JANUARY NEWSLETTER 2019
My First Big Disney Planning Trip circa 2002
2002 seems so long ago, and certainly in a galaxy far, far away. The amount I have learned about touring Disney, on top of the changes that Disney has made since 2002 is quite substantial – and I’m eager to share with you my experiences prior to knowing all I know about Disney.
Let’s set the stage back to 2002 – the travel party was me, my husband, my brother, his wife, and their two sons – ages 5 and 8. We were staying off site at our timeshare and had a rental car for transportation. Fortunately, it was less than a mile to any of the Disney parks but still, it involves getting people moving in the morning, paying for parking, and then taking the tram to the park entrance.
In 2002 I did not know that Fastpass even existed and certainly did not know how to use it. The result? Standing in line for long, long periods of time. Did I mention this trip took place during Spring break? Yikes! Today, park goers have access to electronic Fastpasses. The electronic Fastpasses allow you to choose your selections prior to even arriving at the parks, as well as the extra ones that you can get after you use those initial three. Now, you get your next 4th Fastpass as soon as your 3rd is used and then the 5th and so on – so convenient.
In 2002, if we wanted to know a wait time, we had to send someone across the park to check the wait time or check the one main board in the park (I don’t think I even knew about that board then!). Now, I just pull out my phone and check the My Disney Experience App. I can also find the nearest restroom using the app – perfect when traveling with youngsters!
Thank you, Disney, for the My Disney experience Account and App. This App has made HUGE changes to the way people tour the parks, order their food and carry a map, just to name a few things.
Today, you can even order food at the quick service restaurants using your My Disney Experience App. You must be logged in and have a credit card on file, they will charge directly to this card. Being able to order food through the app will save you time waiting in line to order and you get a special line to pick up your food as well. Back in 2002, we would wait forever in line to get a quick service/counter service meal and then try to find a table for all 6 of us. I did not put this in the fun category.
Back in 2002, we did not arrive at rope drop – so much time lost and wasted back then. Now, I know a little less sleep in the morning or an earlier night helps to be there for the all-important rope drop for the parks. Also, back in 2002, all the parks had a special pre-park opening show and they were great to see!
Back in 2002, we were entering the parks when most of the other park-goers were arriving as well. Again, more time wasted standing in line trying to get in. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can accomplish the first 90 minutes of the day when you are there for rope drop.
Don’t even get me started on the all-important Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR). In 2002 I didn’t even know what these were or how to make them. I thought we could arrive at any restaurant and maybe wait 15 minutes and get a table – this was certainly not the case. I got tired of being turned away and got very frustrated. Now I know you can make your Advanced Dining Reservations 180 days out from your arrival to Disney or 180 days out from date of dining if you’re staying off-site. Not only that, you can make online ADR at 6 AM and phone reservations at 7 AM (again, use your My Disney Experience Account and do it online!).
1. Staying on site has some perks, one is not having to worry about parking
2. Maximize your fastpasses
3. Know how to use your My Disney Experience App and what it includes
4. Rope Drop, do it!
5. Advance Dining reservations at 180 days
It is also important to keep in mind that the number of people going to Disney every year continues to climb. This means more people in the park at the same time as you. All those people want to go on the same great rides and eat at the same great restaurants as you, which is why it is more important than even to have a game plan for your day in the park, not a schedule – a plan.
The fun part of Disney is that they are always adding new rides, attractions, shows, lands and restaurants! You want to keep going back to check them out. I guarantee if you have not been in the last 3-4 years it is a whole new world there in so many ways. But as always, it is a wonderful world – it is Disney World!
Have a magical day and remember, I am here to help you plan your magical memories trip to Disney!
I am a Disney park veteran, and I’ve made it my passion and my career to help other people and their families experience the magic of Disney at its full potential. This is just one of the many topics that I can help you with when it comes to making your trip to Disney the great vacation you always hoped for. I take care of most aspects of planning your Disney trip, from making your dinner reservations and organizing FastPasses to comprehensive Disney App training and planning your entire park days, plus much more.
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Thank you for taking the time to read! If you have a topic you would like more information on, or any feedback for me, please let me know.