The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids is JAM-PACKED with useful tips, great advice, excellent discussion, and practical travel knowledge gleaned from years of Walt Disney World travel experience. It is one of the few guidebooks to Disney World that specifically addresses the needs of kids with, in some cases, research and input from kids.
Compiled and written by a team of experienced researchers whose work has been cited by such diverse sources as USA Today and Operations Research Forum, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids digs deeper and offer more specific information that any other. This is the only guide that explains how to make every minute and every dollar of your vacation count. With advice that is direct, prescriptive, and detailed, it takes the guesswork out of your family vacation. Step-by-step detailed plans allow you to visit Disney World with your children with absolute confidence and peace of mind.
|Edition description:||2016 Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Bob Sehlinger, a Lowell Thomas Award-winning journalist, is best known as the creator and producer of The Unofficial Guide series.
He is the founder and co-owner of Keen Communications, a book publishing company that includes Menasha Ridge Press, Clerisy Press, and Wilderness Press. The author of 27 books, Sehlinger is a past president of the Publishers Association of the South, and he has served at the invitation of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Information Service on educational missions for publishers in Hungary, Romania, and Russia. He lives in Birmingham, AL.
Liliane J. Opsomer was born in Belgium, lived in New York for 25 years and now resides in Birmingham, AL. She is passionate about travel, Disney, and Hobbits. Liliane is a regular contributor to johnnyjet.com, themouseforless.com and Everett Potter's Travel Report. She is also one of the photographers to The Color Companion to Walt Disney World - The Unofficial Guide. You can find Liliane in the parks several times each year.
A lifelong Disney theme park fan, Len Testa has coauthored Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, as well as Britain’s Best Days Out. In grad school, Len’s master’s thesis described new computer techniques for generating efficient theme park touring plans, for which Len was awarded a U.S. patent.
These days, Len leads the team at TouringPlans.com, the website and research arm of Unofficial Guides. Len has stayed at every Disney hotel, experienced every Disney ride, and eaten at every Disney restaurant and food cart in the U.S. When he’s not at a Disney theme park, he lives in Greensboro, NC.
Read an Excerpt
PART 6 - GET IN THE BOAT, MEN!
Liliane’s Tips for Keeping Track of Your Brood
On a good day, it’s possible for Liliane to lose a cantaloupe in her purse. Thus challenged, she works overtime developing ways to hang on to her possessions, including her child. Here’s what she has to say: I’ve seen parents write their cell phone numbers on a child’s leg with a felt-tip marker . . . effective but crude. Before you resort to that, or perhaps a cattle brand, consider some of the tips I’ve busted my brain dreaming up. My friendssome much ditzier than Ihave used them with great success.
On your very first day in the parks, teach your kids how to recognize a Disney cast member by pointing out the Disney name tags that they all wear. Instruct your children to find someone with such a name tag if they get separated from you.
Same-colored T-shirts for the whole family will help you gather your troops in an easy and fun way. You can opt for just a uniform color or go the extra mile and have the T-shirts printed with a logo such as “The Brown Family’s Assault on the Mouse.” You might also include the date or the year of your visit. Your imagination is the limit. Light-colored T-shirts can even be autographed by the Disney characters.
Clothing labels are great, of course. If you don’t sew, buy labels that you can iron on the garment. If you own a cell phone, be sure to include the number on the label. If you do not own a cell phone, put in the phone number of the hotel where you’ll be staying. Another option is a custom-made temporary tattoo with all the pertinent info. They’re cheap, last two weeks, don’t wash off, and solve the problem of having to sew or iron a label on every garment. (They can be purchased online at safetytat.com or tattooswitha
In pet stores you can have name tags printed for a very reasonable price. These
are great to add to necklaces and bracelets or attach to your child’s shoelace
or belt loop.
When you check into the hotel, take a business card of the hotel for each member in your party, especially those old enough to carry wallets and purses.
Always agree on a meeting point before you see a parade, fireworks, and nighttime spectacles such as IllumiNations and Fantasmic! Make sure the meeting place is in the park (as opposed to the car or someplace outside the front gate).
