The only way to really skip the lines at Disney—and it’s not a FastPass

The magic of Disney is what makes people of all ages visit and revisit the parks. Everyone loves wearing mouse ears and eating lots of Dole Whip treats, but there’s one big thing people dread—the lines. Of course, Disney vacations are popular for good reason, but there’s a way to enjoy the rides and skip the lines without the famous FastPass: VIP tours.

These private VIP tours are the foolproof way to skip the lines at Disney without the restrictions of FastPasses or MagicBands. The one caveat is their price—tours range from $425 to $625 an hour, depending on the season. That price doesn’t include the cost of park admission. There are a few other rules, too. You need to book a tour for at least seven hours, and you can only have up to ten guests, or you can pay for an additional tour guide if your family is on the large side. Even VIPs can’t get away with the 11 things Disney guests aren’t allowed to do.

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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019
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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019

Mickey and Minnie's Surprise Celebration

Open: January 18, 2019 through September 30, 2019

Join Disney's Mickey and Minnie for new surprises in the Magic Kingdom. Sign the Celebration Guest Book and meet the duo (in their new party outfits!) for a picture inside the Town Square Theater. Then join them outside in front of the castle for their new Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party

The new outdoor dance parade features a new song called "It's a Good Time," and classic cast members like Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip 'n Dale and more. 

Choreographer Cindy Wilson told the Disney Parks Blog, “The ‘Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!’ Street Party is a throwback to the Mickey Mouse Club, with wonderful music that everybody’s going to want to get up and dance to, and it’s contemporary at the same time. I think when [the characters] all come off the floats, guests are going to want to just jump in.”

Check the entertainment schedule for run times. 

Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party

Open: January 2019

Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of "The Lion King" with a Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party hosted by Timon and Rafiki on Discovery Island in the Animal Kingdom.

The dance party includes music, characters and new photo ops every day from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Meet The Incredibles at Pixar Place

Open: January 2019 through September 30, 2019

At the start of 2019, Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios transformed into a Municiberg city block. The park features a party for Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone to honor their victories and a meet-and-greet with Edna Mode and her best creations. In addition, guests can look throughout Pixar Place for clues on where to find the youngest member of the Incredible family, Jack-Jack.

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy

Opening: March 31, 2019

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy is a new show using high tech screens. Guests (rookie racers) will learn the rules of the road from "Cars" star Lightning McQueen. There will also be a new character meet-and-greet with Cruz Ramirez.

Wonderful World of Animation

Opening: May 1, 2019

The Wonderful World of Animation is a new projection light show that will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show will take guests on a journey through more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animations with favorites including "The Incredibles," "Coco," "Sleeping Beauty" and more. 

Space 220

Opening: 2019

Epcot is opening a new space-themed restaurant called Space 220. According to Disney Food Blog, the restaurant will showcase simulate space views while guests sit in a restaurant modeled after a space station. It will seat more than 350 guests, those of which will be "transported" to the restaurant by elevators covered in digital screens that will mock a trip to space.

A job posting seeking staff for the restaurant lists April 2019 as when applicants can join the cast, so we can assume this restaurant will be open by summer. 

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Opening: Fall 2019

Both Disney World and Disneyland will be opening a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The park is being made to look like the planet of Batuu, which is a remote outpost that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes and is now a safe haven for those avoiding the First Order. 

There will be two main attractions where guests can fly the Millennium Falcon and another that puts guests in a Star Destroyer in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Other fun additions will include Luke Skywalker's blue milk, a marketplace and toys, apparel and characters like BB-8 and Chewbacca. 

See more on the park's progress here

Skyliner Gondola

Opening: Fall 2019

If you like taking the monorail into the parks, you'll want to check out the new Skyliner Gondolas. Similar to a lift you'd find at a ski resort, the gondolas will take guests through two parks, offering spectacular views. 

The Skyliner Gondola will connect Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios to four hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation ResortDisney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort as well as a new resort coming in fall 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort.

For more on the Skyliner Gondola system, see here

Disney's Riviera Resort

Opening: Fall 2019

The new Disney Riviera Resort hotel is inspired by the "grandeur of Europe." It will have transportation to the parks, a fitness center, a rooftop restaurant and wide range of room sizes.

The Riviera Pool, a family-friendly pool, will be decorated with stucco façades, a slide that winds around a column tower (pictured) and a kids interactive water play area that slightly mimics the public fountains of Europe. 

For adults seeking peace and quiet, there's a separate area called the Beau Soleil Pool. 

The Disney Riviera Resort is currently taking reservations for Dec. 16 - Dec. 31, 2019. 

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Opening: 2019

While there's no set opening date yet for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, their first ride attraction, it's set to open sometime this year. The ride will begin with guests viewing a new cartoon short with the mice getting ready for a picnic As Mickey and Minnie are leaving, they drive alongside a train where they see that Goofy is the engineer and the ride takes off from there.

There isn't a whole lot of additional information, but according to the Disney Parks Blog, "Imagineers have been hard at work creating Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, using breakthrough technology to transform a two-dimensional cartoon into an amazing real-world experience."

Epcot Forever

Opening: Fall 2019

Epcot's famous IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nighttime lights and fireworks show is sadly ending at the end of Summer 2019, but will be temporarily replaced with a show called Epcot Forever. The new show will feature classic Epcot tunes, combining music with fireworks, lighting, lasers and special effects kites. 

Then, keep an eye out, because in 2020 Disney is gearing up to replace Epcot Forever with a new nighttime show called A Celebration of Disney Music with floating set pieces, custom-LED panels, fountains, lights, fire and lasers.

