Podcast Episode 116: Things To Know Before You Go

Whether it’s your first visit or your 50th visit to Walt Disney World, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks we think you should know before you go.  We talk about tickets, dining, park touring tips, FastPass, and more!

Happy listening!

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How to Allocate Park Days at Walt Disney World

Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World is very subjective because each family will have their favorites.  Family dynamics and ages are going to vary.  As travel planners we all get asked by our clients, how to allocate the number of park days over your vacation.  Granted having a Park Hopper ticket option will help you get to all the parks, but you have to factor in travel time from park to park and see if it is worth it to park hop.  A Park Hopper ticket option allows you to visit more than one park a day.  If you are short on time this might be a good options.  It is also a great option for couples and solo travelers.

Here is a breakdown of how I would use my days at Walt Disney World.

1 day ticket: (I know the horror!) but you will have to choose ahead of time if it will be at Magic Kingdom or Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom because the pricing is slightly different.  But this is a no-brainer for me: Magic Kingdom

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2 day ticket:  Magic Kingdom & Epcot.  Unless you have a person who is into Star Wars than I would suggest Hollywood Studios.  But with Magic Kingdom and Epcot having the most attractions these will give you the most bang for your buck.

3 day ticket: Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  Sure you may prefer to hit up Animal Kingdom but I feel that Hollywood Studios still has more to experience on a short trip.

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4 day ticket:  Visit each park one time for first time visitors.  If you have been before or aren’t interested in Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom I would suggest 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 at Epcot and then 1 and either Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.

5 day tickets: With 5 days I would check out Magic Kingdom twice and all of the other parks once.  I believe this a fairly common arrangement for many people taking a 5 day vacation and it gives you plenty of time in Magic Kingdom plus a visit to each other park.

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6 day tickets: Magic Kingdom and Epcot twice with a single day spent at both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

7 day tickets: Here is where it gets tricky.  I would go with 3 days at Magic Kingdom (taking it easy), 2 at Epcot and again 1 at both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom

8 day tickets: You could visit each park twice, or go to Magic Kingdom 3 times, Hollywood Studios and Epcot twice and Animal Kingdom once.

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9 day tickets: Magic Kingdom and Epcot 3 times each, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom get the rest so I would probably go with 2 Hollywood Studios days and 1 Animal Kingdom day.

10 day tickets: So many days to use up here!  Magic Kingdom, and Epcot 3 times each, then Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom twice.  What a fun vacation that would be!

You may find having the Park Hopper is also a great advantage especially with longer trips.  You may want to pop over to Animal Kingdom in the morning and then finish the evening with fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  And of course if the weather isn’t cooperating a Park Hopper is really handy.

Do take into consideration when planning your park days special events like hard ticket parties, events like a runDisney race.  Or if it is near a holiday or school break the parks can get very crowded so it is important to look ahead for what is going on at Walt Disney World before planning your park days.  And of course a great travel agent can help you with this!

Do you have a favorite combination of parks to visit on a vacation?  We would love to hear it!

Jillian’s DCL Trip Report- Day 4

After going strong for a few days we slept in this morning.  And dear reader, please forgive me I didn’t take many pictures today. Plus with it being a sea day we knew we had nowhere to be. Breakfast as at Beach Blanket Buffet with your typical buffet food: eggs, Mickey waffles, bacon, sausage, donuts, yogurt, cereal. I personally loved the corned beef hash and chocolate croissants with lots of fresh fruit and coffee.

As usual Petra was back to the kids club and I opted to do “Disney’s Innovations: Theme Parks”. This was put on by Briana who talked about things in Disney Parks that were completely innovative at the time. They were things like a single entry point, hub and spoke set up, single ticket and others. The room was filled by your classic Disney nerds, people like me who are always wanting to learn more about the interesting history of Disney. We were able to ask the Cast Member questions after and I talked to some other guests who were cast members at Walt Disney World.

Next I dragged my family to Wonder Quest. This is an interactive scavenger hunt where your group is given a number and the first person to bring the Cast Member the item he is asking for gets 3 points, the next 2 and everyone else before time is up gets 1. This was a lot of fun even if we didn’t win.

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By this time it was getting close to lunch and so we had Beach Blanket Buffet again then did some more swimming. Do you see a pattern? My daughter pretty much adored going to the kids clubs and swimming! So after our swim we got an appointment for her to have her hair braided and she was ready to go back to the kids club.

With her off doing her own thing it was time for me to check out the “Art of the Theme Show Tour”. We started in Palo and were lead by Mark around the ship taking in all the little details. If you want to know more about the ship you are on like the style, little details or lesser known thing I would suggest you take a similar tour. The ships are a lot like the parks where you have to look up and down and all around and you might be pleasantly surprised at the little things you see that others miss. Mark was very knowledgeable about Disney and I really enjoyed talking to him. While I did this my husband signed up for a beer tasting class. The cost was $15 and it included a very nice cup to take home with you. We both finished up and it was time to get Petra and get her to Deck 9 for her hair braiding appointment. If you have never had it done before, my 5 year old says it does hurt a bit, but she loves the outcome so she suffers through. I believe it was a few dollars per braid.IMG_0814

This was our formal night and were had dinner at Triton’s. So we all went back to get dressed up! We thought ahead and decided to use our dress clothes for our formal dinner and then hang them back up to wear again for our Palo night. This saved us having to pack two nice outfits when we were just wearing them for a total of 4 hours. For dinner I had the breaded and baked brie, farmhouse salad, duck comfit and a dessert trio. Petra had macaroni and cheese (she is a creature of habit!) and a Mickey bar. Chelsey had shrimp, duck comfit, and a chocolate mousse. And I will tell you it was delicious! It was probably one of my favorite meals for the trip.

Per usual Petra was ready to go back to the kids club and off she went. We decided to take a break in the Cadillac Lounge for Music and Martinis with Tom Moss. We did indeed have martinis and listened to some amazing piano music. He played a combination of Christmas and pop music and we enjoyed relaxing a bit. Soon it was time to get Petra though because tonight was the first night she was going to see a show!


We topped off our night with “The Golden Mickey’s”. This is an “awards” show that a backstage cast member takes on even though she doesn’t want to. It was a cute show about conquering your fears but done in the amazing Disney way. Plus you get to see your classic characters throughout the show.

Tomorrow was another exciting day, Castaway Cay and Palo were on deck! Would they live up to my expectations?