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Announcing the Undercover Tourist of the Month!

by Leap on July 1, 2013 · 81 Comments · in Giveaways & Contests

The Frog Family at Undercover TouristUpdate: We are very, very excited to announce the winner of our very first Undercover Tourist of the Month contest. Rachael K. of Chicopee, Ma. is the lucky winner of a $250 credit.

Also, because of how competitive this first month’s competition was, we had to create a special “Noteworthy Tourist” category for Tory W. of Humble, Tx.

Congratulations!!! We want to thank everyone who participated in the July contest. We are offering another chance to win a $250 credit this month by submitting your own review from the Orlando theme parks. Full details are available here!

Previous: Good morning, frog friends!

Today, we wanted to kick off a new opportunity to share your passion for the Orlando theme parks. All you have to do is share  your tips and expertise on Undercover Tourist and our social media channels for a chance to win a $250 credit on our site!

All this month we’ll be looking for “Trusted Tourists” like yourselves to provide helpful tips, thoughtful statements and a high level of engagement across all of our social media platforms, including the Undercover Tourist blog, and Undercover Tourist’s official Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. (A high level of engagement can include commenting, liking, and sharing posts publicly.) We will award one individual who we feel is the most passionate and engaged Trusted Tourist! See the full terms & conditions here.

Enter below to get started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hoppy sharing!
– Leap


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81 Responses to “Announcing the Undercover Tourist of the Month!”

  1. robert gwiazdzinski says:

    the most important tip i have is to make multiple copies of your park tickets, leave one in the car, one in the hotel, keep one with you. last trip we managed to lose one of our tickets while getting fast passes. we had the ticket copy with us and went to guest services with the other 4 tickets. we determined the lost ticket and had a new one issued in less than 5 minutes out of our park time. the service rep even commented that he wished everyone did that.

    • Wade Kingsbury says:

      Absolutely great point! We do the same the minute our tickets come in the mail. We make copies for ourselves to carry on to the plane and to the park(1), leave in our room with luggage(2), leave at home with family(3) as well as take pictures to keep on our smart phones(4). People have made fun of us for basically having 5 copies, but the 3 minutes it takes is WELL worth missing out on the headache should the original(s) get lost.

    • Adam says:

      I also take a picture of them with my phone and save a copy to Evernote

    • Nancy Harn says:

      Don’t forget to take a picture of your photo pass!

  2. Liliane Opsomer says:

    Fabulous action. Good luck!

  3. Marie Dexter says:

    I love UCT!! I tell all my friends about it especially when I am letting them use my DVC points since UCT is another great way to save money!

  4. Amanda Wootten says:

    When we go to Disney, I always buy my tickets from UT. We have never had aNY problems using them. If you have a Star Wars fan, Hollywood Studios is a MUST! As soon as you get to HS go directly to the area where they are signing up for Jedi training. If you do your Star Wars fan can fight Darth Vadar and become a true Jedi. It is well worth your time. Another tip we found out is that most of the adult sized meals at the restaurants are large enough to split. So save a little $ and have the kiddos split. Already thinking of planning a trip next year so the $ would help us with tickets!

    • Jennifer says:

      Jedi Training is a must do for any Star Wars fans. My boys did it twice and LOVED it both times!!

  5. Desaree Oriani says:

    Game on! lol

  6. Melisa Hutchinson says:

    PLEASE plan ahead! I like to be as spontaneous as the next gal, but Disney has really made it to where you MUST plan at least part of your vacation far in advance (read: dining). I would recommend pre-purchasing everything you can so you are ready to hit the ground running! I get my tickets from Undercover Tourist, prepay my Photopass, and book dining 180 days out. That way, when I pull up to check in, we can drop the luggage and dash to the theme parks! I hope this tip helps! :-)

    • Nancy Harn says:

      My best tip is no tip! Unless you want to eat at a certain place really bad…..don’t plan too much! Going to the parks, anything can derail your plans. Things happen. Good and bad that can get you totally off schedule. (what fun is a schedule anyway?) Don’t be tied down! Wake up in the morning and check out the weather….or if you were out late the night before…..”Hmmm I feel like going to _____ today!” Not “I HAVE to” Or maybe you’ll just feel like hanging by the pool that day.

      If you have a car check out some of the local places to eat. Drive to the beach. See Florida! (or California)

      Schedules are for at home. You’re on vacation! Relax.

  7. Wade Kingsbury says:

    Going to WDW is about so much more than the rides. I think too often people skip out on the shows, demonstrations, galleries, etc. and don’t budget their time wisely. We are lucky enough, and more importantly choose to pinch pennies in other areas during the year, that when we go to Disney we stay for a good 10 days if not more. This allows us to see, and enjoy, so much more. My three biggest tips then are:

    1) Save money where you can and are willing both before and on the trip. This could mean skipping that expensive coffee($1/day on coffee=$365. This alone would get you a 6 Day Park Hopper ticket on UCT). On the trip, this means for us staying in a value resort for a majority if not the entire trip. At roughly $45cheaper a night during the week of 7/2-7/8 comparing Art of Animation(Most Expensive Value $175/night) versus Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort(Least expensive Moderate $220/night) you would save $315 over the course of that week, almost enough to book two extra nights at the value. While Value Resorts may not have all the extras and frills that Deluxe or Moderates have, how much time do you really plan on spending in the room or at the hotel? For us, it’s very little and it gives us an excuse to go look at the other hotels and eat at their restaurants on occasion without the spending the money to stay there. Likewise, we have stayed at hotels in all categories, and have enjoyed the values as much, and in the case of Art of Animation, even more.

