Nantucket Insider welcomes guest blogger, Bettina Landt of White Elephant to share her winter escape from Nantucket with us.... This year we decided to take our almost three year old daughter, and our six year old son, to Disney. We had been a few years back, but thought our daughter would really enjoy it now. We checked in to the Wilderness Lodge, a Disney Hotel at 8:30AM, with little optimism that our room would be ready, but to our delight, it was. When we checked in we received these very cool looking "Magic" bands for everyone. I wish we had made the reservation directly with the hotel, as they engrave the bottom of each band with your first name, but we booked through Expedia, so only one of us had their name engraved, the others were blank. These Magic bands do everything: open your guest room door, get you into the park, let you buy stuff everywhere (and I mean everywhere!), assist you with rides and Fast Pass reservations. Purchases end up on your room bill and ride information on your app. You have to see this to believe it!
Armed with our new gadgets, we headed to the room, with a great view of the pool. And what a pool- water slides and kid friendly!
At The Wilderness Lodge there is a boat that the resort operates and shuttles guests directly from the resort to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. After having spent two hours in the car, this was a nice change! It arrived promptly, and I just had time to download the Disney Park app "My Disney Experience" on my smartphone and link our passes. All very easy.
We opted to rent a stroller, since we knew it would be a long day for all of us.
Once inside the park we went to the information center to find out more about this Fast Pass we had heard about. It was slated to be a busy day and we wanted to make the most of it.
The Fast Pass enables you to essentially cut the line for that ride during the window of time your reservation is valid for- very gratifying. You also don't all have to go on the same rides. We ended up splitting up for parts of the day, as our 6 year old wanted to go on rides that our little one was not ready or tall enough yet. We also discovered a few tricks along the way:
- The fast pass kiosks are essentially areas where (after standing in line, of course) you can consult with a park employee on what is available when. Some fast pass lines are way longer than others. Consistently the kiosk near the Swiss Family Robinson attraction (it is hidden, down the hill on the right, so people miss it) had practically no lines and 6 or 7 kiosks, while others had 1 kiosk and a long line.
- Use the app "My Disney Experience". It is great. It tells you wait times at rides, what is closest to you and how tall your kids need to be (avoiding disappointment)
- Food in the park is so/so. We did not make lunch reservations, so we ended up with sandwiches, which was fine and didn't take up much time.
- There are performances throughout the day by the castle. The kids loved this part.
The rides were great. Disney doesn't miss a beat. Even the rides that are perhaps (through adult eyes) a bit dated or nostalgic, were magical for the kids.
We returned (via boat) to the resort at 7:30 PM. It was a full day for sure and a wonderful experience - we would absolutely do it again!