Disney Parks,  Disney Tips,  Featured Post,  Planning Information

300+ Walt Disney World Tips, Tricks & Secrets


If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, these tips, tricks and secrets will help you save time and money on your vacation. Some of these tips will help during the planning phases, some will help once you are on your vacation. The intention is to provide you with as much helpful information as possible for you to have the most magical vacation ever!

Where possible, I will link various tips, tricks and secrets to previously released articles on my blog or the Walt Disney World website for more details and information.

As with all things, Walt Disney World is ever evolving and changing, as will these tips, tricks & secrets. I keep them up-to-date with the current state of Walt Disney World. Tips for new attractions, shows and dining are included. Anything that is no longer applicable is removed. I do my best to keep everything as current as possible. If you see anything stated incorrectly, please let me know! You can email me at marnie@adisneystateofmind.com and I’ll update accordingly.

Enjoy!



GENERAL TIPS


  1. Take a picture of where you parked. Snap a pic of your parking section/row number with your cell phone before boarding the tram. You won’t have to rely on memory later in the evening.

  2. Wake-up call at WDW Resort. Simply press the Wake-Up Call button on the phone in your hotel room. The prompts will guide you on selecting the time you’d like to be called.

  3. If you’re staying at a WDW Resort, you can take advantage of Merchandise Pick-Up. Let the retail clerk know at the time of purchase you’d like to send your souvenirs direct to your hotel so you don’t have to carry them around all day. Pick up your items the next day at your hotel gift shop.

  4. Staying Club level at Walt Disney World Resort? Taking advantage of Merchandise Pick-up at the Parks? Let the Concierge Staff take care of you! As an added benefit to staying Club Level, they will pick up and deliver your packages directly to your room. Just be sure to correctly fill out the form with you Last Name, Resort Name and Room Number!

  5. Shops on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom are open up to an hour after park closing. Save most your shopping for after the park officially closes, so you can maximize your time on the attractions during the day.

  6. You can get a cup of free water (with or without ice) from any Quick Service location.

  7. If your phone needs a charge you can purchase a Fuel Rod for $30 at multiple locations throughout Walt Disney World. Once the charger is depleted, it can be swapped for a new one (at no additional charge) or recharged using a USB charging port.

  8. Thank a CM – There are so many ways to thank or recognize a Cast Member at Walt Disney World. Each CM does their very best to make your vacation as magical, safe and happy as possible. If you have a memorable experience, I highly suggest you say thank you. One way is to visit Guest Relation (have the Cast Members name if possible) or tweet #CastCompliment on Twitter! Click here for more ways to thank a Cast Member.

  9. Chance are it will rain at least one during your WDW vacation. Throw-away ponchos at the parks are $10/each. Purchase packs of ponchos before your trip for as little as $1 each. You can get them at your local Dollar Store or even Amazon. Or you can carry a small umbrella with you (which is my preferred method!)

  10. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, be sure to pick up a celebration button/pin at your resort hotel or Guest Services in the parks. You may even receive special treatment if wearing it.

  11. If you are pin trader, consider buying pins from Amazon or eBay before your vacation. The difference between spending $1 per pin vs $8-$10 per pin will save you a lot of money.

  12. Want to enjoy the parks if you arrive before your room is ready on check-in day? Or do you have a late flight out on the day you leave? Where do you store your luggage after checking out? Call Bell Services at your hotel and they’ll take care of everything for you!

  13. Lost and found – have you ever lost anything at Walt Disney World? If you do, there is an automated system that allows you to report the lost item(s) immediately via mobile or desktop. Visit Disneyworld.com/lostandfound to report your missing item. Click here for more information.

  14. A great and FREE activity during the Christmas Season is touring the Walt Disney World Resorts to see the beautiful Christmas decorations and displays. Some of the Deluxe Resorts have quite an elaborate holiday display – it’s worth taking time out to see all of it!

  15. Have fun and decorate your room windows if you are staying at a Disney hotel. Lots of Guests do it! It’s can be a lot of fun for the littles. Christmas lights, stuffed animals, and homemade signs are just some of the things you can use to decorate.

  16. Jellyrolls is a fun dueling piano bar (for adults) located on the BoardWalk at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. I recommend going on the weekends when it’s busier, it gives a better energy to the experience.

