20 Walt Disney World Questions and Answers
April 3, 2020
I am so excited to introduce y’all to my friend, Ali, from Wish Upon a Planner. Ali and I go WAY back. We were friends at the University of South Carolina and we had many dance parities together at Club Ambiance. Ali is a legit Disney expert and she knows ALL THINGS Disney!
Hi there! Ok, a little background about me… I was a nurse years ago and was desperate to get out of the field, I always felt out of sync with it. I remember brainstorming and thinking, what am I an expert at that I could start a website about? Besides red wine (ha!), Disney World is my biggest area of expertise.
I’ve always been a numbers nerd, and I’d been studying line data and crowd patterns at Disney World for over a decade, for fun. More recently, everything Disney planning has become digital, and more complicated as well. A key to saving time and money on a Disney vacation is mastering the tech algorithms and pricing around Disney, and that happens to be one of my favorite pastimes. Most people don’t understand, let alone want to do that, so that’s the short story of how The Insider’s Strategy Guide and community were born!
If you’re heading to Disney, even if you’re a pro, check it out. There’s so much strategy to capitalize on that most people are not aware of – as I say, it’s not even about the “doors that aren’t yet opened,” it’s about the doors you might not know exist.
The #1 thing you can do for your trip is getting The Insider’s Digital Strategy Guide (with Line Hacks™!) + membership to our VIP group if you’re not already an expert.
For $24.99, you’ll receive access to Modules that discuss exactly how to beat the algorithms and master FastPass, optimize your snacking, eating and a Dining Plan if you’re on it, get the best rooms to request at every resort along with an email template and instructions to get you those rooms, and so many other insider secrets and strategies that less than 2% of park visitors know. No anxiety if you didn’t score a dining reservation or FastPass reservation. Everything can be resolved – this I promise you.
What are your top 5 favorite table service restaurants at Walt Disney World, and where are they located?
- Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort – My favorite signature restaurant. I love the old school vibe and of course the food.
- Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort – Specifically for the character breakfast.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater – The theming can’t be beaten, and the burgers got a transformation to an almost gourmet/brewery style flair a few years ago. So tasty.
- Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Coronado Springs Resort – My newest favorite. It’s an outdoor lounge, casual, and has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten at Disney.
- Chef Arts Homecomin’ at Disney Springs – I travel the world and eat all the food, and the mac & cheese here is a borderline religious experience.
What are your top 5 favorite counter service restaurants at Disney, and where are they located?
- Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom – Baked mac & cheese and the ribs. I sort of have this thing for cheese.
- La Cantina de San Angel at EPCOT – The cheese empanadas and margaritas are to die for and both are things I won’t make at home.
- Casey’s Corner at Magic Kingdom – Including this for the corn dog nuggets with cheese dipping sauce (and I don’t even eat corn dogs).
- Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles at EPCOT – More for the bakery, but there’s a huge variety of traditional French food, both savory and sweet.
- Polite Pig at Disney Springs – Barbecue, but I go for the sides and have a carb fest. Never have vegetables tasted so good.
What are your 5 favorite Disney snacks and where can you get them?
- Dole Whip Floats at Magic Kingdom – I’m a sucker for the classic. Give me the Pineapple and Raspberry swirl all day long.
- Cronut at EPCOT – It’s been around for a long time and quite overlooked. It’s loaded with cinnamon sugar and it’s just amazing.
- Buffalo Chicken Chips at Animal Kingdom – Gimme gimme. Makes for a meal too!
- Cheshire Cat Tail – Frosty and chocolatey danish-type pastry. Classic.
- Mickey Pretzel with Cheese – I eat one almost daily at Disney World, breakfast/meal replacement/snack, it’s versatile AF.
What is the best time of the year to visit Disney?
My favorite week is the one that straddles October and November, i.e. Oct 27-Nov 3rd. It’s actually a pretty slow week, since the parks are slow around Halloween. Weather is usually still warm or even hot, but not as much as summer. Another solid time is the first week of May.
