Spring Break Trip to Disney World

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scienceguy
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Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by scienceguy »

Family road trip to Disney next Friday for about a week. Me, wife, three kids elem/middle school aged. Been there once 8 years ago with very little kids - different experience. Staying in nearby but not Disney hotel. Expect to spend about four days in the parks, other days visiting friends. Anything we must/must not do? Kids seem to want to go to Harry Potter, Epcot, and a few others. A bit concerned about spring break crowd insanity.

We bought a few guide books but haven't read them very carefully yet. Our plan is basically just go and play it by ear +/-. Are there things we should do NOW to make it a more successful trip? Fast Pass etc? I know there is a whole disney optimization industry, but just too busy right now to fight through the books/articles/etc.

Words of wisdom?
Rupert
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Rupert »

Oh wow. You cannot play Disney and Universal by ear over Spring Break (or any other time) anymore. (By the way, you do realize that Harry Potter is at Universal Orlando and not Disney, right? And that it's spread over 2 Universal parks, not one?) If you try to do that, you'll spend your entire vacation standing in line. Spend some quality time with this guide book: https://www.amazon.com/Unofficial-Guide ... BBRN5AA8D9. It's the best.
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knpstr
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by knpstr »

Holy smokes... a 850 page book only about how to take a vacation at a place?! :shock:
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Rupert
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Rupert »

knpstr wrote:Holy smokes... a 850 page book only about how to take a vacation at a place?! :shock:
Yes. It's completely nuts. And yet the Orlando theme parks are chock full of people ALL THE TIME.
researcher
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by researcher »

scienceguy wrote:Family road trip to Disney next Friday for about a week.
Me, wife, three kids elem/middle school aged.
Staying in nearby but not Disney hotel.
Our plan is basically just go and play it by ear +/-.
Wow. This sounds like a potential train wreck in the making. Your post-trip report should be entertaining.
The parks are likely to be packed to the gills, with LONG wait times for virtually every ride.
Since you aren't staying on Disney property, you won't have advance FastPass and driving/parking will probably be a mess.

It looks like next week is the busiest, so you might luck out & miss some of the crowds by arriving next Friday.
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scienceguy
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by scienceguy »

Any other ideas? Need a strategy.
an_asker
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by an_asker »

scienceguy wrote:Any other ideas? Need a strategy.
Local schools (at least I know of Orange and Seminole counties; don't know about Osceola and Lake) have all had their spring break last week, so you are not competing with the local population at least :-)
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janiebegood
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by janiebegood »

scienceguy wrote:Any other ideas? Need a strategy.
1) Go early. No, I mean EARLY. Be at the parking when it opens and be at the entrance half an hour before "rope drop", aka when they have the little opening ceremony and open the park for the day.

2) At a minimum, before you arrive, have a list of the rides your kids absolutely positively want to do. Do those first, going in a counterclockwise route around the park. For some reason, human nature draws us to the right, so if you go left, you will encounter fewer people.

3) Don't spend money on soda in the parks. Any vendor with a soda fountain will give you a big cup of ice water for free for the asking.

4) The Orlando attractions are EXHAUSTING. You will literally walk for miles every day. Wear comfortable shoes. Take sunscreen and a long-sleeved shirt for each person. Stay hydrated.

5) Let your kids decide when they're done for the day. You didn't get to stay for the fireworks? Too bad. Maybe you can see them another night.

6) Try to enjoy the moment. It can be difficult - it's crowded, lines are long, food is expensive. But if you watch carefully, pay attention and live in the now, you will see something wonderful. I guarantee it.
Last edited by janiebegood on Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ThatsAll
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by ThatsAll »

I've read that 850 page book, and you really could spend a ton of time on this. But on short notice, I'd suggest:

Talk to your kids now about what specific things they want to do most, since with big crowds you'll have to concentrate on a few things. Buy your multi-day tickets now from Disney's site (not a third party site). Once you have your tickets, you can make 3 advance FastPass reservations per day for the things you want to do most (some things will already be unavailable, but it's worth it to get what you can). Then get to the park before opening time every morning and go straight to something you want to do that you didn't get a FastPass for, before lines get crazy for most attractions.

If you mention what your kids like the most (Thrill rides? Shows? Disney character greetings?) it might help people make some specific suggestions.