  17. There is no perfect age or perfect time to visit Walt Disney World – It’s whenever you feel it’s appropriate and the right time for you and your family. Every family and every child is different – it’s all dependent on when YOU think it’s the best time. You are never too young and definitely never too old for Disney!!

  18. Walt Disney World serves only Coca-Cola soft drinks. If you prefer Pepsi, you will have to bring it with you or order it ahead of time and have it delivered to your hotel.

  19. If swimming is a priority for you during your Walt Disney World vacation, know that one of the differences between a Value and a Moderate Resort is the water slide. Value Resorts DO NOT have water slides. I would recommend a Moderate Resort if this is important to you.

  20. If you are headed to the Walt Disney World Resort, I highly recommend shopping ahead of time. All the hotels will accept packages up to 2 weeks ahead of your check-in time. You can ship a case of water, food or even a stroller.

  21. If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation, I would strongly recommend using Disney Gift Cards, rather than cash. You can use them at almost any location at Walt Disney World – and it’s a much safer option than cash. For more information on Disney Gift Cards, click here!

  22. Do you know that PhotoPass photographers will take pictures of you with your own camera? It’s true! Don’t be afraid to ask, they are happy to! Have the camera and settings ready, they won’t touch all of that, just tell them which button to press and consider it done!

  23. As the winter months approach, Orlando’s weather generally remains pretty mild, making Walt Disney World even more appealing to visit. However, there are times even WDW feels like the tundra! My recommendation especially for December and January – pack for all weather. If necessary wear layers that you can remove during the day. Don’t get caught not prepared! For more tips on packing for winter months at Walt Disney World, click here!

  24. It’s all about the SNACKS!! Did you know that you can bring snacks and drinks (water/soda, etc.) into the theme parks at Walt Disney World. However much you are willing to carry or store in your stroller, you can bring in with you. It will save you quite a bit of money rather than buying it in the parks.

  25. When visiting a Disney theme park, if you are using a stroller, tie a ribbon (or another identification marker) to the handle. This way you can easily identify your stroller.

  26. When visiting a Disney theme park, if you are using a stroller, be sure to take all valuables and personal items with you on attractions. And be sure any food items are put away and properly closed. Little furry animals have been known to sneak in and steal some while you are riding the attractions!

  27. If you are having wine or any sort of alcohol delivered to your Walt Disney World hotel room, an adult must be present to sign. If an adult is not present, the alcohol will not be delivered.

  28. Need first aid? Did you know each Walt Disney World theme park contains a First Aid center. Stop by if you need over the counter medicines for headaches, band aids for blisters or help from heat exhaustion! If you need their services, use them. It’s FREE!

  29. If you get sick at Walt Disney World, tell a Cast Member. They can help guide you to the First Aid Center for over-the-counter meds, or help you get to a Dr in the area if you need. Cast Members are always there to help!

  30. Much like the First Aid Center, each of the four theme parks also have a Baby Care Center. If you have a little one and need a nursing station, changing station, highchairs, toys, etc., you can use the Baby Care Center. It’s very convenient for those with babies.

  31. If you are staying at the Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays, I HIGHLY recommend you take time to visit the hotels on property to see the Christmas decorations. All of the hotels have themed Christmas trees, decorations, music… and you can visit them for FREE!

  32. When visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks, be sure to ask PhotoPass photographers throughout the park if they have any unique, fun Magic Shots. Sometimes they strictly stick to the photo(s) they are required to take, and if you don’t ask, you won’t get other fun photo options.

  33. If you purchase a drink from any Counter Service at WDW, chances are you may not receive a lid or straw.  I recommend, especially for little kids, you have with you a sippy cup or a Yeti/Tervis to transfer the drink into. It will make it easier to drink from. You can request a lid/straw, but not every location will accommodate.

  34. When visiting Walt Disney World, especially during the holiday season, don’t overlook all the special magical details (big and small) that Disney puts into everything.  Look up, look down, look all around you! There is magic everywhere, all perfectly placed to enhance your experience!

  35. As we approach the busiest time of year at Walt Disney World, know that Disney can and will implement any one of 6 closure phases (A, B, 1, 2, 3 or 4) to control the crowd levels in the parks. Be aware of it and be prepared for it. More than likely it will happen at least 2-3x during the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day. Visit my post on the blog where I break down what all the phases mean! Know before you go!

