60 Things To Know Before You Go to Disney World

HEY HEY!  Long time no see!
I've literally been working on this entry for months.  MONTHS!
Remember that entry I wrote a while back about all the things we could do for the same price as going to Disney?
 I'm pretty sure Dave owes me :)

1.  Don't ever go to Disney in June.  Way too hot and too many people.
2.  Get a seated spot for the fireworks at MK EARLY and don't give it up.  You'll see the electric light parade (which is cute and I'm sure would be quite awkward if high on anything), then you'll turn to face the castle for Celebrate the Magic...an artistic display done entirely on the castle....really neat.  And then the fireworks over the castle.  Fireworks just aren't the same after seeing them at Disney World.
3.  You can bring your own food and beverages into the parks.  It's $3-4 per bottle of water (or 1 snack on the dining plan) on Disney property...start your day off with as many bottles as possible.  Refill them at all the parks but MK, that water is nasty.
4.  Save the most exciting, MK, for last if you want to avoid hearing your child pitch a fit that there aren't enough rides at the other parks.  I might add, we learned this lesson the hard way.
5.  When going on Mission:Space at Epcot, go for gold and do the orange mission.  You won't regret it.  Even kids can handle it.  If you get claustrophobic, however, skip this one.
6.  The Frozen ride is nice, but not worth the wait (can be upwards of 5 hours).  Maybe you'll get lucky like we did and get in line right after it opens from being temporarily closed.  PS:  This one closes a lot.
7.  USE YOUR FAST PASSES!! And once you've used your 3 for the day, sign up for more (one at a time).  PS:  You can't sign up for more until you've used your third, so plan all 3 of your initial fast passes for the morning.
8.  DINOSAUR is cool, but can definitely be scary for little kids.  It's not a MUST SEE, so don't feel bad if you've got to skip it.
9.  Soarin' at Epcot is hands-down the neatest thing ever!  Make time for this one, for sure!
10.  Expedition Everest in AK was my second favorite roller coaster.  If you sit in the VERY front, there's a part where you feel like you're not going to stop and you can see clear across the property to Hollywood Studios!  We got off this ride and Aria wanted to immediately get back in line...so we did.  PS:  Pay attention to the monitors at the end of the line...you just might see your name!

"Act like a yeti!"
11.  You don't get that wet on Splash Mountain no matter where you sit...I'm pretty sure we were dry in less than 10 minutes.  Without a fast pass, its an incredibly long and hot wait...almost the entire line is outside.  This was one of Aria's favorites...I don't know how many times we went on this one.

Splash Mountain....a family fave :)
12.  If you've got kids, skip The Great Movie Ride at HS.  They won't know most of the movies and will get scared when your car is taken over and then later an alien pops out of the ceiling.  To be honest, as an adult, it was pretty lame...I didn't know most of the movies, either.
13.  Haunted Mansion at MK was cute, but not so cute if you can't convince your kid that the ghosts are pretend and not scary.  And how DID that ghost at the end know we were from Georgia?!
14.  It's A Small World....yeah, you really can't skip that one...it's a classic.  Everybody hates it, but goes on it anyway.  You just have to.
15.  The Jungle Cruise at MK is a bit outdated and looks like some of the animatronic animals need to be redone.  The "cruise director" was funny though.
16.  Kali River Rapids at AK is REALLY short and the soaking that you get is entirely random.  It's about being in the right/wrong seat at the right/wrong time.
17.  Absolutely do the Kilimanjaro Safari at AK.  They were far away and laying down, but I got to see a real live cheetah!  Plus you can see rhinos wallowing in the mud and hippos swimming.  Don't let the rain discourage you if it's raining...the animals are just as active during the rain.
18.  It may sound odd, but Living with the Land in Epcot was actually really nice and even Aria enjoyed it.  It's a good way to cool off on a hot day as the whole thing is inside.  The "boat" takes you through the invention of agriculture, and then you get to see the Epcot greenhouse and hear about all the food they grow and the research they do.  It's really neat and is a good 10-15 break from the heat!
19.  The Magic Carpets of Aladdin were my favorite spinny ride (like Dumbo)...they moved up and down faster than the rest and were a bit more roomy (2 adults could fit in one) than the other spinny rides.
20.  Definitely make time for the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor!  It's improv comedy and is actually really funny.  You can even submit a joke via text to be used in the show...and Aria's joke was picked!
21.  Peter Pan's Flight at MK is really neat and might actually be worth the wait.  Some lady here was complaining about how many Fast Pass riders they let through vs. how many regular riders they let through...and then she got out of line.  Idiot.

