if you're at least somewhat crafty.

If you check out the bookmarks on the first page of the boutique threads, there are instructions on how to applique. The one that says something about Heather's picture heavy tutorial is excellent, and walks you through it step by step.


11-05-2008, 08:01 PM
Lori, your schedule is awesome. I'm a total planner, too, but I did it all by totally winging it. I wish I'd remembered this forum and come here first. I'm overall very happy with what we did, but I'd've planned meals better and probably not done the park hopper. Could have saved alot of money doing that knowing what I know now. A few more things (tho you appear pretty good!)

* If you want The Incredibles characters, they're only at HS. Can I still call it MGM? I miss MGM. Anyhoo, they're only at HS, and they are DS's favorite. In fact, his favorite is Frozone. Do you know how hard it is to have an Incredibles bday party for a 4yo when your favorite is Frozone? It's hard, ok? But lemme tell ya, when he saw Frozone, he RAN to him and threw himself into his arms and hugged like there was no tomorrow. HIs joy just made me cry. These guys are tucked away in an area I don't remember, but tehre was a Disney Animation presentation thingie there, too. But, FYI in case you're Incredibles people.

* At Animal Kingdom we ate at the Yak and Yeti, and it was AWESOME. We loved it. Not cheap, but on your plan, you should be good to go in case you want another option.

* I have to admit that we were a bit bored at Rafiki's Planet Watch. As a tree-hugger, I really wanted to go, and it was quite well-done on that end. But there's just not that much to do. We enjoyed the air conditioning.

* Speaking of air conditioning, I had the bright idea of going in September after Labor Day cuz the teeming millions will be gone and in school, and it won't be hot. Well, ding ding on part 1, but wa-wa-wa-wa-waaaaaah on part 2. We melted. I mean m.e.l.t.e.d. The heat was misery. So, my next bright idea is to move the trip to January. Ugh. This didn't end up being a recommendation, huh? Sorry.

* 100% agree that when you go to HS, RUN LIKE YOUR ASS IS ON FIRE to get the fast pass to Toy Story. We waited 90 minutes, and yeah, it was fun. But not worth 90 minutes.

* I was totally unimpressed with Honey I Shurnk the Audience. It was great in its heyday, but it's very dated in both technology and stylistically, and I was just ready to be done before I even set foot in the door. Skip it.

* On the other hand, the Muppets at HS always were and still are my favorite. just loved this show.

11-05-2008, 08:09 PM
One more thing. If you're overweight, as I am, you might be one of those that go thru the worry in amusement park situations where you worry about how you'll do fitting in seats or how the rides are configured or if there is alot of standing/waiting time or if there are turnstiles you might not fit thru. I worry alot about this -- as it happens, I had just about nothing to worry about at any of the parks. However, that's DISNEY. Universal Islands of Adventure I wouldn't even bother going to if you're not an ideal weight. Sad, but true. This is a secret kind of worry that gnaws at you and I know how that feels. I'm coming out to tell you that I understand and have a wonderful resoruce for you.

http://allears.net/index.html is a wonderful resource, and within it there is a section called All Ears At Large --> http://allears.net/tp/ridsiz.htm. You wanna know what kind of seat each ride at each park has and what tricks you can use to fit into it and what the standign time is and if the Cast Members (CM's) are helpful? This is the place you wanna go. Alot of people have written reviews and said, "I'm a female 5'4" 300lbs, here's how it went for me." So, you can identify with the body type. Not all overweight is created equal, some people have belly fat, some people have asses that don't end, some people have big boobs and have shoulder harness issues. It's all in there.

My biggest hint --> If there is a practice seat outside a ride, it's a good sign that it's going to be a challenge for overweight people. Also, there are some rides that are made with certain rows containing larger seats or wider rows. Look into that.

Good luck!