Good luck!
an_asker
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by an_asker »

janiebegood wrote:[...]Do those first, going in a counterclockwise route around the park. For some reason, human nature draws us to the right, so if you go left, you will encounter fewer people.[...]
Do you mean clockwise or counterclockwise?
Rupert
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Rupert »

scienceguy wrote:Any other ideas? Need a strategy.
I would narrow down the number of parks you intend to see and get into each of those parks as early in the morning as you can. Make a short list of must-see things or must-ride rides and do those first thing in each park. Don't just meander around and try to tour one section of each park at a time. That guidebook I directed you to earlier has some suggested "touring plans" to maximize your time in the parks. Pick one of those plans and follow it religiously. You'll thank me later. Also, there are apps available that will alert you as to how long the lines are for each attraction. Use one of those to adjust your touring plan as needed.

If Harry Potter is a top priority, I'd devote an entire day just to that. You'll need a parkhopper (or park-to-park; can't remember what Universal calls it) pass so that you can take the Hogwarts Express from one Universal park to the other. I wouldn't try to see the rest of those two parks on Harry Potter day; I'd go back a second day to one or both Universal parks to see other things if you're interested.

Given the popularity of Star Wars at the moment, I'd guess that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be the most crowded along with Magic Kingdom, which is always crowded. Epcot and Animal Kingdom might be slightly less crowded.
mattshwink
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by mattshwink »

Go early is a good mantra. One park a day tends to open late or early (ignore extra magic hours, those are for disney resort guests only). For example, today Magic Kingdom Park is open until 11PM. Figure out which parks are open early/late, and take advantage of the extra hours. Early is good, but late is fine too (so if a park is open until 11, and you get there at 7, you should have more opportunity).

Here is the calendar where you can figure out the hours for each day:
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/2017-04-10/

Fast Pass is your friend. But going early (especially) you can do things without lines (for example, we went last April and my Mother-in-laws favorite ride is Tower of Terror). It is popular. We went a few minutes after park opening, waiting maybe 5 minutes, rode, got back in line, rode again, and then had a fast pass at 10. So they rode a third time. So three times without really waiting.

The other thing is that Disney has an app. Get it before going. It has maps of each park that show you where everything is (and shows where you currently are) as well as wait times for rides. Really helpful to figure out how long something will be (especially helpful if decidinig among multiple things, so you can choose one that you know has less of a wait).
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janiebegood
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by janiebegood »

an_asker wrote:
janiebegood wrote:[...]Do those first, going in a counterclockwise route around the park. For some reason, human nature draws us to the right, so if you go left, you will encounter fewer people.[...]
Do you mean clockwise or counterclockwise?
Ah! I mean go clockwise! *facepalm* Fixed in the original post.
smitcat
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by smitcat »

Read and use the crowd calendar to help your odds.
Janiebegood has a very good post above as well.
Between Disney and US you have 6 major parks that each can absorb a day or more - what do you really want to see?
Decide if you are really going to U-studios to see HP now before you leave.
Any days on the crowd calendar above a "7" are pretty tough to get around easily.
Avoid the mid day rush and maybe do 2 a days with a big break in the middle.
Ask more questions here after you have read up on the huge amounts of choices you have.

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlan ... pril-2017/
killjoy2012
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by killjoy2012 »

I'd definitely make a per-day plan ASAP so that you can align other decisions to it. You need to understand which parks, how many hours/days per, do your tickets need to have the park hopper option, dinner reservations, etc. Then with that, which rides are top priority, fast pass, etc.

I prefer Epcot over the rest, but the kids may not agree. If the kids are into space exploration, a short day trip over to the Kennedy Space Center is fun (tho less fun since the shuttles are no longer active).
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jjunk
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by jjunk »

Make a list of the rides you want to hit the most and hit them first. If you have two rides that are close to one another, FastPass one and ride the other. Then you're likely to walk-on (or close to it) for the second ride. The time estimates at Disney are generally pretty accurate, so if you see an hour wait, you're probably going to wait an hour. Dont do it if you're not 100% sure you want to ride/see whatever that wait is for. Download one of the Disney wait estimate apps on your phone and bring it with you, they're pretty good these days.If you're going to do fireworks on any night, camp out for your spot very early if you dont want to be looking at the back of someone's head.