The ONLY character she wanted to meet
22.  Pirates of the Caribbean at MK...I gotta say, I wasn't impressed.  The statues looked really old.  I know they redid this ride after the Johnny Depp movies came out, but the statues still looked old and worn down.  I would have liked to see a few more Captain Jack Sparrow statues.
23.  If you've got kids that just meet the height requirements for almost all of the other rides, avoid the DinoLand area of Animal Kingdom all together.  The roller coaster in there has a requirement of 48", and it looks WAY less dangerous than any of the other coasters....and your child will pitch the most epic fit imaginable when they tell her that she's not tall enough (in a very rude manner, I might add...probably the rudest cast members we encountered the whole time).  Plus, all the cool games in here you have to pay extra for, too.  Just skip it.
24.  Flame Tree BBQ that everyone talks so much about at AK...it's not that great.  The dessert is good, but the BBQ isn't anything to write home about.  And it's tough to get to the seating areas if you have a stroller.  Oh, and there's no lids for the drinks, so you have to walk a good 50 feet (or more) over rocky terrain with a million people around you carrying a tray with full drinks and no lids.
25.  Rock N' Roller Coaster at HS was by far my favorite ride!  It's so dark you have no idea when you're going upside down, unless you're paying attention to the signs that tell you what's going on.  It's dark, it's fast, it's loud (with music), it's wonderful!  Dave's hat actually flew off on take-off and surprisingly landed in the car just behind us.  He now calls it his lucky hat.  PS:  The cast member here was really nice and gave us 5 additional fast passes (paper passes) because Aria was too small to ride.
26.  The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot is an aquarium adventure that's pretty nice as it drops you at the end of an aquarium that you can walk through and see all kinds of things from fish to coral to turtles and sharks.  They've got smaller tanks where you can see really neat things like frogfish and sea horses.  There's also a little playground where you can get your picture taken in Bruce the Shark's mouth.

27.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (yes, it's actually spelled 'Dwarfs') at MK was tons of fun and definitely worth the wait...but it's a HOT wait as the majority of the line is outside.  Aria loved this one, too!

