A Few Tips for Doing Disney in the Summer & Otherwise

I’m having a hard time getting over vacation. While I’ve been fairly productive this week, I can’t seem to get my head out of Walt Disney World. It’s bad. I know. I wake up every day and I want a Pineapple Dole Whip. If you don’t know what that is, you want to. Well, except that you might then have my problem. It’s a soft serve like ice cream, but it’s dairy free. It doesn’t taste dairy free and my dairy loving husband with Wisconsin blood in his veins thought it was better than the soft serve ice cream he had from the same shop. You can get them from Aloha Isle in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, but I digress..

I did come back with a few WDW tips to share with you that are not related to Pineapple Dole Whips.

A. Avoid going in the summer. It’s brutally hot.

B. If you must go in the summer, like most, save some money and bring your own bottled water. We did this past time because we drove down and were able to load up the car. If you’re flying have some shipped to your resort ahead of time.

C. In relation to bringing your own water, pack a zip-loc bag and fill it with ice. Stick the bag of ice in the bag you take to the parks and place your water up against it, or if you have a back pack – place the bag of ice on the inside of the backpack so that it will be against your back and then the water on the opposite side of the bag of ice. This way you keep yourself and your water cooled. Of course, make sure that your other items inside of the bag will be protected from the condensation.

D. Get up early and stay up late. I know it sounds contradictory, but try to avoid the parks at midday. The heat seemed to peak between 2 and 3pm. Get up early, go to the park of your choice, and head back to the resort for pool time and nap time around 11am. Then once you wake up from your afternoon snooze, head back out to a park.

E. Extra magic hours can be a great way to spend more time in the parks, however they are quite often the most crowded times to be in those parks. For a  more relaxed way to spend the morning, or evening, try going to a park that had the extra magic hours the day before. It’ll be way less crowded.

F. If you want to take the advice on getting up early to hit the parks, but don’t want to deal with the extra magic hours morning crowd, try booking a breakfast inside of one of the parks for a time before the parks open. It’s no problem to get in for your early reservation, as there is a special entrance line and if you stay on property the buses will be up and running plenty early. It’s also a great way to get pictures of the parks with minimal crowds. Main Street is a whole new experience when you take a stroll at 7:30a.m. (and it’s totally worth getting up early for!)

G. Budgeting for those special breakfasts. The breakfast buffets run about $18.99/adult and around $10.99 for the kids aged 3-9, so for most of us it’s not something we can do everyday, unless we’ve carefully budgeted for it ahead of time. However, it is definitely worth doing at least once. I recommend the one at Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, which includes visits with Pooh Bear and friends. The princess breakfast at Akershus in Epcot is a great way for your princess to meet her favorites, but it’s nearly double the cost. Of course having a large breakast means that lunch can be lite (trust me you won’t want to eat a ton in the high humidity of the afternoon), and then dinner at counter service is pretty reasonable and there are wide variety of choices across the parks. I’d recommend Columbia Harbour House at Magic Kingdom, Flametree BBQ at Animal Kingdom, and ANYWHERE at Epcot!

H.  If you’ve never considered the dining plan, but really enjoy eating – a lot – like me- then consider that. We were at Disney for a week and spent approx. $200 less than we would have with the dining plan, and that was with my husband and I sharing a few counter service meals, eating in the room a couple times from our picnic basket, and only doing table service twice. We did free dining last September and loved it. If you can go at the end of August – December, there are special Free Dining packages available.  The basic dining plan includes one snack, one counter service, and one table service per person per day. Snacks range from popcorn, to muffins, to bottled water, to coffee, to oh so many choices (like pineapple Dole whips!) Counter service and table service include drink, entree, dessert, sides (cs).

I. Have some Kaki Gori (shaved ice) in the Japan section of World Showcase, at Epcot. Seriously, just do it.

J. A bucket of popcorn is only about a dollar more than the standard size. Think of it this way, you get more popcorn and a souvenir for only a buck.

Okay, so mostly that was a list of tips related to beating the heat and enjoying some food. My next Disney post will be in relation to souvenirs. So stay tuned!

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