Thursday, June 7, 2012

Disney Basics

Do you ever read/see/hear various Disney terms and acronyms and have no idea what people are talking about?  If you're new to the "Disney scene" or are just planning a family vacation and don't understand what people keep telling you about, you're not alone!

From meal planning to attractions, Disney is a world unto itself.  In the military we have a lot of acronyms, but Disney comes in close behind in usage.  Hopefully, I can help clear some of this up for you!
  • Cast Member - Employees!  Disney Parks are a show, not simply a park.  The employees are part of the adventure, thus their title.
  • Attraction - As a Theme Park (not simply an amusement park), the rides are attractions - from the queues through the entire ride, there is an attraction, not just a ride!
  • The Hub - The design of the majority of Disney Parks
    • Just like on a tire, the hub is the center of the park that has spokes leading out to the different lands.
    • At the Magic Kingdom - the Hub is the area where Main Street U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle meet.
      • From the Hub, you have entrances towards all of the Park's lands.
  • ADR - Advanced Dining Reservations  
    • It may seem strange to make dining reservations when visiting a theme park, but thanks to the Disney Dining Plan, to get into many of the table service restaurants for lunch or dinner - especially during 'normal' meal times, you'll need to make these reservations in advance. 
    • ADR's may be made 180 days in advance - if you're staying in a Disney Resort and having reservation ID, there is an added 10 days to that - check with your travel agent for specifics!
      • Table Service - Any sit down restaurant
      • Counter Service - "fast" food
    • Believe it or not, some restaurants - at more popular "peak" times of year - make it necessary to schedule 180 days out!
    • Popular places that need ADR's:
      • BBB - Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - (not dining, but still requires a reservation) the pricey Princess Makeover - available at Cinderella's Castle and Downtown Disney
      • CRT - Cinderella's Royal Table
      • BOG  - Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Fastpass - A system put in place by Disney assigning times to ride attractions
    • Outside of the bigger attractions (Space/Splash/Big Thunder Mountain and similar) there are 2 lines - one stand by - go in and wait until you reach the front of the line - or a line that included with admission (using your ticket!) you can get a ticket for a return window.  There is a 1 hour window on that ticket that is being enforced, so make sure to come back when it says!  There are clocks near the fastpass machines that tell you what the return time is before you get one.
    • You can only get one fastpass per time period (usually around 2 hours, but sometimes less - it will say in the bottom of your fast pass ticket!
    • Fastpasses for character meets aren't affected by the last time you picked up a fastpass, so you can get a fastpass to meet Mickey or the Princess at Town Square Theater and immediately go to your favorite Mountain to get your next fastpass!
    • Avoid wasting fast passes on attractions without lines - seems simple enough, but there is a fastpass machine at attractions like Mickey's Philharmagic - I love this attraction but haven't seen lines for it in a long time! You may even receive a "surprise" fast pass for this attraction - they often come with other Fantasyland fastpasses!
  • Rider Swap - Available at attractions with height limits - this attraction allows parents with children too small for the rides to still enjoy them!  
    • To take advantage of this option: Both adults must go to the cast member at the standby (or fastpass if you have fast passes!) line with the child.  
    • Once the first person/people have ridden the attraction, hand the "rider swap" pass to the remaining people and they can ride immediately- enter in the fastpass line.
  • Photopass - Disney Photographers
    • Located throughout the theme parks are "trained" photographers, waiting to take your pictures.
    • You are given a card that the photographers scan all over the parks to keep your pictures together.
    • You can purchase them before you go, within 30 days of your trip, or at the parks and resorts
  • Hard Ticket Event - 
    • Separate entry ticket required, usually starting in the afternoon and going into the late night for special events. 
    • Costs less than a single day ticket and has a limited number of people (still a lot, but nearly the capacity of a normal park day)
      • MNSSHP - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
        • Held annually at the Magic Kingdom on select dates leading up to Halloween
        • Many say the parade for this event is the best parade at the parks.
      • MVMCP - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
        • held annually at the Magic Kingdom leading up to Christmas
  • Magical Express - Transportation for persons and luggage staying on Disney Property.
    • Offered Free to resort guests
    • This service gives transportation from the Orlando Airport (MCO) to the resort.
    • With planning ahead, you receive luggage tags so that the Magical Express retrieves your luggage and it arrives in your room a few short hours after you arrive.
  • Park Transportation - Depending on your resort, there are buses, monorails, and boats!
    • Transportation between parks and resorts is complimentary, though resorts with monorail, boat, or walking distance to Parks generally costs more than those a bus ride away. 
  • Resorts - 
    • Value - the least expensive:
      • Pop, All-Star (Movies/Sports/Movies), AoA - Art of Animation
        • All Stars and AoA have family suites - basically 2 adjoining rooms with 2 bathrooms and a kitchenette.  Sleep 6.
    • Moderates - Generally more themed than values. Priced higher but not as high as Deluxe.
      • CBR - Caribbean Beach Resort - huge, sprawling resort
      • POR/POFQ - Port Orleans Riverside/French Quarter - considered by many the nicest of the moderates
      • Coronado Springs - more of a business resort - often more quiet and has more amenities than some of the other moderates.
    • Deluxe- you guessed it - the most expensive and nicest resorts on property
      • AKL - Animal Kingdom Lodge
      • WL - Wilderness Lodge
      • Contemporary/Bay Lake
      • Polynesian
      • GF - Grand Floridian
      • Beach and Yacht Clubs
      • Boardwalk
      • Saratoga Springs
      • OKW - Old Key West

I'm sure I've missed a few things, so please let me know what I'm missing to this *hopefully comprehensive* list!

1 comment:

  1. LOL! I remember planning that first trip and how confusing it was to figure everything out!! Thank God for the Passporter board!!

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