11-05-2008, 09:06 PM
I've been working on a bunch of Disney things- I'll post some pics eventually. So far I've made a bunch of Mickey PJ's, and one set of Cars ones, a surfing Mickey tropical style shirt for DH, and I'm currently working on coordinating ones for DS and me for our Ohana's day. I'm appliqueing them. Have you seen the disboutique groups pics? Those women are amazing! I'm a total amateur, but it's still fun.

I am glad that you are enjoying your work. You've done a lot more than we did --- we left ours until the night before LOL! We had fun doing it too and the kids loved their shirts.

11-05-2008, 09:10 PM
Was it hard to make the T-shirts? I just stumbled on that site yesterday and was amazed at what they do. Unfortunately we leave on Friday Nov. 14 so I am running out of time.

Any tips would be appreciated.


As Lori said, not hard at all. We did ours the night before and then made one last one the morning before we left. You totally have time. You can ask the Dis people to personalize something for you and they get back to you super fast! (We wanted a First Trip one for our ds) Otherwise, just look through their stuff and print it out. The directions are on the transfers. We got some short sleeved shirts at walmart --- buy extras incase you mess up. Just follow the directions exactly and use A LOT A LOT of pressure when ironing especially around the edges. They come out great! I would love to post the one that we made for DS's first haircut, but I don't know how...I'll ask DH. We made one for DD that was just clip art of all her favorite characters. Go for it --- you won't regret it!

11-06-2008, 08:50 AM
Definitely post some pics- I'd love to see them! I love the idea of the first trip shirt too!! That must have been adorable! :) All you have to do to post pics is upload them to a site like photobucket, copy the IMG code, and paste it into your post. If the pic is a huge file, you can reduce the size there as well.

11-06-2008, 08:57 AM
* If you want The Incredibles characters, they're only at HS. Can I still call it MGM? I miss MGM. Anyhoo, they're only at HS, and they are DS's favorite. In fact, his favorite is Frozone. Do you know how hard it is to have an Incredibles bday party for a 4yo when your favorite is Frozone? It's hard, ok? But lemme tell ya, when he saw Frozone, he RAN to him and threw himself into his arms and hugged like there was no tomorrow. HIs joy just made me cry. These guys are tucked away in an area I don't remember, but tehre was a Disney Animation presentation thingie there, too. But, FYI in case you're Incredibles people.

Awwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! :love-retry: That is so sweet! Thank you so much for all of the awesome info. I'm afraid you owe me a new keyboard for that "run like your ass is on fire" line though. ;)

I sooooooo feel for you going in September. I've done that many times (we used to live in FL, and we had seasonal passes for Disney, and Sept. was one of the months they were good for). It's one thing as a kid, but now- I just couldn't handle it. December is a lot more my speed. I plan everything around the weather. I even got married over Thanksgiving weekend b/c it was the end of hurricane season, but the temps avg. in the 70's. LOL I don't really mind freezing, but I hate sweating.

11-06-2008, 03:31 PM
Okay, here it goes --

This is the one that the disboards disigned for us for DS's first trip. It was had to find one that DH liked. He wanted classic characters and the castle. They would have put DS's name, but we opted for nameless shirts.

Here is the one for DS. When they do the first haircut, they actually give the kids ears that have First Haircut embroidered on the back. (As well as a certificate and their hair wraped up with "pixie dust."

Here is the shirt for DD.

I wish that we would have done them a little further ahead of time because we could have done a lot better!

11-06-2008, 03:36 PM
I'm afraid you owe me a new keyboard for that "run like your ass is on fire" line though. ;)

I meant to comment on that too! We didn't get to do Toy Story Mania bc DD decided to get a fever while we were at Playhouse Disney so we just came back. We did run like that to "wake up Tinkerbell" though and what a snore.

11-07-2008, 02:36 PM
Those are so cute Kim! I think my favorite is the haircut one! What a great idea! That must have been so much fun. :)

I finally finished my first batch for our Ohana's breakfast. Don't laugh- I warned you I'm an amateur! ;) The stitching is pretty sloppy, but it was my first try at doing a big applique like that.

I'll post those and some pj pics. Sorry for the crappy pic quality-I must have the camera on the wrong setting or something.