    2)See as much of EVERYTHING as you can! I can’t stress enough how often I hear of people who travel frequently to Disney and decide to skip out on great attractions and rides like Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Epcot’s Living With the Land, Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride, or Animal Kingdom’s Wildlife Express Train because they aren’t the big and exciting or typical attractions. So much of what makes Disney great is how they inspire greatness into all that they do. Enjoy the shows, gallery walks, street performers, fireworks etc. likewise, if time and money affords, grab a Water Park Fun and More pass to check out the Water Parks, Disney Quest, Wide World of Sports, and or Golf. Multiple individuals in our family are not big fans of the pool or water rides, but often get the biggest kick out of the brilliance that goes into the Imagineering of these beautiful parks and things like the wave pool or lazy river. Of course to see all this you’ll need to follow my third tip…

    3) BUDGET YOUR TIME WISELY! Too often i see peoplw running from ride to ride but more importantly, line to line. Everyone wants to ride Toy Story Mania, but rather than wait 2 hours in line, grab a fast pass early and ride the other great rides while you wait. If we use this system while being there for 10+ days, why would you for anything shorter? Got a smart phone? Use UCT’s APP that helps predict line que times, park traffic size, etc. Eat a big breakfast or light breakfast for a late or early lunch to time not being a part of the big lunch rush. Likewise, if staying on Disney property, don’t assume that Early Magic Hours are always a great idea. Sometimes you’ll end up seeing less than if you’d gone to a different park. We have found this especially true for Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Furthermore, understand that in budgeting time like money, sometimes less is more. We’ll often hit the ground running early, go fast and furious for the first 6-7 hours of the day, and come back to the hotel in mid-afternoon for a quick nap, dip in the pool, dinner at the hotel, maybe some pool games and trivia, only to head back out later in the evening to catch some more rides and fireworks.

    Of course, none of this matters if you don’t follow the biggest tip of all which is to go to Disney with an open heart to enjoy the Magic of Disney and to have fun!

    • Nancy Harn says:

      I totally agree with everything you said! Well….one exception. I have no idea how many times I have been to WDW….I do know my 11 yr old has been there 15 times. (twice to DL and once to DL Paris) Anyway we have never once stayed on property. We use to…..a zillion years ago….just stay in a hotel but for probably about the last 10+ years we’ve rented peoples unused timeshares. If you look in the right places (websites which I probably can’t post here) and be patient you can get a very nice place….2 bed/2 bath. Full kitchen, washer dryer etc. for about 800 for a week. By now I have my go to people.

      I have stayed at Disney properties but only at Vero (LOVE) and Hilton Head. Yes. They are nice but I still prefer my little “apartments” and also the savings that goes along with them!

  8. Tory Western says:

    MY biggest tip is stay off property, and do breakfast character meals with little ones. Breakfast allows you to have the meal before the park opens, and it allows you to fill up for the day. A good breakfast meal will last you until 2 or 3 pm if you take advatage of it. That should be enough time to go back to your off property hotel for a small afternoon nap and snack.

  9. Jennifer says:

    My husband is fanatical about his coffee in the morning and wanted to carry “his” brew with him instead of buying coffee in the parks. I bought him a pack of the disposable coffee cups and brought them with us so he wouldn’t have a thermos to tote around. I even saved Starbuck’s sleeves to use. He happily carried his cowboy coffee with him and tossed the cups when he was done. We were camping at the Fort, but I’m sure this would work in the resorts as well.

    • Robert Novak says:

      I’m big on coffee too, and tend to bring a Bodum kettle and Clever Coffee Dripper along. I grind some coffee to bring with me, but also pick up some of the Disney stuff.

      I’ll be at the Disneyland Hotel next week, and I hear they have Keurig single serve in the rooms there. A Solofill and ground coffee, or a stash / sampler of K-cups will make that a sufficiently caffeinated way to start the day. (Tea’s an option too of course).

  10. Marisa says:

    I used to love the Magical Express. Get to the airport, let Disney pick up your luggage and for the rest of your stay using all Disney Transportation. All Disney transportation is free to on sight guest. If you are staying off sight, once you get to a Theme Park, then you are allowed to use any transportation.

    So, if you want a laid back vacation, don’t mind waiting, by all means, use the buses, Ferries, boats. But if you want to cutdown on any travel time, rent a vehicle. You can get to any destination in the parks or offsite within minutes, vs. planning an hours to a hour and a half, using Disney Transportation. We recently rented a car for $16 a day, stayed on sight, went off site and I loved it. We never had to wait, yet a part of me missed the random conversations you have with strangers on a bus.

  11. My biggest tip: Garden Grocer. Buy breakfast and light lunch items so you don’t have to purchase park food all the time. Best part? GG delivers!

