10 Tips to Survive a Family Holiday in Disney World

cheap car hire orlandoIt’s hard to avoid the “D” word when you’re talking about Orlando, Florida, even though there’s a lot more to this sunny location than Disney.  There are alternative theme parks too, as well as interesting museums and lush natural attractions to keep the whole family happy.  But, whatever you choose to do on your family holiday, car hire in Orlando puts all the attractions within easy reach, giving you the keys to a truly magic kingdom.

Walt Disney World

Ever since its launch in 1971, Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom has been expanding, and it now represents a whole empire, including  23 hotels, four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), close to 100 restaurants, two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), a sports complex (Disney’s Wide World of Sports), and two shopping and nightlife districts (Downtown Disney and Disney’s Boardwalk).  Phew.

cheap car hire orlandoYou’re never going to see all of Disney World in a day or two, so the best advice is – don’t try!  Remember, the object of the exercise is to have fun, so get to the park early so you can grab your favourite rides before the crowds get too heavy, and know when it’s time to head back to the hotel pool and relax. Here are some more tips to keep you sane:

  1. Reserve your place at the front of the queue with a FASTPASS for the following popular attractions: Splash Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, Toy Story Mania, Test Track, Soarin’, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Kilimanjaro Safaris. These passes can be used after the time printed on the ticket.

  2. When you arrive, use your phone to take a picture of your row in the car park. You’ll be glad you did when you’re tired at the end of the day and can’t remember where you parked!

  3. Toy Story Mania and Soarin’ are the most popular rides for Fastpasses, so be early.

  4. If any of your children are too small to go on a particular ride, use a Rider Switch Pass (nicknamed the Baby Swap) to avoid queuing twice to give both parents a go. Queue as normal, and when you reach the front of the queue, ask for a Rider Switch Pass, and the second parent can have a go directly after the first

  5. Disney World is hungry work, so visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/restaurants/ up to 90 days before your visit to make your dining reservations.

  6. Dine early and save money, as most character meals are between $5 and $10 cheaper per person up to 3:45pm.

  7. You can also save money while keeping hydrated. Don’t buy bottled water – ask for cups of ice water at any drink stand with a fountain.

  8. Disney World no longer offers free passes on your birthday.

  9. Pass the time while queuing or just hanging around by getting your kids to look for Hidden Mickeys  (a concealed image of Mickey Mouse, often in the form of a head and ears silhouette).

  10. Download a map of the parks and study it before you arrive.