PHOTO: Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire show at Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista FL. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)
Guests visiting Disney theme parks in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida are in for one thrill after another thanks to beloved nighttime spectaculars, immersive attractions and entertainment offers that amp up the fun at what is already considered the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
By following a few simple tips, however, the fun factor can be increased, making a Disney vacation even more enjoyable.
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Best Times To Visit
Naturally, Disney parks are more crowded when school is out of session but less crowded when kids are in school. T
hat said, some of the preferred times to travel are after Labor Day Weekend into early October; mid-January following Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to Presidents’ Day in February; and mid-April through mid-May, sandwiched between Spring Break and Memorial Day Weekend.
The weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas are also typically less crowded.
Download The Official App
The Official Disneyland App and Walt Disney World App are great resources, providing useful information right at your fingertips: maps, attraction wait times, FastPass return times, entertainment guides and other special features.
You can also use the app to purchase tickets, locate character appearances throughout the park and find park hours.
Order The Disney Vacation Planning DVD
Preview the magical experiences awaiting you, your family and friends with a library of informative videos. To order a Disney Vacation Planning DVD, visit http://www.DisneyPlanning.com.
READ MORE What to See and Do First at Disney World
Make Dining Reservations Before Arriving
To maximize vacation time, make dining reservations in advance online at Disneyland or at Walt Disney World for the resorts' award-winning restaurants.
In Anaheim, special dining packages cover a full-course meal and reserved viewing for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland and “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure.
Stay In The Magic
Guests staying at any Disney Resort hotel may enjoy Extra Magic Hour entry into parks one hour prior to public opening. This perk is offered for the entire length of a guest stay, with designated days for each park.
To check availability, daily times and additional information, visit the Anaheim and Orlando websites, then click on “Park Hours.” Note that valid theme park admission and active hotel room key are required.
Reserve Larger Bookings With Ease
Disney park hotels welcome multi-generational travelers and large parties via larger suites handling up to six or eight. As a bonus, some connect to adjacent suites for accommodating even more Disney enthusiasts traveling together.
Get Great Value When Booking Online
By booking online, guests can find multiple-day tickets and vacation packages at Disney resort hotels or at nearby Good Neighbor hotels. Visit the “Offers” link on Disney’s Anaheim and Orlando park websites.
Disney FastPass Service
FastPass allows you to maximize your time in the park by reserving a specific window to enjoy your favorite attractions. When you return at the designated time, you’ll be privy to a shorter line reserved exclusively for FastPass holders.
Pick up FastPass tickets early for your favorite park attractions that are likely big hits with other visitors as well. Details are available at disneyworld.disney.go.com/fastpass-plus and disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/fastpass.
Smile With Disney PhotoPass Service
Located at character, dining and special locations throughout the parks, PhotoPass photographers ensure that everyone gets to say “cheese.” Guests may link, view and purchase photos on the park websites or directly from the theme park apps. Details are available at disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/photo-pass-service and disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/photo-pass-service.
Enjoy Parent Rider Switch
If a child fails to meet the minimum height requirement or a guest doesn’t want to board a particular attraction, it’s no problem. With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider (or riders) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. Upon returning, that adult can supervise the non-riding guests, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to stand in the regular line again.
Rider Switch is available at select attractions in both Anaheim and Orlando theme parks.
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Thrill To Character Dining
At select locations, a cast of Disney characters will visit guests as they dine. Meet Disney Jr. Characters during breakfast and lunch buffets, or Minnie and friends as they host buffet dinner parties all year long.
For reservations, call 714-781-DINE (Anaheim theme parks) or 407-939-DINE (Orlando theme parks) up to 180 days prior to your visit. Be sure to make certain the date of your visit includes the specific Character Dining event you wish to attend. Also remember that many eateries offer special kids menus.
Tap Into Healthy Dining Options
While decadent treats are always part of the Disney fun, families can also select nutritious snacks such as trail mix, nuts and fresh fruit from outdoor carts. Kids meals come with fruits or vegetables on the side, along with juice, water or low-fat milk. For indulgences, fries and sodas are available upon request at no additional cost.
Look for the Mickey Check symbol on menus, indicating the best nutritional choices for children.