Disney Vacation Planning – 5 Insider Tips

In honor of the happiest-place-on-earth’s 40th anniversary on October 1, the folks at social travel site Gogobot put together this list of the keys to the kingdom: Top Insider Tips to Making the Most of Disney.

Here are the top 5 insider tips, from Gogobot users:

1.       For the older family:Keys to the Kingdom Tour
You have to be at least 16-years-old for this tour. The tour lasts about 4 hours or so and is about $70 on top of park admission. Sure, you can see most of the stuff covered on this tour by watching specials on the Travel Channel. But there’s simply no comparison to seeing it in person. My favorite part – the “underworld.” There’s so much that goes on behind, er, under the scenes that you have to see it to believe it!

2.       For adults: Drink around the world
The World Showcase area of Epcot, as you may know, features pavilions from different countries around the world. These pavilions have kiosks that feature local adult beverages and, sometimes, small snacks. You can literally spend an entire day drinking around the world at Epcot. Simply start at one end and begin exploring the food & beverage of countries that most people only dream of going to. You’re sure to have a blast.

3.       For the romantic: IllumiNations
This fireworks spectacular takes place every night at closing. It takes place on the lake in the center of the World Showcase. While there are places to see it all around the lake, there are some places that are downright horrible. The better places start to fill up early, so plan accordingly. The China and Germany pavilions recently had changes to the areas overlooking the lake, and make for great viewing.

4.       For kids: Jedi Training Academy
If you have a young Star Wars fan in your family, this is a must-do! My son will never, ever forget his experience. The Jedi Master teaches his small group of Padawans the ways of the Force. Participants actually feel like Padawans in their brown robes as they wield lightsabers. The most blood-pumping part of the experience is when the Storm Troppers & Vader arrive.

5.       For the aspiring artists: Magic of Disney Animation
While the short movie on how animation is made is well done, the best part is what follows. There is a place to meet characters. Usually the latest or upcoming movie is featured here. Also, Fantasia Mickey is featured here. There are areas to try your hand at coloring a scene, or adding sounds to an animated scene. The cool part is the area where you can learn to draw a Disney character. Often it is one of the Fab Five. The very cool part is that you can keep your drawing. The really very cool part is this is free. And you can come back several times. Perfect for all ages.

Here’s another resource that will be instrumental in planning your Disney Vacation:

Birnbaum's Walt Disney World Pocket Parks Guide 2012 (Paperback)
Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World Pocket Parks Guide 2012 (Paperback)
Price: $9.09
Once guests have planned their trips (with help from the classic Birnbaum Guide), they are encouraged to take this smaller book along with them on their Disney Vacation. Easily slipped into a pocket or a purse, the guide works as a handy, on-site reference for Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, golf excursions, biking, boating, and more Featuring a day-planner, removable park itineraries, and a secure pocket to keep your passes, this recent addition to the Birnbaum series is a must-have for WDW travelers. This year’s guide contains the pocket-sized lowdown on all the new shows, parades, and attractions that Walt Disney World will welcome in 2012; complete coverage of Fantasyland’s expansion-the biggest in Magic Kingdom history; details on Star Tours II, a dazzling new 3-D attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; and insight on little-known Disney Park gems. Plus, for guests who don’t have restaurant reservations, we’ll tell them how to get a great meal on the go. This new edition also includes updates on Fastpass, Disney’ service that allows guests to bypass long attraction lines-for free. From Target.com (Today’s Target Coupons are published here.)

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