  12. Chris says:

    My biggest tip for enjoying Disney is to slow down and take it all in especially when you have kids. I think my kids have more fun looking at the little things like the topiaries. I am a big planner when it comes to Disney, but the last time we went we just did what our 5 yr old twin girls wanted to do and it was GREAT. We took lots of breaks and actually ended up in the perfect location to watch 3 parades and a show at Cinderella’s castle – not part of my plan but it was AWESOME. I also highly recommend going back to the hotel for a swim, break or nap whatever suits you. Disney makes me tired with all the walking but the over stimulation for kids is crazy – give them a break.

  13. Bill Browning says:

    Use your phone to take copies of your credit cards, driver’s license, reservation information and of course, your tickets from UT. Subscribe to one of the many types of offsite data storage companies (Dropbox, Carbonite, Photobucket, etc. – many are free) and post your pictures. If you lose your wallet, you have your phone to give all the information to the police, hotel, etc. If you also lose your phone, you have easy access from any computer to the data storage site with all the information as well.

  14. Melinda Arnesen says:

    When planning to visit the most magical place on earth there are some important tips to follow. Everytime I walk through those gates of the Magic Kingdom with my family my eyes fill with tears of joy. It’s something that I can’t explain and I hope that all who visit experience that for themselves. I’m going to break up my tips into categories: staying on property, meal planning, ticket tips, fast pass, shows & parades, character meet and greets.

    Staying on Property: As most people know staying on property has it’s perks, and there are several different accommidations to meet anyones budget. There are the value resorts all the way up to the luxury resorts. The value resorts are perfect and have everything you could need. Of course the luxury resorts are beautiful but if you don’t spend any real time at the resort why bother spending the money. An important tip I like to share with people is that even if you aren’t an owner of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) you can still stay at the DVC resorts by purchasing points at Mouseowners.com. Just visit the rent/trade/transfer board to see about renting points from a member. You will find it maybe cheaper to stay at Animal Kingdom by renting points as opposed to going through Disney directly. One of the perks is the extra magic hours that you have the option of taking advantage of by staying on property. We like to visit the Magic Kingdom during extra magic hours and attempt to get as much done during that time as there typically aren’t long waits. We can almost get everything we want done in that timeframe and go back to the hotel to enjoy the pool for a bit and then return when the temperature has dropped a bit. It’s worth staying on property also for the transportation. You won’t need a car if you stay on property, you may have to wait a bit (15-20 mins). Another perk of staying on property is the use of the Magical Express, it’s transportation to and from the airport for your disney stay. Prior to arriving you recieve tickets and luggage tags for the magical express and when you get to the airport you go to the booth and hand them your ticket and they direct you to the line you need to be in (for your hotel) and you jump on the bus your luggage is delivered to your hotel so be sure to pack clothes for the day as your luggage may not be there for a while and you can enjoy the pool or the parks. You can ask the hotel to text you when your room is ready also so you don’t have to wait around. All and all I think staying on property takes all the guess work out of your vacation, and you can just get there and enjoy all Disney has to offer.

    Meal Planning: Disney offers various levels of meal plans, quick dining all the way up to a 3 sit down meal deluxe plan and a wine and beer package, but is it worth it you may wonder. Well it’s a bit pricey especially for the kids, I have a 4 year old that doesn’t eat so spending the money for a meal plan is a waste for him but you must purchase a meal plan for every guest staying in your room. We enjoy using the meal plan as there are places we would never try if we had to purchase out of pocket. You can use 2 dinners for some of the more expensive restaurants, which is nice. Our favorite places to eat are: California Grill (Contemporary Hotel) if you go right around the fireworks time you can enjoy drinks on the penthouse deck and the play the firework music and you have a spectacular view and the food is amazing. Ohana (Polynesian) it’s a family style meal feast all the food you want just keeps coming salad, pot stickers, chicken, steak and an amazing bread pudding. Chef Mickey (Contemporary) is a must for a character meal the food is ok but the kids really get a kick out of it. Coral Reef (Epcot) is neat as you get to dine right in front of the HUGE fish tank and the food is good. T-Rex (Downtown Disney) is a fun dining experience as you are surrounded by dinasours it’s like the Rain Forrest Cafe but with Dinos. So there are so many dining options, but if you choose to stay in a DVC hotel you generally have a kitchen and you can prepare meals there as well to save some money.

    Ticket Tips: Undercover Tourist.com is a great place to purchase tickets as they are typically cheaper than the gate prices. … Make sure you account for all you want to do for example if you purchase a Magic Your Way ticket without park hopper you have to plan meals accordingly so you are able to get into the park. Yes you need a park ticket to dine in the park, as well as if you want to do any water parks. Make sure you understand all the options.

    Fast Pass: Try to plan ahead and know what parks have the popular attractions. For example Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a very very popular attraction, so get to that park early and run there to get the fast pass. If there is no line ride the ride while you are there and then come back later for your fast pass time. There are limited number of fast passes and sometimes they will be gone for that ride by 2 or 3 in the afternoon if not earlier. Also make a note of what time you are eligible for another fast pass and get one for the next most popular ride (Rockin Roller Coaster). Ride the less popular rides in between fast pass times.