Yep, we are officially big dorks!!

11-07-2008, 02:57 PM
OMG!!!!! Those are wonderful! I quilt, but I so wish that I could make clothes! DH and DD would LOVE it if I made them pjs! You rock!

We are big dorks right along with you! Be proud. I used the same gingham Mickey fabric for curtains in our old house (in DHs office.) We don't have a window for them in the new house :( . That is one of my favorite fabrics.

Great job!

11-07-2008, 03:12 PM
Aww, thanks! The pj's are sooooo easy. Really, I can barely sew anything. I'm still learning. If I can do it, anyone can! The kids one are only 2 pieces- I used a McCalls pattern I got for .99 at the Hancock Labor Day Sale. You just cut out the 2 pieces that form the legs, sew a straight line up the inseam, attach them to each other (another 2 straight lines), then fold over the waist to make a casing for the elastic waist, and hem the bottoms. It took under an hour, total, including cutting everything out.

The adult ones were just a tiny bit more work, but still really simple. The pattern didn't call for the contrasting stripe/cuff deals. I just added them for fun.

I would love to learn how to quilt! Maybe that will be the next craft addiction I pick up. LOL

11-07-2008, 03:28 PM
Interesting reading through this. We just got back from a week stay at Pop Century (2 nights) and Boardwalk Villas (6 nights). This was mine and DH's 12th trip, Sarah's 10th trip and Amy's 3rd, so yes, we are certifiable Disney-holics. :)

My standard advice for what NOT to do at WDW is:

1) Trying to do it ALL in one trip. It simply canNOT be done. Don't try. You need to leave time to just wander and explore the magic.

2) Arriving at the parks too late. People who arrive at a park at opening time or before have a VERY different experience vs those who arrive 2 hours after opening. If you get to the MK at opening, you can usually "do" all of Fantasyland and sometimes even part of another area before lunch.

3) Learn what your kids enjoy and do that, rather than sticking to a plan. Some kids are big into rides. Some are into characters. Some love to explore the hidden attractions, like the decorations, the topiaries, etc. Go with their flow.

4) Eat early and often. WDW is not a place to be endured with low blood sugar. Ample ice cream is also required.

I've never done the Dining Plan and don't miss it. That's too much food and too many reservations for me. I'd rather pack fruit and healthy snacks (except the aforementioned ice cream ;) ) and eat on the go than stop every few hours for a big heavy, sensory overload of a sitdown meal. Finding a quiet bench, eating calmly, and enjoying familiar food helps my kids to re-charge more than the restaurant experience.

11-10-2008, 10:10 PM
thank you everyone!
I'm quietly lurking & taking it all in:)
We're headed to WDW Dec 25-29 and staying off property (MIL's idea for the trip and she's treating ...)- I did manage to ask her to get a res for Chrystal Palace for breakfast, though:cheerleader1:

So all this just to say THANKS!!! :bighand: :kisscheek: :boogie:

01-15-2010, 01:50 PM
I found this during a search and thought I'd bump it up, a lot of good info in here it seems :) It is a year old but perhaps folks can post some more info.

01-15-2010, 02:38 PM
This should be a STICKY. Please mods! :)

Maybe retitle it, WDW must-dos. We could have another sticky for DL

01-15-2010, 03:13 PM
I was going to go look for this, myself, as we're going back in the next couple months. I think stickying is a good idea, too.

01-17-2010, 01:16 AM
We LOVED Epcot as did our 3 and 5 year old. It is definitely an educational park. Innovations East and West had lots of fun interactive games for the kids...from a learning stand point. They loved the game where you get a little motorized recycle truck and you have to move it from docking station to docking station and you play games which teach you about recycling. At the end, the final docking station shows you how many points you earned. There is also a game similar where you learn about money and you take your piggy bank from station to station. There is the velcro area where you can make velcro frogs and people from different velcro pieces...and you get to keep them.

My kids loved tasting the different kids of Coca Cola at the Coke Store...and they don't even drink soda!!

