11 insider vacation tips from the Disney Parks Moms Panel
When planning a Disney vacation it can be tough to put together the perfect itinerary for the whole family.
With that in mind, “Good Morning America” turned to the Disney Parks Moms Panel — which recently announced 11 new members — to get the inside scoop on Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Vacation Club and more. The 11 panelists were selected from thousands of applicants to provide honest and relatable vacation tips. Collectively, the panel has taken 1,250 Disney vacations.
From food recommendations to photography advice, these tips from the Disney Parks Moms Panel are just the sprinkle of pixie dust you need to make your next Disney vacation extra magical.
Stephanie Langford, Disney Cruise Line specialist
“I never miss the opportunity on DCL to see the magic in my boys’ eyes and the smiles on their faces when they are transformed into Captain Blackbeard or Captain Jake at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.”
Veronica Owen, Walt Disney World specialist
“One of my favorite experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort happens at the Magic Kingdom Park. I’m well known for my sweet tooth and always save room for dessert. Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square is where I go to enjoy a freshly made waffle sandwich, stuffed with fresh fruit and hazelnut spread. Yum! Just steps away from the restaurant, there’s a porch with two white rocking chairs on it, that always seem to be unoccupied and are just begging to be sat on! It’s both my favorite place for a treat and my go-to spot for some quiet time in an otherwise busy park.”
Lindsey Nagle, Walt Disney World specialist
“My top ‘can’t miss’ experience would be getting a caramel apple from the Main Street Confectionary. When we are leaving Magic Kingdom Park for the last time during our vacation, we each grab a caramel apple to take home with us (although it usually gets eaten long before we get home). My personal favorite is the Olaf caramel apple and my husband loves the apple pie apple. It helps ease the blues you get from having to leave Magic Kingdom Park when you have a tasty sweet treat to soothe your soul!”
Tabitha Dafni, Walt Disney World specialist
“While my family makes a point to try at least five new restaurants and experiences every trip we take to the Walt Disney World Resort, there are certain things that are ALWAYS a must for me. Every visit, I like to enjoy a glass of champagne in the France Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. Pair it with a Citron pastry from the nearby Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie and I’m in heaven! It’s a special moment, just for mom, and everyone in my family knows — no tantrums allowed!”
Missy Flint, Walt Disney World specialist
“My family always looks forward to riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom Park. We love the friendly competition of seeing who can score the highest points and defeat Evil Emperor Zurg. And, as a mom, I cherish our must-do photo pose of our children with Zurg at the attraction exit. With photos from more than a decade ago with just one little toddler, to current photos with all five of our children (including that toddler who is now a teenager!), I love looking back through the years and seeing how my children have grown up celebrating traditions at the Walt Disney World Resort.”
Robyn Madar, Walt Disney World specialist
“I always ask my PhotoPass photographer if there are any Magic Shots available; if there are, he or she sprinkles a little pixie dust and magical things happen in your photos. Tinker Bell appeared in my daughter’s hands in a photo taken in front of Cinderella Castle; in an Epcot photo, we appeared to be carried away by a bunch of Disney balloons. It’s so much fun to try to figure out what the shot will be because it’s a mystery until the photo appears in your My Disney Experience app! These photos become amazing souvenirs, and we love looking at them and remembering those special moments.”
Andrea Wells, Walt Disney World Specialist
“No visit to the Walt Disney World Resort is complete for this Star Wars fangirl, without a trip to a galaxy far, far away. I never miss a boarding call for Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. The force is strong with this one and I am ready for a hyperspace battle to defeat the Dark Side and bring balance to the force.”
Kristen Neukom, Walt Disney World specialist
“I always ask if a restaurant has glow cubes or Mickey-shaped silly straws available for an extra purchase. These fun little additions are usually just a couple of bucks, and not only do they add a bit of whimsy to my Disney day, they are so much fun once home. Glow cubes, which are water-proof light-up beverage extras that either submerge in or float on top of whatever you’re drinking, are sometimes even themed to popular movies or attractions. You can add a death star to your diet soda in Disney’s Hollywood Studios or float a lotus flower on top of your lemonade in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We’ve found that Mickey straws are the perfect small gift for our preschool pals, and bath time has gone from boring chore to our own Disney Nighttime Spectacular thanks to a glow cube or two.”
Ashley Papson, Walt Disney World specialist
“When my family travels to the Walt Disney World Resort, we can’t miss a chance to visit Mickey Mouse. We begin our vacation with dinner at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Our kids love that they can enjoy a great meal and the company of Mickey and his pals, all in one place! On the last day of our vacation, we always stop by Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom Park to see Mickey Mouse one last time. We say, “See ya real soon!” and pose for a picture taken by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer. We treasure those photos, as we can see just how much our kids have grown in-between visits!”
Jerry MacLean, Disney Vacation Club specialist
“If you are a Disney family like we are — ‘Living the Magic’ is our motto — then there’s a good chance you visit frequently enough to watch your family grow-up Disney style, and there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy capturing those moments in a photo series over the years to mark how quickly our kids grow up (not that we need reminding, really). Our personal ‘can’t-miss experience’ is to step into the bright red phone booths at the United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot and take a photo of my wife and son. Last year at Christmas, my son gave my wife a gift of all the photos of the two of them in that red phone booth over the years from small tween to towering teen. Watching that Christmas moment — him giving the present and her opening the gift — was pure magic. So, find your favorite Disney spot, return time after time, and capture that photo. You’ll see that Disney magic stays the same, no matter how much we grow.”
Jennifer Lapsker, Disneyland Resort specialist
“As someone who just can’t get enough of the mouthwatering eats and treats at the Disneyland Resort, of course my must-do activity involves food! We just love having the delicious fried chicken at the charming Plaza Inn while watching the sights of Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, and even fireworks at night. You can’t ask for a better combination of great food and a wonderful view in my opinion!”
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