Walt Disney World is Huge. If you have been you know what I mean. If you haven't then let me tell you its huge. So many people confuse Walt Disney World with Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is like a small city in Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World is so big that they have their own zip code, Fire Department, Hospital, Town, First Aid Clinics, University (D.U.), Transportation Department, Recycling Plant, Studio, Night Clubs, Security Department, Hotels, Wedding Area, Apartment on top of the Castle, Camp Ground, etc.
Here is my guide so that you can save money and time. The + __ hours at the end of each tip is how many hours you would have been standing in line.
Take a light jacket or sweater - The nights in Florida can be chilly in the winter months. I know its not -10 there, but its still chilly. Its better than spending $35-$200 for something warm to wear. + .5 hour added to your vacation.
Take a rain coat - you can buy them in the dollar store. It normally rains every day for a brief time. *note* Disney does not make it rain to spoil your vacation or make you buy their rain coats, and Disney does not have a Dome that they put over the parks. (yes I had a guy ask me when Disney was going to put the Dome up.) + .5 hour added to your vacation.
Take a Camera or camcorder - *note* safety tip - don't ever walk and record at the same time. I cannot tell the number of people that have fallen for that reason. Their vacation was postponed because of one little mistake that could have been avoided. + 2 to ??? hours added to your vacation.
Take Plenty of Film, CD's, DVD's, Flash Cards, or what ever you use in your cameras. +.5 hour added to your vacation.
Take a picture like the pros - Watch the pros when you walk in the gate, see how they are taking the picture and then do the same. You can get some really cool shots that way. *note* do have the pros take your picture, they give you a ticket and a time to view it, please dont wait until the park closes to check on them. You want to talk about a line. Now that is a huge line with lots of frustration. + 1.5 hours added to your vacation.
Take plenty of Batteries - if you have a rechargeable battery station and want to, you can go to guest relation and they will direct you to the charging station that are located in the parks.
Change your eating habits - its simple eat breakfast at your hotel, eat lunch between 3pm and 5pm. Eat Dinner after 7pm. This will save you time and frustration. Trust me on this one, I worked in the Food Department for 5 years. + 4 hours a day added to your vacation.
Know before you go - plan ahead what restaurants you are going to before you ever enter the park. Call ahead all reservations. (if they allow call ins - if not go to all of them first and then enjoy the park.) + 4 hours a day added to your vacation
Take a stroller (if you have small ones) - It saves you money, it will save you on frustration - you have to stand in line to rent a stroller and at the end of the night you have to stand in line to get your deposit back. + 1 hour a day added to your vacation
If you buy anything in the Walt Disney World area, and are staying on their property, have your packages sent to your room. Why carry your packages with you all day, especially if you have children, camera, purse, camera bag, diaper bag, etc. It can save you money, cause if you forget it on a bus, or other places, chances are someone will find it and they don't always return it.
If you are in one of the parks and you are not staying on property, have your packages set to the main hub, its normally one of the merchandise shops in the front of the park. Again, do not wait until the park closes to get your packages. Go about 2 hours early, to ensure little or no lines. + 1.5 hours a day added to your vacation
If you lose your purse or wallet, please don't accuse a Cast Member of stealing it, Cast Members have a strict protocol for a found wallet or purse. They have to deliver it to the manager and that manager sees that it gets to Lost and Found. Go to Lost and Found asap. If they don't have it yet, it might just show up. Leave your name with them.
Do the Opposite - Start in the back of the park and work your way to the front. 99% of the people start in the front and work their way back, which equals to long lines. Don't run, it will be there when you get there.
Don't embarrass yourself and ask a Cast Members what time the 3 o'clock parade is. (this was the number one question that I was asked while I worked in Magic Kingdom)
Parents - watch your kids like a hawk, keep them near you at all times. Now if they get away from you panic a little bit, go as quick as you can by walking fast to the nearest Cast Member and tell them your child is lost.
Have these things ready: Some form of picture id of the child. What he/she was wearing at the time, how tall, weight, hair color, name and it is better if you have this all typed up and ready to hand out if need be. It is hard to understand a panic parent, that can only give you sobbing, blue, sobbing sneakers, sobbing etc. With Disney magic, your child will be found pretty quick.
Drink Plenty of water. Yes I said Water. Sodas dehydrate you quicker than any other liquid.
Now my guide is coming to an end. But just one more thing should be addressed. The Cast Members are people, a lot of them are away from home the first time on the College Program or the International Program. Check out their name tags and see where they are from, you never know, you might know someone that he/she knows.
Couple of short Stories:
One of my Managers at Cosmic Ray's Cafe, Julie Newell was from Lafayette, Indiana, we hit it off, I found out that she went to Prude, and lived in Lafayette most of her life. We became close friends.
There was one day while working in the Electric Umbrella, I was on the register taking orders, I noticed this lady in my line, I knew her from Ryan's Steak House in Greenwood Indiana, she used to wait on me every Sunday afternoon. Her name was Becky, but everyone called her Granny. I started my speed taking orders, I wanted her up next to me quick. I was excited to see someone that I knew from my home state and town. When she got to me. I smiled and said hi I am Allen and your name is Becky and you work at Ryan's Steak house in Greenwood, Indiana. Her mouth fell open, and so did four of the people behind her in line. She asked how on earth did I know that? I said its Disney Magic. She smiled really big and said no seriously how did you know. I told her she waited on me every Sunday. She looked me over really good, and said oh yes, you came in with a large family. I said yes and smiled. She said she still see my family but hadn't seen my in a couple of years. She said how did you remember my name, I said I remember names of people I like. I asked her to give my family a message and she did. They told me about it later. It was weird to think out of 100,000 people in the park and she walked up in my line.