Walt Disney World travel tips

A repost from my old blog, but still appropriate and helpful, in my opinion…

Here’s some helpful hints that my wife and I learned from our recent trips to Walt Disney World:

ASK FOR UPGRADES AT CHECK-IN. This has worked for us about 1/3rd of the time. Sometimes the upgrade is a better view, other times it is an entirely better room.

Also, if you can afford it, upgrade, at least once, to a concierge suite (if available). We did this our last trip to Disney (for one night) and it was worth it. We had a great view of the Wishes Fireworks and also got free liquor and snacks that day (the complemetary cordials helped me get through watching the Atlanta Falcons choke against the Saints).

GET FREE BIRTHDAY PINS. If you are traveling to WDW for your birthday (which I did last year) go to the front guest relations of every park and tell the cast member it’s your birthday. They’ll give you a free pin, customized to the park. If you are ambitous (like I was) go to every park during your stay and get all four pins. Nothing makes you feel better than having lots of people tell you “happy birthday” throughout the day.

GET THE DINING PLAN. Disney offers a dining add-on to most of their vacation packages which costs $37.99 per day for adults and $11.99 per day for children. DO IT. We have used it for two vacations and if we had paid out-of-pocket for the meals we had it would have cost us $2400 to eat over 11 days – not kidding. Since we got the dining plan as a FREE promotion for our last trip we only spent around $800 (for our first vacation) and we did not have to prepare a single meal. Which leads to the next hint…

BOOK VACATIONS USING PROMOTIONAL CODES. The primary reason for our last trip was we had days left over on our tickets to the parks and we found out about the free dining promotion. Look at sites like Mousesavers.com and go off-season using a promotional code. Not only will it be markedly cheaper (sometimes hundred of dollars cheaper) but it will be less crowded.

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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