Jim Lileks at the Star Tribune has written a funny and slightly irreverent article with some clever – and at the same time quite useful – ideas on how to make the most of your time at Disney World (Source).
Stay On Disney Property
One of the first tips that Jim offers is to stay on Disney property. He jokingly says that those who choose to stay elsewhere are communists. He also has calculated that staying in a Disney resort hotel increases your enjoyment by 175%. I’m not sure exactly how he arrived at this calculation, but I do think that it is generally true – and it’s quite funny.
Well presented in quite a humorous way, the tip is still very valid. Staying on a Disney resort immerses you in the magic as only Disney can create it. From amazing themes to high-quality guest service, staying on Disney property extends the enjoyment of your vacation beyond just the time you spend in a Disney theme park. When you add in the extras like free transportation around the Disney property and early admission to Disney theme parks, staying on Disney property is the way to go.
The Disney Dining Plan
Next, Jim recommends in a tongue-in-cheek way that you purchase the Disney dining plan. There are several reasons behind events. First, its points system provides flexibility in paying for snacks, quick service meals, and sit down dinners. While the system can be a bit complicated for first-time visitors, and some would argue its not a great value, it is a convenient way to prepay for your meals.
Jim also wisely suggests taking some time to take in a Disney character meal. This is where Disney characters come to your table and spend personal quality time with your family. If your little prince or princess has their heart set on meeting a Disney character, this is the way to do it. Not only do you avoid spending time waiting in a long line for the interaction, but you get more time – and a meal to boot. Just be sure to call as soon as you know your vacation dates. Reservations for character meals go amazingly fast.
Planning For Souvenirs
Jim offers a great tip. Avoid purchasing Disney merchandise in the middle of your trip. Instead, allocate some time on your last day to visit the gigantic World Of Disney Store in Disney Springs. This store has all the Disney merchandise you can possibly imagine. However, it may not have items that are specific to particular theme parks or attractions.
However, he points out in a funny way the reality of what normally happens. You end up buying merchandise throughout your trip and end up with far more stuff than you ever imagined.
Jim offers two key tips here. First, make plans the night before you visit it a theme park to determine which big ticket attractions you want to visit. Look at the maps for the park and get a sense for how to get from the entrance gate to the attraction first thing in the morning. Why? Because of the second tip.
The second tip is to go directly from the entrance gate to the attraction as soon as the park opens so that you can get a FastPass. FastPasses, which reserve a time later in the day when you can return and get on the attraction with little wait, tend to go quickly for the most popular attractions. He jokes about how you should stampede through the park to be the first to get your Fast Pass. Not a good idea. Just walk quickly.