My first trip to Walt Disney World – March 2011

Last week I returned from my first trip to Walt Disney World. We had a great time, and I figured it might be helpful to relay some of the things that helped make the trip better.

  • Walt Disney World with Kids 2011 – I had my doubts about this book but it had lots of good info for someone who’s never been to Disney World before, like which rides are best for kids. If you’ve never been to Disney World, this is worth reading. I didn’t know Fastpass existed until I read this.
  • Disney World Wait Times Free iPhone App – GPS-integrated iPhone app with wait times reported by other app users. Very helpful.
  • Disney’s own mobile phone site – Disney’s smartphone page. They have wait times here, but I found them to be pretty inaccurate. E.g. the page may say a wait time is “see now” (i.e. no wait) but there’s actually a 15 minute wait. However, this page was very useful for finding character locations and Fastpass availability.

The best tip for maximizing park enjoyment is to get there as early as possible. We got to Magic Kingdom at 8:30 AM, which was already kind of late compared to the book’s suggestion of arriving 30 minutes before the park opens, but the lines were pretty moderate and we got almost everything we wanted to do (Dumbo, race cars, Philharmagic, Buzz, a few others) done by noon and spent the rest of the day walking around exploring.

Update: I forgot to mention that if you stay at Disney’s resorts, there is no wifi internet. This was a big shock to us, since the hotels we stayed at on the way down (and up) all had free wifi. Disney’s resorts charge $10/day for internet access, which is available through a single ethernet port in each room. There are usually a couple of ethernet ports, but only one works for data (the phones use RJ45 connectors as well). This was pretty annoying because we had two computers and only one port, and the 3G signal in our room was pretty weak so I would have liked to connect my phone to wifi. If you want wifi at a Disney resort, I suggest bringing your own router. I’ve been having good luck with the TP-Link TL-WR841ND Wireless-N router, which Amazon usually has for under $40. I haven’t tried this at Disney so I can’t say for sure it works, but it’s worth a try if you want wireless.

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