We also enjoyed the rides...my kids loved Test Track and Soarin. They also loved the different shows which teach you about energy (the Ellen DeGeneres one) as well as the Living Land. My 3 year old was very interested in the hydroplanics. We just bring it down to his level so he understands it.

There are also the Kim Possible missions...My 5 year old loved this and she learned so much about other countries. The little rides in the other countries (canada, mexico, norway) were enjoyable for the kids as well.

There are so many different food choices here as well...it beats the choices over the other parks regarding food types. Askershus in Norway has one of the better princess meals...more interaction than CRT. And its only one meal credit.

This park is definitely not MK...but, each park is different and not supposed to be like MK. Therefore if you are expecting MK...you won't get it here or at AK.

02-07-2010, 03:01 AM
So many great things about WDW but I have to say that we kept going back to Soarin over and over again. I really LOVED that ride as did DH and Dd1.

04-10-2013, 06:23 PM
Just a quick bump... hoping some folks can chime in with suggestions or updates!

04-10-2013, 07:43 PM
We went the first week in March. DS is 4.5, and DD was 11 months.

We LOVED EPCOT! I don't get why people think it's a snooze. We loved everything in the Land and Seas pavilions. We liked Figment. The energy ride (which I had remembered loving in trips past, was sooooooo long and not at all worth it! We liked Test Track, and enjoyed eating our way through the world showcase. Illuminations was by far our LEAST favorite night time show.

We skipped Conservation Station and affiliated stuff at Animal Kingdom and did everything else. We loved the afternoon parade at AK. We brought water shoes and ponchos for Kali River Rapids, it was COLD when we were there, and we didn't want to be wet all day.

We loved dinner at Boma. We did this on our night of arrival, and the food was really excellent. Also great was the sushi at the Polynesian.

We ate breakfast in the room and brought food into the parks every day for the children. It saved us a lot of money and time.

We arrived every day at rope drop and followed our touringplans plan updating with the app Lines as we went. It was fantastic how little time we spent in lines!

DHS was our least favorite park. I absolutely agree to get to Toy Story Mania IMMEDIATELY!!! It's the best ride in the park, IMO, and the crowds definitely reflect that! Aside from Toy Story, the Muppets Movie was great. DS loved Tower of Terror. The grownups enjoyed the Rock 'n Rollercoaster, and Fantasmic was great! Otherwise, meh. The Beauty and the Beast show was hilarious without meaning to be. There was a female performer whose only job seemed to be to shimmy her chest as much as was humanly possible for no reason. We were doubled over with laughter!

The electrical parade, Celebration, and Wishes at MK were SPECTACULAR. We saw them three times! A great place to see the electrical parade (though not the projections on the castle or the fireworks) was Frontier Land.

Speaking of Frontier Land, we loved the Country Bear Jamboree, so everyone's taste is different.

We had 6 days in the parks. We did 2 days at MK, a day each at EPCOT, AK, and DHS. On the last day, we spent the morning at MK, the afternoon at EPCOT, and the evening at MK again for the parade, projections on the castle, and fireworks.

We didn't do any character meals, and we only met characters at the spur of the moment if the lines were short. We preferred encountering them from afar!

Your schedule sounds great, but I would be careful of scheduling meals too far away from where you'll be. Travel time will be longer than you think. You don't want to waste too much time in transit.

04-11-2013, 11:35 AM
This thread is just the epitome of different strokes for different folks. That's why WDW is just so spectacular, what one loves another won't and the third will decide is the reason to go. There is no wrong answer here, there just isn't. The common thread is that Disney has this DOWN. They know how to cater to every single kind of person that has a need in their park, and the cast members take pride in providing the service. I've never once had a negative interaction with a cast member, tho I do know someone who has. More recent observations from me:

* The line for Be our Guest is INSANITY. I mean, it's nuts like you would not believe. It was a two hour wait to get in for lunch, standing in line. I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Word to the wise, if you're cool with lines, then this place is supposed to be magnificent. I have yet to see it cuz I won't wait in a 2 hour line.

