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The Cast Members Guide to Walt Disney World: An Insider's Look at The Ultimate Disney Vacation (Updated for 2014)

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This guide was written by a Walt Disney World cast member and shares planning tips and hints for Disney guests who want the ultimate Disney vacation. This guide, and www.castmembersecrets.com is written, published and maintained by an operating participant at Walt Disney World who is simply passionate about Disney. The owner/author has no direct affiliation with Walt Disney World or The Disney Company. This guide does not expose or share any of the inner workings of business at Walt Disney World or The Disney Company. Most of the information in this guide is common knowledge amongst cast members, Florida residents and WDW fans who frequent the resort area multiple times per year.

UPDATED: My Magic, FastPass, Memory Maker, Story Maker and more NOW included in this new update!

This guide is intended to provide potential Walt Disney World Resort guests with vacation planning information, theme park, dining, ticketing and resort recommendations, and additional services and experiences available at Walt Disney World. Since there is so much information available to the public, and to Disney guests, we have compiled our suggestions for creating the experience of a lifetime, especially if its your first visit to Walt Disney World.

My name is John. I am a cast member. I work at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. And I love what I do!
Every day, cast members get to perform magic, assist guests, and be a part of the best vacation experience of someones life. Unfortunately we also get to be a witness to vacations gone badsometimes very bad.
Most families and couples who have a great experience while visiting Walt Disney World do so because of secrets. The kind of secrets your will find on this website. Theyve visited over and over again and have learned the secrets that cast members know:
How to plan their Disney vacation
How to skip the long lines
How to Get the MOST out of their vacation
How to plan their day at the park
Where the best places to eat are

The secret to the Disney World vacation of a lifetime is planning. Not just planning your flights, or travel, tickets, hotel, etc. Its planning your day. Planning your meals. Planning your experiences. Knowing what to do and how to do it. Theres also other secrets like how to communicate with cast members and receiving that little bit of extra magic. There are upgrades, and dining locations that without a good recommendation you could miss out on.
Think about this concept. Whenever you visit a new city, if you want to find the best places to eat, watch a sporting event, go out for drinks, shop, etc, you might ask the locals. You would ask the people who live there. The people who live and work in those cities have had the time to experience just about everything. So who at Walt Disney World has done just about everything?
Cast members.
Cast members know the best places to eat. they know how to avoid long lines. They know how to travel to and from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World Resort. They know know the area. They know the best ways to book your vacation. They know the how to have the most fun. They know where the best experiences are.
Cast members can tell you things like:
Where to dine
What are the best shows
How to avoid long lines
When the slow season is, how to avoid the big crowds
Which attractions are great for children and adults
How to save money in the parks
How to plan your entire day so not one moment is wasted
How to plan for the weather
Attractions that most guests miss out on
How to stay cool and dry in the hot summer months
The best viewing spots for fireworks
How to visit multiple theme parks in one day
What you should spend your time doing
How to find time to relax
Which resort is best for you
How to travel with children
How to navigate the Disney property
and much much more
NOTE: BOOK REVISED 07/02/14

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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 (Unofficial Guides)

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This best selling and definitive guide to Disney World is bigger and better than ever!

Exhaustively researched and packed with insider advice that will save you both time and money

  • Tried and tested touring plans that save as much as four hours of standing in line in a single day
  • Tips, advice, and opinions from hundreds of Walt Disney World guests in their own words
  • Almost 250 hotels rated and ranked for quality and value, including the top non-Disney hotels for families
  • A complete Dining Guide with ratings and reviews of all Walt Disney World restaurants, plus extensive alternatives for dining deals outside the World
  • Every attraction rated and ranked for each age group. 
  • Coverage of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter including best times to beat the crowds, the best places to buy Butterbeer, and the scoop on all the shops in the village of Hogsmeade.
  • Walt Disney World Resort theme parks are rated best in the world. earning high marks for things outside of the traditional theme park experience. Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival, which takes place for six weeks every fall and showcases food from twenty-five countries, was rated by Forbes Traveler as one of the Best U.S. Food and Wine Festivals.
  • In 2011, Disney not only launched its new cruise ship, the Disney Dream, it also announced plans of a complete overhaul of Pleasure Island set to begin construction and reopen as Hyperion Wharf





Q&A with Author Bob Sehlinger
Author Bob Sehlinger
Do you need a car at Walt Disney World?
I prefer to have a car. The Disney Transportation System is very efficient, but with the exception of commuting to the Magic Kingdom, driving your own car is usually faster. Plus, having your own car makes it easier to dine outside WDW where restaurants are less expensive. We've documented that the bucks you save eating outside the World will more than pay for the rental car. Also, having a car allows you to visit other area theme parks like Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld.

