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The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 How Come "Unofficial"? 1 Declaration of Independence 1 Your Unofficial Walt Disney World Toolbox 1 The Music of Life 2 Your Personal Trainers 3 About This Guide 5 The Sum of All Fears 6 Letters and Comments from Readers 7 Reader Surveys 7 A Quick Tour of a Big World 12 The Major Theme Parks 12 The Water Theme Parks 14 Other Walt Disney World Venues 14 DisneySpeak Pocket Translator 18 PART ONE Basic Considerations 19 Is Walt Disney World for You? 19 Different Folks, Different Strokes 19 The Nature of the Beast 20 Know Thyself and Nothing to Excess 20 The Age Thing 21 About Inviting Your Children's Friends 26 A Few Words for Single Parents 28 "He Who Hesitates Is Launched!" Tips and Warnings for Grandparents 29 Order and Discipline on the Road 31 Six More Tips 34 PART TWO Getting Your Act Together 37 Gathering Information 37 PassPorter's Guide 39 Walt Disney World on the Web 39 Going High-tech with Liliane 41 Important Walt Disney World Phone Numbers 43 Allocating Time 43 When to Go to Walt Disney World 44 Holidays and Special Events at Walt Disney World 48 High-low, High-low, It's Off to Disney We Go 56 Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation Budget 57 Walt Disney World Admission Options 57 Help Is on the Way! 59 Magic Your Way 60 Base-Ticket Add-On Options 60 A Cloud Is Just a Cloud 62 Big Brother Is Watching 63 How to Get the Most from Magic Your Way 64 Gotcha! 64 Where to Purchase Magic Your Way Tickets 64 How Much Does It Cost Per Day? 65 Babysitting 66 Special Programs for Children 68 Birthdays and Special Occasions 70 PART THREE Where to Stay 72 Some Basic Considerations 73 Cost 73 Location and Transportation Options 75 Commuting to and from the Theme Parks 76 Dining 78 The Size of Your Group 79 Staying in or out of the World: Weighing the Pros and Cons 79 Walt Disney World Lodging 81 Benefits of Staying in Walt Disney World 81 Walt Disney World Hotels: Strengths and Weaknesses for Families 87 Magic Kingdom Resorts 88 Epcot Resorts 93 Bonnet Creek/Downtown Disney Area Resorts 95 Animal Kingdom Resorts 100 HOTEL INFORMATION CHART 102-104 Independent Hotels of the Downtown Disney Resort Area 106 How to Get Discounts on Lodging at Walt Disney World 107 Lodging Outside Walt Disney World 110 Good Neighbor Hotels 110 Selecting and Booking a Hotel Outside Walt Disney World 111 The Best Hotels for Families Outside Walt Disney World 113 Getting a Good Deal on a Room Outside Walt Disney World 122 Condominiums and Vacation Homes 124 How to Childproof a Hotel Room 127 PART FOUR Dining 129 Eating Outside Walt Disney World 129 Buffets and Meal Deals Outside Walt Disney World 130 WHERE TO EAT OUTSIDE WALT DISNEY WORLD 132-133 Dining in Walt Disney World 134 Disney Dining 101 135 Advance Reservations: What's in a Name? 136 Getting an Advance Reservation at Popular Restaurants 136 Getting Your Act Together 141 Dress 143 Smoking 143 Food Allergies and Special Requests 143 A Few Caveats 144 Walt Disney World Restaurant Categories 144 WALT DISNEY WORLD BUFFETS AND FAMILY-STYLE RESTAURANTS 145 Hard Choices 146 THE TOP 10 SNACKS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 148-149 Fast Food in the Theme Parks 149 Disney Dining Suggestions 153 Readers' Comments About Walt Disney World Dining 155 Counter-service Restaurant Mini-profiles 156 Disney's Full-service Restaurants: A Quick Romp Around the World 165 Magic Your Way Dining Plan 168 Number Crunching 176 Throw Me a Line! 177 Purchasing Room-only Plus Passes Versus a Package 177 Character Dining 178 Walt Disney World Restaurants: Rated and Ranked 178 WALT DISNEY WORLD RESTAURANTS BY CUISINE 179-181 PART FIVE Disney Boot Camp: Basic Training for World-bound Families 182 The Brutal Truth about Family Vacations 182 Mental and Emotional Preparation 183 Division of Labor 183 Togetherness 183 Lighten Up 184 Something for Everyone 184 Whose Idea Was This, Anyway? 