Saturday,  November 26, 2022  4:45 am

Experiencing Disney, stress-free: Canada's top Disney mom reveals all


Experiencing Disney, stress-free: Canada's top Disney mom reveals all
When it comes to visiting Disney parks, you can't do it all in a single trip, says expert Lynne Chlala. Above: Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL.
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

Last January, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced a new class of 12 panelists joining the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Comprised of moms, dads and grandparents as well as those without children, the panelists’ answers, tips and insights were shared through one-on-one Q&As and available to everyone at DisneyParksMomsPanel.com.

The 12 new members joined 28 returning panelists online to answer questions for those thinking about planning a visit to Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line or with Disney Vacation Club. 

Carefully selected from thousands of applicants to provide honest and relatable vacation tips, the panelists shared their personal experience about their own Disney vacations and provided authentic answers to guests seeking advice.

PAX caught up with the only Canadian mom on the panel, Lynne Chlala, to learn more about her insider tips on visiting Disney resorts, whether it's you or your family's first time...or fiftieth!

"I’ve been lucky enough to go several times a year for almost a decade now, but I still get a giddy thrill every time I see Cinderella Castle for the first time," Chlala told PAX.  "I have one son, he’s now six-years-old and he loves the Disney Parks, too. His first visit was when he was almost six-months-old and it was probably my favourite visit."

From budgeting to packing recommendations, here are Lynne's top five tips for gettig the most out of a Disney vacation.

PAX: What are some tips you can offer families who are coming to a Disney park for the very first time?

Lynne Chlala (LC): The biggest tip is to stay in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. It really does make everything more convenient, plus you get to enjoy some pretty fabulous perks such as Extra Magic Hours and the ability to make your FastPass+ selections up to 60 days before your arrival, for the duration of your stay. 

This is a huge deal for popular attractions such as Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and, my personal favourite, Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (Tip: if you log on at the 60-Day mark and don’t see any FastPass+ availability for those attractions at the beginning of your trip, try to see whether anything is available towards the end of your trip. You might have better luck on those days).

In the same vein, make sure that you make all three of your FastPass+ selections and Disney dining reservations right away when your reservation or selection window opens. Remember that you can always switch them around later, availability permitting, but at least you know that you’ve got some choices locked in right away and that you won’t be left scrambling at the last minute. 

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PAX: What are some of the biggest rookie mistakes first-time Disney vacationers make?

LC: The biggest rookie mistake is thinking that you can see and do everything at Walt Disney World Resort in a single trip

It’s truly impossible to experience everything, even with more than a week at your disposal. I’m telling you, I’ve been lucky enough to visit several times a year in recent years and I can tell you that there are still some things I haven’t done… yet!

The bottom line is that this should still be a vacation! Use the My Disney Experience app to pick and choose your priority attractions, restaurants and other experiences and then forget about what you might not be able to see and do.

PAX: Looking at Disney’s current and upcoming attractions, what’s the latest buzz?

LC: There’s so much to experience in all four theme parks. And honestly, now, more than ever, is the time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Toy Story Land, an all-new, 11-acre immersive land dedicated to Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story films just opened last year. Guests visiting Toy Story Land are transported to infinity and beyond as they shrink to the size of toys and experience the exciting toy-filled world of Andy’s backyard.  

And in the other three theme parks, right now you can join Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration at Magic Kingdom Park, celebrate the Circle of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and satisfy your cravings for food, entertainment and fun at Epcot.

Plus, in the coming months and year, there is even more excitement to come with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in late fall (I can’t wait), Disney Skyliner which will allow guests to enjoy an incredible new way to travel around Walt Disney World Resort, one where they can glide above the treetops.

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PAX: What can budget-conscious families do to get the most out of their Disney experience?

LC: The first and best recommendation is to keep checking out the Special Offers tab at disneyworld.ca to see whether they can take advantage of any of those promotions during their Disney Parks vacation. 

That’s also where they can find more information about things such as the Canadian Resident Ticket Offer.

A more practical tip: have groceries delivered to your Disney Resort hotel and have breakfast in your room before setting out for a day of fun in the parks. You can also bring snacks and other food items into the parks, so long as all beverages are non-alcoholic and nothing is in a glass container.

PAX: Do you have a “Disney survival kit”? What are some things you bring with you every single time?

LC: Comfortable shoes, lots of sunscreen (I really like bringing along a sunscreen “stick” for quick touch-ups throughout the day), a backup battery for my cell phone to make sure that I can take lots of pictures and move around our FastPass+ selections or dining reservations (availability permitting) and a few bandaids for blisters and other booboos. And, of course, Minnie ears!

To learn more about Lynne, and see some of the other Disney questions she's answered, click here!

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