That smile was present on EVERY roller coaster!
28.  There's not many places to sit at DisneyWorld....they are definitely anti-bench.  So if you're looking for a rest for your feet, find a show or something to sit down at as benches are few and far between.
29.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was probably Aria's favorite ride.  We rode in the front, the back, the middle, and probably everywhere else on that ride.  Every day, she asked "Can we go back and ride Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain?" (That's when we knew the park hoppers were worth the additional cost).
30.  We skipped Space Mountain because you sit by yourself, so nobody would be able to ride with Aria, and she was not having that.
31.  We did Spaceship Earth....mostly because it was on the way out, there was no line, and Aria said "what's in there?"  It's definitely old, but it's informative and kind of cool.
32.  If you're even a little bit of a fan of Star Wars, you've got to do Star Wars: The Adventures Continue.  You get to see C3PO and R2D2 while waiting in line and there's all kinds of Starwars stuff all over the place.  It's a 4D ride, but the 3D part was done so well that it didn't give me a headache like most stuff does.  It has a BUNCH of different stories, so theoretically each time you ride it should be different.  It was a lot of fun, but it was WAY too short.  And the StarWars store you walk through on your way out is WAY too small and too crowded and I got REALLY anxious in there!
33.  Stitch's Great Escape kind of sucked.  It was neat that he burped and the air started to stink, but the harness that comes over your shoulders kept hopping up and down and there's no padding on it, so I ended up with bruised shoulders.
34.  TestTrack at Epcot is SOOOOO not worth the wait!  That was the longest, slowest-moving line of all.  You only get 2 minutes for your party to create one vehicle, the ride part itself is very jostling.  The only really awesome part is when your "car" goes on the speed track outside the building for the speed test...you go REALLY fast....but then it comes to a quick complete stop, thereby slamming your knees into the cart.  I got off the ride in tears, it was so embarrassing, and I had bruises on my knees for days after that.  PS:  You can actually go into the ride from the back side and each person in your party can create a vehicle to be used on the ride...but then you still have to stand in that long ass line to actually experience the ride.
35.  TomorrowLand Speedway at MK was a huge let down.  First of all, the line is ridiculous.  And it's not even a real go-kart track!  Your car is meant to follow a rail...like a slot car.  And the steering is so awful that you'll spend the whole time bouncing back and forth from one side to the other.  I hated it and could have definitely not wasted my time on it.  Aria, on the other hand, had a blast.
36.  ToyStory Mania is a cute little arcade game style ride at Hollywood Studios.  Aria struggled with it, but she was able to make a few shots.  She had a good time on that ride.  It's fun for adults, too.
37.  Tower of Terror...oh my god.  Worst experience ever!! I felt OK going into it...I've been on similar rides that take you the top of a tall pole and then drop you.  But this was a whole different level.  There was NOTHING to hold on to and only a small lapbelt holding you in place!!  That can't POSSIBLY be safe!  I was sitting on the end of the row, so I found a spot for my hand to curl under my seat, but then I had my other arm wrapped under Aria's leg so I could hold on to her, too.  I had to apologize for squeezing her leg too tight.  Then it goes pitch black, and drops you...but I feel like it's more than a drop...I feel like it was an accelerated drop, like a push.  We went way too fast.  Then it raises you back up and does it again, over and over and over.  One time, it opens the doors at the top so you can see all of HS and then drops you with the doors still open.  Aria and I couldn't get off this ride fast enough.  This ride could burn to the ground and I'd be fine.

Oh man...that look of terror on my face AND Aria's face!
38.  The Enchanted Tiki Room at MK is stupid, but is a nice place to sit down and cool off for a minute.
39.  Country Bear Jamboree:  see above.
40.  Festival of the Lion King was really really good!  And 5 kids from each section get to participate, and Aria got chosen!  She was hesitant at first, but was glad she did it.
41.  Finding Nemo the Musical was also great!  Definitely do this if you or your child is a fan!
42.  Skip For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Singalong...they don't do all the songs, they don't do the WHOLE songs, and you only get to see the characters briefly.
43.  The Indiana Jones Stunt Show is an OUTSIDE event, FYI...but it's really neat.  I'd say definitely a must-see.
44.  Do the Magic Hours on a night that you haven't already been in the park since 730 AM...you'll be MORE than exhausted!
45.  You can pretty much do ANYTHING you want while on Disney property.  The cast members are trained not to be confrontational and won't argue with you.  So if the security guard at night tells you that you can't bring the stroller over to the bus stations, and you say "the lady at the stroller depot said I could", they'll look at you and say "OK, have a nice night!"
46.  All the little girls are called "princess" by every cast member, at every park.  It's adorable!
47.  Don't waste your money on the princess breakfast in Norway in lieu of Cinderella's Castle.  It's SOOOOOOO not worth the price.  You get a small buffet with some cheese and pastries on it, one plate of sausage, eggs, and potato casserole brought to the table to share, and you have to ask the servers when the princesses will be walking around because you've been sitting there for half an hour and there's not a princess in sight...only to be told "they're taking their breakfast break."  If you're going to spend the money on it, go for gold and do Cinderella's castle.
48.  The Disney Jr. Play and Dine lunch at Hollywood Studios is worth the price,  You'll get to meet Doc McStuffins, Jake, Sofia, and Handy Manny.  And the food is really good and definitely worth the price.
49.  As far as quick service meals go, our best one in the parks, in my opinion, was at Pinnochio Village Haus in MK.  It had something different from your standard burgers/chicken/sandwiches.  The portions were large, the chocolate cake was good, and it's a place where your kid can get the pizza she's been asking about for days.  I definitely recommend this one.
50.  Speaking of food, if you're staying at Art of Animation, don't waste your time on the steak sandwich...it's nasty.  Do, however, get the create-your-own pasta or create-your-own salad.  Most bang for your buck!  And the chocolate tart is spectacular (if you like dark chocolate, that is).
51.  A smoked turkey leg from the snack cart in MK will count as a "meal", but its big enough for several people to eat off of as a snack between meals.  PS:  It's GOOD and tastes like smoked pork!