As a suggestion for another park, if your family likes animals, go to Discovery Cove for a day. It's a limited access park so there's never a crowd, food and drink is included with admission and you can swim with dolphins :happy. It's our favorite park by far and its very relaxing. Might be a good way to wedge in some relaxation while still having something to do.
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walkabout
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by walkabout »

Get the book mentioned above.
Be sure to get the one for the current year.
If you don't have the time or desire to read it, don't.
Go to the back and look for the "touring plans".
Pick one you like.
Mark out the rides/attractions that you don't want to do.
Do the rest in the order the touring plan specifies.

Look at a crowd calendar and understand the expected crowd level at the park you plan to attend. This site is run by the same people who put out the Unofficial Guide...

https://touringplans.com/

It costs $14.95 for an annual subscription, but three is a tremendous amount of useful information. The projected crowd calendars can help you plan which park to visit on which day. You can also get an app (Lines) that has the same information, as well as more detailed information (ride waits within the park).

Get to the park early, preferably when it opens.
Take advantage of Fast Pass when you can. It can be a real life saver.
Don't be afraid to use the single rider line where one is available. You won't be able to ride together, but you can usually get through the line faster.

Get a Dole Whip in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.

Don't be one of the hot, tired, and thirsty families standing in the middle of a crowded park holding a map and trying to figure out what to do next.
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scienceguy
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by scienceguy »

Thanks so much for all the great info. I am feeling more confident already!
What about the Universal Express Pass. We are definitely going to Universal for probably 2 days, and could conceivably afford the express pass (it is currently available on the days we plan to go, but adds like $90/day per ticket). But, it seems totally obnoxious to skip the lines just because you paid more than other people. But, on the other hand, skipping lines is awesome.
Is the express pass a good thing? Will I hate myself in the morning?
brito11
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by brito11 »

You could check out the forums below for tips and discounts and more information:

https://www.mousesavers.com/
https://www.disboards.com/
ThatsAll
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by ThatsAll »

scienceguy wrote:Thanks so much for all the great info. I am feeling more confident already!
What about the Universal Express Pass. We are definitely going to Universal for probably 2 days, and could conceivably afford the express pass (it is currently available on the days we plan to go, but adds like $90/day per ticket). But, it seems totally obnoxious to skip the lines just because you paid more than other people. But, on the other hand, skipping lines is awesome.
Is the express pass a good thing? Will I hate myself in the morning?
Depends a bit on how much you value time over money, but I'd go for it during a crowded time like this. The pass allows you to get in a shorter line for almost everything and will make a big difference in how much you can do. The headliner Harry Potter rides aren't included, so make sure you plan to get to those right at park opening even if you buy the express passes.

Be aware that most of the rides at Universal are more intense than Disney. My two elementary school kids love Disney but wouldn't be ready for many of the rides at Universal just yet, but different kids are different.

AM
buckstar
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by buckstar »

Express pass at Universal is totally worth it. I wouldn't go without it.
kaprecht
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by kaprecht »

On Harry Potter day, I second the comment to only do Harry Potter things that day. The most magical time at Harry Potter is right before the fireworks - Diagon Alley completely clears out, leaving it all to yourself, and the fireworks over the crazy, crooked roofs of the alley is pretty fun.
smitcat
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by smitcat »

If you are planning two to 3 days at U-studios the trick to get the best deal is to book early and stay on the property at one of the 3 Hotels that offer the fast pass option as part of the deal.
This is well worth it whenever the crowd calendars are reading in the "5-6" range or higher.
As an example - your goal is U - Studios for 3 days beginning on Monday.
Search ahead for a best hotel rate at one of the 3 U-Studios hotels offering the full deal for Monday and Tuesday nights- we prefer Royal Pacific but have also used Portofino.
Yes they will be a lot more expensive then offsite but they do have deal rates online regularly and you will save a huge amount of time and not need to purchase 3-5+ fast passes for your family. These hotel passes will give you full fast pass as well as a one hour early admission to get you on the non fast pass HP rides.
Arrive on Monday one hour before the early park admission and check you luggage and sign in early - now you will receive your fast passes for Monday - Wednesday.
head to the park and use the pass to get early admission and hit whichever HP ride you choose. After the regular crowd comes in then switch to the normal fast passes you have and go through any other ride you like. repeat this each of your 2-3 day stay and you will likely find that you can ride or see 20-25 major attractions each day instead of maybe 1/2 that at best. When your group gets tired during the day we normally go to shows and/or attractions that are longer sit down venues.
Good luck and have a copy of that crowd calendar with you along with your phone apps.
Good Listener
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Good Listener »

This is not a dollar issue. To me, this seems like a waste of time and energy. Waiting on lines for hours to go on some rides?
smitcat
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by smitcat »

"Get a Dole Whip in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom."

