Walt Disney World Vacations with Children
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Order Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2014).
2014 edition at Amazon.com



Beyond the Attractions (2014) is available for Kindle



Top Walt Disney World Tips for Traveling with Kids
1. Be Flexible

The single most important thing you can do to have a successful Walt Disney World trip with preschoolers is to have a plan and then be willing to deviate from it. When the kids get hot, tired, or over-stimulated, slow down the pace of your touring, have a snack, or take a break in your hotel room.

2. FASTPASS+

Walt Disney World ticket holders may take advantage of FASTPASS+, a means of bypassing the standby line for a much shorter FASTPASS+ queue. Using FASTPASS+ can dramatically decrease the time you spend in line and increase the number of attractions your family will enjoy.

3. Start Early

It’s important to know that crowds are lighter when the parks first open, and during the warmer times of the year the weather is more hospitable early in the day. Get an early start to minimize the amount of time you spend on lines. When the crowds become heavier and the weather warmer, take a break and return to your hotel for a swim and a nap.

4. Use a Stroller

Visiting Disney World is not like a typical day at your park or local zoo. Chances are you’ll be out of your hotel room for hours at a time and your family will put in mile after mile at the theme park and at your resort. Even the most energetic four- or five-year old who would never consider sitting in a stroller at home will likely be asking for one by mid-day.

5. Make Advance Dining Reservations (ADR)

With the many table-service restaurants in Walt Disney World, it’s difficult to imagine not getting a seat at the restaurant of your choice. However, this routinely happens with the large crowds visiting the resort. It is best to make your ADRs, guaranteeing a table, well in advance of your trip by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

6. Don't Force the Issue

Preschoolers are a funny bunch. They sometimes have difficulty communicating a fear or just plain discomfort with a ride or situation. If they resist a particular attraction, don’t force the issue; it’s easier to find a ride they do enjoy than having to coax them on future rides if they have a “bad” experience.


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Updates to Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2014)

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade will be closing in June 2014.

FastPass+

Legacy, or paper FastPasses, or no longer available at the Walt Disney World theme parks. FastPass+ replaces the legacy FastPass system.

Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King is temporarily dark during its move to the Africa section of Animal Kingdom. Performances are expected to resume in summer 2014.

Frozen Meet and Greet

Anna and Elsa from Frozen are meeting guests in Epcot's Norway Pavilion. This character greeting is very popular and often has long waits.

BabyCakes NYC

Downtown Disney's BabyCakes NYC will be closing March 20 as part of construction for Disney Springs. It is unknown whether it will reopen with Disney Springs.

Memory Maker

Memory Maker essentially replaces PhotoPass+.

Entertainment Updates

PUSH, the interactive trashcan in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, is no longer greeting guests. The candy artist in Epcot's Japan Pavilion is no longer creating candy marvels for guests.

Playhouse Disney's Play 'n Dine Character Update

Beginning January 26, 2014, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny, Jake, and Sofia the First will be the characters visiting with guests at Disney Hollywood Studio's Hollywood and Vine character meal.

Team Mickey

The Team Mickey store in Downtown Disney has closed.

Disney's Mobile Magic

On December 23, 2013, Disney's Mobile Magic App will be discontinued.

Credit Card Guarantee for All Advance Dining Reservations (ADR)

Beginning October 31, 2013, a credit card guarantee is required for all Disney World table-service reservations. Failure to adhere to the cancellation policy will result in a charge to the credit card.

Updates to Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2013)

Preferred Stroller Vendors

Beginning in September 2013, Disney will only hold strollers at Bell Services for stroller rental companies with preferred status. Guests will have to make arrangements to pick up and drop off strollers with other companies in person. The current preferred vendors are Kingdom Strollers, Magic Strollers, and Orlando Stroller Rentals.

Cast change at Disney Junior - Live on Stage!

Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First will be joining friends from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Never Land Pirates on the Disney Junior stage. The Little Einsteins and Handy Manny will be saying their goodbyes.

