Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Ok, my family is going to Disney World next week. I'm hoping it won't be too insane as most of the Spring Break stuff is...I hope...passing.

Has anyone been there recently? If so, any suggestions on maximizing fun for a 14 year old boy, a 10 year old boy and a 4 year old girl?


Comments (Page 1)
on Apr 09, 2011

Sure thing.

The best times to ride the rides with the really long lines are when the park first opens and when it's about to close.  I would say the absolute worst wait time is Soarin! at Epcot.  In fact if you don't get a fast pass you might not even want to bother.   At your income, you probably should get Fast Passes for everybody.  You've got more money than time--make the most of your time. 

When you're at Epcot, I like Germany the best to eat dinner.  There's a nice reservations-only restaurant that does Oktoberfest year round.  Magic Kingdom has a couple really nice dinners with live characters like Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh, etc. walking around hugging the kids, posing for pictures, etc..  Do go to the reservations-only restaurants.  You'll probably be paying like $200 for 5 people. 

If you go to the Disney castle--you know, the one on all the Disney movies, but it looks sooo much smaller in real life--there is a salon.  You can take your little girl there and they will dress her up like a princess.  I mean literally.  Then she will get to walk around the park in her gown and tiara all day.  Total photo opp.

Go to Animal Kingdom on a day when you don't have all day.  It closes the earliest of all the parks.  If you have all day, go to Epcot or Magic Kingdom.  If you've got half a day, that's your Animal Kingdom day.  I wouldn't bother with the Park Hopper passes--the time it takes to hop parks makes it not worth it.  You would be spending all your time hopping parks instead of riding the rides.

At MGM/Hollywood Studios, absolutely go to Toy Story first thing.   That line fills up VERY fast.   And American Idol.  If one of you wants to try out, that is.   The lines at Aerosmith and Twilight Zone also get long very quickly, but those are very intense rides--certainly not for a 4-year-old.  I'm older, though, and I love those two rides.  Hang a right when you first enter the park, and you'll find those two.

If you're staying at a hotel "on" the Disney campus, they will have special mornings/nights where the park remains open only to those people staying in those hotels.  I would plan your park visits around those days if I were you.  My favorite hotel is the one the monorail goes through.    (corollary:   if you can NOT go the extra hour, do NOT go to that park on that day.  Because guess why:  all the hotel guests are, and for the same reason.  That means longer lines. )

Magic Kingdom is best for your little kids.  Your 14-year-old would probably be happier at Universal Studios than Disney.  The rest of the parks are somewhere in between.   There's some cool Star Wars stuff at Hollywood Studios.  And a cool stunt show.  

*YOU* will like the city-of-tomorrow half of EPCOT.  There are lots of interactive games.  There is a ride that takes you to Jupiter or Mars.  But after that, there is this awesome team game involving like 25 people to a team (2 teams).  The 25 of you are Mission Control, and you're in charge of getting your spaceship to its destination.   Spaceship Earth also has a bunch of interactive games at the end.

I recommend NOT doing Spaceship Earth first when going into Epcot.  Absolutely do Soarin! first.  It's tempting to do Spaceship Earth first, because it's the first ride you run across in the park.  But you end up spending your first hour playing all the interactive games, and by then the lines at all the other rides are long and you missed your opportunity. 

on Apr 09, 2011

Oh and another one:  your 10-year-old I bet would like Lilo & Stich.  That's at Magic Kingdom.  They've got this stink bomb that's part of the ride.  It's hilarious.

I guess it's also getting to be the time of year when the water parks will be open.  I don't have any experience with that.  But they're there.

on Apr 09, 2011

Is this another rub your nose in it moment?
I can barely afford food let alone a vacation. Oh, and if I could afford a vacation, one of the stardock forums would be the first place I'd look....

on Apr 09, 2011

When we were over in the US we thought about Disney......but nah.....

....had more 'fun' visiting Stardock...

Even gonna do it again....

on Apr 09, 2011

There's not too much you can do. Your kids will either like it or not. Just go ahead and make the most of it either way.

on Apr 09, 2011

You don't say how long you are going for Brad, but if you can, visit the water parks. They really are great fun, and strangely enough it's what my kids remember as being the most fun.

I've been going to WDW since 1981, and it really is my favourite place in the world. Personally, I always took lunch with me in a backpack, just because I hated the long lines for food, and it's very expensive! (maybe that won't matter to you so much?)

My daughter had her 4th birthday at Disney World, and she LOVED the character breakfast with Minnie Mouse. We bought her the full Minnie outfit to wear at it and she was the happiest kid on earth. Also the character meal in that revolving restaurant is great fun.

One last thing..... be sure to stay behind until dark when you visit Epcot, so that you can see the firework display, it really is awesome!!!

Have Fun!!

on Apr 09, 2011

I would say the absolute worst wait time is Soarin! at Epcot.  In fact if you don't get a fast pass you might not even want to bother.   At your income, you probably should get Fast Passes for everybody.
Oy vey!  People pay to cut lines!?  Not cool 

And not a good message about class privilege to teach the kids.



 It's been decades since I've been so I don't have any specific this or thats to offer.  As a 9 year old kid, it was the imaginarioums that interested me most.  The rides like Space Mountain were exciting and fun.  But it was the immersion into adventure that was most memorable for me.   It was imagination come to life.  I really was on a frigate attacked by pirates.  But we got away and sailed past their grand fort siege. We escaped into a dark and musty cavern.  Only to find ourselves deep in the underground lair of the pirates.  All the sights, smells and sounds were there.  As was a sense of real adventure.  We were immersed in imagination.  Surrounded by it's detail.  When it was sadly all over and time to return home; I took home with me a wealth of experiences which provided fodder for my play, and material for which to dream about.

