Ten Top Walt Disney World Vacation Tips
From the authors of
PassPorter™ Walt Disney World®:
The unique travel guide, planner, organizer, journal, and keepsake!

The countdown to New Year’s Eve is gaining momentum. Walt Disney World is gearing up for its biggest week of the year and the biggest party of the century. The week from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve draws huge crowds and offers extended operating hours. Vacationers should count on long lines everywhere and expect to visit fewer attractions than usual. If you approach the week with a Hakuna Matata (worry-free) attitude, Disney’s wonderful holiday spirit and special events still add up to a very special time.

PassPorter Planning Tips are written by Jennifer Watson and Dave Marx, authors of PassPorter Walt Disney World: The unique travel guide, planner, organizer, journal, and keepsake! Available wherever books are sold. Visit their web site at http://www.passporter.com for more information, tips, reviews, and fun!

© 1999 MediaMarx, Inc. Permission granted to reprint this article in whole or part. The text of the article is available in electronic format or by sending e-mail to tips@passporter.com. If you use this article in whole or part, we kindly request that you send a copy to us at MediaMarx, Inc., P.O. Box 3880, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106.

Updated 11/21/03

Copyright 1999-2006
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Questions? Problems? E-Mail Us!

  December 1999 Edition

Planning Your Adventure
A Disney vacation is a family dream-come-true. Build everyone’s anticipation and appreciation of the big event by holding regular planning nights with the entire family. Make sure everyone knows what to expect, and try to account for everyone’s hopes and desires. Make a note of everyone’s favorite Disney character, and consider letting each family member plan a part or all of one day’s adventures.

Getting There (and Back!)
Stretching from Michigan through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and on into Florida, Interstate 75 is one of the prime routes to Orlando. Make the most of your drive with “Along Interstate 75 Year 2000: The Local Knowledge Driving Guide for Interstate Travelers Between Detroit and the Florida Border” by Dave Hunter (Mile Oak Publishing). Dave’s color strip maps and detailed text highlight every town, eatery, motel, campground and point of interest along the way.

Staying in Style
Who gets tipped at your resort, and how much should they get? The folks from bell services should always get tipped. Although a number of people may handle your luggage, the customary gratuity is $1 per bag, paid to the bell person who delivers your bags to you. Leave your housekeeper a $4 tip every day. This can bring extra-special magic to your room, and ensures the person who does the work receives the reward.

Touring the “World”
The last thing any vacationer needs is a foot covered in blisters. You’ll be on your feet for much of your Disney day, so be sure your walking shoes are well broken-in before you head for the Florida sunshine. We also recommend you bring along a second pair of shoes (also well broken-in) in the event the first ones fail or get soaked in a Florida rainshower. Also consider bringing along blister tape for worst case scenarios.

Feasting and Snacking
If your Christmas vacation plans include a cup of holiday cheer, remember that the Magic Kingdom theme park is alcohol-free. Hop a monorail or board a boat to one of Disney’s resort hotels, where the libations flow freely. Note that all other Walt Disney World theme parks and attractions do serve drinks.

Making More Magic
When the lines for rides get extra long (as they do between Christmas and New Years) a hunt for “Hidden Mickeys” can be a fun family diversion. Mickey’s round head and round ears is hiding in gardens, buildings, walkways, decorations, and nearly everywhere else it’s possible to conceal a mouse. Keep a list and see who can find the most Mickeys. Learn more about Hidden Mickey hunting at http://www.hiddenmickeys.org.

Family Travel
Whether you’re driving or flying, it always helps to keep the young ones hands and minds occupied. Bring small toys and games—the hand-held computer games that are so popular these days work great. Some families bring portable TV/VCR combos that run on 12 volts DC for the long drive. A magic bag of healthy snacks can also be a lifesaver, especially for those long stretches between proper meals.

Special Events
From now through December 30, Disney’s Candlelight Processional weaves a magical, holiday spell at Epcot’s American Garden Theater. Three times nightly a chorus, orchestra, and celebrity narrator present a stirring version of the Christmas story. Admission is free to park guests, but you can reserve a special dinner “package” that promises a good meal, a good seat, and no waiting in line. Call 407-WDW-DINE for information and reservations.

Holiday Disney Vacations
Disney is offering blow-out New Year’s Eve parties at all four of the major parks. If you hope to join in the fun, December 31 will be one very long day. Folks will be lining up to enter the parks early in the morning and all parks are expected to fill to capacity by midday. If you exit a park you won’t be readmitted. Guests at Disney-owned resort hotels are promised entry to a theme park, but Disney can’t promise which park.

Saving Money
Three meals daily at Disney prices can be a killer. Some folks economize by eating a light breakfast in their room. Milk, juice, and pastries can be purchased at most resort gift shops, many resorts provide a coffeemaker, and some Disney resorts rent refrigerators for $6/day. Better yet, try a peanut butter and jelly breakfast—the fixings can be carried in your luggage, they don’t need refrigeration, and you get a high-protein, long-lasting boost to start your day.

As special as any Walt Disney World vacation can be, it’s even better when you plan ahead. There’s so much to see and do, and so many hopes and dreams rest on a successful visit. Start planning now, and watch for more PassPorter Planning Tips in the months to come.

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