News & Features by Kim Wright Wiley

Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids 2012

Kim Wright Wiley—mother of two, Lowell Thomas Gold Award recipient, and novelist—wrote the first edition of Walt Disney World with Kids in 1989. More than 20 editions later she's exceeded 50 visits to the parks, a statistic that stuns even her. Her Disney favorites? The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, the character Eeyore, and the California Grill. When she's not at the theme parks, she's at home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  • 7 Tips to Save Time at Disney

    A lot has changed at Walt Disney World—celebrating its 40th anniversary this month—but what hasn’t is its popularity. While it can be challenging, these tips will help you zip-a-dee-do-dah your way through the park.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on October 04, 2011 at 9:54:02 AM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • School Projects at Walt Disney World: An Age-by-Age Guide

    If the idea of working on a school project while on a trip to Walt Disney World has your kids groaning, take heart. Disney is full of educational opportunities—some more obvious than others, but all of them packed with fun!

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 02, 2011 at 11:30:53 AM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • Top Princess Experiences at Walt Disney World

    At Disney, your little princesses can eat, sleep, and dress up just as princesses should. They can also hobnob with Cinderella, Belle, and other Disney royals.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on August 15, 2011 at 11:30:50 AM EDT Tagged: Walt Disney World, Disney
  • What’s New at Walt Disney World

    Something is always happening at Walt Disney World, and there’s plenty on tap for 2011–2012. So whether your preference is cruise ships, princesses, wild animals, or a galaxy far, far away, Disney has something new of interest to you.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on July 05, 2011 at 4:00:56 PM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • Disney World Isn't All About the Rides: 10 Tips for Finding and Meeting the Characters

    First-time visitors to Disney World often make the mistake of thinking it's all about the rides. But parents constantly write to me about something else: how absolutely blown away their kids were at the chance to meet Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the Disney characters. Here's how to maximize your character experience.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 30, 2009 at 10:54:34 AM EDT Tagged: Disney, Walt Disney World, Theme Parks
  • 6 Reasons Why Families Should Stay On-Site in Walt Disney World

    Now that there are 21 on-site hotels at Walt Disney World, families have almost unlimited lodging options. And, since most of the rooms added in the last five years are in the budget category (i.e., $82–$114 a night), it's hard to think of any reason why a family wouldn't stay at a Disney hotel.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 21, 2009 at 2:22:58 PM EDT Tagged: Disney, Budget Travel, Family Travel, Hotels
  • Disney Dining Plans Demystified

    No one could have predicted the runaway success of the Walt Disney World Dining Plan. But how do you know which package to choose? And how can you make sure those dining credits are getting maximum bang for the buck? Here are some essential tips.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 16, 2009 at 11:48:49 AM EDT Tagged: Disney, Walt Disney World, Restaurants
  • Saving Time at Walt Disney World: 5 Fastpass Tips

    If there's any justice in the world, the genius who created FASTPASS is relaxing somewhere on his yacht. Because FASTPASS helps Walt Disney World theme-park guests drastically cut down on the amount of time spent waiting in line. Which means more rides, and fewer tantrums.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 08, 2009 at 11:19:09 AM EDT Tagged: Disney, Walt Disney World
  • 5 Ways to Navigate Walt Disney's World's Parades, Fireworks, and Evening Shows

    The good news: Orlando's Walt Disney World offers gi-normous parades, fireworks, and other evening spectacles so you can end your theme-park day with a bang. The bad news: Everybody knows the shows are fabulous, so virtually every guest in the park converges at one place and one time to watch them. The result is major crowds and hassles . . . unless, of course, you know a few insider tips.

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on September 02, 2009 at 10:26:55 AM EDT Tagged: Disney, Walt Disney World
  • Ask a Disney Expert: Dining at Disney

    For Fodor's recent "Ask a Disney Expert" Contest, travelers submitted their toughest Disney questions for Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009. Kim will answer questions from the contest's 8 winners, along with several others, in a four-part series on Fodors.com. Winners will receive a complimentary copy of the guide. Thank you to everyone who sent a question in! View all of Kim's tips: Where to Stay | Touring Tips | On a Budget There's no shortage of delicious finds at Disney; knowing which restaurants or meal plan suits your family can be a challenge though. Kim weighs in this week with her tips for navigating meal time at Disney. Question:"My family is traveling to Disney World in September. We've never been there before and we are getting the Deluxe Meal Plan. I am wondering how we decide where to eat and do I really have to make dinner reservations now?" --- submitted by BethL3 (winner)... Kim's Answer September is less crowded than many times of the year but frankly...