  36. Christmas Day through New Year’s Day is the busiest time of year at Walt Disney World – this could even include a few days before and a day or two after. My best advice is to pack your patience! Be flexible, know you won’t get to everything you want to because of the crowds. Instead, enjoy the ambiance, the Christmas spirit and cheer in the air and take in all the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season. WDW is the BEST place to be to celebrate the holidays!

  37. Every night, beginning at 9:00PM, the Electrical Water Pageant makes its way around Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. It is a classic, entertaining Walt Disney World Guests since 1971! It can be seen from The Polynesian, The Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and The Contemporary. If you are not staying at one of these hotels, the best way to see the Water Pageant is to make a dining reservation, so you’ll be there when it reaches the hotel.

  38. Once you make the decision to vacation at Walt Disney World, my recommendation is to start buying Disney Gift Cards as a way of saving money. Think of them as a Disney “savings” account. You can use the gift cards for anything in the parks, including food. Even better, if you have a Target Red Card (credit card), you can buy Disney Gift Cards at Target.  You will receive 5% off the face value (or up to 10-15% if they are having a gift card promotion). This saves even more money! For more information on Disney Gift Cards, click here!

  39. When visiting Walt Disney World, consider pre-purchasing several items that you may want or need during your vacation. You will save a lot of money by doing this. Items such as park ears, park t-shirts/sweatshirts, ponchos, umbrellas (it will rain at some point!), etc.

  40. One of the easiest ways to save a few dollars at Walt Disney World is to buy groceries and have them delivered to your hotel so you have drinks and snacks for the duration of your stay. Order groceries from places like Amazon.com or Instacart.com (which delivers groceries from various stores in the area such as Walmart or Publix). Someone from your traveling party must be present to receive the order if coming from a local store. For details on ordering from Amazon.com, click here.

  41. When vacationing at Walt Disney World, consider spending a day outside of the 4 theme parks or 2 water parks, and instead explore places like Disney Springs or Resort hop. These activities cost you nothing in theory and are just as entertaining as visiting the parks.

  42. Once you make the decision to vacation at Walt Disney World, my recommendation is to consider getting the Disney Visa Credit Card from Chase. It’s not for everyone, but you will receive 1-2% cash back on purchases. There is also a Premier Credit Card that will give even more cash back, however there is a $49 annual fee if you upgrade. Over time, this will pay for itself if you make enough purchases to earn the cash back. There are also additional perks you’ll receive with the card that make it worth having. Click here for more details.

  43. Depending on how often you visit Walt Disney World, and if you stay on property, you may want to keep track of which resorts you have stayed at! If you are like me, I have a goal of staying at each resort at least once. Keep a checklist! I’ve created one for you so you can keep track! My tip is if budget permits (take advantage of promotions and discounts!), try to stay at a new resort each time you visit WDW. Your checklist will be complete in no time! ADD LINK

  44. Did you know that you can board you furry friend while vacationing at Walt Disney World? At Best Friends Pet Care, they will take care and pamper your beloved pet while you are having the best time ever at the Happiest Place on Earth. There are so many services you can choose from – Overnight Accommodations, Day Care, Activities, Grooming, and more! So next time you are headed to Walt Disney World, know you don’t have to leave your furry best friend home! Here’s how!

  45. Before heading on your vacation to Walt Disney World, there are several FREE apps I highly recommend you download to your phone. In this digital age, using apps for important information is critical and can help save time, ease stress, etc. Apps such as the My Disney Experience, Lyft (for Minnie Vans), Social Media apps for sharing your vacation with friends and family are just a few I suggest. ADD LINK

  46. Pack a bunch of Ziploc bags in your bag/backpack before heading to the parks for the day. There are so many uses for them, I think you will find you will be using them more than you think! They can protect your phone/camera when it rains, you can use them on water rides to protect your valuables, how about if you don’t want to finish the sandwich or muffin you bought – store it in your Ziploc for later!

  47. Be sure to put a luggage tag or place an index/business card with your contact information on/in all your things, including your backpack or bag, before going to parks. This way, if you lose something, a Cast Member or Guest Relations will be able to get it back to you quickly!

