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Disney Dork Tom

Disney Tips & Tricks, Planning, News, and History!

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Planning (WDW)

Debunking some common criticisms from Disney World skeptics

Right off the bat let’s agree on one thing: Walt Disney World is NOT for everyone. I totally get that, and honestly, if it really isn’t your thing then I don’t want to convince you to go… because then you may just end up ruining my trip! But, there are complaints that I hear all the time from people who haven’t been there, or who have been there but had a bad experience and wrote Disney World off entirely. Today I’d like to debunk a few of the criticisms that I consider unfair…

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Fall 2015 – Walt Disney World Room-Only Discounts Announced

If you’ve got a trip coming up this fall this may be of interest to you, especially if you wanted the dining plan promotion but weren’t able to snag it. Disney has announced their Fall room-only promotions, which save you 20-30% on your room cost depending on what type of resort you’re staying at. Remember you can ONLY have one promotion applied to your stay so if you already have free dining, give Disney a call and ask them to compute which promotion yields the most savings. Get the full details here.

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21 Walt Disney World Hacks For Your Family’s Dream Vacation

I was poking around on Quora and decided to answer a question on cool Walt Disney World hacks. I ended up with this list of 21 hacks that will definitely make your Disney World vacation go better!

Planning Hacks:

  • One of my favorite hacks, is more of a planning ‘hack’, and that’s making sure you use crowd calendars to book your visit. Knowing what the projected crowd levels are a great way to avoid crushing crowds during your stay. Undercover Tourist has a great one, here: April 2015 Orlando Crowd Calendar
  • Always, always, always arrive at the parks when they open (or earlier, if you have access to Extra Magic Hours). You will be shocked how empty Disney parks can be – even at peak time – when they first open. Get all the big-ticket rides out of the way in the morning and then enjoy a more relaxing afternoon.

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Five practical (but unconventional) ways to train like an Olympian for your upcoming Disney Trip

Here at Disney Dork Tom, we aim to be practical. “How can I prepare for a Disney trip” is by far one of the most frequent questions that I get via e-mail and social media. So, we gave that question some thought within the context of “what if visiting Disney was like the Olympics”. What would the events be and how would we train for them to get the gold? We put together this list of practical (albeit unconventional) ways that you can train like an Olympian before your visit to Disney.

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Four Major Time Wasters to Mitigate at Walt Disney World (infographic)

Time is your most valuable asset while you’re at Walt Disney World. You’re paying a lot of money to be there so maximizing that time is crucial! Unfortunately, there are a lot of “time traps” at Walt Disney World that you could stumble into if you don’t know about them. Here are four major time wasters to mitigate before (and while) you’re there:

4 Time Wasters at WDW

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Five great tips to saving money at Disney World

Disney World is expensive and we all know it (not that it stops any of us from going). There are some obvious ways to cut costs during a Disney World trip like staying at a value resort or eating exclusively at quick service restaurants. But, I wanted to share some other cool ways to save money that may not have occurred to people.

#1 – Instead of renting a room, rent DVC points instead

For those of you not familiar with DVC, it stands for Disney Vacation Club and it’s their time share program. Many of the resorts at Disney World have a DVC component. Even better for you, it’s not that hard to rent points from existing DVC members using any number of services. I have never done this before personally, so instead of supporting any particular service, click here to see the best results from Google.

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Resort hopping at Disney World

Nothing would make me happier than to stay at (literally) all the Walt Disney World resort hotels at least once. But, unless I end up taking like 20 trips, this may be kind of a challenge. I live in California, so when I do go to Disney World, it’s usually one 6+ day trip every year or two. Thus, it would take a lot of trips to knock out all the hotels I want to see. For those of us who like to be a little adventurous, though, you can actually stay at different resorts for different parts of your trip! It takes a little coordination but I thought it would be helpful to outline some of the details of resort hopping.

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When is the best time to visit Disneyland or Disney World?

Every Disney vacation starts with that fundamental question: when is the best time to visit Disneyland or Disney World? Now, there are many variables to this question, things like:

  • What kind of weather do you do best in?
  • What kinds of prices do you want to pay for resorts?
  • Do you want to be there during a festival or special event?
  • How crowded or empty do you like the parks to be?
  • Do you like visiting with decorations up?

These are all absolutely crucial questions to ask and sometimes its really hard to find the answer. But, if you do some digging, you’ll find that a few people have put together some pretty helpful resources that help you answer these questions so I’ve decided to try and aggregate a few of them here for you.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid at Animal Kingdom

I’ve come to believe that Animal Kingdom is one of those parks that’s a little misunderstood at Walt Disney World. Often labeled as a “half day park”, mostly due to it’s typically earlier closing time (than other parks) but also sometimes due to the perception that it lacks enough rides to keep you entertained for a full day. While it’s true the park will usually close earlier, it’s completely untrue that there is not enough to keep you busy there all day. I’ve put together these five mistakes that I find are common for people to make at Animal Kingdom (some of which I even made myself). Avoiding these could be the difference between a good half day at Animal Kingdom and a fantastic full day.

Mistake #1 – Arriving Late

Animal Kingdom’s biggest difference is that we’re talking about real life animals here. They have legitimate routines that dictate when they’re active and when they’re ready for a little snooze. The morning, by and large, is when these animals are most active. Thus, it’s important to arrive as soon as you can, usually 9AM on normal days. But, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, then you are entitled to Extra Magic Hours, which means on certain days you can get in at 8AM. Which actual days this occurs for Animal Kingdom varies a bit, but if you want to synch up your trip, there is a good reference here at wdwinfo.com.

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