I’ve already given you some of my favorite date ideas in a previous post, but today I want to dive deeper into my Disney World suggestion. Andrew and I went to Disney for a day during our first trip together. I was working in Orlando and he flew down to meet me. (I got free Disney tickets from my job so it wasn’t difficult to convince him.) We loved our time at Disney. Since a marriage conference is bringing us to Orlando this June anyways, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit again.
When I say I’ve done hours of research, I am not exaggerating. I’ve read books, watched youtube videos, googled questions, listened to A LOT of podcasts, and looked on Pinterest. Disney is way more complicated than I thought. And a surprisingly large amount of people touring Disney have no idea what they are doing. This is not your run-of-the-mill theme park. This place makes you work for what you want. Here are 5 things you need to know if you are thinking about taking a trip to Disney. These tips apply to anyone, but there are some things thrown in specifically for adults too.
1. Restaurants in Disney are a big deal.
When I went to Disney with my family, our finest meal was the crackers we brought into the park with us. I had no idea Disney had the array of dining options that they do. Some restaurants are certainly better than others and the price point of the restaurant does not guarantee the best food. It is worth the time to read reviews. Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom is the toughest dining reservation to come by. It is supposed to be better food and less expensive than Cinderella's Royal Table. Both of these restaurants are in castles. Cinderella's Royal Table is in (obviously) Cinderella's castle and Be Our Guest is in Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast. Restaurants allow guests to make breakfast reservations BEFORE THE PARK OPENS! Because Be Our Guest is a quick service restaurant, you can be out of there and ready for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before the rest of the guests (without breakfast reservations) are even able to get there. Listen, there are a zillion restaurants in Disney and if you’re going to spend too much money for food somewhere, it may as well be good food. It’s not just hot dogs! I also highly recommend the main book I have been reading, the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. They have reviews for each restaurant in this book based on thousands of their readers’ opinions. They also have a professional restaurant critic weigh in on their opinion of the food as well. You are allowed to make dining reservations 180 days out from your stay on the Disney app or the website. If you want your pick of the litter, I suggest making the dining reservations as soon as that 180 day mark hits. There will be openings for most things closer to your actual trip, but you may have to sacrifice getting exactly what you want. Which I never like to do.
2. Disney does not always tell the truth on the posted wait times.
Disney uses posted wait times to move the crowd around the park, so sometimes they will fib a little on the amount of time you will actual be standing in line. The good news is, they tend to say you’ll be waiting longer than you expected. The people that wrote the book that I mentioned above, the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, also created a website and app with a lot of information on lines and crowds at Disney. On their app, Lines, they have the actual wait times for all the rides. They also include Disney’s posted wait time and whether you should wait to ride now or wait based on how they assume the line will change. Amazing. Game changer.
3. FASTPASS can either be for you or against you.
Disney gives everyone with tickets 3 FASTPASSes per day. FASTPASSes are selected on the Disney website or app. The window to select your FASTPASSes opens either 60 days in advance for people staying at a Walt Disney World resort or 30 days for people staying off property. You can only make a FASTPASS reservation if you have already purchased your Disney ticket. FASTPASSes tend to be in tiers. So, you cannot choose all three of the big headliner rides for your FASTPASS. Usually you chose one of the headliners and two of lesser rides. Magic Kingdom is the exception for now with people being able to choose any of the three rides you would like in the park. The kicker for FASTPASS that most people do not know is you can choose another FASTPASS once you have used up all 3 that you chose previously. If you make FASTPASS reservations for the morning, you get an additional FASTPASS to use once those are up in the afternoon. Once that one is gone, you get another and so on until you’ve either run out of time or run out of rides you want a FASTPASS for. Keep in mind there’s not a million FASTPASSes available to reserve so the hotter rides tend to fill up on reservations and become unavailable.
4. People study the best way to tour Disney.
The TouringPlans.com website from the book I’m reading, will create a touring plan for you for each park based on the time you want to arrive and leave and which rides you care to ride. They do charge a small fee, but I think it’s only about $15. And you do get a discount with a book purchase. This has been the best thing for Andrew and me because I am an optimizer and want to be 100% confident I am making the right use of my time during trips like this. In EPCOT for example, we only have a handful of rides we care to do and we plan to axe most character meet and greets. We do, however, care about having a lot of time to walk around the world showcase. I put all this info into my plan and TouringPlans.com set out a plan that made sure we were not waiting in line instead of eating all the goodies that France has to offer.
5. Disney caters to adults too.
Disney recently added alcohol to a lot of their park menus. In addition to that, they’ve also started putting in quick service stands that primarily serve alcohol. Also, they have a lot of lounges in and around the parks. Most places allow kids but there are some that only allow kids up to a certain time of night. These places have unique food and drink options and more adult theming. Disney invests in a lot of high end restaurant options too. These restaurants offer a wide variety of types of food served. They have everything from steakhouses to fancy French restaurants. I’m most looking forward to Jiko, which is African. Disney knows that adults like Disney too and they don’t want to only eat hot dogs while they are there.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that Disney does their best to have something that appeals to everyone. If you are going sans children, you can eat where and when you want to and only ride the rides you enjoy. I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty good to me. ;)
*You may not believe this, but this is not sponsored by the Unofficial Guide, I just really, really like them.