    Shows & Parades: Get there early for shows the Finding Nemo and Lion King show are very popular and you will have to get there early to get seats. I would say a good rule of thumb is 30-45 mins prior to a show or even a parade. Get your family settled in to wait for the parade and go and get some snacks (Dole Whip – Magic Kingdom). Fantasmic is a very popular fireworks show in Hollywood Studios you will need to get there 1 hour at least ahead of time to get a seat but I promise it’s worth it.

    Character Meet & Greets: Look at the park times guide and plan your meet and greets in advance and also get there early the lines can be fairly long and your kids won’t want to miss those autographs even if it is the 4th Donald Duck autograph they are going to get. There is a Special Meet & Greet for Disney Visa Card Members. It is from 1-7 each day. You Must show your Card. It includes a free Photo, Innoventions West at Epcot. Also there is the big character meet & greet in Epcot by innoventions where you can see Mickey/Minnie/Pluto/Daisy/Donald and Goofy. There are scheduled times.

    I think I covered a good amount but there is always more, but be sure to plan accordingly and enjoy your vacation. Make a ton of family memories that will last a lifetime!

  15. Jim O says:

    I always take the advice UCT when I receive my tickets in the mail and take a picture of the back of each ticket with my iPhone.

  16. Alex Perez says:

    A toda la gente hispana, recomiendo utilizar los servicios de Undercover Tourist, esta es la segunda vez que compramos los boletos desde Puerto Rico. El servicio es excelente, rapidez y sobretodo seguridad. Ya tenemos los boletos de Disney, Universal, Sea world y Busch Garden para nuestro viaje de Navidad 2013!!!!!!!!

  17. Patti S. says:

    Be sure to get your tickets from UCT. Also, if you are going to be dinning in the parks, get the dinning plan. If you have a smart phone, be sure to download the apps, including the UCT app.

  18. Laurie Cleaveland says:

    For a great and unique family experience that’s free, try visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge a little before dusk. Visitors are allowed to view the animals in the savannah areas. Once it gets dark, find one of the Disney Employees outside and ask to use the night goggles to view the animals. The grounds are beautiful to walk around and you can take a free shuttle to the different buildings at the lodge. Maps of the resort are available at the reception desk when you enter the Lodge, they will tell you where all the viewing areas are and can advise you as to which animals tend to be in each of the areas. Parking is free, just tell the parking attendant why your visiting the lodge and they will be more than happy to direct you on where you can park. Happy viewing!

    • Tory Western says:

      Awesome tip Laurie. I have taken my kids to Disney 7 times in the past 3 years, and have never done that. Definitely doing that next time.

  19. Kate H says:

    The best tip I have is to do your research! If you’re traveling with young kids, google that; traveling solo, google that. Check out travel sites, compare prices, find out about crowd levels and special events. Have a plan & a plan B. Be prepared, but flexible and you can’t go wrong!

  20. Meredith says:

    Besides buying tickets from UT the best thing on my last trip was taking in water. We found a small insulated backpack perfect for a days wort of water bottles. We froze some and they nettled throughout the day. Have to stay hydrated in the FL heat!

  21. lisa says:

    Pack your own water, especially in the summertime! And slow down when you are there, it will make enjoying the parks that much more special!

  22. Alison Serewko says:

    Plan, plan, plan! Especially with young kids! Leave the spontaneity for other vacations.

  23. Adam says:

    Love Undercover Tourist! Great service!

  24. Liliane Opsomer says:

    The Fright Factor – Tips to avoid a melt down on rides
    1. Start slow and warm up, Test your child’s sensitivity to rides in the dark, Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom may work well while Stitch’s Great Escape! can trigger a panic attack.
    2. Be attuned to peer and parent pressure: Sometimes young children will rise above their anxiety to please parents or siblings. There is a big difference between having a good time and just mustering the courage to get through.
    3. Encourage and empathize: Each of us has our own demons. Respond constructively if your child cries or is frightened by Pirates of the Caribbean. Tell them that lots of adults are scared on Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion.
    4. Name of the attraction: Young children will be scared by The Twilight Zone of Terror even if they enjoyed Space Mountain.
    5. Intensity of the attraction involving all senses: It’s Tough to be a Bug! at the Animal Kingdom combines loud sounds, lights, smoke, animatronic insects and 3-D cinematography. For some preschoolers this is two or three sense to many. Quite frankly, I put my feet up each time as I do not like the sensation of creepy crawlers running over me.
    6. Beware of the darkness: The Haunted Mansion is not a good ride to start out your young ones WDW experience.
    7. Just in case – take the earplugs: For toddlers and preschoolers some attractions, live shows and fireworks are just too much.
    8. Characters can be intimidating: Start off with face characters such as Jasmine, Belle or Peter Pan. Even Mickey can be scary to a 3 year old.
    9. Last-minute cold feet: If your young child gets cold feet just before boarding a ride as a cast member for the exit. It is not worth the agony and tears, just try another ride.
    10. Easy rides for very young kids: WDW Railroad, Dumbo, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Swiss Family Tree House, Liberty Belle Riverboat, It’s a Small World, Prince Charming Regal Carousel, Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. And if all this worked well: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh & Peter Pan’s Flight.

    Most of all have fun, take lots of pictures and stay hydrated.

