You’re getting ready for your magical Best Vacation Ever to Orlando, Florida – the happiest place on Earth—and planning your itinerary of activities. By now you’ve hopefully called your Preferred Guest Resorts representative and booked your family vacation along lodging at one of our premium hotel, resort or vacation timeshare rental partners, too. Soon you’ll be falling under the spell of the Orlando Magic, no pun intended and making the most of your itinerary of adventures. If you have the kids in tow or you’re like most Orlando visitors, you’re also planning your trips to the theme parks. Unless you’re a local or a regular visitor, you haven’t picked up a few tricks of the trade when it comes to a day at the theme parks. Preferred Guest Resorts has done the legwork for you and collected the 10 best tips from regular visitors so you can make the most of your day trip to one of the Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort theme parks:
- Pre-plan your park trip and know what to expect. Your Preferred Guest Resorts agent can tell you the high and low seasons and best times to visit Orlando for your Best Vacation Ever. Make sure you book your resort, hotel or vacation timeshare rental that fits your itinerary and is within close proximity to all of your planned adventures. Know what to expect during the time of year you are visiting, especially if your trip is during the high season and most crowded times. Ask you Preferred Guest Resorts representative about information or websites that can tell you about theme-park information, prices, wait times and lines when you arrive in Orlando. Note: You may also call the theme park and ask about wheel chair or stroller rentals and if you need to reserve a reservation ahead of time, especially during the peak high season.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Leave the stilettos and decorative sandals at home; you’ll regret anything but comfort with hours on end of extensive walking. Your best bet is a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers, not only for comfort and foot protection, but also for keeping up with fast-paced, over-excited children. Even flip flops are a bad choice (unless they are cushioned for walking) as they can rub between your toes and fly off on rides or break, leaving you to purchase whatever they have at the merchandise shops at usually hefty prices.
- Where loose, comfortable clothing. Again you’ll be walking around a lot and should be dressed to sweat from the exercise. Consider the time of year you’re visiting Orlando and check extended forecasts before you go. The summer months can be unbearable hot and breathable clothing that absorbs sweat quickly keeps your body cooler. Year-round sunshine and moderate temperatures in spring and fall are a major draw and, but summer can be beastly. There have also been a times temperatures have been quite cold at night yet very comfortable during the day in winter, when people love to visit for elaborate Christmas decorations and special events. Consider the season you are going, average temperatures and check the extended forecast right before you pack: Dress in layers you can easily stow away in a back pack if it gets too warm, or bring a sweater you can throw on if it gets cold. If you are bald or eye sensitive to the sun, wear a hat and sunglasses. Daily rain during the hot summer months is also common, and buying a cheap plastic poncho is easy to stow in your purse or back pack. You won’t get wet form the rain and you can wear it to keep your clothes and cameras dry on any water-based rides.
- Wear sunscreen. Just because you aren’t at the beach, it doesn’t mean you won’t get burned. Lather up exposed areas, including the tops of your feet if wearing open-toed shoes and, of course, balding heads.
- Buy a lanyard for tickets. A lanyard with a plastic holder for tickets and fast passes can be a great way to avoid loosing tickets, especially if you have children. When stored in back pockets run the risk of them getting dropped out when you reach for your wallet or other items. Having them in the plastic holder on the lanyard around your neck has them at easy access at any time, and the plastic keeps them from getting wet.
- Bring your own bottles water. Check theme-park policies to see if you can bring in your own bottled water. Then store a few in the freezer the night before so you have ice-cold water that gradually melts for hours and the bottle can be refilled at water fountains throughout the park, saving you a lot of money instead of new water bottles You can even buy belt loop bottle ring holders that allow you to keep your hands free as your water bottle conveniently stores on your belt loop holder. The ice-cold bottle also is a great way to cool down in summer months. Holding it on the back of your neck, which is the fastest way to bring down you body temperature. If you are from up north or not use to intense heat and humidity, drink a lot of water to say hydrated. NOTE: Listen to you body: If you stop sweating, get over fatigued or feel faint, the heat is getting to you and you need to get hydration and possible medical attention at the park’s first-aid office. Don’t take any chances when it comes to heat stroke.
- Pack a comfortable mid-size backpack instead s a purse. It’s ten times more comfortable to carry than a purse, better for your back and has plenty of room to store all the mentioned items and souvenirs you may collect along the way.
- Pack long-line decoys for children. Bite-sized snacks, sippy cups and small entertainment toys or hand games for toddlers to help entertain kids while waiting in in long lines for them-park rides and satisfy their needs for snacking in between meals. A pocket electronic game may be beneficial with older child. An extra set of clothing and plenty diapers for small children and babies are also recommended for any accidents. If certain attractions have policies against water bottles, you can bring powdered formula packets for babies that you mix into purchased bottles of water.
- Buy fast passes for must-do rides as soon as you arrive. If you don’t have express package options to purchase at a heftier fee per person, be sure to get their and park early and collect your fast passes or express rider passes as soon as you arrive for the rides you absolutely must ride during your trip to the park. IF you wait too late to get the passes, you run the risk [during crowded peak periods] of them running out of passes for the day time at even 2 or 3 pm. Not all rides have fast-pass or express options, but many do and it’s well worth it, especially if you have a large group, so you’re sure to experience the ride you really counted on riding. A fast or express pass allows you to a short window of time you can return to the ride and walk right through a special express line with other people in that time frame that get to go into the ride without waiting in the standard line. It’s a lot like booking a reservation. You cannot go early or go after. Do not miss your time; passes are checked and taken. You can get additional fast passes for the same ride a few hours after collection of the first set to ride again. Check the time frames.
- Try local tips for best times to ride. Locals and regular Orlando visitors say that the best time to ride the rides are during lunch time when people are resting and eating, during the big parades and during the fireworks show closing the evening out. Lines dwindle down as spectators enjoy the events, especially during the fireworks. If you don’t mind missing some of those events or go a second day, some travelers have reported being able to ride, for example, Space Mountain at Disney repeatedly with minimal to no waiting. Locals also say if you don’t have small children to ride with and don’t mind separating from group to opt to take the single-rider line. You get through much faster and get set up a meeting spot for everyone outside the ride when everyone is done. NOTE: We cannot confirm or deny the tips provided by regular Orlando theme-park visitors, but they were collected from more than one visitor.
Preferred Guest Resorts is committed to bringing you the most valuable insider information when it comes to destinations and the attractions. A few simple steps can make your theme-park adventure much more enjoyable and maybe save you some time and money. If you haven’t booked your family vacation to Orlando, call your reservation agent today. Ensure your get the prime locations and preferred partnering hotels, resorts and vacation timeshare rentals right in the middle of the action so you can start planning the itinerary of your Best Vacation Ever. Visit us at bestvacationsever.com or call a BVE representative 1-800-656-2780.