The moved the dole whip at Adventure land it is now across from the magic carpet ride instead of the Treehouse.
They added dole whip at the Polynesian hotel food area.(captain cooks)
2comma
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 2comma »

When I was a teenager my parents got a family seasons pass to Bush Gardens - The Old Country, Williamsburg, VA. We quickly learned if it rained in the morning, then stopped, we could walk right onto any ride there. I went once with two college friends when it was hot and crowded - a totally different experience. Because of that we took my 5 year old son out of school for a week and went in September. Mr "never gets too excited about anything" came up to me a week after and said "you know dad, I had a really good time at Disney World". Made it all totally worth it! You'll have a great time.

Anyway, for tips wear your most comfortable shoes and you might still have some time to do some extra walking just to get in shape. We spent every minute we could in the parks and were pretty sore by the time we got back to our hotel each night. We winged it but it was a long time ago. Some friends made advanced reservations for restaurants and planned well and I think they were smart to do that but we don't have any regrets.
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43andcounting
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 43andcounting »

Note that FastPass changed, they no longer give out paper passes at those kiosks. Instead, download My Disney Experience app, scan your ticket cards if you already have them into the app, and choose the rides you want FastPass on.

Download and linking of ticket cards is an ok experience, not most smooth. But this has made getting FastPasses much easier, you do not have to go to a ride to get a pass and then go again in few hours to ride.

Flip side is that everybody uses FastPass and you have to select your FastPass rides a day in advance. We tried the same day last week but all FastPass slots were taken on all rides for the day. Forget about standby, way too much wait.

Another flip side is that now they have very long FastPass lines to wait in, I.e. Long lines for the system designed to avoid lines, which is ironic.

I found the whole experience with rides a bit frustrating frankly. But have to give them credit for innovating to be able to handle huge crowds. Experience other than rides was fine, though at my age it is far from the happiest place on the planet, and for the family of five, cost is way too high, not to say about overpriced food.
mt
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by mt »

Universal Express Pass is definately worth it.

My son wanted to know why we did not get one at the Disney Parks because we spent A LOT more time waiting in line at the Disney parks(Disney does not have a similar product).

Seaworld's Aquatica Water Park was our favorite and the least expensive as well as the least crowded.
Jackson12
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Jackson12 »

It's been awhile since ce we went to Disney. This is a current piece, might have helpful suggestions. We've stayed on site and off and our kids' favorite place by far ( back then) was a Holiday Inn suite, off site, all you could eat breakfasts, bargain price,

A pain to drive to Disney but otherwise great.
https://www.learnvest.com/2017/03/save- ... er-tricks/?
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dm200
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by dm200 »

Many years ago, we made several trops to Disney World (we went around Thanksgiving) and my wife got some books that were very helpful if optimizing wait times and seeing the most experiences in each day. The only "problem" with our "logical" approach to this optimization was that our son wanted to visit what he could see (and NOT what we told him was elsewhere).
schmitz
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by schmitz »

Good Listener wrote:This is not a dollar issue. To me, this seems like a waste of time and energy. Waiting on lines for hours to go on some rides?
Yes it is stupid for people to want to have fun at Disney. I'm sure no one ever goes. /s
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dm200
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by dm200 »

schmitz wrote:
Good Listener wrote:This is not a dollar issue. To me, this seems like a waste of time and energy. Waiting on lines for hours to go on some rides?
Yes it is stupid for people to want to have fun at Disney. I'm sure no one ever goes. /s
You really have to hand it to Disney World: Charge a LOT of money, wait in long lines and customers are almost always happy to do it all.
1aheff1
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 1aheff1 »