    • Jennifer says:

      I agree 100%. What may seem completely unrational to you (my son REFUSED to go on It’s a Small World) is still a valid fear for them. Make the suggestion but let them make the choice. There are plenty of things to do (don’t forget the TiKi Room in MK) that will have them laughing out loud instead of screaming and crying without hitting every ride in the Park. And honestly, isn’t that really the MOST important thing! :)

  25. Brian says:

    The savings don’t end with WDW and USO. There are many other discounts to be had at other great attractions in central Florida and car rentals through Undercover Tourist. Not to mention all the great tips, giveaways, blogs, apps, and crowd calendars. With Undercover Tourist, you cannot go wrong!

  26. Emil Terry says:

    I LOVE Undercover Tourist! If you have any questions they always get back to you in a timely manner, I will always use them for my WDW & Universal Trips! Planning to go back next year.
    Also when you receive your tickets I advise to take a picture with your phone incase something happens if you loose them!

  27. Tracy says:

    My favorite way to pay for our trips is to use Disney gift cards. I can purchase them as I have the extra money anf once bought they can only be used at Disney. I love to buy them at the bjs warehouse club by us, they are sold at a bit of a discount, thus saving me a few extra dollars. And we always buy our tickets at undercover tourist, it has always been easy,

  28. Kathy Weeks says:

    If you are staying on property take time to enjoy the resort. Many have great pools, beaches, and special events for everyone to enjoy. Some are movies at night, camp fires even hula lessons.
    Also, plan ahead before going into parks and take advantage of the fast passes especially earlier in the day for popular rides. Many rides will have long lines to wait in and “sell out” of fast passes early on. Also , look for rides that have single rider lines. You don’t get to sit with a friend, but have shorter waits in line.

  29. Andrea says:

    My best advice would be to plan ahead! For first-time visitors, familiarize yourself with the different parks and the rides/experiences offered. Knowing in advance what you’d like to see will help you prioritize your day.

    Going to Disney doesn’t have to break the bank! Regardless of what the Disney Planning DVD might say, you don’t have to stay on site to have a great time. There are hundreds of lower-priced hotels in the Orlando and Kissimmee area. Staying offsite will also help save on food!

    To help save on tickets, we always buy from Undercover Tourist. We have bought our tickets from Undercover Tourist for years, and I always recommend their site to friends who are planning trips. I have had many positive interactions with their customer service department, and we have always been very pleased with the prices and shipping time!

  30. Jessica says:

    My tip would be to rent DVC points so you can stay in a deluxe resort for the same price (or sometimes cheaper!) of a value resort :)

  31. smittlemomma says:

    I love this idea! I would LOVE to win!! I have so many friends who have upcoming trips to Disney too, so I’ll share this on Facebook! This would be such a blessing for my family!

  32. heather says:

    Planning a trip for thus summer. My best tip is to ask friends, find tip sites and read reviews.nI have been over whelmed with the amount of choices and options available.

  33. Cathy says:

    BUY PHOTOPASS CD IN ADVANCE! Big savings and you’ll have more fun finding the photographers and asking for magic shots if you have already bought the pre-paid CD of your pix. Our pix are our best souvenirs. Even without buying the disk, a great souvenir is their calendar because it fits 25 of their pictures & is low price (compared to the albums). LOVE it. Use this every time. If you go for dining where they give character photos (like Belle at Akeshus) or even Bippety Boppety Boutique, don’t forget to look at the #’s on the printed photo and add them to your photo account (so you don’t have to scan them to become part of your album or calendar).

  34. Sheila says:

    I love Disney! If you’re a Disney Visa Card holder, make sure you go to EPCOT for your free 5 x 7 photo and a private character photo shoot! It’s great and not many people ever seem to be there in line! It’s in EPCOT at Innoventions West!

  35. Debbie Farr says:

    My tip is to read, read, read all you can about WDW. Soak in all the helpful tips and recommendations. I usually purchase an updated copy of Birbaum’s Official Guide to WDW and read over and over and highlight important tips and information. Stay updated by visiting sites such as UnderCoverTourist, Mousesavers.com, All Ears, and a few more. You can never get too much information on WDW. Being prepared really does make the WDW experience so much more enjoyable.

  36. Julie Isbell says:

    the best advice I can give anyone is something we learned the hard way! DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! if you try to plan a day, it most likely won’t go how you want. the only thing we plan is when to show up at a park! the rest we leave up to chance! SIT BACK, RELAX, AND ENJOY THE RIDE YOU ARE EMBARKING ON! IT’LL BE THE MOST MAGICAL EXPERIENCE EVER!

  37. nikki says:

    buy the kids little Disney happies aka gifts from walmart/target and give them one each night when you get back that way you save money on high priced toys at the parks plus it will help you get them to head back to the hotel since they will have something to look forward too:)

  38. Robyn says:

    Plan ahead. Bring your own water bottles to refill at the park to stay hydrated and save money. bring snacks for the kids. Lots of things you can buy ahead of time to save money and kids will enjoy. Autograph books, toys, coloring books and pirate patches for my boys. I think by packing these items prevents the “can I have” for lots of things they will see.
    Go with the flow. Get to the park early. And be realistic. We want to have a great experience. But at a day in the park, we are not going to be able to see everything.
    Take breaks. Relax and hang by the pool.