Where can you find crowd estimates for the days of your visit?
The website for The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World is touringplans.com. For a small subscription fee you can access our Crowd Calendar that is updated daily, and projects crowd levels for all four Disney parks for every day of the year. The calendar also specifies which park will be least crowded for a particular day. We used to publish the Crowd Calendar in the guidebook until it became apparent that to be accurate it required updating every day.

What's the best Disney park to visit on a really crowded day?
While there are a couple of exceptions relating to unusual circumstances, Epcot is the go-to park for holidays and other periods of extremely heavy attendance? Epcot is large, spread out, and open with plenty of elbowroom. Additionally, most Epcot attractions are engineered to accommodate more guests per day than attractions in the other parks.

If you have to take your Disney vacation in the summer, is one time less crowded than another?
Because most families take a couple weeks to get into their summer routine after school lets out, and another week or two to prepare for returning to school, late May, early June, and the last two weeks of August are the least crowded. The school year in Florida starts a week or more earlier than in most of the rest of the country. Consequently, comparatively few locals visit the theme parks on weekdays.

Do hotels outside Walt Disney World provide free transportation service to the parks?
Many do, but the shuttles don't run as often as those serving Disney hotels. What's more, non-Disney shuttles usually do not have the ability to increase carrying capacity during the busiest hours in the morning and at park closing. Though some shuttles serve only one hotel, others provide service to several hotels making for a long and potentially crowded commute.

What is Downtown Disney?
Located on the north side of WDW, Downtown Disney is a shopping, recreational, dining, and entertainment complex arrayed around Lake Buena Vista. Divided into three contiguous areas: Disney Marketplace, Hyperion Wharf (formerly the Pleasure Island nightclub complex), and the West Side. While the Marketplace is Disney Worlds shopping Shangri-La, the West side offers a 24-screen AMC movie theater and is home to Cirque du Soleils La Nouba. Also on the West Side is DisneyQuest, a sophisticated electronic games arcade frequently referred to as a theme park in a box. Hyperion Wharf is a venue in the making that may become Hyperbole Wharf, Wishful Wharf, or any of a dozen other things as Disney laboriously ponders its options.

What is the best Disney World restaurant for a quiet romantic meal?
Our experience and that of our readers indicate that quiet romantic meals are few and far between at WDW. Children are the rule rather than the exception at WDW's better restaurants, and readers attest to the presence of kids at all hours of the evening. Often, the later the hour, the crankier the children. Pressed to offer a suggestion, however, I would recommend Citricos at the Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa. The food is excellent and the subdued atmosphere tends to attract fewer families than other Disney dining venues.

What's available for adults in the way of nightlife at Walt Disney World?
With the former nightspots at Pleasure Island shuttered, what remains is an Irish Pub and the House Of Blues, both offering live music at Downtown Disney. Overt at Disney's Boardwalk theres a dueling piano bar and a dance club. At the Swan Resort, there's Kimonos, a Japanese sushi and tempura restaurant that hosts karaoke after 9 p.m. Rounding out the roster at the Coronado Springs Resort is Rix Lounge, a Vegas-ultra lounge clone that seems to come to life only when theres a big convention at the hotel.

What's the best time of year to go to Walt Disney World?
If your children are pre-school age go in the off-season, preferably in November before Thanksgiving or in early to mid-December before Christmas. The crowds are comparatively light, the weather is usually warm and sunny, and the theme parks sparkle in their Christmas regalia. If you have school age kids your best bets for avoiding huge crowds are early June as soon as school is out or late August just before classes resume.

How old should a child be to go Walt Disney World?
Just about any age can be rewarding as long as you're practical and realistic. Children three years and younger will respond to the color and festivity and youll bring home some really sweet pictures of the kids on Dumbo, but they won't remember a lot about their experience. And our research has documented that kids up to age 7 or 8 cite swimming in the hotel pool as their favorite thing on a Walt Disney World vacation. If your objective is to spend most of your time in the theme parks wait until your children at least a mature seven or eight.

What are some considerations concerning selecting a hotel?
Selecting a hotel can be tricky with over 220 hotels in the area to choose from. Perks like extra hours in the theme parks, free parking, and use of the Disney transportation system come with staying in a Disney hotel, but comfortable, clean hotels outside the World can be had for a fraction of the price. Kayak.com, a travel search engine will tell you which Internet travel seller has the best price for any hotel you are interested in. After finding the best Internet rate, call the hotel itself (not the national reservation number) to ask about specials. About 25 of the time the hotel will beat the best Internet rate available. Inquire about the age of the hotel and when the guestrooms were last refurbished. Also consider a vacation home rental. These offer exceptional room and amenities at a fraction of what comparable quality in a hotel room would cost. Finally, because Walt Disney World is so large, be aware that some hotels and vacation homes outside of the World are actually closer to the theme parks than several on-site Disney resorts.

