Despite being in mourning at the fact that I will not be setting foot on the hallowed ground of WDW this year, I thought I would try to calm my cravings a little, and give a little back, (or is it pay it forward in the US?) by sharing the best tips I have ever been given. These are the ones that have made a tangible difference to my trips, and in some cases my life!!
These may be common knowledge with everyone reading this, as the very fact that you are on this web site suggests that you are pretty hard core in your WDWism. However, if one of these can give just one person the same benefit that I have taken from them then I will be delighted.
So in no particular order –
1. Disney resorts. It is absolutely fine, and even encouraged, for non resort guests to visit, and more importantly for me, eat at Disney resorts. I know that this seems obvious for those of us with multiple trips under out belt, but it wasn’t always so and I thank the kind soul that pointed this out, and beyond that pointed me at the restaurants to try. We have spent many hours simply soaking up the delights of resorts such as The Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge and The Yacht and Beach Club. I am in no way advocating using resort facilities reserved for the guests there, as I’ve been on that side of the fence too, but to look through the shops, stay for a meal or frequent one of the many lovely bars are activities everyone should try. I guarantee it will make you want to stay onsite!
2. The “secret entrance” at Animal Kingdom. This tip goes back some years now, and I haven’t had the need to use it for a while, so I hope it still exists!! However, on that one morning when we got to the Animal Kingdom before opening, the fact that I knew we could use the entrance in the Rainforest Cafe and cut out large chunks of the crowd made me a hero with my family (briefly!), as we stole a march on hundreds of guests.
3. The Illuminations Cruise. Again, not something that is overly advertised to the public, but again I am forever grateful to the kind soul who told me not only about its existence but more importantly, the tactics required to secure a booking. Having seen Reflection of Earth dozens of times amongst the masses in the park, and more importantly, shuffled out of the park as part of the human wave all trying to get a monorail/tram/car, what a joy it is to view the show from the comfort, and privileged position of your own boat, and then be taken back to shore where you can take in a nightcap at one of the Epcot resorts or enjoy a peaceful stroll back to your resort or car.
4. Beaches & Cream. I know this could be covered in point 1, as technically this is simply a dining option at a resort, but it deserves special mention. It is a unique and fun experience, and one that offers a foodie like me the challenge of tackling The Kitchen Sink! A legend in its own lunchtime, I am proud to say that we have tackled one, and won, but only just. This place is a hidden gem, again, especially for those not familiar with onsite holidays and eating.
5. Immigration at Orlando Airport. I know this is of little relevance to those readers with a US passport, but for us UK queue fillers, this is a gem. The US citizens only queue is at the right of the Immigration Hall. If you stand near that desk, once the US passengers have been processed, and usually there are not that many, other passengers are invited to be processed there. This can save you valuable minutes in the race to the death to get through the airport and onto the open road towards fun!
6. Some off site favourites. I am forever grateful to whoever told me about the following restaurants.
- Bahama Breeze
- Romano’s Macaroni Grill
- Olive Garden
- The Outback
Yes these are not WDW, but to those of us staying for two weeks or more, eating off site is a necessity, and usually a joy. These are our must do five, often more than once, and I weep every day at the fact that none of these chains are available in the UK.
So there you have it, they may not be new to you, but hopefully someone will get something from this list. I could go on forever of course, but if I tell you all my tips, then everyone will be doing them, and then they will no longer be useful to me!!
Till the next time….