If you have a digital camera or cell phone camera, you may elect to take a picture of your kids every morning. If they get lost, the picture will show what they look like and what they are wearing.
If all the members of your party have cell phones, it’s easy to locate each other.
Be aware, however, that the ambient noise in the parks is so loud that you probably won’t hear your cell phone ring. Your best bet is to carry your phone in a front pants pocket and to program the phone to vibrate. If any of your younger kids carry cell phones, secure the phones with a strap. Even better, send text messages.
Save key tags and luggage tags for use on items you bring to the parks, including your stroller, diaper bag, and backpack or hip pack.
Don’t underestimate the power of the permanent marker, such as a Sharpie. They are great for labeling pretty much anything. Mini-Sharpies are sold as clip-ons and are great for collecting character autographs. The Sharpie will also serve well for writing down the location of your car in the parking lot. (Bob suggests on my son’s forehead.)
PART 7 - THE MAGIC KINGDOM
Live Entertainment and Parades in the Magic Kingdom: It’ s impossible to take in all the many live entertainment offerings at the Magic Kingdom in a single day. To experience both the attractions and the live entertainment, we recommend that you allocate at least two days to this park. In addition to parades, stage shows, and fireworks, check the daily entertainment schedule (Times Guide) or ask a cast member about concerts in Fantasyland, the Flag Retreat at Town Square, and the appearances of the various bands, singers, and street performers that roam the park daily. WDW live entertainment guru Steve Soares usually posts the Magic Kingdom’s performance schedule about a week in advance at wdwent.com.
Following is a short list of daily events with special appeal for families with children:
Castle Forecourt Stage
The 20-minute Dream-Along with Mickey live show features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and a peck of princesses and other secondary characters, plus human backup dancers, in a show built around the premise thatquelle horreur!Donald doesn’t believe in the power of dreams. Crisis is averted through a frenetic whirlwind of song and dance.
Merida Meet and Greet at the Fairytale Garden
The garden, formerly the site of Storytime with Belle and the Tangled play and greet, is a small outdoor theater. It received a Scottish Highlandsinspired makeover and is now the home of Merida, the strong-willed heroine from Brave. The new setting has an area in which those waiting to meet Merida can get archery lessons and participate in other activities until it’s their turn to meet Merida. The activity targets the under-5 age group.
If you plan on meeting Merida, arrive at least 2030 minutes early to the staging area. Once the area is at capacity (about 20 children and parents), cast members rope it off. Be forewarned that the entire experiencewill take a whole hour out of your day. The play and greet takes place six to eight times a day; check the daily entertainment schedule (Times Guide) for showtimes.
Usually staged at 3 p.m., this parade features floats and marching Disney characters. A new afternoon parade is introduced every year or two. While some of the elements, such as the Disney characters, remain constant, the theme, music, and float design change. Seasonal parades round up the mix. The new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade includes new floats based on the stories of The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Tangled, and Brave. It features a brand-new original soundtrack with songs from Disney films in addition to a parade theme song.
Evening parade performances vary by season, happening as often as twice a night during the busy times of year, to two or three times a week during the less busy seasons. We rate the evening parade as not to be missed. The Main Street Electrical Parade (MSEP) is the current nightly cavalcade at the Magic Kingdom. Its soundtrack, “Baroque Hoedown,” is a synthesizer-heavy testament to what prog rock might have been with access to modern technology and antidepressants. In our opinion, the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime parade is always the best in Walt Disney World, and the Electrical Parade is the standard against which everything else is judged. Disney is known to swap out parades (MSEP replaced SpectroMagic in 2010) and may do so at any time. If you’re at Disney World while MSEP is running, make a special trip to see it.
Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party
Starting at the train station end of Main Street, U.S.A., and working toward the central hub, this short walk incorporates about a dozen guests with a handful of floats, Disney characters, and entertainers. Music is provided by one of Disney’s latest artists, and there’s a good amount of interaction between the entertainers and the crowd.