  39. Dave says:

    First tip, as mentioned by others, is get your tickets through Undercover Tourist. They will save you a lot of money, and if there’s a problem they are quick to respond and make it right.

    Second, plan your days in advance, but don’t over plan. Part of the joy of going to Disney World is getting lost in the magic and following your (or your child’s) heart. If you’re a parent of smaller children, be ready and willing to take one for the team.

    Check out MouseSavers and the Unofficial Guides for more awesome tips. I would have been lost, and spent a lot more money, without them.

  40. Rachael Bronner Kaplan says:

    My family and I have been to Disney a number of times.

    The most import detail that I found is that buying tickets from Under Cover Tourist the best deal. Not many places available off disocunts unless you are part of a convention or group.

    A few other details that I found helpful was to be flexible because let’s admit it, most of us are going back… I like booking the most important things my family wants to do first… Like the one thing my daughter wants to do is go back to the Pirate’s League. My husband wants to eat at TRex in DownTown Disney….

    Our last trip I made alot of dining reservations and felt that our day was dictated because of the reservation. With the new app for smart phones it makes it easier to book dining that day. I also have been told to go to Customer Service and ask for odd times, instead of 5:15, ask for 5:17… Not sure if it works but I have been told it does. I will try when we go in November.

    The most important detail for planning your trip, HAVE FUN. Sometimes we get so wrapped up of running here there and everywhere to make shows or rides that we lose sight of this. I can tell you that I am definately guilty of that…

  41. Sandy R says:

    My advice is to do some research before you go- it sure helps !

  42. Sue says:

    The best tip is finding the YouTube site with UCT. We took our son for the first time to Universal Orlando as he is a huge Harry Potter fan. But he is a little scared of rides where he has no idea what will happen. Being that none of us had ever gone there, we found the videos of the various rides to be of so much help. He ended up going on a few rides he would have never even tried. But he sat in his own house and watched the rides, he was much braver. so go on Undercover Tourist’s YouTube section and explore!

  43. marnie plunkett says:

    Hi! I’m a mom of 3 girls and a daycare provider. Im happy to say that Ive spread “Disney Fever” to all of my daycare families! When I began doing daycare 20 years ago, none of the families in my care had ever been to WaltDisney World, as the years have passed, Ive been able to share my love of DisneyWorld to all of my families, each family now to date has taken a DisneyWorld trip! Ive had the joy of giving them helpful tips and guidance , It makes me feel like Im a secret “Undercover Disney Travel Advisor”! Undercover Tourist has been a “go-to” for me for helpful tips, like the crowd calendar, awesome!

  44. Lauren Kilpatrick says:

    Go in the off times my favorite time is first week of sept to avoid big crowds and get free dining

  45. Ashley says:

    My family is the oddball – never been to Disney, we love Universal! Last time we went was the first time I bought our tickets in advance from UT, no problems whatsoever and very pleased with the discount!
    My best tip for Universal is to stay on property. Sure, it’s pricey, but the ease of entry to the parks and the unlimited fast-pass privileges are well worth it to me. I’m able to ride so many more times w/little to no waiting in line – which is what can really tire you out!

  46. Eulette McKneely says:

    I always come to Undercover tourist for information, ticket prices and I always tell people when I am asked where the best place to get WDW tickets is Undercover Tourist, I had a co-worker that I used to work with call me about a month ago asking me about what he needed to do to do a quick trip to WDW to take his little girl who is 7 that he and his wife adopted several years ago for her first trip to WDW it was going to have to be a quick trip because his wife is battling cancer and cant do a lot right now. So they wanted to take her and just give her an idea of what WDW really is all about and then later on when his wife is better, they are going to take her back for a long trip. But when he asked me about tickets I told him to use Undercover Tourist that they have the best prices for park tickets.

  47. Larisa Baldwin says:

    I hope I win this! It would be so great!

  48. Sherree' Wilkey says:

    I first took my son to WDW in 1997 when he was 6. Since them we have been more than a dozen time, which is not nearly enough. My son is 22 and he still loves to go to WDW with his mom! We will be going the first week of Aug and can’t wait! Undercover Tourist is a great resource, from discount tickets to wait time app while we are there.

    Excited that we have been asked to test MagicBands while we are there. Will be great to get a test run on this before four generations of our family go June 2014 to celebrate my son’s college graduation. And so what does he want to do after graduating with a degree in accounting with a minor in management? He is applying to Disney’s financial dept!!

    What tips do I have? First, stay on site. You can’t beat the convenience of returning to your room for a nap or swim to take a break and refresh for the rest of your day. Also no one can outshine Disney on quality and customer service.

    Use fastpass! Every year we maximize our time by utilizing fastpass. Extra Magic hours are great! We prefer the morning hours. We arrive early and are one of the first in the park. Evening hours tend to be more crowded because everyone is already in the park. By early afternoon leave the park with morning Magic Hours. It is too crowded. This is where it is beneficial to have a park hopper ticket. Just hop on over to a park that does not offer Magic Hours.