  48. If you are a DVC Member or Annual Passholder, consider buying snacks and drinks inside a merchandise shop vs. the many snack carts or window service locations that are scattered throughout the parks. You can use your discount in the merchandise shops that you can’t use at the snack carts/window service locations. This will save you some money!

  49. While you are on vacation at Walt Disney World, change your lock screensaver on your smartphone to your contact information (Name/Hotel (no room number!) or where you can be reached in the event you lose your phone. Even if you have your phone locked, anyone who finds your phone can still see the contact info and get your phone back to you quicker!

  50. Before getting in a long line for an attraction, be sure to visit the restrooms first. This may seem obvious, but many people don’t do it! In many cases, such as Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, once you get in line you cannot leave to go to the bathroom. There are now signs warning you of this as you enter the queue. Here’s another tip, don’t drink water/coffee/soda etc. while in line which would cause you to have to go to the bathroom sooner. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, wait until the ride is over.

  51. Check your receipts for coupons. Often times if you purchase quick service in any of the parks, there is sometimes a 10% off coupon that you can use on Disney Springs merchandise. If you are looking to save some money, take advantage of the offers on receipts.

  52. One of the most important yet often overlooked Disney World tips is to wear comfortable shoes. Between walking to attractions and waiting in lines, you will be on your feet for most of the day. Believe me, I have made this mistake more than I care to admit, which is why I wanted to share this tip. The average person walks 7-10 miles a day at the parks, so it’s critical you are in comfy shoes/sneakers.

  53. When visiting Walt Disney World, many of us purchase souvenirs for ourselves or family & friends. My suggestion is to do some window shopping before hastily making purchases.  There are so many unique gifts and souvenirs at different stores throughout the parks and hotels. Check out all the options before making any decisions on what to purchase.

  54. There are hundreds of hidden Mickey’s throughout Walt Disney World. And there have been many books published and websites listing all of the known hidden Mickey’s. Make it a fun project and search for some next time you are in the parks and hotels. Some are harder to find than you think, making it quite a fun challenge! Make a list and see how many you can find!

  55. MouseGear is the premier gift shop in Epcot. It’s located in Future World and it’s HUGE! It does get crowded and lines get long. To avoid some of the lines, try heading to the jewelry section of the store. It’s often less crowded and they can ring you up there just like any of the other register locations throughout the store.

  56. I recommend choosing a landmark in each park that your family can meet at if you get separated throughout the day. Most of us have cell phones and can easily contact one another, but on the off chance that is not the case, it’s always a good idea to have an agreed upon place to meet. For example, you can meet at the Firehouse in MK, The Art of Disney store in Epcot, the gas station on Hollywood Blvd in HS, or the entrance to It’s Tough to Be a Bug in AK. You want to try to make it a more obscure and less crowded area, and something everyone can remember.

  57. Many Guests wait until the last day of their vacation to purchase souvenirs and gifts for family and friends. Did you know that you can ask Disney to ship your items home if you don’t want to carry them or pack them in your luggage? It will cost you a shipping fee, which varies depending on how much your purchase. But it might be worth it, rather than lugging it all back with you. Especially if you are already packed and spending your last few hours in the parks or Disney Springs doing some shopping.

  58. When visiting Walt Disney World, know that there are several ways to receive discounts at Disney dining locations: Tables in Wonderland Program (20% including alcohol), Annual Passholders (10-20% excluding alcohol), Disney Vacation Club Members (10-20% excluding alcohol), Disney Visa Holders (10% excluding alcohol). Tables in Wonderland does cost an additional $150 a year and you must be an AP, DVC Member or Florida Resident to participate. There are also special offers throughout the year that offer additional discounts. Read more here!

  59. If crowds make you anxious, you may want to stay back at the end of the day in the parks and wait until the crowds thin out before leaving. It can get pretty difficult leaving Magic Kingdom, for example, because everyone is funneling out through the main entrance at the same time to the Monorail, Ferry or Buses. Know that Disney transportation (if staying on property) runs up to an hour after park closing (sometimes longer during busy seasons), so you have some time before you need to leave.