How can you save money on food and dining?
Disney World restaurants are typically expensive so economizing on meals is much easier if you stay and eat outside Walt Disney World. Free coupon books abound outside of Walt Disney World and can save a considerable sum. Whether you lodge in or out of the World it's a good idea, not to mention a time saver, to buy a cheap cooler and breakfast staples so that you can have breakfast in your hotel room.

What type of admission is best?
Depends. Disney theme park admissions start with a Base Ticket or Starter Pass. Features such as visiting more than one park in a day (park hopping), a no expiration option, and the inclusion of minor theme parks and attractions admission can be added to the Base Ticket on an a' la carte basis at additional cost. The objective is to purchase exactly what you need, no more, no less. The Website TouringPlans.com has a nifty free program that will tell you, after answering a few basic questions about your itinerary, what the best admission option is for you.

What's the best way to avoid the long lines?
For starters, try to visit during a slower time of year. Secondly, arrive before the park opens, admission in hand. Third, have a plan. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World offers scientifically derived, field-tested touring plans for each of the theme parks that can save you 4 1/2 hours of standing in line on a day of average to high attendance! The research behind the touring plans has been the subject of features in the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, and in numerous academic journals.

What are your five most important tips for having a successful Disney vacation?
1. Prepare physically. Youll walk as much as 8-12 miles in a day. Start your family on a walking regimen months in advance to build endurance.
2. Don't overload your agenda. Less is more at Walt Disney World. Better to devour Disney World a bite at a time with plenty of rest and relaxation in between.
3. Resign yourself to not being able to see everything in one visit.
4. Have a plan but don't over plan. Its about having fun, not sticking rigidly to an itinerary. Allow for spontaneity.
5. Anticipate surprises both good and bad. Stay loose, roll with the punches, and maintain a good sense of humor.


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  • Used Book in Good Condition
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Disneyland Walt Disney Vintage Photo w/ Mickey at the Castle Trading Pin

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Description:

This limited edition official pin trading pin features a Vintage B & W Photo of Walt Disney strolling through the gates of Sleeping Beauty's Castle while Mickey runs through. Bottom of pin says "Disneyland Resort"

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  • Created exclusively for the Disneyland Resort
  • BRAND NEW ON ORIGINAL CARD
  • Vintage B & W Photo of Walt Disney strolling through the gates of Sleeping Beauty's Castle
  • Bottom of pin says "Disneyland Resort"
  • Approximately 2 inches X 3 1/2 inches


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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2010 (Unofficial Guides)

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  • In 2008, combined Walt Disney World Resort theme park attendance reached over 51 million, with the Magic Kingdom alone drawing over 17 million visitors. (Orlando Convention and Visitor Bureau)
  • Despite signifcant downturns in the economy, Disney theme parks have maintained attendance rates and made gains in attendance at some parks.
  • Walt Disney World Resort theme parks are rated best in the world. earning high marks for things outside of the traditional theme park experience. Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival, which takes place for six weeks every fall and showcases food from twenty-five countries, was rated by Forbes Traveler as one of the Best U.S. Food and Wine Festivals.


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The Complete Walt Disney World 2017

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SPECIAL TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Your best vacation ever. It's easy to have with the help of this award-winning full-color guidebook. Filled with the most detailed information ever published about Walt Disney World, it combines a thorough description of everything Disney has to offer with a cornucopia of advice and insight to help you enjoy it. In other words, it's a handbook on how to have fun. Critics agree. The Orlando Sentinel calls it "a fantastic planning tool." The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it's "refreshing in its honest opinions." Also included: more than 454 photographs and over a thousand fun finds and facts. Smartly organized, the 416-page book fits easily in your purse or backpack. 

Honest insight, helpful detail. A former Walt Disney World concierge supervisor, Julie Neal freely shares her unique insight, offering hundreds of inside tips and secrets, while also tossing in an encyclopedic depth of facts and figures that you just can't find anywhere else.

An award-winning family guide. The Complete Walt Disney World has won dozens of national and international book awards, including eleven Travel Guide of the Year honors and an Outstanding Family Product award from Disney itself. Features for families include a collection of fun ways to involve your children in the planning of your trip and "fear factors" for scary rides and shows. Children enjoy flipping through the guide's pages with their parents, as its abundance of images makes it easy to declare, "Let's do that!"