 The rides were fun but were over in a flash.  The adventures I took home and relived over and over again.  With the help of a Disney souvenir shop musket (real wood and metal which fired caps!), treasue map, and pouch of faux gold coins, I was a pirate adventuring my neighborhood in search of treasure and danger.  I made treeforts with the Swiss Family Robinson, and I explored the universe with the Tomorrow Land crew. That one day at the park provided years of enjoyment.  Now 31 years later, I find enjoyment in the memories of the play which that day inspired.     



on Apr 09, 2011

When you're at Epcot,

Skip Epcot....the kids really won't miss it. It's more for adults...hit the main park for a day or 2 and then take them to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and most definitely don't miss the Harry Potter Theme park there....that's currently the HOT ticket in town.

edit: you'll want to check out one of the water parks's supposed to be in the 90s from now until October....they're all good but I'd go with either Aquatica or Wet n Wild

on Apr 09, 2011

I worked for Disney Cruise Line for quite a few years and the parks are great..........but If you really want to give the kids a treat..........take them away from the Parks for a few days.........Take them down the coast for a few days and combine a visit to the Cape Canaveral Space Center and then go a few miles down the road to Port Canaveral to the Disney Cruise Line terminal and take a cruise to the Bahamas for 3/4 days........Stopping off at Nassau and Disney's private island of Castaway Cay............Don't tell them.......Make it a surprise..........You'll blow them away...........Watch their faces!............You've got the money, Brad...........Do it. You won't be disappointed.   

on Apr 09, 2011

Are you staying within or outside of the park?

we just got back last week from DW. took my son and a friend for his 10th birthday.

staying within the park has alot of advantages, free parking ($14.00/day) some earlier starts and later openings for park guests. if you plan on going to the water parks more than DW then outside would better suit you.

forget the character dining inside the park, really expensive and they have a tendency to rush you. we stayed at the wilderness cabins that have a kitchen but we only used it for breakfast and took our sandwiches. evening meals were ate outside the park, tons of places to eat.

start early, the boys went on buzz lightyear like three times with no wait and could have went more, start early. if you start early consider taking a mid-day break, have lunch, maybe hit the water parks or other outside attractions in the afternoon. use the fast pass system.

lilo and stitch may not be appropriate for the youngest. Some really good night time stuff for children and adults.

get an unofficial guide to disneyworld, they help to plan

we're rained out for one day.

anything specific I might answer for you, PM me.

*edit* the age difference might create some difficulties, look into using "switching off".


on Apr 09, 2011

What Leo the Lion said in post #9 is a great idea! While the park is great for the kids, the cruise is great for both kids and adults.  It let's you relax while the kids play and when you get to the islands there is lot's to do.  Make sure to visit the Atlantic Resort and Casino in the Bahamas if you can, the walls are huge aquarium's, kids will love it (and adults too)!  Hope you can get cruise tickets on late notice though!  Been on 9 different Disney cruises in the past myself (back when they were affordable), but only 3 trips to the park.  The kids loved the cruise far better.

on Apr 09, 2011

The fast pass is hardly unique to Disney.   Most major amusement parks have them now.   What really stinks on Soarin! at Epcot is, the Fast Passes almost monopolize the seats.   Those waiting standby don't get on that much.   It really, really sucks to wait in line on Soarin! without a fast pass.  


I don't think Epcot is primarily for adults at all, except for maybe the International part.   My 12-year-old nephew liked Epcot the best of all the major parks.   And Epcot IS a major park--it and Magic Kingdom are the biggest.  


I totally agree about going to Universal Studios.  I just think the age range is a few years high for a 10-yr-old and a 4-yr-old.  


Agree about taking a cruise, but not Disney.   I like Carnival the best if you have kids.


I hate Cape Canaveral.  I don't know if you've been there recently, but all the government security measures make it suck now.   You get nowhere near the space shuttle or anything real.   All you do is walk from exhibit to exhibit and watch movies about it.  It just to be you would drive within rock-throwing distance of the shuttle.   Now, 2 miles is about the closest you'll ever get.  And, your view of "mission control" now is a freakin' replica.   If you go to Canaveral, go for the cruise line--not the space center.  If you want a good space center, go to Houston.   Houston rules.


Last but absolutely NOT least!!!!   Given Brad's job and his passions, I think Disney Quest would be good (if not the best).   It's not the most popular "park" out there, and definitely not the oldest.   But it's exclusively made up of interactive games.   They're trailblazing new kinds of kids' games just like Brad is.   Not a full day of activity, though.


on Apr 09, 2011

Unless your child is set on it, I say skip it all together and go to Seaworld! I have not been to DL, and no one in my family has wanted to go. Seaworld was a huge hit though, they even have a behind the scenes where you can interact with the whales, for a high fee of course We never did that though. The best thing about it IMO was the animals shows and the bird aviary where you could feed them by hand. They had something similar for seals and whatnot but you cant touch the seals, unlike the birds.


My advice for going to such a large and busy place as DL or Seaworld is this:

1. Make sure everyone is well rested. This is important to ensure the younger ones have a good time.

2. Dont hesitate to put off going there for a day if someone is not feeling their best. No one will enjoy it if they are not at 100%

3. If you can go more than once. There is a lot to see and sometimes you have to go back to see it all, and thats always fun!

4. Stay close getting seperatted in a large place is scary, make a plan as to where you will meet incase someone gets lost.

Well good luck! And bring lots of money! And keep an eye on your wallet! And tell us how it went!

on Apr 10, 2011

Be sure to make reservations to have lunch in Cinderella's Palace.

Your little girl will love it.

on Apr 11, 2011

I haven't been to Disney in quite a while, but we are regular visitors to Universal and Islands of Adventure.  It's much more fun, and lots more to do.  Personally, Sea World is one of my favorite parks.