Our Disney World Specialist – Alyssa’s Top 10 List of Things to Think About.

disney world agent alyssa magi
My number one recommendation for Disney World is to get a good Disney Specialist (travel agent). Alyssa made our trip a billion times better.

Alyssa was an amazing resource, and (being our first family visit), I bugged the hell out of her.

Here is Alyssa’s Top 10 List of Things to Think About.

  1. Reserve the Magical Express Bus ahead of time so you (and your luggage) can go directly to Disney World. They will even pick up your luggage at the carousel and put it on the bus.
  2. You can get stuff delivered to your Disney Resort. If you buy something in a park, it can be delivered to your room. If you need cheap supplies of water, these too can be delivered to your room (from Walmart or Target.)
  3. The water is better than it’s been in the past, but it’s still not perfect. Getting bottled water may be the way to go if water taste is important.
  4. Book Fastpasses as far in advance as you can. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, you can book them 60 days in advance. The best rides go quickly.
  5. Disney only ships their Magic Bands within the USA  However, speak directly with your Resort and they will be ready for you at the Check-in Desk when you arrive.
  6. Create a My Disney Experience account, and download the app for your phone. The app will have wait times that you can track. Here’s the thing though. You must be careful not to change or link anything to your account until your family members have accepted the invitation from you. Making changes before accepting your invitation could jeopardize your fast passes and reservations. The other option is to just let everyone log in under your account and share it that way with you as the primary account holder who manages others in your party.
  7. A ticket might include one ‘Extra Magic hours’ that may be in the morning or in the evening after the park closes.  Not every park offers it every day. Look at the park hours for the specific dates and times they offer the Extra Magic Hours.  Talk to guest services at your Resort as well.
  8. The summer rainstorms are definitely abundant and sometimes can be an outright downpour! But the nice thing is, they can last as little as 10 minutes and then it passes, and the sun is out again! It is a good idea to bring rain ponchos but I don’t think you’ll need anything more special than a dollar store find.
  9. As convenient as the complimentary transportation is, it is also slow at times so give yourselves plenty of a time cushion if you are trying to make a show or parade.
  10. You will likely have a Disney hangover when you come back. Oh yeah, it’s a thing. But you’ll be back to normal in a few days!

(She was amazing! She spent so much time making sure we had the BEST vacation ever!)

(Thanks, Alyssa. Her Links are HERE and HERE.)

For other top 10 lists, see HERE.

Top 10 List of Disney World Moments – By The-Youngest

Rockin’ Rollercoaster, probably the best ride in Disney World.

The-Youngest: “Wait, wait, what, I have to do a top ten list on rides? Really, Joe? Really?”

“Yes. No one knows more about rollercoasters.”

“So do you want the best rollercoasters?”

“No, my bad, not just rollercoasters. Rides. Tell me about your top 10 rides.”

“It may not be totally in order, but I do have the #1.”

Top 10 rides in Disney World – the Youngest

  1. Rockin’ Rollercoaster – Has to be the best for its speed. Its ‘launch’ at the start is very forceful. It has double vertical flips and is smooth for Vekoma (which is the make of the rollercoaster, not glaucoma as Joe heard it.)
  2. Expedition Everest – Could be #1, but it has a scary yeti. A very scary Yeti. Still, it’s got a huge drop and great speed.  It almost made me grey out at the bottom of the big drop, and going backward was cool, and being in the dark made it feel like a backward flip.
  3. Space Mountain – felt more forceful than the one at Disneyland. The restraints are better, but not enough space for feet. It’s a toboggan-style ride, which I don’t like, but it’s in the dark so you never know what’s going to happen, except that I did because I watched YouTube videos of what it’s like with the night-vision goggles on.
  4. Splash Mountain, better than Disneyland, because it had 2 per row and it was long and had a better ending song. That’s important. The drops were more intense. More wet, too.
  5. Seven Dwarves Mine Train – I thought it was cool to have a rollercoaster drop right at the start, and the trains moved side to side. Animatronics were well done, too, and didn’t scare me at all. Music was good, too.
  6. Avatar: Flight of Passage – A good ride, but Joe liked it way better than I did. Lots of close calls that feel like you were going to hit a tree, or bang into a cliff. Not intense, and I like intense, but riding in a weird position, like on a bike, that was kind of fun, too.
  7. Thunder Mountain Railroad – No Fastpass. A terrible wait, but cool things to do in the line, like blowing up things with dynamite as the rail cars passed, but even though it was not that intense, it was still fun. Good speed and quite smooth.
  8. Test Track –  Very fun! You designed the cars, and I made a car that looked like a terrible car but it beat my parents! It was the fastest ride in the park. My eyes dried out. Even big rollercoasters don’t do that. That was fun.
  9. Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin – A shooting ride. Lots of fun. I’d seen the vids and knew where to shoot. It’s fun to do with family because you can spin around and control where you shoot. Or spin away just as your mom is lining up a shot. This ride has strategy!
  10. Slinky Dog Dash – A good ride if you like launches, but only really good if you’re really young or like my mom, because the launches are not forceful. Not much air-time, but a good ride, for someone just getting into rollercoasters.
Time to blow something up. Magic Kingdom’s Thunder Mountain Railroad. This is how you make a line-up fun!

