Simple secrets, hacks, and tips you don't want to pass up!
Hey guys, it’s almost Mardi Gras! In the great state of Louisiana,and it is always go big or go home. So, what if you are not into the going big part ? I know, I know, I sound a bit ungrateful, because people actually pay good money to visit Louisiana at this festive time. I, on the other hand, can do without the big crowds, barricades, sometimes unfavorable news reports, and parade memorabilia. I know others who would agree. For many people in Louisiana, this is like an extra vacation week. Some schools actually let the kids out for an entire week, other schools are out only Monday through Wednesday. Either way, a lot of parents take the opportunity to head on over to Disney World. Now, I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I will say that I have been going to Disney World practically every year since my tenth grade year. So that means I have been there nearly twenty times, yep, almost 20 years! So, I think I have knowledge from my experiences that I can share, to have you park hopping like a pro. I have put together a list of 10 tips to help you prepare for your trip to the most magical place on earth.
Tip #1 Use the My Disney Experience app. Set it up as soon as you purchase your tickets, so that you are able to access your fast passes. Purchase Magic bands if possible. This will be a life and stress saver if you have kids. The kids will have access to their fast passes without you having to hand them a card every time you guys are in line for a ride. With the Disney Magic Bands, they are able to just tap and go. Trust me, you do not want to be handing that Disney card to your kid with the chance of it getting lost, especially if you have purchased more than one day on it.
Tip#2 Set all of your fast passes in the morning hours so you can get more fast passes early in the day. The rule for fast passes is that you cannot schedule another fast pass until all of your prior fast passes are used. So, you can schedule your first three fast passes in early morning hours and go to the kiosk or Disney app to schedule others.
Tip#3 Bring a wagon in exchange for a complimentary double stroller. They definitely don't advertise this one. You are not allowed to bring sports wagons into the park, but if you do bring them to the gate, guest services will hold your wagon and give you a complimentary double stroller. They definitely come in handy when kids decide to take a nap midday. I have to say, at the first park we visited, I had no idea. On subsequent days, I just brought the wagon to try my luck, and it worked at every single park.
Tip#4 No age verification! So, if your kid is near the free age range (under 3), you can definitely squeeze in a few months of this perk.
Tip#5 Park hoppers sound nice, but if it is your first visit, or you have not mapped out the entire park, it is just not worth it. It takes so much time to get to and from each park. Half of your day is gone before you know it.
Tip#6 You can bring food and drinks into the park. I have never purchased a meal plan, and never needed to. I just think you would have to eat way too much food to get your money’s worth. Besides, you can eat a hearty breakfast and pack lots of snacks so you can eat on the go in the parks.
Tip#7 You don’t have to stay at the Disney Resorts to access the cool restaurants or even some of the activities. We pick a resort to eat at every year and simply tour the rest. Our favorite dining option is Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. They have a wide range of menu items and you are able to watch exotic animals roam, through the huge windows, as you dine. We actually set a whole day aside and visit as many resorts as we can. One activity we love is the Chip and Dale Campfire at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. You can bring your own marshmallows and sticks and enjoy the free entertainment, or purchase them there. Another free activity we enjoy is the Sassagoula River Cruise, which cruises from Port of Orleans to Disney Springs. We also enjoy visiting all shops and entertainment at Disney Springs. Who doesn’t like free entertainment.
Tip#8 Be prepared to pay $25 per day for parking, unless you use a shuttle service provided by your hotel or resort, or get someone to drop you off. Uber and Lyft don’t sound bad either.
Tip#9 You will have a better chance of accessing more rides in the evening, simply because the toddlers start catching temper tantrums and force their parents to leave the park early. That means, most of the lines for the rides will dwindle down after about 3 pm. You can always check wait times on your My Disney Experience app.
Tip#10 Know anyone in the military? Shades of Green Resort offers discounted military tickets. There is a program called Stars and Stripes that offer amazing deals to military families. (example: A 4 day Park Hopper Plus ticket includes water parks --$291; the retail, if purchased non military would be about $507) The military personnel or spouse is able to purchase up to 6 tickets at the amazing rate. Previous years, it was required that one of the ticket holders be the military personnel because tickets had to be activated at guest services at the first park you visited. When we visited in 2017, the tickets were activated at Shades of Green Resort and we were able to use all six of them without the military personnel being a ticket holder. This is one chance I would be willing to take.