An Insider's Guide to Disney World

Plan Your Itinerary Online

Plug your kids' ages and what they want to do into the Web site (disneyworld.com) and get a customized plan of action. This way, you're not constantly running from one end of the park to the other.

Use a rider-switch pass. It's a common problem: You, your husband, and your older child want to go on a roller coaster, but someone has to stay behind with the baby. Now Mom and the big kid can go first and request a rider-switch pass from one of the employees when they're about to get on. After they're done, Dad can skip the line with the pass.

Meet Mickey Later in the Day. The characters hang out in front of the Magic Kingdom when the park opens, so lots of people line up for autographs or snapshots. Don't waste your time: Cinderella and all her Disney friends will be in the park all day, and you'll have easier access to them later.

Eat right. If you're at the parks, make sure you grab lunch early -- between 11 and 11:30 a.m. The restaurants never really empty out after that, though the lines do get a little better after 2 p.m. Around town, make lunch your big meal for the day. Rates are usually a lot cheaper than at dinnertime, and it's easier for families to get a table.

Bring snacks and bottled water. They run about a whopping $2.50 a pop in the parks. There are plenty of fountains, but many kids (and adults) don't like the taste of the Florida water, which is a bit sulfuric.

Take a midday break. The crowds thin out starting around 6:30 p.m., so it's a good idea to go back to your room for an hour or two in the afternoon and let the kids nap or just recuperate before heading back.

-- Reese Johnson, a senior electrical designer at Disney

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