1. Get your Fast Passes as early as possible.
2. Most important- You MUST get to the parks as soon as they open. There is no wiggle room on this. Be methodical as to the rides you visit, based on location of rides. example- Do Splash/BMTR/Pirates all together.
3. Around 12-2 Leave the Park. Go to hotel. Swim, relax, take a nap.
4. Go back to a park several hours prior to closing. Visit rides prior to closing.
5. Eat icecream at every park.
6. If you want to take pictures with characters, at MK when you first enter park you can take pictures on building on right. Good time to do this is late at night.
5. Repeat the next day.
6. Make sure you not to rush EPCOT countries. Get schedule and take in the British invasion live music
If you utilize this stategy, you will NOT be waiting in 2 hour lines like everyone else. You will zip through rides in the early morning, while others are just getting up and lazily getting to park. And when those people leave the park at 8PM exhausted from waiting in the lines of the few rides they visited, you will just be getting back in the park, refreshed, from your swimming and nap, to experience, again, much shorter lines.
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

You certainly have to go to Disney at least once.

I like what a pastor said about the experience: "you end up exhausted and you spent a lot of money."

I live in Florida and prefer the fishing, the diving, the springs, the zoos, the shopping, etc.
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njuser
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by njuser »

If I could give you only one piece of advice it would be: GET TO THE PARKS EARLY

Even if you're tired, even if you are hungry (grab a muffin somewhere) etc etc. Get out of bed and get to the park, get your tickets, be ready to go.

At Disney you don't even need FP if you are there in the opening 3 hours. (although I would still set up a MDE account and be ready to book FP once you have your park tickets).

Best Disney and Universal resource is Disboards.com

Good luck.
2015
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 2015 »

Vanguard Fan 1367 wrote:You certainly have to go to Disney at least once.

I like what a pastor said about the experience: "you end up exhausted and you spent a lot of money."

I live in Florida and prefer the fishing, the diving, the springs, the zoos, the shopping, etc.
Sure. If you want to feel like you've died and gone to hell. I despise Disney's racket, but SO doesn't. A couple years ago we made the mistake of going to Disneyland aka The Magical Kingdom for Suckers between Xmas and New Year's. It was so overwhelmingly crowded at times it felt like those videos of surging crowds during Black Friday store openings. they actually had Disney "cast members" doing crowd control! As to the rides--lines for hours.

Following year (yes, I was talked into going back), I actually went online and studied the best times to go, read all the "tips, hints, and myths" regarding conquering Disneyland/California Adventure parks and was robbed coughing up $$$$ for passes for both. Since then, all SoCal theme parks have had the nerve to raise the prices on their overcrowded parks...yet again. Despite SO's impassioned pleas, I absolutely refuse to subject myself to Disney Orlando.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by unclescrooge »

2015 wrote:
Vanguard Fan 1367 wrote:You certainly have to go to Disney at least once.

I like what a pastor said about the experience: "you end up exhausted and you spent a lot of money."

I live in Florida and prefer the fishing, the diving, the springs, the zoos, the shopping, etc.
Sure. If you want to feel like you've died and gone to hell. I despise Disney's racket, but SO doesn't. A couple years ago we made the mistake of going to Disneyland aka The Magical Kingdom for Suckers between Xmas and New Year's. It was so overwhelmingly crowded at times it felt like those videos of surging crowds during Black Friday store openings. they actually had Disney "cast members" doing crowd control! As to the rides--lines for hours.

Following year (yes, I was talked into going back), I actually went online and studied the best times to go, read all the "tips, hints, and myths" regarding conquering Disneyland/California Adventure parks and was robbed coughing up $$$$ for passes for both. Since then, all SoCal theme parks have had the nerve to raise the prices on their overcrowded parks...yet again. Despite SO's impassioned pleas, I absolutely refuse to subject myself to Disney Orlando.
The fact that it's overcrowded means the admission price is too low. If it was twice as expensive and half as crowded, would you go?
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Imperabo
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by Imperabo »

I took my family to Orlando last October, and have a couple of tips.

1) Universal Studios has pulled ahead of Disney in surprising ways. Diagon Alley is the best themed area in the United States, and the two main rides are the best rides in the US aside from Radiator Springs in California Adventures. Disney might catch up with Avatar and Star Wars lands, but right now Disney World feels dated (but still a great time) by comparison. So, don't skimp on Universal, even if it means skipping Epcot and/or Hollywood Studios (I don't think there is enough currently in either of them for your age groups, and they will be expanded in future years.) Also, Universal has much better and more play areas, which are great to keep smaller kids happy and let them blow off energy while the bigger ones go on the big rides.

