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Katie's Favorite Tips

Walt Disney World


While you may want to save your meals for the World Showcase, it is still highly recommend to try the quick service location in The Land:  Sunshine Seasons.  There are some really delicious options fresh from the greenhouses at The Land.  A great quick service option if you are tired of the standard Disney quick service fare.  

Hidden in the back of the France pavilion, you’ll find the Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie where you will find some of the best pastries in all of Disney World.  While the World Showcase does not open until 11am, this location opens at 9am.  Grab some coffee & a croissant.  Take an early stroll through the World Showcase and get pictures before it gets crowded. 


Did you find something you want to buy in the parks, but don’t want to carry it around with you?  You can send it to the front of the park for pick up that evening or to your hotel room if you are staying on property for free!  You can also ship items directly home or to friends & family for a fee, priced by the item price not by weight or size.  

Kicking yourself for not buying that t-shirt when you saw it on Main Street?  Download the Shop Disney Parks App to find the current location(s) of specific merchandise throughout Disney property.  You can even shop from home!  

Disney Cruise Line:

If possible, fly to your port of departure a day early to avoid any unforeseen issues with your flight before a cruise.  For example, fly to Orlando a day early & spend the day and/or evening relaxing at the airport Hyatt and grab the Disney Cruise Line transportation to the ship the morning of departure. Or maybe stay at Cocoa Beach and grab a taxi, Uber or Lyft to port.  When you wake up the next morning, you’ll be rested & relaxed to board the ship ASAP! 

All guest areas are open to explore on embarkation day, including a free tour of the spa areas.  You aren’t able to access your room until later anyways, so spend the time getting to know the ship.

Is Palo worth the extra money?  Yes!  Especially for brunch on a Sea Day.  Go hungry - this will be one of the best meals of your cruise! 

Katie Contino, Vacation Planner


Katie has always had a love for all things Disney, especially going to Disney World.  When she eventually “grew up,” she decided to join the Disney College Program in 2007 to become a real-life Cast Member.  She had the opportunity to work in a merchandise role at her favorite park, EPCOT - Future World West, which includes Imagination, The Land, & The Seas. 


The program allowed her to make friends from all over the world and gain a true foundation of professionalism & customer service that would carry her throughout her career.  When she graduated from the program and moved back to Indiana University of PA, she continued to work closely with Disney professionals as a Campus Representative for the next two years, generating interest on campus and mentoring other students participating in the program.  


She graduated from IUP with a bachelor’s degree in English and her career took her back home to Pittsburgh, PA.  After 7 years of marketing experience with big & small companies and earning a master’s degree in professional writing from Chatham University, she now has her own marketing consultation & professional writing business.  But her experiences with the Walt Disney Company have never left her mind, and she truly wanted to be a part of the magic again: especially to finally share her vast Disney knowledge helping others have the very best Disney vacation as possible! 


When she’s not working, she is planning the next trip for her family, usually on the Disney Cruise Line.  She is convinced that once you go on a Disney Cruise, you will be absolutely ruined for any other vacation, especially if your cruise stops at Castaway Cay.  Disney truly makes it a great experience for everyone in the family, even if you don’t have kids!   


She is also making her own dreams come true now as she & her husband, Brian, are starting their own family.  After a lifetime of taking trips as children, teenagers, single adults and as a couple themselves, they are ready to start experiencing Disney all over again with their children.

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