- DO NOT FORGET to attach the tags they send you in the mail to your luggage. These are very important. And if your travel agent tells you that Disney didn’t send tags for each person but you can just tell the ticket agent at the airport…(not mentioning any names-ahem- AAA Travel), INSIST that this is NOT acceptable and tell them you DEMAND to have the luggage tags you need, even if someone needs to overnight them to you in the mail! Trust me on this – you don’t want to be at your resort while your luggage is circling ‘round and ‘round on the carousel back at MCO! I speak from experience.
- If you are landing in Orlando at night, be prepared to NOT receive your luggage until the morning. I don’t remember seeing this in any of the paperwork I read beforehand ( I DID read some!), but you will not get your luggage from the Magical Express people for THREE HOURS or more after you land. So better pack some PJs and underwear in your carry on.
- The Magical Express is not Magical for everyone. I use a mobility scooter, or as Disney calls them ECVs. The giant Magical Express bus, and it IS giant, does have a lift for people using ECVs but it’s narrow and the turning radius at the top is quite a small area. They did give me the choice of loading the ECV while I took the stairs onto the bus, but there was no way I would have been able to make those 2 foot high stairs! (I exaggerate slightly!).They ended up calling a special van for me and my entourage and on the way home, there was chaos trying to get our party back to the airport. So if you’re using the Magical Express and you use an ECV, make sure you’re ready for any little “problems” that pop up.
- The bus system within the resort is great. I was worried about waiting long lengths of time because each bus can only take two ECVs, but I never had to skip a bus and wait for the next one. When you’re in your ECV, there is a special place to wait, rather than trying to master the cattle lines. In some cases, when the bus pulled up, no matter where the rest of your party was in line, the “gatekeeper” would put you on first and call your party out of the line and everyone got to board first. Other times, you waited til your party was at the front of the line and then they boarded you. But honestly, the first example happened more often.
QUICK SERVICE MEAL PLAN. DO IT! I was worried that our group of “healthy eaters” wouldn’t have enough to eat all week but we had plenty and then some. Just learn to take advantage of the plan the best way it fits you. Everywhere I read, it said it consisted of Breakfast, 2 Snacks and Dinner. But really, the meals are interchangeable and so flexible that you’re never hungry. I don’t eat breakfast usually so I would grab a bagel or muffin in the morning and that counted as a snack. I refilled my refillable Disney cup (which can be refilled nearly everywhere with soda or water) and off I went. Lunch and Dinner consists of your meal, a drink, separate from your refillable cup, and dessert. And you STILL have a snack credit for the day. At the end of our trip, our group of seven had over 30 snack credits left, which we promptly spent at the gift shop on cookies, popcorn and candy for souvenirs and plane ride snacks! And here’s a HINT! At Port Orleans French Quarter, one of the desserts/snacks you can get is an Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s two giant chocolate chip cookies with about three scoops of ice cream in between. Easily enough for two people. However, if you just want a cookie, you only get ONE as a dessert or snack… so… I put two cookies in the same Styrofoam container that the ice cream sandwich comes in and told them it was an ice cream sandwich without the ice cream! I ate one cookie and brought the other back to my room for later! How smart am I?? LOL!
MAGICAL PHOTOS. The Magic Photo Express thing - skip it. It’s a lot of money to have your picture taken when you can actually ask that same photographer to take a picture with your own camera. We did get some nice shots where they added some characters into the picture with you and yes, there were some shots of us on rides, but really, IMO, not worth the extra money.
PARADES & FIREWORKS. Okay, not really a tip, but a complaint. Disney is really no place for kids. We were there to do some serious vacationing and there were all these little kids everywhere! LOL! And what’s wrong with little kids? Well, for one thing, they’re scared of fireworks so there’s lots of screaming and crying. If they aren’t scared, they insist on being held high to see and Mom and Dad are all too willing to sling junior up onto their shoulders to get a closer look. But really people? I can’t fit on anyone’s shoulders so you just blocked my good view without even a glance back. So can I ask you, if you’re tall or insist on putting little Suzy on your back, would you mind stepping to the side and letting the short people see from the middle?
STROLLERS. Just about every ride that I saw had a stroller parking area and all of them were jam packed. Outside the Carousel ride, there had to be 100 or more strollers lined up row to row. And in these “empty” strollers were clothes, diaper bags, cameras, packages and even handbags. Yes, this is Disney, the most magical place on earth. But criminals go on vacation too. I’m not a thief but if I were, I could have made a killing. I know it might be a pain to empty the stroller every time you go on a ride, but unless you have someone watching out for your stuff, don’t be surprised if something is missing when you come back (it wasn’t me!).
GROUPS. Don’t do it! There were 7 of us and we spent so much time trying to keep track of everyone and who wanted to do what, when, and where, it was exhausting. Of course, if you’re bringing kids under 12, they shouldn’t be given choices of what to do or where to go anyway – be the boss! But when it comes to traveling with other adults – leave them at home! Just take your best friend and have a blast!
You can read the "play by play" on my Disney Vacation at mishes2cents.blogspot.com - just scroll down to start at part one!