2) I cracked the code on Disney Fastpasses. You are too late to get good selections in advance, but this isn't a problem once you know the system. Starting about 8:00PM the night before you go to a park people will start changing their plans and cancelling passes they've been holding. You can grab almost any pass you want between that time and midnight or so if you do it right. The trick is to repeatedly refresh the page as quickly as you can until what you want comes up. There are thousands of people using the app at the same time, placing momentary locks on all of the passes that come up until they leave the page or refresh. So each time your refresh you will see something completely different. I was able to get some of the most difficult passes and some of the best times by doing this for maybe 5 minutes. You can also use this trick throughout the day while you are in the park, and mostly avoid lines all day (when I went it was a less busy time, so I can't swear it will work as well.)
jdb
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by jdb »

Total digression. This thread supports my decision to buy Walt Disney stock a couple years ago. Do not understand how millions of people want to stand in line for long time for a 5 minute ride but the company sure knows how to generate profits. Plus I like ESPN and especially Jessica Mendoza, their Sunday night female baseball analyst. Hope you enjoy the experience.
mw1739
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by mw1739 »

This is all good advice. We did the Disney thing last year and decided to mix it up this year. We've been in Orlando the past several days. Took the kids to the Seaworld parks and Legoland, all of which were great and less crowded than Disney/universal. Definitely noticed a large increase in crowds today around town. Plan ahead for any trips, just going a mile or two can take 20 minutes. We leave for a week at the beach tomorrow and I'm ready to get away from the crowd.
RF
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by RF »

1. Get your Fast Passes as early as possible.
2. Most important- You MUST get to the parks as soon as they open. There is no wiggle room on this. Be methodical as to the rides you visit, based on location of rides. example- Do Splash/BMTR/Pirates all together.
3. Around 12-2 Leave the Park. Go to hotel. Swim, relax, take a nap.
4. Go back to a park several hours prior to closing. Visit rides prior to closing.

I agree with above
researcher
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by researcher »

2015 wrote:Sure. If you want to feel like you've died and gone to hell. I despise Disney's racket, but SO doesn't. A couple years ago we made the mistake of going to Disneyland aka The Magical Kingdom for Suckers between Xmas and New Year's. It was so overwhelmingly crowded at times it felt like those videos of surging crowds during Black Friday store openings.

Following year (yes, I was talked into going back), I actually went online and studied the best times to go, read all the "tips, hints, and myths" regarding conquering Disneyland/California Adventure parks and was robbed coughing up $$$$ for passes for both. Despite SO's impassioned pleas, I absolutely refuse to subject myself to Disney Orlando.
Sounds like you're being a bit of a drama queen about it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means a Disney fanatic, and there are many things I'd rather do than visit Disney. However, when you have a wife and young kids, you can definitely go to Disneyworld and have a good time. It doesn't have to be the overcrowded hell that you describe.

Go in Jan/Feb when crowds are light and the temperature is cooler.
Stay onsite, on the monorail, so you can get to/from the park in 5-10 minutes. Book FastPasses for the most popular rides.
Get to the park at opening, leave during the middle of the day, come back in the afternoon.

I didn't wait in line more than 15 minutes for any ride and the entire family enjoyed themselves.
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randomizer
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by randomizer »

I should bookmark this thread as a reminder never to go to Disney. Not my idea of a holiday.
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2cents2
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 2cents2 »

scienceguy wrote:Family road trip to Disney next Friday for about a week. Me, wife, three kids elem/middle school aged. Been there once 8 years ago with very little kids - different experience. Staying in nearby but not Disney hotel. Expect to spend about four days in the parks, other days visiting friends. Anything we must/must not do? Kids seem to want to go to Harry Potter, Epcot, and a few others. A bit concerned about spring break crowd insanity.

We bought a few guide books but haven't read them very carefully yet. Our plan is basically just go and play it by ear +/-. Are there things we should do NOW to make it a more successful trip? Fast Pass etc? I know there is a whole disney optimization industry, but just too busy right now to fight through the books/articles/etc.

