For our 2011 Spring Break, we spent the week in Orlando with the big mouse at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World? Yes this is CruiseSource – But we love land-based vacations too. And somewhere I’d heard that it is a parental requirement to take your kids to Disney World at least once during their childhood.
We went for a week over the Easter holiday with my brother’s family, my parents, and my family… 10 of us in total. We stayed at a Disney rental house in a gated neighborhood that was only 5 minutes from the Disney parks off of HWY 192. We had a private pool, 6 bedrooms, a game room with foosball and pool. The house was huge. The neighborhood also had workout facility, pool with slide, and park for the kids. So guess how much we paid? I’ll give you a second…. We paid $1500 total, saving us $1000s. My #1 tip from our trip is to rent a house especially if you are going with the extended family. Check out Homeaway.com Vacation Rental, the site is very user friendly.
Top 5 Takeaways from our Disney Trip
#1 Disney Crowd management is impressive. I was prepared mentally for the crowds before we arrived at the park – but I have to say that I was so impressed with the innovative ways that Disney made the crowds bearable. Innovations like Single Rider Lines, Speed Passes, and digital billboards all over the parks alerting guests of wait lines for all of the rides. Biggest Time Saver: The single rider lines, so if you don’t mind sitting next to a stranger you can get on rides in 15 minutes as opposed to waiting an hour.
#2 Disney is very accessible to those with disabilities. My brother was in a bad car wreck a little over a year ago. He’s made a great recovery but still has lots of pain when walking. They had plenty of accessible parking near the gates. At Disney, many of the rides you get on at one spot and off in a completely different spot. Every time we rode a ride there would be someone waiting on my brother with the wheelchair in the spot where we got off. Pushing the wheelchair through the crowds was a challenge. Disney may want to consider a Wheelchair lane on some of the major walkways.
#3 It is magical. Honestly, before the trip I wasn’t that big on going to Disney. But I have to admit, just watching your kids light every time they see a character or ride a new ride is special. For the Magic Kingdom Fireworks show we watched it from FantasyLand [recommended]. Although we could not see the front of the castle, it put us right in the middle of the fireworks show which was very magical even for the adults. I caught myself multiple times really focusing on my kids reactions as if the harder I focused the more likely that I’d hold on to those memories the rest of my life. It was magical.
#4 How did people do Disney before Smart Phones? We used the Disney mobile apps for recommendations for restaurants, line waits, which days to go to which parks based on crowds, and maps. I received advice from Twitter Friends like @DougMeacham that added value to the experience. While in line I was checking in and leaving tips on Foursquare, tweeting with friends, and texting the family using group texting service GroupMe [great way to keep up with a large group while at the park]. My smart phone added tons of value to the experience.
#5 There’s much more to do in Orlando than just Disney. My wife and son went to Universal Studios one day. My says the Harry Potter attractions are more memorable than Disney. According to my wife, the technology used for the 3-D and Hologram effects is amazing. Don’t tell Mickey Mouse…my favorite part of the trip was racing Go-Carts with my son at the FUN Spot. They have a 3 story track that is super fast and challenging. We had a blast. We also worked a poker tournament into the schedule for the boyz at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa which was about a 1 hour drive.
There were plenty of water parks, attractions, and restaurants in Orlando that I’d liked to have tried out so save a day or two in trip to do something other than Disney.
At CruiseDeals.com, we book our clients land-based vacations like Disney all the time. These are for our return clients who loved their service on the cruise booking and want the same great service on Disney. So if you haven’t booked through CruiseDeals.com yet… don’t let the name fool you, we book Disney and other land-based vacations everyday.
Got Disney World Tips or Questions? Please leave them in the Comments
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