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  • COCONUT


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Disney's Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror Journal

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This official handsome hardbound journal will remind you of the elegant Hollywood Hotel from days gone by at the official Tower of Terror attraction. Hardbound Fancy endpapers Lined sheets, themed pages 7 1/2 x 5

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  • hardbound
  • lined sheets themed pages
  • official
  • fancy endpapers

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Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel Chip & Dale Room Key Dangle Trading Pin

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Description:

This limited edition official pin trading pin features Chip & Dale. Bottom of pin says "Grand Californian Hotel" Room 2001. There is a Disney key dangle on the very bottom of the pin.

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  • Created exclusively for The Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort in California
  • BRAND NEW ON ORIGINAL CARD
  • Bottom of pin says "Grand Californian Hotel" Room 2001
  • Dangling Replica of Mickey Ears Hotel Room Key
  • Approximately 2 inches X 3 1/2 inches

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Walt Disney World Parks Contemporary Resort Hotel Monorail Toy Accessory Play Set Playset

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Disney Parks Contemporary Resort Monorail Play Set Accessory New with box
This play set accessory allows our Monorail to pass right through the building, just like you'd see at Walt Disney World! It's a great addition to our Disney Parks Monorail play set (sold separately), and a fun way to relive memories
Set includes: Contemporary Resort structure, two support columns, and two pieces of extra track (approximately 24'')*
Some assembly required
Instructions included
For use with our Disney Parks Monorail Play Set, sold separately
*Please note: Monorail not included
Ages 5
Plastic
12'' H x 26'' W x 13 3/4'' D

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  • Contemporary resort structure
  • Two support columns
  • 2 pieces of extra track
  • For use with Disney Parks Monorail Play Set, sold separately
  • Some assembly required. Instructions included.

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Disney World Adventureland Mug

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Enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee as you take a tropical trip to Adventureland with this official large mug featuring a collage of vintage art, logos and icons inspired by the popular park. Drink in the delights of the Jungle Cruise and Trader Sam's

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  • Features a collage of vintage art, logos and icons inspired by Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, Adventureland, Trader Sam's, Jungle Cruise, and Disney's Polynesian Resort Hotel
  • contrast interior
  • microwave and dishwasher safe
  • 4 1/4'' H x 3 3/4'' Diameter (5 1/2'' W at handle)
  • holds 16 oz....ceramic
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3D Murals Stickers Wall Decals Marine Naples Small Boats at Historical Italian Coast with Heritage Castle Nautical Artwork Multicolor 3D Bathroom Decal W32 x H48

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The poster sticker is printed on Canvas what is one kind of best material for poster,it is thick,strong,waterproof,the poster has the vivid color and will not fade.It is ideal for home decor,kids bedroom decoration,living room decoration,gift.

- The poster will come without border,if you need ,please confirm to us before purchasing.

Note: It is the poster only,wooden frame is not included. and Wall Sticker self-adhesive

Shipping Terms:

We will send your order after receipt of your payment. For each order, we will double-check when we issue it. here is standard shipping. If you want to choose fast shipping like DHL / UPS / EMS, the extra cost will be paid in you.

1)Standard Distribution: Send to most countries. It takes about 10-30 Working day to arrive.

2) For EMS / DHL / UPS, it takes 5-8 Working days to arrive after .

Tariff Terms:

Most customers will ask us about tariffs. Sorry, we are not responsible for customs duties. We can write a lower value and send an order as a gift to you.

If your country has a strict policy on import orders, please send us a message when ordering. We will write the value you want to declare.

The digital images we display have the most accurate color possible but due to differences in pc monitors, we can't be responsible for variations in color between the actual product and your screen.

After-sales service: Any questions about the product, please contact us. We will get back to you as soon as possible. We are working to provide you with high-quality products and services. If you are satisfied with our products, please give 5 stars and positive feedback. This will encourage us to do better. Thank you!

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  • Size: W32" x H48"
  • Unique and One of a kind Home Wall Sticker Design,Removableself-adhesive.Packing: the Frameless Canvas Rolled and shipped in a Protective paper tubeready to hang.
  • High Definition modern canvas printing artwork, picture photo printed on quality polyster canvas. A great gift idea for your relatives and friends.
  • These peel and stick wall decal will go on any smooth flat dry surface, so you can even decorate furniture, doors, windows, floors, tables. No sticky residue is left behind and certainly no repainting
  • A perfect wall decorations paintings for living room, bedroom, kitchen, office, Hotel, dining room, office, bathroom, bar etc..



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Hotel at disneyworld