Top 5 Tips for Disney World

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1.  Buy the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  It is the only book you need to plan your trip.  It can help you pick the right hotel for your family, teaches you how to tour the parks without waiting in lines, gives you insight into all the attractions, helps you navigate your dining options and teaches you everything you need to know to avoid pitfalls that can ruin your trip.  I also think www.mousesavers.com is very helpful.  Avoid all the other guidebooks and nonsense on the internet.  

2.  Click here to sign up for Disney World's Trip Planning DVD.  Forget the DVD.  This is the best way to get in Disney's database of potential future guests.  You will hopefully start getting emails and postcards advertising special rates for their hotel/ticket packages.  These special rates are always cheaper than anything offered to the public.  You will be given a "pin code" to use when making your reservations.  It is personal to you and can't be used by anyone else to book a trip.  On one trip, I booked a concierge level room at The Floridian for 50% off.  The best rate offered to the public at that time was a 25% discount.  Unfortunately, that must be a one-shot opportunity.  I have not received a pin code since.

3.  I don't believe in the "cram the whole Disney experience in a few VERY long days" theory.  That sounds like a miserable experience for everyone.  Make your trip 4+ days, tackle the parks in the morning before the crowds get to be too much and enjoy a late lunch at your hotel pool.  I usually take a nap about this time.  At night, we usually enjoy a fun dinner at one of the many great restaurants at the hotels.  A few nights we may go to a park, but we NEVER stay until closing when hordes of people are trying to leave the park at the same time.  If you plan your trip correctly, you can watch the fireworks right outside your hotel room with a drink in your hand and the kids running around the grass.

4.  Be at the parks before they open.  I know that sounds terrible on your vacation, but it will save you the agony of thick crowds and long lines.  You will also be ready with a list of the most popular rides, so you can join the stampede and ride them before long lines form.  Each park has between 2 -4 of these types of rides.  The rest of your time can be enjoyed at a much more leisurely pace.  

5.  Wear comfortable shoes!

Julie Jones