For those who survived the first set of tips, here’s the second helping!
6. Plan your theme park visits. It is of course possible to get a map of any of the four theme parks when you arrive there and just go for it. Equally, and slightly better, you could pick up such a map from your hotel concierge the night before you plan to go and study it over dinner. In my view if you adopt either of these options you will seriously devalue your visit. We used Brit Guide’s “Orlando and Walt Disney World” published by Foulsham and priced at £14.99 ( http://www.britguideorlando.net ) by Simon and Susan Veness. It told us everything we needed to know and helped us maximise the enjoyment of our visits. I would recommend it to anyone who is considering a trip.
7. Consider carefully if you need to visit anywhere else. There are other attractions close to WDW. We chose to get tickets to Universal’s Film Studios and Island of Adventure. If you don’t have a hire car, trips off the WDW complex can prove expensive. We were advised that catching a taxi would be the cheapest way for us to travel to Universal and the four journeys (there and back twice) cost us $140 (nearly £100). Given that the tickets also cost £400 it is an expensive excursion considering there is plenty to occupy even the most active and adventurous family within WDW itself for the full two weeks. The big attraction of Universal, for those who don’t know, is the “Harry Potter Experience“. It is a pleasing ride and if your children are fans of the books and films I’m sure you will get a lot of pressure to go there. However given the cost of getting there and the cost of the park tickets I’m not sure it was worth what we paid out. Ironically Disney don’t mind you visiting Universal as many of the rides in the Island of Adventure are based on Marvel Comic characters. Disney own the rights to those characters and to anything based on Harry Potter in the USA!
8. Make sure your children get enough sleep. I numbered these tips as they occurred to me during the holiday but on reflection this could have been number one! If you are going to let your children stay up for one of the late evening activities (fireworks and/or the Magic Kingdom’s Electrical Display) don’t plan to use the early opening hour the next day (i.e. get them up at 6.30am). We made the mistake once and it spoilt our day. Both children were tired and irritable. Tempers flared. The water parks don’t open until 10am so I recommend going to one of them the day after a late night particularly as being there at 10am on the dot is far from essential.
9. Take your own First Aid Kit and any other essentials you might need. As far as we could ascertain there are no pharmacies, grocery stores or supermarkets in or anywhere near WDW. Our hotel shop had some chemist basics (plasters, pain killers, insect repellent, etc.) but no more than you’d find in a corner shop or newsagent in the UK. If you or your child need something more than that you’d be better off taking it with you. If you want to take fresh fruit with you to snack on during visits for example I understand there are companies that will deliver such things to your hotel if you register with them on the Internet before you go. We didn’t avail ourselves of such a service and with hindsight I think I wish we had.
10. Don’t be hasty – wait until your children are old enough to remember their ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’. There were a huge number of parents at WDW with toddlers and children under two. Maybe those parents had yearly passes or lived locally and were therefore, unlike us, planning to visit more than once. If however you are like us and are only really planning to go there the once, may I suggest you suppress all your desires to re-live your own childhood and wait until your child (or children) is (or are) old enough to remember the trip? There is a huge bonus in waiting until your offspring are tall enough to go on all the rides even if it does dampen the magical side of it all a little.
So that’s it. We enjoyed our trip and I hope you do if you go. In particular I hope these tips hel