It’s not that I didn’t like some of the other rides. Star Tours was ok. The Muppet Show was kind of fun. But I could only have 10 things, so those are my 10 recommendations. One that I’d avoid – the water ride in Animal Kingdom, Kali Rapids. You got super wet but it was super boring.

However, my most favourite ride will be the Tron coaster that’s coming in 2020. Epic ‘launches.’ Flips in a motorcycle riding position. Fast. Intense. There’s already one in Shanghai.

I wonder if my parents will take me back to Disney World to see it. I need to start a gofundme campaign or get some Patreons.

Top 10 List of Disney World Moments – By The-Oldest

Top 10 moments?

As always, The-Oldest gave a lot of thought to his answers.
  1. The rainstorm when we arrived! Oh yeah, yeah, the big rainstorm was amazing.

2) The architecture is amazing. The world-building, like how things looked, the time, you know, to get it right, that was incredible.

3) Favourite ride? Rocking rollercoaster had a lot of umph, but it wasn’t my favourite. In Epcot, the racecar ride one was one of the best, cause it’s got more story, but Splash Mountain’s still my favourite. It helped that we had a Fastpass but I’d wait in line for two hours for that ride.

4) Epcot had the best fireworks. I guess what made it the best was that it had a ton of room, even with huge crowds. We could see everything. Fireworks are best when you’re not being pushed around by crowds.

5) Is there a ride not worth the wait?  Sure.  Lots. For us, we waited about an hour for the Goofy plane ride, the Barnstormer, in The Magic Kingdom. Very short. Not worth even a 15 min wait.

6) It is really hot there, you know. Close to torture at some point. I would not want to go in summer, again. Too crowded, too.

7) Is there any park I’d wanted to spend more time at?  I would want to spend more time at Universal, but I think I had enough of Animal Kingdom, but I don’t think we spent enough time in Epcot or Hollywood Studios, but Magic Kingdom definitely needs more than 1 day, as we were very tired and not ready for the heat.

8) Favourite place to eat? 50s diner, chah, you know what I’m saying- it’s getting into the feel of the 50s, so yeah, I’d recommend it. But my favourite, the German restaurant with live music. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. They played mountain horns and had a buffet of German food. Chah.

9) Was the Resort good? Pop century, yeah, big time. I was excited because I like the really old stuff, like the 60s and 70s stuff. And stuff from the dark ages, like the 50s and 40s. Wait, why are you scowling at me, Joe.

10) What was the most terrifying ride? Expedition Everest, yeah, that yeti, even knowing ahead of time didn’t help. That yeti was scary.

“We’re here to have fun.”

11) (Yes, 11, he’s giving one extra one for free) What’s the one thing I’d tell everyone? Manage stamina. No matter how fun the ride is, don’t wait for anything too long, it kills the fun, and you’re there to have fun.

My Top 10 Disney World Moments

There are way more top 10 Disney World moments than listed below, but I wanted to share a few of my experiences (and they may not be what you think.)

Having fun and being a little goofy is something that Disney World encourages. This is a no-judgment zone.
  1. Staff come and get you at the front desk. They walk up to you in line, with a smile, ask about your day, then about why you’re in line, and, then either take you to their station or direct you to someone who’s the most knowledgeable person. This is service at its best.
  2. We got to play for free in Pop Century’s arcade. See, in Disney World, when something breaks down, they try their best to make people happy. In this case, the coin machines for the arcade broke, but instead of shutting them down, they programmed them for free play. How cool is that???
  3. When it was raining that first night, they brought out towels for the guests. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World found staff handing them out near the front door, and we were so soaked by then, we needed about 20 each.
  4. There was a real-life coffee angel in the cafeteria. She would come around and make sure everyone had a full cup of coffee early in the morning. On the first day, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was so tired, this brought her to tears.
  5. So many kids (and more than a fair share of adults) came into the parks all dressed up as Disney characters. Princesses. Jedi. Pirates of the Caribbean. Mickey and Minnie ear-hats adorned countless heads, and there was even an entire family dressed up as The Incredibles. It was incredible. And adorable. And something you’ll only see in Disney World or on Halloween.
  6. The bathrooms are amazing. Sparkling clean. Great smelling. Always cool. Soap and towel dispensers always full. Ok, sure, one little girl ran into the boy’s washroom while we were peeing, and threw up all over the floor, but within moments, one of the cast members were there to clean it up. So impressive.
  7. Passing a 3-hour line with your Fastpass is awesome. Ok, I know this makes me a bit of a dink, but schadenfreude is strong in me sometimes, and having spent 2 hours sweating in a line-up, the ability to literally walk onto a ride is so awesome, it comes close to free coffee or finally figuring out a sudoku puzzle.
  8. Disney World’s attention to detail is simply spectacular. I know we spent a lot of time running from one ride to the next, but if I ever get back there, again, I would spend more time just looking around, soaking up more of the little things. From wandering around in awe in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora to eating in a Mongolian restaurant, we sometimes took in the surroundings, but man, there is sooooooo much more to see. My advice – slow down and see everything, including all the stuff in the line-ups!
  9. When our Fastpass was canceled, they gave us a Fastpass to any ride in that park. In the end, we were able to actually use that Fastpass for its intended purpose (the Test Track ride), but that no-hassle customer service is what makes Disney such a great vacation location.
  10. Jedi Rey smiled at me. At that moment, I wasn’t some middle-aged stepdad, I was a young goober getting smiled at by a pretty legend. That ability that Disney World has for transforming an adult into a kid for a while is unparalleled in the universe, and it’s incredible. Wear that Minnie bow in your hair. Have the entire family dress in matching Star Wars T-shirts. Sing Frozen songs with your daughter (or son) while walking towards the Karaoke theater. Watch a Muppet Show and giggle. It’s all ok in Disney World. Really. It’s. All. Ok.

