OK we have our hotel selected, but to get some of the packaging rates we would need to advance purchase our tickets.
Now what ticket levels do you buy…access to a single park each day (aka Magic Your Way Base Ticket), access to allow you to go to one park in the morning and a different one in the evening (Magic Your Way with Park Hopper Option), access to theme parks and waterparks+ (Magic Your Way with Water Fun & More Option), a ticket that never expires…meaning you decided to skip a day and that ticket will be good for life and you can return another time to visit (Magic Your Way with No Expiration Option). And the more days you purchase whatever option you choose the cheaper the rate per day calcs out to be. Again it's all a little overwhelming...
We would be staying 4 full days & 5 nights, so we opted for 3 days where we could enter one park a day. Meaning we bought 3 days worth of Magic Your Way Base Ticket. This ticket would allow us to go to the Magic Kingdom in the morning, go back to our hotel for the 3 year olds afternoon nap, and return only to Magic Kingdom in the evening. This would also allow us to take one day off and enjoy the incredible amenities our hotel offers I mentioned in my last post. Speaking of hotel...your credit card looking hotel key is imprinted with everything, including your park tickets you just purchased. Keep a close eye on these...they open your hotel door, get you in the park, get your Fast Passes, and can be your currency if you tie it off to a credit card when checking in.
OK with tickets bought and hotel booked…now the overwhelming plan of attack. I had been told horror stories about hours of waiting or failure to ride the sought after Buzz Lightyear. By gosh I was spending all this money and wanted this to be pleasureable I would make this work, so I reached out to our travel agent with my anxiety. She pointed me to “The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids” This book was full of information as evidence by its 480 pages built from comments and tips on Walt Disney World® from surveys of more than 12,500 families. And it's done annually. But there it was in the back…the Holy Grail for maneuvering around the parks. Iteneraries based on your childs age, who they were going with (parents or grandparents), how many days you were allowing per park, etc.. It told you when to see a show, when to get a fast Pass (Disney’s reservation system to ride something later in the days), when to head back to your hotel, suggestions on where to eat, etc.
My family mocked my purchase and reading of this book. But now they worship my decision. It worked like a charm. Following the steps my kids road everything they wanted, saw every show, made it back for naps, etc.. Riding back from a visit to downtown Disney on our park day off my purchase was doubly confirmed when a father of 3 who makes the visit annually said he has bought the book 4 years running and has never been let down.
So I got my family a great hotel and we got to see and do everything at the parks we wanted to...now how about energy to make all that happen. Also known as food. Next installment...how a family of four didn't go broke eating at Walt Disney World®.
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Ooh! I'll have to use your tips when we go (March 12-19, 2011).
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