Things I Learned at Disney

Things I Learned at Disney – October 2017

I just spent a long weekend at the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’. Some may think that for as many times as I have been to Disney surely I couldn’t experience anything new. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every time we go to Disney we always experience new things and learn new tips and tricks. Here are the things I learned on this trip to Walt Disney World:

    • Let’s start out with the big one. The hype on Flight of Passage doesn’t even do it justice. This ride far exceeds any expectations I had. For those who get motion sick I suggest trying to get seats 7-10. They are near the middle of the room on either side of the divider. If you do feel yourself starting to get sick just look to the side at the other riders. I found the ride fell somewhere between Soarin’ and Star Tours on the scale of motion sickness with it actually being closer to Soarin’.
    • Don’t let yourself be tied down to your FastPass+ selections. If you are doing something you enjoy it isn’t a sin to let your selection lapse. I know… I know… You absolutely positively must ride (fill in the attraction of your choice here). However, isn’t it more important that your family have fun and not feel rushed to the next thing. When you get home from your vacation don’t you want your kids remembering the fun and not that you had to run from Space Mountain to Big Thunder Mountain then to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin or that you had to hurry through lunch to make your Kali River Rapids time?
    • If you are staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village request a room close to the lobby. The furthest room away is .21 miles from the lobby. Why do I know the exact distance? Because we were in the furthest room from the lobby. That’s a long walk and a big time killer. (Make sure to add at least 5-10 minutes to your travel time just to get to the lobby.) On another note, if you’re traveling party includes anyone with mobility issues, consider renting an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV). The walk to the lobby alone is tiring enough and that’s before you even get in the parks.

Things I Learned at Disney

    • The transportation options available from Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Kidani Village are Disney Bus Transportation and private services such as taxis, Uber, Lyft and Lyft’s Minnie Van Service. Here is how you should make your decision on which option to use:
      • If you have no time constrains and your trip is directly to a theme park or Disney Springs take Disney Bus Transportation. It is free and takes you directly to the entrance.
      • If you want to get somewhere fast, take an Uber or Lyft. This is especially true if you are heading to a destination which doesn’t have direct service such as the Boardwalk area or another resort on Walt Disney World property as they can take you door-to-door without having to transfer buses.
      • If you are traveling to Magic Kingdom Park, Lyft’s Minnie Van service is the only private service which takes you directly to the theme park entrance as opposed to traditional Lyft and Uber which take you to the Ticket & Transportation Center and you will still have to cross the Seven Seas Lagoon adding at least 15 minutes to your trip.
      • If you want to get somewhere ASAP take a taxi which are typically already waiting in the resort porte-cochere. This alleviates the wait for a car to travel to your location for pick-up. However, again, taxis will only take you to Ticket & Transportation Center at Magic Kingdom Park
    • To get the ‘Minnie’ van option to show up on your Lyft app visit your My Disney Experience app WHILE your Lyft app is open, use an access code or talk to the greeters at your resort.

Things I Learned at Disney

    • When taking a Minnie Van chat with your driver. They are a wealth of information about the theme parks and can even impart a tip or two.
    • Nomad Lounge is a wonderful place to rest and have a snack when at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is located beside Tiffins near the Pandora section of the park. Not only do they offer a bar menu, they also offer selections from the Tiffins menu. Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure to check out Satu’li Canteen. The basic menu offers three meat option (grilled beef, grilled chicken and sustainable fish), four bases (quinoa & vegetable salad, red & sweet potato hash, mixed whole grain & rice and romaine & kale salad) and three sauces (charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette and creamy herb dressing). I had the chicken with the potato hash topped with the herb dressing. YUM!
    • A great time killer when waiting in a long queue line is the game Disney Heads Up and don’t be afraid to get those around you involved. After all, “we’re all in this together”.
    • During the fall season, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place four times per week. This means the new Magic Kingdom Park fireworks spectacular, Happily Ever After, only takes place three times per week. Be prepared for VERY heavy crowds on those nights. The night we visited was akin to visiting during a major holiday. I suggest arriving in the Central Hub at least 1 ½ hours prior to the show to get the best view. And pack your patience.

Things I Learned at Disney

  • During my trip I walked a total of 63,600 steps which equated to 25.8 miles in four days. This means I was averaging just under 16,000 steps a day. If I hadn’t prepared for this by dramatically ramping up my steps per day prior to my trip I would have never been able to sustain that amount of walking throughout my trip. At least eight weeks before your vacation start by walking at least 8,000 steps a day and ramp up to at least 15,000 before your trip. A FitBit is perfect to help you keep track of your progression.
  • Related to the above, foot care is essential. If your feet start hurting or you develop blisters the first day of your trip, it could ruin the rest of your vacation. Here are some tips to keep your feet happy:
    • DO NOT wear new shoes at Disney. Give yourself at least 2-3 weeks to break them in. This should equate to roughly 30-40 miles.
    • If possible, wear socks. Sock help wick moisture away from the skin reducing the likelihood of blisters. However, not just any sock will do. Try to wear the moisture wicking socks. And I know this goes without saying but wear a new (clean) pair of socks every day.
    • If wearing socks, sprinkle a little powder in them before putting them on. This will also help alleviate moisture.
    • Put blister pads, moleskin or Band-Aids in your day pack.
    • If your feet do hurt at the end of the day fill your bathtub with cold water and ice and soak your feet for 20 minutes or so.
    • If you are prone to edema bring compression socks to sleep in at night.

“Haven’t you done everything at Disney already?”, the answer to the question is always met with a resounding NO. There will always be new experiences, new lessons learned and new food to eat on each Disney vacation. I look forward to my next trip when I can also keep learning and experiencing.

Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She used to spend her time being team mom all of her daughter’s sports teams where she filled the roles of secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. Now that she her daughter has gone to college, if you can’t find her, check the closest corner where she is likely crawled up in a ball crying. Just kidding, she is now trying to find her new place in life all while keeping her love of Disney close to her heart. You can follow her on Twitter @MQPodcast.

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Things I Learned at Disney

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