By Jordan Rhodes
There are tons of great blog posts and resources out there on how to conquer Disney World. If you’re reading this post then you love Disney, and have probably read most of them. So I decided to take a different approach and help you feel stylish while doing Disney - because let’s face it, it’s not the place to go to feel cute. You’re sweaty, tired from all the mad dashes into the parks, stressed from screaming kids, surrounded by junk food and crazy people in a rush. It can be a little daunting at times. But read this and hopefully it will be a little easier.
Hire a tour guide.
We love to hire tour guides, either through Michael’s VIP’s or Stone VIP’s. The guides will meet you at the entrance to the parks, get you inside, and lead you around to all the rides, where you never wait in line. How do they do this? Before you arrive they will arrange your initial Fastpasses, then throughout the day they are constantly on their phones checking wait times, adding new Fastpasses, and planning all of your next moves. It is SO worth it to not be on the app trying to figure all of that out on your own, and you’re free to really enjoy the park. Bonus - they will watch the kids who aren’t tall enough for the fun rides. Pricing varies, but minimum is about $800 for 6 hours plus gratuity.
Plan Fastpasses in Advance.
If you do not hire a guide, make sure you pick your allotted three advance Fastpasses so you’re not running like a crazy person towards a popular ride when the park opens. Fastpasses are available 60 days prior to your visit if you’re staying in the park (including at the Four Seasons), or 30 days in advance if staying off property. To book them, download the Disney app, and make sure your tickets are purchased through the app or link physical passes by entering the number into the app (don’t worry, it is very easy to navigate). Here are my suggestions for Fastpasses, based on popularity: at the Magic Kingdom - Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (my kids’ favorite); at Hollywood Studios - Slinky Dog, the Aerosmith roller coaster, the Tower of Terror; at Animal Kingdom - Avatar, Everest, a safari ride. And voila! Now you’re ready to wake up a little later and ease your way into the park, because those without Fastpasses are running and waiting. Epcot unfortunately is a little different because the Fastpasses work on a Tier system. You can only book one of the popular rides as one of your three, which would either be the Frozen ride, Test Tracks or Soarin’. Soarin’ is my absolute favorite ride of all (as a travel journalist it’s not hard to see why), so I would book that one and run to Test Tracks when the park opens. But if you have little kids, book the Frozen ride in advance and run to Soarin’ when the park opens, whose line moves a little slowly, then be prepared to wait a little bit at Test Tracks. If you do Test Tracks first the Soarin’ line will get very long because it doesn’t move as quickly as the other. For your other two Fastpasses we like Mission: Space and the other Space ride.
Now don’t forget, once you’ve used your first three passes you are able to book more one by one. So try to book them all as early as possible in the day so you’re not waiting all day to add be able to add a new one.
Book the popular restaurants and events in advance.
Some of these include the Be Our Guest restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Goofy breakfast at the Four Seasons, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian, the luau at the Polynesian, the pirate fireworks cruise at the Contemporary, the Star Wars dessert party at Hollywood Studios, the Princess Tea at the Grand Floridian, Rose and Crown pub for Epcot fireworks, and the rooftop restaurant, Capa, at the Four Seasons for fireworks. Except for those last two which are more for date night, your kids will be over the moon at the rest and thus in better moods.
Speaking of date night…
if you have young kids, I highly suggest booking a babysitter and doing After Hours at Hollywood Studios and/or the Animal Kingdom. Most of the best rides at the parks are for taller kids, so if you have littles they can’t go on them. After Hours tickets allow a handful of visitors into the parks late at night, and you can do the rides over and over and over. The kids get to bed early and you can really enjoy yourselves.
The best sitter service is called Kids Nite Out, and we have loved every sitter we’ve hired from them. They are highly reputable and recommended by the Four Seasons, as well as all the Disney hotels.
And speaking of the Four Seasons…
Stay here! It is THE BEST hotel, and I even know people who vacation there and don’t even go to the parks. A more detailed post on it is in the works, so for now just trust me that it can’t be beat.
Everyone I know wears athleisure to the parks because it is basically cardio. So buy some new Lululemon and APL’s and feel a little more stylish. My husband likes to wear shorts with golf shirts so he stays cool. Don’t forget the sunscreen and bring some princess costumes or Star Wars t-shirts for the kids. When going out at night I like to wear white jeans, Golden Goose’s, something like a Figue top and my favorite L’agence jean jacket. Crossbody bags are perfect for day and night.
Don’t forget the gear
We love our Bugaboo for the park because the tires are big and can be navigated easily. We also always pack tracking watches for the older kids. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve wandered off, and with crowds like those it’s easy to lose them. We have the GizmoPal2 which allows us to call the kids, they can call us, and we can see their location. It brings us peace of mind. Another important device is a backup charger, because if you are headed to the parks without a guide you are going to burn lots of battery using the Disney app to check out Wait Times, shows and Fastpasses.
And there you have it, a few ways to feel a little less stressed, therefore a little more stylish. Let us know if you have any specific questions!