A few lessons learned

Hi there,

As I type this, my kids (7 and 3) are snoring peacefully after their first two days at Disney World. While we have another six to go, I’ve already observed a few things/come to a few conclusions that I thought might be helpful go others:

  1. Unless your little one(s) is a/are super hero(s) after a 04:30 wake-up call and a a three hour flight, take it easy on day 1. Don’t try to get them going into everything at once. If you’re staying on property, I suggest having a snack/meal, checking your hotel out and then heading out for a swim. Keep it simple. Don’t stray too far from the hotel; your kids may become over-stimulated and cranky. Really cranky.

  2. We’re at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (check-in specifically mentioned the TP fax as determining my room allocation- smaller savannah view and bunk bed upgrade). The walls aren’t as paper thin as you might have read. We’re down a small hallway and I’ve been very pleased with how quiet the room is. The balconies are a different story. Every kid, including my own, speak at one volume level- loud. Just in case the animals didn’t know they were there.

  3. If you find it noisy at the hotel or elsewhere on property it may very well be the toilets. They should be an attraction unto themselves; they flush in a spectacular manner. At Columbia Harbor House (second floor washroom), the flush will send spray at your face and arms. With that experience, who really needs to see Mickey’s Philharmonic? No, but seriously… I also recommend the tuna fish sandwich there. Stellar and shareable.

  4. Think hard about accepting a 3:45 reservation for dinner at 'Ohana just to be able to say that you finally ate there. The food and experience were great and one kid even ate their meal! However, 3 1/2 hours later, the three year old wanted to know why we hadn’t had supper?! How is that possible you ask? Stop. Right. There. That’s far too reasonable a question. Picture chicken nuggets and fries on the patio at 8. While everyone else in your party watches you put it away. Slowly.

  5. Maybe the regular Dining Plan is a good value? We ate at 1900 Park Fare and 'Ohana on nights one and two (family of four; $160-$170 per meal before any liquor and tip). My conclusion- the costs add up quickly. Even the quick-serve (Mara) will set you back $60 for two adult and two kids meals. On the upside, the food is tasty.

  6. 100F is stupid hot. Even pool water starts to feel like it’s simmering. Still I suggest the pool following a day in the Parks. Get there for opening, ride like crazy and then get out of there to cool down back at your resort if you like. In our case going to the pool has also helped prevent some meltdowns.

Okay, it’s my turn to pass out. I hope this is a helpful post on our first couple of days at AKL and the Disney Parks.


I love how you are looking at things and sharing your thoughts. #4 had me laughing because I could picture not a 3 year old but my 8 year old doing the same thing.


I enjoyed reading your lessons learned!


Haa! You should try a 17 year old, approximately 2 hours after eating lol! At any time.

Thank someone for the refillable popcorn buckets, even if we did loose the first one at AK and had to get a second. Good for length of stay and I think it was $1.50 per refill. Paid for itself after 2 days I reckon. Not exactly nutritious but hey, they can eat properly at meal times…


Love these! I hope today is great for you!


Great insights! I especially liked #5- I agree that sometimes we do not realize how expensive the food is at Disney. I think people look at the cost and think: I can get a QS meal for $10, but it never does quite work out that way- does it?


How much are the popcorn buckets (are they considered a snack credit)? Where can you get them?

Well I was there at Christmas, and as far as I know they are still available.

You could get them at any of the 4 parks, around $16 dollars is what I recall. It was slightly cheaper to buy them at AK than the rest of the parks, but the refills were the same price everywhere. Not sure if you could use snack credits for the refills.

You cannot buy the popcorn buckets with snack credits, but you can fill them with snack credits. However, at $1.50, I wouldn’t bother using my snack credits for that…

1 Like

We wil be staying at AKL in June. So excited!! Happy to hear you are liking it! So you got the room you were wanting and they mentioned your fax was what they used??! Hoping this is the case. I have mine all set for faxing!!
Have a great vacation!!!

When we checked in, the AKL reception desk staffer specifically mentioned that the fax had contributed to the room selection. As it turns out, we’re actually directly across the hallway from the room I had requested. The bunk bed was a nice surprise. Despite it not being the side of the building I would have preferred, I have NO complaints about the view. We’ve seen every animal every day and sometimes the entire menagerie of animals at the same time!


Love your observations! Funny!
We always get the dining plan (but we also go during “free” dining and upgrade)
We found it to be a great savings! (Sanity first, money second) We have to eat, we don’t worry about how expensive the restaurant is, and we enjoy a quiet respite every evening before a nightime show. (It’s like dinner and a show on Broadway). Because we have the dining plan we are far more adventurous and try new places every visit every year.
I’m glad you’re having a great time!