Need help - First Disney trip ever!!!
So, Iíve lived 21 years of my life not knowing the magic of visiting a Disney park. But all that is about to change this May. Iíve booked my first trip to Disney World which also happens to be my first solo trip away from home. Needless to say, a lot of excitement and anxiety.
Iíve only been doing research for the last couple of weeks so there are still a lot to learn. Below is my plan, please let me know if you have any tips or suggestions, even the smallest details help
- Iíll be at the Music resort from May 13-May 17 (Flower festival and the start of Star Wars weekend)
- Using Magical Express
- 5 days, 4 nights with Park Hopper, no water park
- Hoping to do 1 park each day. If Animal Kingdom doesnít take as long, Iíll spend the other half at Downtown Disney or back to Magic Kingdom
- No dining plan
- Pre-ordered PhotoPass Plus. Was told that Iíll receive a voucher in the mail and I must bring that voucher to the Photo Center to receive a package
I do have a few questions that I really hope you can help me with.
1. I want a photo of me riding Dumbo. Iíve pre-ordered PhotoPass Plus but Iím not sure if there are photographers around the Dumbo ride. Not to mention wait time, if thereís a line, a photographer probably would not wait around for that.
What should I do? Will there be cast members around that area that can take my pictures at the Dumbo ride? Should I ask other visitors? What are some tips on asking people to take your picture? Ask them while waiting in line? Ask as they're letting people climb in/on Dumbo? Is it possible to have my pictures taken DURING the ride (while Dumbo is flying)?
2. My last day, May 17, is the start of Star Wars weekend. My flight leaves at 6:30pm. I want to enjoy the Star Wars celebration but also donít want to miss my Magical Express bus. What will the bus traffic like, going from Hollywood Studio back to Music resort? At what time must I absolutely leave the park to catch my Magical Express? And what happens if I miss my bus to the airport? Is it easy to request another one?
3. Is it safe to bring my mini iPad on the rides? Itís my only smart device and I need it for the apps, map, and online access. Itíll be in a crossbody/messenger bag
4. What kind of bag do you use to carry stuffs around the park? Fanny pack? Backpack? Crossbody bag?
5. Need tips on posing for photo alone (when there's no other Disney character in the shot)
Again, all suggestions are appreciated. Thank you in advanced for your help!
1) would ask someone - tell them you will do it for them -
2) DME picks you up generally 2 to 3 hours before your flight leaves - so would be sure to go back at least 80 minutes before then - afternoon buses don;t go as often as morning and evening buses do.
you should 24 hours before get a message from the resort saying when your DME will be there
3) Never bring to WDW anything that if lost will upset you. there are thieves everywhere.
4) used a fanny pack and back pack - sometimes at the same time - kept your stuff - money, cc in fanny pack and make sure it is zip up at all times - check it often - don;t put values in the back pack - it is hardier to check on when you are alone
5) well decide where you want the pictures to be taken - in front of the castle - they could add animated characters - not sure now what photo pass offers
don't try to do everything - impossible in your time frame. If you get tire - leave - yes it cost alot of money - but you want to love it. getting tired, mad, hot, upset, will not help.
what things are you going to try to do?
do you already have maps?
You are going to have so much fun!!!
- Do at least one character meal-- consider Chef Mickey's!
- Consider a meal where you eat family style-- maybe Biergarten?
-Make sure you see Illuminations, it's my favorite!!
As much as Disney is probably one of the safest vacations out there, don't be lulled into thinking it's really magic. Be aware of where you are and who is around you. Check in with your parents at least once a day. They may not ask you to do so. but they'll sleep a whole lot easier if you do.
Have a fabulous time!!
I'll answer a couple of questions specifically, but most of my advice is going to be more general.
Your DME departure pickup will be about 3 hours before your flight. As a PP said, you'll get paperwork the day before with a specific time. You are expected to be at the stop ready to get on the bus 15 minutes before your assigned time. DO NOT MISS YOUR BUS. Check out some DME threads on the Transportation board here, but the general consensus seems to be that it is highly unlikely you will be able to get on a later bus if you miss yours.
I have a Baggallini "Zip N Go" that I've used on 2 trips now and really like. It's a cross-body, about 7" wide x 9" tall x 3" deep with multiple pockets and is great for carrying the basics like camera, phone, wallet, park maps/guides, etc. It won't hold a water bottle or anything huge/bulky, but if you prefer to travel light in the parks, it's great. Bring some plastic zipper bags for anything that might be harmed by water - and yes, you are likely to be SOAKED beyond all reason on Kali River Rapids. Been there, done that.
I've done 2 solo trips now and have had a blast. My number one tip is to set your top priorities, the things you really want to make sure you get to do, and have a plan to get those done. Then try to relax and be flexible on the rest. You won't get to see/do everything in one trip, so know your "musts" and go from there.
Don't be shy about dining solo. Since you have a short trip, I wouldn't book a lot of ADRs (they take up time), but if there's somewhere you want to eat, go for it.
And don't be shy about meeting characters. I love the movie "Up" and was so excited to finally meet Russell & Dug at AK; I told them they were my heroes and they made a big fuss over me. Dug wanted to come home with me until he heard he would have to get on an airplane, but Russell was all eager to come with me (even took my hand and started to walk away with me) until he decided he'd better stay there. Woody & Buzz were great, too; Woody kissed my hand, then Buzz took my hand and brushed off Woody's "cooties" before he kissed it, too. I met lots of royalty, who were all sweet, but Tiana and Naveen were the best.