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Besides allowing you to skip the lines, VIP tours are 100 percent customizable. VIPs get special seats at parades and stage shows, and backstage access, too. Plus, there’s always a car nearby to shuttle everyone to and from your favorite park destinations. It’s also possible to tour multiple parks, not just the Magic Kingdom. Though you don’t need a VIP tour to benefit from these 14 Disney World insider secrets.

For those who want something a little more budget-friendly, the resort offers other pre-planned tours. Some popular tours include a behind-the-scenes look at how the park operates, a guided scavenger hunt, and a nighttime safari, among others. And there’s still always the FastPass for people who just want to check out their favorite Disney attractions. Make sure to add these 11 new ones coming to Disney in 2019 to your to-do list.

The post The Only Way to Really Skip the Lines at Disney—and It’s Not a Fast Pass appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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12 etiquette rules Disney employees must follow
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12 etiquette rules Disney employees must follow

1. All the park's a stage

Disney employees aren't technically "employees"—they're "Cast Members." And no, not just the ones who play actual Disney characters. Every employee in the park, whether they operate rides, serve food, or actually put on a show, is a "Cast Member." The idea is that the entire Disney park itself is a "stage." Even Disney's career website talks about the "unique opportunities available to Cast Members."

2. Everything is Disney

And what's the most important thing a Cast Member has to do? Stay in character, of course. If you're playing a Disney character, that character's world becomes your world. You're not allowed to make references to any pop culture that exists outside of the Disney universe. From the moment you don the costume to the moment you take it off, you can't talk about anything that Snow White, Peter Pan, or whomever you're playing wouldn't know about—whether that's the latest iPhone or the Harry Potter park just across Orlando. Learn more about what it's like to work as a Disney character, straight from a woman who played Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

3. Looking the part

From hair to fingernails, Disney has lots of requirements for the physical appearances of their employees. Women's hair needs to be in a "classic" style and a natural-looking color. Women actually can have highlights, but they must be "subtle, well-blended, and be over the entire head," according to Disney's career site. As for men, their hair can't cover their ears or be long enough to reach their collars. Men are allowed to have facial hair, but it must be neat, and it can't be longer than a quarter of an inch.

There are also very specific fingernail rules for anyone working in food or merchandise. Your fingernails can't extend beyond your fingertips, and you can't wear nail polish or fake nails. Surprisingly, you can actually have a tattoo—but it has to be completely covered, whether by clothing or opaque makeup.

4. Height requirements

Just like you have to be 44 inches tall to ride Space Mountain, you have to be a certain height to portray certain Disney roles. Most notably, anyone aspiring to play a Disney princess—yes, any princess—must be between 5'4" and 5'8". If you're shorter, between 4'11" and 5'2", you can play other characters, including Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Wendy from Peter Pan.

5. Jewel rules

Women are allowed to wear one ring on each hand and only one earring in each ear. For men, the ring rule is the same, but earrings aren't allowed at all. You can have other piercings, but you have to remove them while at work. Gauges are prohibited altogether. Here are some things guests aren't allowed to bring into Disney parks.

6. First name basis

Cast Members are only known by their first names—no "Mr." or "Miss." Rumor has it that this tradition dates right back to Walt Disney himself. He always told everyone at the Disney parks to call him Walt, not Mr. Disney. Employees also wear nametags with only their first names on them. A weirder aspect of this rule? Cast Members aren't allowed to have duplicate names. Disney can still hire multiple people with the same first name, but there's no using last initials—one of the people has to choose a new name to go by while at Disney. Seems a little weird...but on the bright side, maybe they can view it as the same as being a character.

7. What's the point

Disney employees have a special way of pointing. If they're giving directions, they're not allowed to point with one finger, since it could potentially be considered rude. Instead, they employ a special Disney point, often with two fingers or sometimes even with the whole hand. Aside from being more friendly in general, it's also more kid-friendly, because it's easier for children to see. Can you guess the three things that aren't allowed in today's Disney movies?

8. Graceful garbage disposal

If a Cast Member sees a piece of trash on the ground, he or she must pick it up—litter has no place in the Happiest Place on Earth. But they can't just pick it up—Disney employees have to use a special maneuver to pick up trash. Rather than squatting down, they have to collect the trash with a graceful "swoop-and-scoop" motion. That sounds like lots of fun to practice during training.

9. Speaking in code

With lots of little kids (and animals) running around in the park, there's bound to be some unpleasant bodily-fluid-related incidents every now and then. Fortunately, Disney has a special way to identify them without grossing anyone out. Employees use "Code V" to signify a throw-up incident and "Code P" or "Code U" for urine. If a parade horse poops in the park, that's a "Code H."

10. They're all-knowing

If someone asks a Cast Member a question about the park, those three deadly words— "I don't know"— are absolutely forbidden. Even if it's true, the Cast Member must ask another employee or call a park operator until they find out the answer. Learn more about why Disney employees can't say "IDK."

11. No social media

Disney Cast Members don't have to give up social media altogether, but they're not allowed to post about their jobs. They can't even reveal what character(s) they are playing, and they can't take any pictures backstage. We wouldn't want to ruin the magic, now would we?

12. Accurate autographs

One of the most fun parts of any trip to Disney, especially for kids, is getting autographs from your favorite characters. Every character's signature is distinct and has a recognizable look—no matter who's playing that character. Regardless of what your own handwriting looks like, you're going to have to go through "autograph training" so that you know how to write like Mickey Mouse. Next, learn some surprising facts you never knew about your favorite Disney characters.

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