A Will

Last Will and testament document.
Last Will and testament document.

As an adult, there are simply things you HAVE to do. Feed yourself (and hopefully others.) Wear pants while shopping at Walmart. Make a will.

Of those, making a will is the most important and most likely not to be done.

Hey, I get it. It’s not easy to think about what will happen when you’re gone. Discussing death is not a fun conversation to have around the dinner table. Figuring out who will get your collection of mint condition STNG Picards is particularly hard.

But it needs to be done. The truly horrible thing is that you are going to die. We all are. Some a lot earlier than expected. So it’s vital your loved ones know what to do. Here’s a quick link to a blog about wills.

I began thinking about this, again, while talking to a friend of mine. He didn’t want anyone to go to any trouble after he died. Just sprinkle his ashes somewhere. Have a drink in his name. Move on.

I had the exact opposite thought.

A funeral pyre would be nice.We just don’t do pyres anymore and I’d like to bring that back. Or maybe a nice cremation on a Viking longboat.

Then, when I’m ashes, I want my friend to take them to the top of Everest and build a monument for me. Made of marble. 20’ high. In the shape of a giant hobbit’s foot so that a hundred thousand years from now someone will find it and go, what the fuck is that?

I want lots of people at my funeral even if you have to pay people to be there. I hear the homeless are pretty cheap. I don’t care about how anyone dresses.

I want a choir to sing songs of lamentation. I want crying. Lots of it. Big tears. Quiet sobbing is ok, too.

No wailing though.

Amazing Grace played by a piper. How sweet the sound.
Amazing Grace played by a piper. How sweet the sound.

I want a piper. Playing Amazing Grace. In the mist. Or back-lit by the setting sun.

And someone to dress in a kilt. With no underwear. And ,no it can’t just be the piper.

I want someone to make a speech about how they’re going to miss me. I want people to tell stories about me and them. About our shared experiences. They don’t even have to be true. They just have to be good stories.

I want free booze for everyone. This may help with the sobbing and attracting the homeless. I want people free to feel whatever they want to feel. But only if it’s sadness.

But more than all of that, I want to make sure everyone takes care of the person I’ll be leaving behind. She’ll need lots of hugs. A few shoulders to cry on. Maybe some wine and someone to talk to. A lot. I want people she loves to be there for her. To hold her hand at my funeral. To find something funny to say about me that will make her laugh. To make sure she’s not alone. To remind her that she was loved more than anything else in the world and will find that again some day.

As for my possessions, ah, that’s where the will comes in.

Without a will, the court will decide who gets what. Likely it’ll go to my wife, but without a legally binding will, that could take a while and be a HUGE hassle and who needs that kind of hassle when you’re grieving or working on how to find a long boat to light on fire.

In our complex world, I need my estate to pass along to those left behind as quickly and easily as possible. No fights with the courts. No claims from all the illegitimate children I’ve sired. No confusion as to what goes to who.

Please, if you do only one thing this week, make sure it’s getting a will done.

Is there a sadder movie than Up?
Is there a sadder movie than Up?

As for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, she has some requests for her funeral, too. She wants clowns. Sad clowns, mostly. A few angry ones. Old retired, disgruntled clowns. They need to all arrive in one car. Some need to have matted hair. All should have drinks in their hands. And there should be lots of balloons. Lots and lots of balloons.

In other words, she wants people to laugh and cry.

Not a bad request.

In the end, I think we all just want to know we’ll not be forgotten. That we mattered to someone somewhere. That we’ll be missed.