* I was not overly impressed with the new Fantasyland, but then again it's STILL under a bit of construction, like road construction in Chicago, it doesn't seem to end. I love Fantasyland, I just didn't see that much hullabuloo over the newness of it. I did ride Pooh, and it was perfectly nice. Same as Snow White in concept, really. But the line is great for little ones, so much to do.

* There is a wrong way there, I take it back. Going to Hollywood Studios and NOT running your ass as fast as you can to Toy Story is the wrong way if you have any inclination to go on it. You must get the fast pass. We got ours at 11am, and 20 minutes later they were out for the day. This was a non-crowded day.

* We liked the Cape May Cafe. It was very expensive, but if you like seafood you won't be disappointed. If you do not like seafood SKIP IT.

* I had to get one of those motorized scooters when we went in August of lat year cuz I injured my leg while we were at Universal the say before. I was crying, I didn't wanna be in one. I felt so self-conscious I can't tell you. It was a fantastic perspective on the disabled and what they deal with. I will never look at those scooter folks the same way again. If it's crowded, like when watching the light shows, you can't see over the people around you,k and it's very claustraphobic.

* The hot dog place, Casey's, at the front of MK sucks. Don't do it.

* Google for hidden gems at disney world, and go prepared to find some of them, bring the list with you. It's amazing what they've got hidden there that no one knows about. I don't have the site handy, but if I find it, I'll come back and post. It's so fun, not jusst hidden mickeys, but LOTS of hidden Easter Egg kind of gems.

* i do dislike Epcot, I'm sorry. But i agree that The Land and all the front park pavillions are wonderful. They really are worth going, and I love them. It's the back at the countries that bore me. There's just not that much to do other than shop and eat, and I don't care for the shows, mostly. But I think Epcot should not be skipped, as the front of the park is really wonderful.

* That said, Captain Neo or whatever that Michael Jackson show is was embarrassing. I don't get why it's still there. It's outdated like I was blushing at the badness of it, both in SFX and in 80's'ness. I wonder if they put it back in after MJ died as a tribute? I dunno, but my parents LOVED it, and DH and I were snickering and giggling the whole time. We just couldn't help but bust up laughing.

* I have mixed feelings about the photo packages they get you with. We bought the Donald package they showed up to our table at Tusker House with. I think it was $29.99. Expensive, but ya know what? The pix were fanstastic. DS looks so happy I could die. Yes, I took my own pix, but these WERE special. I say if you have the $$, and you wanna splurge, it's not a terrible thing.

* I used to pine for Disney dining, which we'll never have cuz we never stay on property cuz we alawys stay for free with the points DH gets from travelling. But now not so much. It IS alot of food, and we always eat at the park all day long. We could't eat all that food with Disney Dining if we tried. I think for alot of people, you're better off without.

* We went to the Volcano Mexican restaurant whose name I forget in Epcot for dinner, and for the very first time ever, I was really unimpressed. T he food was totally average, the waitress was unfriendly (not a bad experience, and not mean, but she was NOT Disney, AFAIC), and I didn't like the kid choices.

* On the other hand, the French bakery in France was TO DIE FOR. I wish we'd done that for lunch, i could have eaten the entire building.

04-11-2013, 01:56 PM
Wow. I just read my original post of opinions. My how things change with time and age of your kids ...

04-15-2013, 12:53 PM
Really appreciate the update on this thread, as we are planning a trip very soon to WDW. DH has been there but DS and I have not. As always, this forum is an appreciated wealth of information. :heartbeat:

05-07-2015, 10:12 AM
This thread is really good, but most of the information is pretty old. Is there a newer thread similar to this?

05-07-2015, 01:44 PM
This thread is really good, but most of the information is pretty old. Is there a newer thread similar to this?

Yeah, I was just wondering the same thing. Maybe time to put out a call for updates? Us Disney newbies would really appreciate it!! :bowdown:

05-07-2015, 02:00 PM
I've created a new thread. :)