What is your favorite paid extra event?
Probably Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I love Halloween, so the ambiance is worth it for me. Seeing all the kids and families dressed up in costume is hard to beat. The party is busy these days with long lines and requires some planning, but if you go with a good plan of attack and enjoy Halloween, you’ll have a great time!
What are your top 3 rides at each park?
Magic Kingdom – Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight
EPCOT – Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Spaceship Earth
Hollywood Studios – Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania
Animal Kingdom – Dinosaur, Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest.
Can you explain extra magic hours?
Extra Magic Hours (EMH) is typically an extra hour in the morning or two extra hours at night for guests staying on-property (or at an eligible hotel). They still get busy, but it’s a great thing to take advantage of if you can.
PRO TIP: For nighttime EMH, get in line for the busiest attractions the very last 5-10 minutes of the evening (you can typically queue until the minute they close). The actual wait is typically only 25-30% of the posted wait, almost all of the time.
If Disney World would create a new ride for any character/movie that is not currently running, who would you pick it to be about?
For over a decade I’ve been saying I want a Monsters Inc. ride where you ride through the crazy door chase scene. So sort of a coaster, but with the Soarin’ type of seating or something (but smaller since you’re sitting in the door). Think quick drops and curves and stuff. A thrill ride for sure, with some stops and scenes from the movies. I know they have Laugh Floor, but you said ride 😉
Who is your favorite Disney princess? For those of us who are princess obsessed, what is the best princess-themed dining experience?
I love Belle – she loves books and has a big heart, but she’s also super feisty and tough. My kind of chick.
For the princess obsessed, you really can’t beat Cinderella’s Royal Table, but if you’re on a Dining Plan, I recommend Akershus since it is an amazing use of a dining credit (only 1).
Which parks serve alcohol?
All the parks now! Disney grown-ups can walk around with alcohol at all parks except Magic Kingdom. At Magic Kingdom, they do serve alcohol at the table-service restaurants.
What is your favorite Disney resort and why?
Boardwalk is my all-time favorite. I love the theming and being around water is my #1 favorite thing in life, and if you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for anything nostalgic.
When can you schedule a FastPass for your trip?
If you’re on property or at an eligible resort, 60 days in advance. As long as there is no gap in your reservation, you’ll be able to schedule for your entire trip at that time. Otherwise, it’s 30 days and one day at a time if you’re not staying at an eligible resort. Tip for the 60-day peeps: if there is a very hard to get FastPass (ex: Slinky Dog Dash), you may want to consider planning that park day a bit further out in your week, as the first few days of your trip may no longer have FP availability. But you can usually get things the day of with my systems in the Insider’s Guide 😉
What are your favorite Disney bars and lounges?
My must-visit bars and lounges are Trader Sam’s at the Polynesian, Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom, and La Cava del Tequila in EPCOT.
What is your favorite Disney dessert?
The S’mores Cookie at Art of Animation Resort is my favorite, but it’s a bit tough to get to so I’ll throw in the Nutella & Fruit Waffle at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom. Even though it’s REALLY breakfast.
What’s the best location to watch the Magic Kingdom parade?
By Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland. You can usually get a pretty good spot last minute! If you want the Castle in the back of your photos though, hang by the Plaza.
What’s the one thing you must do every time you go to Disney?
Tiki cocktails at Trader Sams, eat a Mickey pretzel and Dole Whip, and ride Space Mountain.
What do you always bring with you into the park?
My Anker charger so I can document things on Instagram for readers and score FastPass all day.
What’s your favorite park?
Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios is a close second.
How did your love and expertise on Disney begin?
As a child! I was lucky enough to go almost annually starting when I was 8, and then I even had an Annual Pass as a tween/teen living in Kentucky. I was data crunching back then and still am. Figuring out new things with the My Disney Experience FastPass algorithms is an ongoing thing!
What is the most underrated Disney ride/attraction/etc.?
Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom. It was closed temporarily and rumored that it may be permanent though. Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT is my runner up.
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