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Fodor's editor seeking Disney tips

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Hi all -- I'm editing the next edition of the Fodor’s Walt Disney World guide, and after spending last week at some of the Orlando parks with my family, I came back wanting to include more of your comments in the book. While I went into this trip with good advice from my writers, I’m now more convinced than ever that behind every ride or show or situation at these parks is yet another tip waiting to be discovered.

I would love to know which rides and attractions you liked best and what tips you might have about them, based on recent visits to any of the following:

--- the Walt Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom);
--- the Disney water parks (Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach);
--- the Universal Orlando parks (Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios);
--- SeaWorld;
--- Discovery Cove;

Last week was our third time in Orlando as a family and our first with our youngest child (I've got daughters 8 and 5 and a boy, 18 months). This time around we only got to Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and SeaWorld.

Here are my family's favorite things from last week:

--Soarin' (The Land, Epcot). We Fast Passed this one (it’s almost a given that you’ll have to unless you line up for it shortly after rope drop) but the twist was that when we returned at our designated FP time, I got a Rider Switch ticket from one of the attendants. This permitted me to ride with the girls while my wife watched the baby, and as I exited the ride she gave me the baby, I gave her the girls, and she was able to walk into the Fast Pass line with the ticket and the girls and ride with them. The rider switch trick is unofficially known at Disney as Baby Swap (Universal’s version is called Baby Exchange) but no matter what you call it, it always pays to ask the attendants if rider switches are available for any given ride. In this case, Soarin’ lives up to its hype and your kids will love doing it twice.

--Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom). We liked that each person on the ride had a job --- my 5-year old controlled the spinning and my 8-year old and I shot at the targets. The targeting wasn't that hard and the spinning wasn't so jerky that you'd regret having breakfast (though for good measure we kept the baby off it). Before 11am there was no line, so I was able to ride with the girls once and my wife took them immediately after. At 11:01, it seemed, a huge line materialized.

--Playhouse Disney (Animation Courtyard, Disney's Hollywood Studios). They just retooled and reopened this one with characters from current Disney Channel shows. My 18-month old got so excited I thought his eyeballs would explode. Too bad he won't remember it. Get on line at least 20 minutes before to get a good place (you’ll be sitting on a carpeted floor) near the stage.

--Epcot Character Spot (Innoventions West building, Epcot). My daughters were really into the autograph book signings this time and IMHO (which didn't count in this and most other cases) wasted a lot of time lining up for individual characters. At this location, we waited on one line for about 20 minutes and within the next ten minutes got passed to five different characters for hugs and autographs. If you've done time in line for a single character you know this averages out pretty well.

--Blue Horizons (SeaWorld). We had blown this one off the last couple trips but the mix of dolphin tricks and circus acts was a nice combo that all three kids (and the adults) liked just as much as the Shamu show. For Blue Horizons we showed up after it started and still saw fine from our perch up in the bleachers.

I thank you in advance for any recommendations and tips you have along these lines, and I will do my best to get as many of them as I can into the book. I’m also going back to the parks in November, so I personally appreciate all the good tips I can get!


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