Price increase for the refillable mug

The refillable mug is $15.49 plus tax.

Updates to Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2012)

Changes are coming to FastPass beginning March 7, 2012

In the past, Disney has honored FastPasses after the FastPass return window. This will change March 7, 2012. Cast Members will allow guests to use FastPasses five minutes prior to the return window and up to fifteen minutes after the end of the window.

Updated Timelines for the Fantasyland Expansion

Snow White's Scary Adventure will be closing on May 31, 2012.

On March 31, 2012, parts of the new Storybook Circus will open. This will include one of the Flying Dumbo attractions; the Great Goofini which is a makeover for The Barnstormer, Fantasyland Station (Walt Disney World Railroad), and the Casey, Jr. water play area.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Beginning November 13, 2011, Jake from Jake and the Never Land Pirates will be one of the characters at the Disney Junior Play 'N Dine character meal at Hollywood and Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Joining him will be Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, and June from The Little Einsteins. Jake will also be replacing the Little Einsteins at the character meet and greet in Hollywood Studios' Animation Courtyard.

Recommended Stroller Rental Companies

Kingdom Strollers (http://www.kingdomstrollers.com/; (407)271-5301)
Orlando Stroller Rentals (http://www.orlandostrollerrentals.com/; 800-281-0884)

Change to Advance Dining Reservations Cancellation Policy

Beginning October 26, 2011, a credit card guarantee will be required to make Advance Dining Reservations at many character dining and signature dining locations. Cancellations without 24 hours notice will result in a $10 charge per person in your dining party. The restaurants affected by the change are 1900 Park Fare, Artist Point, California Grill, Cape May Café, Chef Mickey’s, Cítricos, Flying Fish Café, Jiko – The Cooking Place, Narcoossee’s,‘Ohana, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Victoria & Albert’s ($25 per person fee), The Crystal Palace, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, The Garden Grill, Le Cellier Steakhouse, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine, Tusker House Restaurant.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction at the Magic Kingdom will be closed from January 9th through February 17th, 2012.

Donald's Dining Safari Lunch

Beginning December 4, 2011, characters are coming to lunch at Animal Kingdom's Tusker House. Donald, Daisy, Mickey, and Goofy host guests at Donald's Dining Safari Lunch. The buffet is $25.99-29.99 for adults and $14.99-16.99 for children. Unfortunately, there will no longer be reserved seating at the afternoon shows of Finding Nemo - The Musical.

Free In Room WiFi

Deluxe resorts, Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts, and Coronado Springs are now offering free WiFi in guest rooms.

Art of Animation Resort

The Finding Nemo section will open May 31, 2012. The feature pool will be the largest pool at a Disney resort.

Updates to Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2011)

Winnie the Pooh Meet 'n Greet

In Summer 2011, Winnie the Pooh will be replacing Lotso in The Magic of Disney Animation.

Phineas and Ferb Meet 'n Greet

Beginning in Summer 2011, Phineas and Ferb will greet guests in Hollywood Studios near the exit of MuppetVision 3D.

Princess Character Dining

Cinderella's Royal Table. Cinderella now visits guests at their table after taking photographs in the foyer.

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus. Cinderella's schedule now allows her to visit her royal guests at Akershus. Ariel, Aurora, Belle, and Snow White also attend the meals.

Garden Grove Character Dining

Goofy and Pluto are the characters at all Garden Grove character dining.

Disney's PhotoPass Portrait Session

Changes have been made to Disney's PhotoPass Portrait Session. The Wilderness Lodge is no longer an option for the 20 minute mini-session. Additionally, packages have changed. There currently is a 20-minute photo session for $99.95. The package includes all final images on CD. A 60-minute session takes place at various locations and includes image retouching and enhancements. Photos are available for website viewing and guests receive a soft cover proof book. For more inforamtion, visit http://www.disneyeventphotography.com

Disney's Magical Express and Car Seats

Car seats cannot be installed on Disney's Magical Express. They are stowed in the luggage compartment underneath the bus during your transfer from Orlando International Airport to your Walt Disney World Resort.