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on August 25, 2008 at 11:13:03 AM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • Ask a Disney Expert: Top Touring Tips

    For Fodor's recent "Ask a Disney Expert" Contest, travelers submitted their toughest Disney questions for Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009. Kim will answer questions from the contest's 8 winners, along with several others, in a four-part series on Fodors.com. Winners will receive a complimentary copy of the guide. Thank you to everyone who sent a question in! View all of Kim's tips: Dining at Disney | Where to Stay | On a Budget Today Kim suggests ways for the whole family to experience the parks' thrills. Question:"I would like to take my grandchildren to Disney; they're both under the age of 3 (a girl & a boy). What would be the ideal itinerary for toddlers this age?" --- submitted by lorimb, (winner)... Kim's Answer At this age, less is definitely more. Focus on the Magic Kingdom, the most toddler-friendly park; in Fantasyland you'll find rides like Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, It's a Small World, and Peter Pan. Young kids love the parades and shows like

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on August 20, 2008 at 5:29:50 PM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • Ask a Disney Expert: Where to Stay

    For Fodor's recent "Ask a Disney Expert" Contest, travelers submitted their toughest Disney questions for Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009. Kim will answer questions from the contest's 8 winners, along with several others, in a four-part series on Fodors.com. Winners will receive a complimentary copy of the guide. Thank you to everyone who sent a question in! View all of Kim's tips: Dining at Disney | Touring Tips | On a Budget Today Kim answers questions related to the best resorts and hotels to base your family for your Disney vacation... Question:"Any tips that you know of that may help us get a free upgrade at a Deluxe resort like the Wilderness? We are celebrating the anniversary of our daughter's adoption and want it to be a special trip!" --- submitted by wagsmom (winner) Kim's Answer Call in before you arrive and inform the Guest Services desk that you'll be celebrating a special day. I can't promise you an upgrade---although they try hard to accommodate...

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on August 19, 2008 at 4:58:47 PM EDT Tagged: Disney
  • Ask a Disney Expert: Budget Tips for Families

    For Fodor's recent "Ask a Disney Expert" Contest, travelers submitted their toughest Disney questions for Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009. Kim will answer questions from the contest's 8 winners, along with several others, in a four-part series on Fodors.com. Winners will receive a complimentary copy of the guide. Thank you to everyone who sent a question in! View all of Kim's tips: Dining at Disney | Touring Tips | Where to Stay Today Kim answers questions related to saving and spending smartly at Disney. Question:"There has been a lot of talk recently about staying on or off property. What value or price do you put on staying on property? Does waking up in the middle of the magic warrant the extra cost?" --- submitted by Angelo721 (winner)... Kim's Answer The main advantages to staying on Disney property are: 1. "Extra magic hours" which allow you to either enter one park early each day or stay in a park after the official closing hours. Since tickets are so expensive,

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on August 13, 2008 at 11:35:51 AM EDT Tagged: Budget Travel, Disney
  • Conquering Disney

    Walt Disney World expert Kim Wright Wiley answers some basic questions about taking the family to the funnest place on earth . . .

    Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on January 31, 2008 at 11:59:50 PM EST Tagged: Disney
  • Disney World's Top 26 Attractions

    While it certainly all depends on who you're traveling with, certain attractions at Disney just can't be missed. After almost fifty visits to the parks, Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids, knows her all-time Disney favorites. Here are her picks for the parks' top offerings: At the Magic Kingdom:

  • Splash Mountain
  • Space Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Dumbo
  • Peter Pan
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic
  • Evening parade and fireworks At Epcot:
  • Test Track
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
  • Soarin'
  • World Showcase Entertainment
  • IllumniNations At MGM:
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Star Tours
  • Fantasmic!
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • The Magic of Disney Animation At Animal Kingdom:
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • It's Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Expedition Everest
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Posted by Kim Wright Wiley on January 20, 2006 at 1:49:40 PM EST