    When it comes to food don’t over do it. Weigh the value of Disney Dining Plan before adding on. Sometimes it is a value, sometime it is not. We eat mostly counter service so when I did the math it came out to more than $20 per person per meal using the quick service dinning plan. We don’t spend that much so it was not a value for us. Also, you can order ala carte. Fries come with sandwiches at counter service. The sandwiches are big. If you don’t want the fries tell the cast member you only want the sandwich and it will save you money. Sometimes we split a counter service meal since there is so much food in them. I also order a kids meal at times. Even a kids meal is often more food than I can eat. Tortuga Tavern is my favorite place to eat at MK! I look forward to creating my own taco salad every year. I am already anticipating it in 10 days!

    When traveling with children, take a break! Your kids get hot, tired and overwhelmed with all the activity. Their schedule has been thrown off. They need a break. Go back to your hotel. Have your kids swim and nap. You will need some down time yourself. When you return to the park you will all feel better and will have a much better experience.

    One of our favorite things to do is resort hop. We have had a car the last 5 years which makes it easier, but you can use Disney transportation and do this also. Disney has some beautifully themed resorts. Go check them out! If you do not have a car hop the monorail from MK and explore the MK resorts. Take the boat to Ft Wilderness. From Epcot you can walk through the international gateway to explore Epcot resorts. These resorts can also be accessed by boat from Hollywood Studios. Catch a boat from Downtown Disney to visit POO resorts. Board a bus from any park to visit AK Lodge, Coronado Springs and the All Star Resorts. A bus will take you to Pop Century and a foot bridge will take you to Art of Animation.

    I am an early childhood educator so you would think the last place I would want to spend my vacation is a place full of children, many of which are over tired and hot. I LOVE Disney! Every year I look forward to my Disney vacation. I am eagerly anticipating what may be my last WDW vacation with only my son. That said, I am not finished with Disney vacations. I am looking forward to watching my great-nephew next summer as he experiences WDW for the first time. I am sure it will bring back memories of the first time I took my 6 year old little boy to celebrate WDW 25th anniversary!

  49. Becca P says:

    My biggest tip about Disney is to always plan on spending more than you think! Whether you have a big budget or a small budget, be prepared to spend more than you anticipate. There will always be that gift you really want, some special photo/special memento or let’s face it another dole whip that you want. My other piece of advice-go for those experiences/purchases that you don’t plan on. Some of them really make the trip quite memorable and magical.

  50. Brian Muller says:

    We’re taking our 2.5 year old in January for the first time! Bought our tickets from undercover tourist, 10 day no expire. Should last us 3 trips :)

  51. Tanya says:

    I fill my days between trips with planning and researching all things Disney. Disney planning is my happy place. As mom to three little ones that are the perfect Disney ages, I love resources like this to help me make it extra magical.

  52. Alexandra Krieger says:

    Stay on Disney property! I am a single parent so the perks of staying at a Disney resort are more than I could ask for! The best transportation, purchases sent right to the room instead of carrying them around all day, staff is the best in the WORLD!

  53. Kimberly P. says:

    To save a little money on snacks, pack your own (pretzels, goldfish, cheerios, etc.) in small bags and bring to the park. They have never given me a problem bringing small amounts of food into the parks. For drinks, if you’re kids aren’t big water drinkers, bring a water bottle and a box of the juice mix singles (Kool-Aid or Crystal Lite makes some). It will be lighter than toting juice boxes all day and you can ask for ice water at any of the food stands to refill your bottle for free.

  54. Marty Miller says:

    While I love all things Disney, I love finding one really cool thing to do per visit. The Pirate League is one of those things. It is just so cool to take your child to the Pirate League building and watch their transformation into a Pirate. The makeup is so fantastic and the time in the makeup chair is made fun by the enthusiastic cast members makeup artists. True, there is a charge for this one but you can adjust it to make it a little cheaper. Before you go, buy your son or daughter a ‘pirate’ shirt. We bought a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it so that when my son did the Pirate League, we didn’t have the added expense of a costume and his shirt made him the perfect pirate. We were also careful to help advise my son of the makeup that would be the most comfortable for the heat. This made the day more enjoyable for my son who had his makeup on all day. The Pirate League is an experience that can’t be beat!

  55. Jean says:

    I haven’t bought tickets through UT yet, but plan to for our next visit!

  56. Andy Bruce says:

    I love undercover tourist for there awesome prices on there tickets.

  57. melissa renkawitz says:

    Get to know the plans for every park you plan to attend, and which rides build long wait times fast. Get to park at opening times, hit those attractions in the first couple hours and then relax and enjoy the rest of your day. Downloading a good app like the one by Undercover Tourist can help you decide where to go when wait times are low.

  58. Allen says:

    Thanks for the deal, would love to win this!

  59. Kristin Vigil says:

    My Family LOVES Disney! I love all the great info people have shared. I have some tips I would like to share:

    1 – Not only buy your tickets from undercover tourist but download the App! It worked better than the Disney App. I could take pictures of my tickets and put them right in the app. The time and info are great!!

    2- We love to stay on property. The best advice is for us is to do the Extra Magic Hours. We go in ride the rides beat the crowds and then when more people get there we head back to our hotel swim, nap and relax. The night time Extra Magic Hours are fun and the temperature is much cooler!