184 Disney, Kids, and Scary Stuff 185 SMALL-CHILD FRIGHT-POTENTIAL CHART 186-190 A Magical Time for Mom and Dad 194 Preparing Your Children to Meet the Characters 194 Role-Playing 196 Physical Preparation 196 The Agony of the Feet 197 Sleep, Rest, and Relaxation 199 Developing a Good Plan 201 The Great Walt Disney World Expedition 202 Logistic Preparation 203 Clothing 203 Accessories 206 Miscellaneous Items 209 Supplies for Infants and Toddlers 215 Tips for Pregnant Mothers 215 Remembering Your Trip 218 How to Have Fun Before and After Your Visit-or the Things Bob Would Never Do 218 Trial Run 219 PART SIX Get in the Boat, Men! 221 Ready, Set, Tour! Some Touring Considerations 221 How Much Time Is Required to See Each Park? 221 Which Park to See First? 221 Operating Hours 222 Official Opening Versus Real Opening 222 The Rules 223 Your Daily Itinerary 226 Touring Plans 227 How to Find the Touring Plan That's Best for You 229 Fastpass 234 A Word about Disney Thrill Rides 238 A Word about Height Requirements 239 Waiting-line Strategies for Adults with Young Children 241 ATTRACTIONS AND RIDE RESTRICTIONS 244-245 Character Analysis 247 Character Watching 247 Character Dining: What to Expect 249 CHARACTER-MEAL HIT PARADE 251 Other Character Events 256 Strollers 257 When Kids Get Lost 259 Liliane's Tips for Keeping Track of Your Brood 262 PART SEVEN The Magic Kingdom 264 Main Street, U.S.A. 265 Adventureland 268 Frontierland 271 Liberty Square 274 Fantasyland 275 Tomorrowland 283 Live Entertainment and Parades in the Magic Kingdom 288 Magic Kingdom Touring Plans 292 Magic Kingdom Trivia Quiz 295 PART EIGHT Epcot 297 Kidcot Fun Stops 300 Future World 300 World Showcase 309 Live Entertainment at Epcot 317 Epcot Touring Plans 320 Epcot Trivia Quiz 322 PART NINE Animal Kingdom 323 The Oasis 326 Discovery Island 326 Camp Minnie-Mickey 327 Africa 328 Asia 331 DinoLand U.S.A. 333 Live Entertainment at Animal Kingdom 336 Animal Kingdom Touring Plans 338 Disney's Animal Kingdom Trivia Quiz 339 PART TEN Disney's Hollywood Studios 340 Live Entertainment at Disney's Hollywood Studios 355 Disney's Hollywood Studios Touring Plans 358 Disney's Hollywood Studios Trivia Quiz 360 PART ELEVEN Universal Orlando and SeaWorld 361 Universal Orlando 361 Universal Studios Florida 365 Disney's Hollywood Studios Versus Universal Studios Florida 366 Universal Studios Florida Attractions 373 Live Entertainment at Universal Studios 383 Universal Studios Florida Touring Plan 384 Universal's Islands of Adventure 384 Islands of Adventure Attractions 388 Islands of Adventure Touring Plan 402 SeaWorld 404 PART TWELVE The Rest of the World 408 The Water Theme Parks 408 Wet 'N Wild 413 Aquatica by SeaWorld 416 Downtown Disney 417 The Best of the Rest 424 Index 427 Clip-out Touring Plans 445 Unofficial Guide Reader Survey 469

About the Author

Bob Sehlinger is the Publisher of Menasha Ridge Press and author of numerous Unofficial Guides, including the best-selling Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

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