Words of wisdom?
Fast Pass? Absolutely yes. Keep in mind that a lot of the really popular rides may not have any fast pass time selections left if you are leaving in a week.
"With the purchase of a ticket or Annual Pass, you can start making selections as early as 30 days before you arrive, or up to 60 days before check-in when you have a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation."
It will be extremely crowded. The week before and the week after Easter are among the busiest times at Disney World. When the crowd levels reach the maximum, Disney will not permit anyone else to enter the park. So, getting there early is a good idea.

There are some popular rides that have single rider lines if you don't mind your family getting split up. (For example, Test Track has a single rider line.)

You mentioned EPCOT. I was just there on Tuesday. The Flower and Garden Festival is going on at EPCOT right now. There are all kinds of displays, topiaries of Disney Characters, flowers, special events and food booths around the World Showcase. Here is a link to the Flower and Garden Festival: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/event ... -festival/

There is also an Easter Egg hunt featured around the World Showcase. I got caught up in this--trying to find the egg hidden in each country (They are about 2' high and decorated like Disney characters). You can buy a map and at the end of the hunt you receive a prize. Here is a link to the event (spoiler alert--the solutions are at the end if you get stuck ) http://guide2wdw.com/epcot-eggstravagan ... ons-guide/

I think the countries in the World Showcase are fun to visit--several countries have attractions (though, the Frozen ride is going to have a really long standby line). All the countries have interesting things to look at. The movie attractions (featured at some of the countries) will not have super long wait times.

In addition to the precautions for the sun (drink water, wear sunscreen, hat etc), make sure you all have comfortable shoes. I clocked 8.2 miles on Tuesday. :) . (Though, about 2.5 of that was at the departure/arrival airports prior to getting to Disney World. :) ).
2cents2
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 2cents2 »

I agree with the advice to get the "My Disney Experience" Ap on your mobile phone. You can change fast pass selections using that and keep track of your fast pass times, etc. Also, you can keep checking back if there is a fast pass you are trying to get for a particular ride that wasn't previously available.
Last edited by 2cents2 on Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SimonJester
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by SimonJester »

Adding to what others said, try and get to the parks 2 hours before they open, 1 hour before it will be very crowded at the entrance.

If you have a choice in a queue line to go right or left always go left. Walt Disney was left handed and they designed the parks so the left queue has more things to see...

Overall try to have a good time, yes it will be crowded, hot, and your feet will hurt, but remember why you are there. To build fun memories with your family.

Its sad to see parents yelling at their tired kids over some small issue, try to not be those parents, we all have been guilty of that at times.

Also you ABSOLUTELY have to turn off the bogglehead mind for these parks. You are going to pay park prices for food and souvenirs, this alone can put you into a bad mood. Try not to focus on that $20 hamburger that tasted like cardboard.

Animal Kingdom was our favorite park, so well themed...

Last tip, a couple of beers, or a glass a wine makes all of this more tolerable...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
smitcat
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by smitcat »

And for those who are not tied into this exact time frame like the OP here.....
You can use the crowd calendar to schedule trips to U-Studios and Disneyworld when the daily numbers are at 6 or less and have almost no lines.
On days when the number is a 5 or 4 you can walk on many rides with little or no wait and re-ride within a few minutes if you really liked it.
And - there are ways to maximize ticket value as well as room costs dependent upon what you really want to see.
Spend a little time on the mousesavers site , undercovertourist site , Orlando informer site ,and a few others and it will be well worth your time as the trips will be hugely more enjoyable than just winging it.
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scienceguy
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by scienceguy »

OMG thank you everyone for the advice. This is invaluable and I am sure will make the trip much more successful! I'll be sure to add to this thread after we return to let you guys know how it went and what worked and what didn't.
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scienceguy
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by scienceguy »

BTW not leaving on the trip until this upcoming Friday, so please keep the advice coming!
2cents2
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Re: Spring Break Trip to Disney World

Post by 2cents2 »

Here are links to the menus for the food kiosks around the World Showcase

http://www.themouseforless.com/walt-dis ... val/menus/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/event ... -kitchens/

Here is a link to the dis boards FastPass+ FAQs

https://www.disboards.com/threads/fastp ... s.3491680/

Page 5. speaks to availability of Fast Passes
Page 8. speaks to which FastPasses will save you the most time.
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