    3- If you stay in a room with a kitchen (or small fridge) we recommend WeGoShop.com! You can enter a complete shopping list. They use their store cards get the best deals and deliver your groceries to you. They even delivered, had the bellman put it in a refridgerator and had the groceries delivered to our room when we got in on CHRISTMAS DAY!!! They are inexpensive, friendly and fabulous! Since you can take things in to the park just having a case of water is amazing. My kids also do much better just being able to eat a bowl of cereal before we head in for the day.

    4 – The light show on the water behind the Contemporary is really cute and happens after the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. Its fun to watch both.

    5- If you need to rent a car it is MUCH cheaper and easier to rent right there on the WDW property than from the airport. They pick you up at the hotel, take you to the rental place and will return you wherever you want to be dropped off in Disney. We take the Magical Express to and from the airport

    6- If you have a little girl, I recommend buying a costume at the Disney store. Watch for their sale they go 50% off a couple times a year (Especially right after halloween) Take it with you. You can also buy a tiara for $9.99. The same one they give you in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I buy sparkle spray and do my daughter up as a princess as many days as she wants. (I have the princess hair down) Yes we did Bibbidi Bobbidi once and it was great. But now we dont have to do it. We really liked Pirates League and truthfully it was cheaper. My son loved it.

    I guess the best advice is have fun. Take it easy! If you go with the flow everything is worth it!

  60. Bridget McCreary says:

    UCT is a truly awesome place to not only get your theme park and attraction tickets, but is a great place to get so any helpful tips and tricks that are so needed when visiting the parks. I love the Disney park and Universal Park app when it comes to needing to know wait times for rides. These are super helpful when planning your fun day at the parks. The GPS update from Mousesavers that I found out about through Undercover Tourist is extremely helpful when navigating throughout Orlando, I was so easy to have all the main attractions already preloaded in there. The best tip I can offer for anyone going to the parks is to go with patience. It’s most of the time crowded and if there’s something special there you’re wanting to see, a special ride you’re wanting to ride, or a special character you’re wanting to see chances are there are 100′s more just like you. Therefore, it’s important to just keep an open mind, have patience, and just enjoy your special time at the park and you will have your turn.

  61. kim wood says:

    Planning our first trip and I am so grateful for Under Cover Tourist and all these wonderful tips!

  62. Sandra Brock says:

    I went to Orlando the day after Christmas. It was pretty crazy but what I found most useful with the large crowds was the android app for undercover tourist. It was so easy to use and I kept it on the entire time I was at the parks. It tells you the wait time for each ride and also gives you a map of the park and useful tips you cannot get anywhere else while walking around the park. We purchased our tickets through undercover tourist and received them very fast and without any problems. I highly recommend that you use undercover tourist if you plan on visiting any of the Orlando parks! We are going back again this Christmas and hope to win the gift card to use towards our activities!

  63. Annette says:

    I hope I win

  64. Jennifer says:

    If you’re looking into meal plans and have little ones, I suggest going with the quick service or the basic meal plan and leave the deluxe plan for when they get a little older. Meals at sit-down restaurants often take 90 minutes or more so if you have 2 sit down meals a day you wind up working your entire vacation around where you’re going to eat next. Trust me, I’ve done it. You finish one meal, stand on line for two rides and have to start making your way to your next meal. One sit down a day or even just counter service meals is a great option, especially if you have little kids who are more excited by rides and characters than fancy restaurants. :) And if you’re worried the counter service restaurants are all hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken fingers, don’t fret! Most of the counter service restaurants have salads and sandwiches and lots of different options. Go here (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/) for a list of counter service restaurants and click on each for their offerings.

  65. Amanda Searles says:

    Always make a photo copy of your tickets front and back. I am so excited about our upcoming trip in April!

  66. Regina Dykes Katz says:

    I have found that subscribing to all the different Disney related pages gives me tidbits of info that is just priceless. Everyone working together helps to enhance the park experience greatly. Sharing on social media has truly put eyes and ears everywhere for us to take advantage of.

  67. Chris G says:

    I am not sure I can share any tips that haven’t already been said. Thanks everyone for the advice. I am lucky enough to stay in time share so we usually eat one meal before we all leave for the parks (other than the character breakfast). It also allows us to have plenty of snacks on backup to bring to the parks. Those are beyond helpful to say the least. Also loving the UT prices/tips/information!!!!

    • Tory Western says:

      That is exactly what we do (Time share and breakfast). The only meals we ever have in the park are character breakfasts. They are cheaper, they occur before the park opens, and they fill you up for the whole day.

  68. Michele says:

    In the very beginning stages of planning our first trip. I am having the hardest time deciding if we should stay on site with a meal plan or use our time share and purchase meals. Which is cheaper in the long run? I don’t know how much to budget for food!!!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Michele,

      You should do the math, but almost certainly it will be cheaper to stay offsite and purchase meals. If you search online for Disney Dining Plan Calculator, you’ll find a few that you can use to get an idea of how much it will cost if you do decide to stay on site. Let us know what you decide!

      – Mommy Frog

  69. Erin P says:

    My tip is to pack things from home to eat for breakfast at the hotel (cereal, pop tarts, granola bars, etc.) and buy milk, juice from the resort when you get there. Then no need to fight the crowds at breakfast in the morning!

  70. Kristin Vigil says:

    Today we booked our airfare. If you plan far enough in advance Priceline really does work! We bid on a great deal for airfare and the times are perfect!

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