* Go from late Sept. to Early Nov. The temp is great! the lines are shorter! It’s the Food and Wine festival at Epcot and Halloween decorations are up!
*If you aren’t staying at Bonnet Creek, stay on the property. It’s worth the extra money to be at a Disney Resort because the buses run constantly, the things you buy can be delivered to your room so you don’t have to lug it around all day, you get extended time at the parks, and the added experience of character sightings at some hotels.
*Don’t waste your money on MGM studios. It only has two cool rides, and small kids can’t even ride them. Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith roller coaster. There is a lame car stunt show, hot ride while you see some movie tricks, a SUPER terrible star wars ride where you sit in a box that giggles while you watch a screen- kinda like those old things in the mall and at mid-America museum. If you decide to get a park hopper pass- go ahead and go so you can see for yourself- but I think two days at Epcot would be time better spent.
* Epcot- how I love you! You need a plan of attack for all the parks. Here is my advice- you can kinda cut Epcot in half- the second half of the park is the showcase of the world or whatever they call it. SKIP SPACESHIP EARTH the ride in the ball!!!! The 1st half of the park has two highly popular rides and you need to make a b line for one of the two as soon as you enter the park ( which better be as soon as it opens). Soarin is an amazing ride that makes you feel like you are para sailing ( if you are afraid of heights beware.) and Test Track, which is a ride that mocks crash test dummies. Both of these have age/ height requirements.
By Soarin, is the aquarium and Nemo ride. Super cute ride, and a good chance to see lots of fish and manatees and such. There is also the Hunny I shrunk the Audience show. 3d fun with some surprises.
Another older kid/adult ride is Mission Space- it can make people sick!
The second half contains the countries and you should def wait to eat lunch there. You can start with Mexico or Canada and work you way around. YOU MUST WEAR COMFY SHOES FOR EPCOT. It is the biggest park. Also, don’t wear underwear that can chafe. There will be a ton of female characters to see in the world. Mulan in China, Belle in France, Marry Poppins in England, etc. They will offer to take your pics, put them on a website for you to order. This is easy, but their prices are steep!!! There are some movies about the countries- but unless you need out of the heat- skip them. BORING!
You will need to make dinner reservations several months ahead if you want one of the popular restaurants there like the French steakhouse or the Japanese sushi/hibachi place. Make sure to drink your way around the world. Margaritas, beer, sake, champagne, beer, it’s amazing! It is delish, and the frozen cocktails in France are addictive.
Stay for the fireworks! They are amazing.
* Animal Kingdom- the newest park and sorta coolest! Again, get there as it opens. Watch the cute parade with safari clad Mickey, then RUN to the safari ride. There is always a line. Then RUN to the rapids for a fast pass, then get in line for Mt. Everest.
A fast pass is great. You stick your park ticket in, and it gives you a ticket with a return time on it. When you show up at that time, you get in the fast pass line, not the slow poke line. It’s WAY shorter, and you get to break in front of people who have been waiting an hour. You can only get one at a time. So you get a fast pass, wait in line for another ride, and when it’s over, use your fast pass.
Mt. Everest is a great roller coaster!. The kalisomething rapids will get you soaking wet. Now that you have crammed in the three most popular rides, you have the entire day to go slow and enjoy everything. There is a train that takes you to Rafiki’s planet- where you learn about conservation. We saw a gorilla get an exam there once. There is basically a zoo with bats, tigers, lions, and cool animals. There is a Nemo play, DinoLand with some cool rides for all ages, including Primeval Whirl- a fast ride for older kids and adults. In the Tree of life is a 3d Bug’s life movie. Camp Minnie Mickey has a great live Lion King show.
* Magic Kingdom used to be my least fav, but I have become a convert. Can I get an AMEN? I love the rides- and again, you should run straight to the one you want to ride the most. Brent and I always do Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and then take our time wandering around. I love the Haunted Mansion- which I think you can fast pass. I love the Peter Pan ride, the Swiss Family tree house, Pirates of the Caribbean. There is a fun Buzz Light year ride, a train, Huck Fin’s island, a paddle boat ride, a huge spitting camel, and tons of great food. There is also a small building at the entrance where they have Disney fire department stuff. There are silhouette cutters- and you know I love silhouettes. Magic Kingdom also has a whole area for the super young- Micky’s toontown. Magic Kingdom is definitely the most magical of all the parks. Its has a huge parade at night that I have oddly never stayed for. I’ve always gone to the third day in Orlando so I’m always exhausted and ready for bed by 7. I’ll plan better next time.
* take snacks in a backpack. You won’t want to drag a purse around all day, but there is no rule against this. Cokes and snacks and meals all add up, and are kinda expensive day after day.
* there is a grocery store close to property called Publix. I want one here. It’s bright and open and nice and the publix knock off brand has a great simple label and it tastes good too. When staying at a condo- we have always rented a car and gone there first thing to get groceries for the week.
Enjoy your trip- don’t check your work email, argue with your spouse, or call home a bunch. You’re on vacation at the place where you are supposed to act like a kid.