Mickey's Toontown Fair Closure

Mickey's Toontown Fair will close in February, 2011 to make way for the Fantasyland expansion. In the spring, Mickey, Minnie, and the Disney princesses will move to Town Square Exposition Hall. In the interim, you will find them throughout the Magic Kingdom. Tinker Bell will be moving to Disney's Hollywood Studios while the rest of her fairy friends will soon be found in Epcot.

Picnic in the Park

Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park is no longer being offered.

Dragon Legends Acrobats

These amazing acrobats at Epcot's China Pavilion will be leaving in early 2011.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Tangled

Beginning in May, the Hannah Montana package will be discontinued.

ImageWorks!

Kodak is no longer a sponsor for ImageWorks! Unfortunately, some of the activities are no longer operating.

Block Party Bash

January 1, 2011 will be the last date for Disney Hollywood Studio's parade, Block Party Bash. A new Pixar-based parade, Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade, will debut on January 16, 2011. Expect to see characters from Up and Ratatouille.

Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! becomes Disney Junior - Live on Stage!

In 2011, Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! is being re-branded. Disney Junior - Live on Stage will debut with a new segment, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Preschooler favorites Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will continue to be part of the show.

Updates to Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2010)

Fantasyland Closures

Ariel's Grotto and Pooh's Playful Spot will be closed beginning April 12, 2010 as part of the work being done for the Fantasyland Expansion.

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience is temporarily closed due to the return of Captain EO.

Waking Tinker Bell

Unfortunately, guests can no longer wake Tinker Bell now that Tinker Bell's Treasures is Castle Couture.

Disney’s Honorary VoluntEARS Cavalcade

Disney Parks announces, "Each afternoon just before the daily parade at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom (and at Disneyland Park in California), Muppets characters and parade dancers will join special floats and vehicles celebrating volunteerism and presenting Honorary VoluntEARS serving as Grand Marshals of the parades. Kermit, Miss Piggy and Sweetums will be part of the merriment, while the dancers will be donning outfits that celebrate the work of volunteers."

Fantasyland Expansion

Beginning in 2010, work on the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland Expansion will begin. The project is expected to span three years, during which time Mickey's Toontown Fair will likely close.

Character Greeting Locations

Peter Pan can now be found in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland instead of Adventureland.

New Hidden Activity at Downtown Disney

Visit Hand Art Memories and have your handprint transformed entirely. Select stock designs such as Santa Clause or some of your favorite animals.

Verizon Wireless Users

Verizon Wireless users will have access to attraction wait times, FASTPASS return times, character greeting locations, and more. Named "Mobile Magic," the wireless app is not yet available for purchase.

Disney PhotoCD

Restrictions now apply to pre-ordering the Disney PhotoPass PhotoCD. This perk is only available to guests who book their vacation through DisneyWorld.com or the Disney Reservation Center. An email with a link will be sent to eligible guests.

Character Greeting at the Magic of Disney Animation Building

A separate line is now available for guests who wish to meet the characters without experiencing the Drawn to Animation film.

Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park

Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park will be available seasonally after January 3, 2010.

Downtown Disney McDonald's Location

As of April 30, 2010, the Downtown Disney McDonald's location will be closed. It will be replaced by Pollo Campero, a Latin-inspired fast-food chain.

DJ Dance Party

Downtown Disney hosts a kid-friendly DJ Dance Party every Friday and Saturday evening.

Cinderella's Royal Table

All dining at Cinderella's Royal Table will be renamed Fairytale Dining. Cinderella's princess friends will attend the meals. The Fairy Godmother will no longer be present.

Summer Nightastic!

The Magic Kingdom's Main Street Electrical Parade will return for a limited time in June, 2010 as part of Walt Disney World's Summer Nightastic! A special, new float with Tinker Bell will lead the parade. There will also be a special fireworks show.

 

 
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