Tearin' up that turkey leg!
52.  If your child doesn't seem really excited about meeting the characters, don't waste your time on this.  She waved to a few from afar, but really only wanted to stand in line to meet Pluto.  She was excited about the princesses at breakfast and the Disney Jr. friends at lunch, but she didn't beg to meet anybody else.  I do wish we would have been able to meet Tiana...that's her favorite princess.
53.  When making your hotel reservations call the hotel and see if they can tell you which number bus stop their resort is usually at.  Because it's a huge beat down to have to walk to the FARTHEST bus stop at every park to get on your bus.  You're already extremely hot and worn out, your feet are already 2 days passed done, and you still have to walk another half-mile to your bus stop.  Oh, and there's no benches there, either!!
54.  When at Disney Springs and you've got a hankering for a burger, go to D-Luxe Burger.  If you've got the dining plan, it's actually a quick-service restaurant.  The burger is huge and phenomenal!  The fries are less than desirable, but you've had a huge burger and don't need tons of fries anyway.
55.  When planning your fast passes, try to get them close by.  It sucks having to walk all over the park, back and forth, to get to your fastpasses in time.
56.  If for some horrible reason you do have to go DisneyWorld in the middle of the effing summer, don't feel so bad about smelling funky...there are literally 2 trillion people there at that exact moment who smell just as funky as you.  Everybody's got swampass going on and everybody stinks.  It's not just you :)
57.  Even though you're almost certain that your child is too old or too big for a stroller, go ahead and get one.  Because at least that's one less thing for the kid to whine about.
58.  There's no need to buy more than one souvenir per person (for the whole trip, not just per day).  Don't spend $1,000 on souvenirs.  Just don't.
59.  If your child doesn't like being in pictures, don't expect Disney to be any different.

Most of our pictures of Aria turned out like this
60.  You WILL need a vacation after a week-long trip to Disney.  Just go ahead and schedule it.

BONUS TIP:  Once you have your trip narrowed down to at least what year you will be heading to Disney in, go ahead and purchase THIS BOOK RIGHT HERE!  It has literally EVERYTHING you need to know about the entire Disney World property and lots of tips and tricks all throughout it.  This book seriously became my Disney bible and I strongly recommend it to anybody planning a vacay to this hell-hole! Thanks again to my mother-in-law for suggesting the book!

We'll go back again one day.  We will probably skip Hollywood Studios and go to one of the water parks instead.

Of course, our Disney trip would have occurred in May had I not landed myself in the hospital THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE.  I know I said I didn't want to go to Disney...but I didn't want to go in the hospital, either.  Thanks to that, I'm only 31 and have already had my first colonoscopy. Yay for me!

And for good measure...this is my FAVORITE picture of mom on a roller coaster :)  
She doesn't like roller coasters...obviously!