This winter has seen the opening of the film Saving Mr Banks, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, and telling the story of the making of (or more precisely, the almost-not-making-of) the Disney classic, Mary Poppins. If seeing this film has rekindled a forgotten childhood love of all things Disney, and you are now finally considering your first venture into the Magic Kingdom, then here are a few tips.
- 1. The Arrival: Orlando airport is reportedly the busiest in the country, save for LAX. The construction of the new international terminal has apparently lowered stress-levels for all. Nevertheless, in passing through you may well need your patience. If possible, we recommend magical carpet or Dumbo Ears. If not an option, it is worth considering an Orlando airport transfer. A chauffeured limousine service allows you to avoid the bustle of taxi ranks and therefore letting the magic begin early. Plus you’re on holiday, why no splurge and treat yourself like a member of royalty?
- 2. Holidays: Although it may sound obvious, don’t go to Disney World on or around a holiday or holiday weekend, as it is particularly busy on days such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I can only imagine that people go there expecting everyone else to be at home with the family, and instead find a thousand disgruntled faces, mimicking their own, staring back as they wait in the six hour line for ‘It’s a Small World.’ Additionally, when visiting on a holiday, the parks frequently reach capacity and stop allowing guests to enter, which can seriously cramp any park hopping plans.
- 3. Preparation: It is often worth checking the calendar for upcoming events and changes. 2014 looks to be a particularly big year for Disney World, as they will be opening the highly anticipated ‘Seven Dwarfs Mine Train’ roller-coaster. This year will also see the brand new ‘Festival of Fantasy Parade’ featuring the stories of all our favorites from the vacant Aurora to the feisty Brave. Better even than this – and truly this is something worth waiting for – is the Disney World app, which will allow you to book time slots on various rides, and avoid the crowds.
- 4. A Little History: Finally, it is worth reading up a little on the Disney history before you go, as it never fails to entertain. Only recently it has been reported that there is a whole other world under the Disney one we know of, made of hundreds of ‘utillidors’. These tunnels, snaking around underground like a rabbit warren, were the brainchild of Walt himself, after he was perturbed one day to see a cowboy crossing the futuristic Tomorrowland to get to his post on the Frontierland. Admittedly only meant for Disney World staff, if you can find an entry point on your perusal of the kingdom – perhaps worth keeping an eye on Alice – you may find one of these utillidors a good spot to take a pause from all the glittering magic. Only for a moment, of course.