Oh - Oh - If you see a Photopass Photographer outside the new Little Mermaid Ride at MK, ask if they can do a "magic shot." It's a new one and really cute.
Finally - have fun, and just be prepared that you will be planning another trip as soon as you get home.
5. You can usually get anyone to take your picture at any time, if you are nice about it and say you will take one for them. I fine couples more open to this as they have few people who offer to take a picture of them together.
One area you need to think about is down time. Do NOT feel as if you have to do something all the time. I understand this is your first trip but if you can building in some quite time at the resort pool or lounge, you will feel more energetic when you do go to the parks.
Some other suggestions on thing you might like to:
It depends on what you are into:
sports: golf, fishing, RPDE, marathon, bowling, ESPN Club, WWS/ESPN Zone, etc
shopping: DTD, area outlet malls, large scale malls
drinking: Jellyrolls, Raglan Road, monorail tour of resorts, walking tour of resorts in the Boardwalk area
night clubbing: Jellyrolls, Atlantic Dance, Raglan Road, Citywalk
movies: DTD 24 screen AMC theater some of which are dine-in
resort tours: monorail tour of resorts, Boardwalk around the lake tour of resorts, AKL/AKV
offsite: Gaylord Palms Resort, Citywalk, swamp tour
3. Is it safe to bring my mini iPad on the rides? It’s my only smart device and I need it for the apps, map, and online access. It’ll be in a crossbody/messenger bag There are a couple of places where water is a concern: Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom (seriously, we tend to get soaked!!!), Splash Mountain, and probably a few others. The parks have lockers (though we've never used them, I know they exist) that can help here.
You might consider putting your phone/iPad/camera, etc in some zip-lock plastic bags, even if inside your messenger bag, to keep it safe from the water rides. On the Kali River ride they have a compartment to put your bags in but I've seen these items get wet, especially if someone doesn't fasten the lid properly, and anything you're wearing will probably get completely soaked.
On Kali, some people like to wear a poncho, but I usually wear my swimsuit under my shorts, and bring dry clothes in my backpack. Before the ride I take off my shorts and put them in my bag, then after the ride I find a restroom and change into dry clothes (I also bring a spare t-shirt). The wet swimsuit and t-shirt go into a plastic bag and back into my backpack. Beats standing in line at the air dryers in the restroom trying to dry out soaked clothing. For Splash Mountain I usually just take my chances…most time I get a little wet, but occasionally I get soaked.
These are all good suggestions you've received though, especially the advice not to try to do everything. With a Park Hopper take advantage of the opportunity to visit multiple parks each day. I like see which parks open early or stay open late, and go to those parks accordingly.
here a map
Thank you soooooooo much, everyone! These were all detailed and really wonderful suggestions.
I have looked at maps of the 4 parks online and am making a list of must-do things. I'm such a fan of Disney animation so my focus is the parks (mostly Magic Kingdom), check out the new resort-Art of Animation, and do things that can only be done at Disney. Sports, clubbing, and shopping can all be skipped if necessary. On that note, I wish Disney website has a map of all the transportation, like letting people pick the To and From destination and display all the transportation options. I'd like to plan for that as well.
So, thanks to your words of wisdom, here's the new plan
- Ask for the Magic Shot outside the Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom (thanks, karly05!)
- I'll buy 2 disposable cameras, maybe give 1 to a Cast Member on the ground and 1 to the person in the Dumbo in front of me. If it doesn't work out, at least I know I tried.
- Character dining was all booked up the last time I checked so I'll need to check back again on them. Will be having lunch at Be Our Guest which doesn't require reservation for lunch
- Call parents once a day (almost forgot! Thank you, Aliceacc!) . Be aware of surrounding.
- Plan for some downtime and naps during the day
- As for my mini iPad, maybe I'll leave it at home or in the park locker before going on the 2 water rides. I hope there are only 2 water rides
- Ziploc for stuffs like camera, mini iPad, and money. That Kali River Rapids really sounds like something! Note to self: take pictures before the ride, bring plastic bags, a change of clothes, and flip flop. (Great piece of advice, Sir William)
It'd have been nice if they take pictures for that ride...or a video... would have been priceless to see :rolleyes:
Again, thank you so much for everything! Back to planning I go!
Getting good airborne pictures of yourself on Dumbo is tough. Cast members probably will be willing to take your picture when your Dumbo is on the ground, but not when it's in the air. And even if someone on the ground is willing, they probably don't have a good angle for getting pictures. The person riding the Dumbo in front of you is in the best position to get good pictures of you, but to do so they will have to turn around, at which time the cast members may tell them to face forward. Also they would probably have to take a few pictures to be sure of getting at least one good one, which could detract from their own ability to enjoy the ride. Ideally you would team up with another solo or a friend and take turns being the one to take the pictures.
When you get the two disposable cameras, make one a waterproof one and take it on your water rides. You can use it just like a regular camera when you're not on the water rides. Or, just keep a regular disposable tucked inside the zip-lock bag between shots on Kali. You'll know when you're likely to get wetÖthe raft revolves slowly down the river, occasionally passing under waterfalls or spraying water, and you can usually tell who on the raft will be the ones who get soaked. Its one of our favorite rides and a great way to cool off when the weather is hot and muggy. The only time you're likely to get really wet on Splash Mountain is when you take the plunge at the endÖand again, you may get soaked or you may get a little damp. Once DW, who sitting next to me, got completely soaked while I just got a few splatters.
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