  60. Keep an eye on the time when vacationing at Walt Disney World, or any of the Disney Parks. It’s easy to let time get away from you because you are fully immersed in the experience and having a ton of fun! But you may have dining reservations or FP+s that are scheduled and you don’t want to forget about them or miss out! Wear a watch or check your cell phone frequently for the time. Keep in mind also if you are using Disney transportation, you need to factor in traveling time as well.

  61. When taking photos at Disney, there are the standard photo spots and backdrops, such as Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth. While I think you should absolutely take those popular photos, I also encourage you to go off the beaten path and create your own special family photo spots. Perhaps it’s a quiet spot in the Magic Kingdom with the Castle peeking through in the background, or one of the pavilions in the World Showcase in Epcot. Create your own memories and unique photo experiences.

  62. Looking to save a little money on your Walt Disney World vacation? Bring snacks with you! I always find when I return to my hotel room at night, I want a snack! Pack snacks in your suitcase or ship them to your hotel ahead of time. Having pre-purchased snacks will save you a lot of money vs buying snacks in the parks or the hotel gift shop before returning to your room.

  63. Disney is known for its world class customer service. So if there is something you need, just ask. It doesn’t mean you will always get exactly what you want, but there is nothing wrong with asking the question. Have a food allergy? Let the wait staff know. Want to see if you can upgrade your hotel room? Ask when you check in. Want a particular table when you dine at a restaurant? Ask and see if you can wait for that table. It never hurts to ask!

  64. When heading to any Disney Park for vacation, it is always a good idea to not only carry a debit or credit card, but cash as well. I know in this day in age carrying cash is almost non-existent (although I still do!), but you never know when you might need it for tips or if your credit card does not work for some crazy reason. It happens, even to the best of us! And don’t forget your I.D (your license in most cases) and any membership cards, like an Annual Passholder card. It’s essential for discounts, etc.

  65. When packing for your Walt Disney World vacation, there are so many things you are trying to remember (I recommend a checklist so you don’t forget anything!). One of the most important things to pack (I suggest first before all else) is your MagicBand. Don’t forget it at home! Chances are you went through the trouble of selecting your MagicBand color and had it sent to you ahead of time. Disney cannot guarantee that they will replace it for free once you get to the resort. In which case, you might have to purchase one or use a regular hard ticket instead. If you are traveling as a family, have one person in charge of packing them and keep them together until you arrive to your destination.  ADD LINK

  66. While I am the ultimate planner when I vacation to Walt Disney World, what I have realized over the years, is some of the most fabulous and fun moments/memories come from the things that were unplanned. I recommend not over planning your vacation. You want to book your FP+s and Dining Reservations, but allow yourself time during the day to enjoy your surroundings. Disney is magical and there is so much to take in, see and do. Don’t stress yourself out with a packed agenda. Be flexible and enjoy! After all, you are on vacation at the Most Magical Place on Earth!

  67. It happens – we all face the last day of our magical vacation at Walt Disney World. It’s a sad day for most. How do you make the most of it? My recommendation is take it all the details. You have probably spent the majority of your vacation running around trying to get to everything in – so now is the time to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Slow down the pace, get on a few attractions, do some shopping in Disney Springs, eat a laidback lunch at your favorite quick service spot. Make the most of every last minute you have at Walt Disney World! 

  68. These days, most of us take pictures and share them on social media with our cell phones. If using Disney’s WiFi, chances are the battery will die pretty quickly – certainly before your park day ends. I highly recommend you bring an additional portable phone charger with you to save you from a dead battery! The parks offer Fuel Rods, which are great in a pinch, but for the price and charging capacity, you will get more bang for your buck if you purchase a portable charger ahead of time from retailers such as Amazon. I never head to the parks without them! Read more about Fuel Rods here!

  69. Chances are your vacation cost a lot of money, so you don’t want to get home and have a huge credit card bill to pay off all the souvenirs you bought! Limit the number of items you buy. I recommend using a Disney Gift Card with a certain dollar amount on it and that is what you have to spend. The other option that works for me, use the Disney Parks App to scan the merchandise available at the parks. Make a list of what you want, so you know going in, what you are looking for. If you plan ahead of time, you will be able to better stick to your budget.

  70. If you are considering purchasing tickets for any one of the Disney After Hours Events, know that tickets usually do not sell out in advance. Typically, there are still tickets available the day of the event, so you can make a last-minute decision based on how you are feeling, the weather, etc. The event runs late (hence “After Hours”), so you will not be returning to your hotel room until well after midnight. Currently Disney After Hours is offered in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom on select nights.

  71. If you are staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Beach Club Resort or Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you can very easily walk to Epcot’s International Gateway entrance to enter into the park. It’s about a 10-minute walk and will land you right next to France in the World Showcase. It is usually less busy and crowded than the main entrance, and easier to get to from those aforementioned resorts.

  72. If you are vacationing in Orlando during the May and September months, know that this is the mating season for Love Bugs. They are harmless, don’t sting or bite, but can be a nuisance. They look similar to a lightning bug, but are seen flying in 2’s as they are mating. Some seasons are worse than others, but be prepared to deal with swarms of them at times. I would not let it deter you from visiting Walt Disney World during those months, but just understand you may have to deal with the bugs.

  73. It can be excessively HOT during the late Spring, Summer and early Fall at Walt Disney World. To combat the heat, here are a few tips: wear light clothing, take breaks throughout the day (jump into stores/attractions with A/C or go back to the hotel to swim in the pool), hydrate, use an umbrella (it’s great for when it rains, but also to protect you from the sun!), or use a cooling towel. These are just a few of the ways to keep you cool in the blistering Florida heat! For all the ways to handle the heat and humidity, click here!

  74. Pack an extra bag in your suitcase for several things throughout your trip such as going to the pool/water park, transporting laundry (if doing laundry on-site), leaving items with bell services on the day of your departure or even carrying souvenirs home with you.

  75. If you are unfamiliar using the My Disney Experience app, I recommend practicing and using it PRIOR TO the start of your vacation. This app is extremely valuable during your trip to check attraction wait times, book/cancel FastPass+s, book/cancel dining reservations, act as a “key” to open your hotel room, plus so much more!

  76. If you forget an item while traveling on Disney’s Magical Express, call 866-599-0951 to report the item missing.

  77. The Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom has outlets available at the bar for charging devices. While there, enjoy a unique cocktail or snack! Find Nomad Lounge in Discovery Island; stop in on your way to or from visiting Pandora!

  78. If rain is in the forecast, grab a hand towel from the hotel room and throw it in your backpack for the day. Use it to wipe down wet seats or even yourself if you get caught in a rain storm!

  79. Never underestimate the power of taking a break mid-day. Especially in the middle of summer when the heat & humidity it stifling, it’s a good idea to give yourself a break and let yourself cool off. Take a swim in the pool, relax and recharge before heading back to the parks in the evening.

  80. If you record video, how you plan to share it may dictate how you record it for the best output. For example, if your intent is to post the video to YouTube or play it back on your tv/laptop, the best way to record is by holding your phone horizontally instead of vertically.

  81. If you are considering buying souvenirs and gift items for family and friends back home, consider purchasing items even before you go to Walt Disney World! ShopDisney.com sells Disney Park items direct from WDW, so it’s authentic as if it came direct from the parks. They offer great sales and it’s delivered right to your door so you don’t have to lug it all home!

  82. Did you know that you can customize the MagicBand and make it smaller for children or adults with small wrists? Separate the colored part of the MagicBand from the grey outer layer and voila! A MagicBand for tiny wrists!

  83. Did you know that Disney Floral & Gifts not only delivers direct to your hotel room on property but also to your home! If you or someone you love is celebrating, visit disneyworld.disneyfloralandgifts.com for something special!

  84. If you think your child(ren) will be scared of any of the attractions at Walt Disney World, consider watching YouTube videos before going on vacation. There are a plethora of videos showing the full attraction online. Watch it with your child(ren) and see how they react! This will give you a better idea what to expect when you get to the parks.

  85. If your child(ren) want to wear costumes at Walt Disney World, consider purchasing them before you arrive at the resort. You can often get good sales and deals at shopDisney.com. You can also consider having your child(ren) “bound” as a character instead of wearing a full costume. It may be more comfortable and often more economical!

  86. Transportation Cards are FREE souvenirs given by bus, monorail or ferry Cast Members. Not all will have them, but it’s worth it to ask!

  87. Movies Under the Stars – Want a break from the parks? Cozy up with your family and friends and watch your favorite Disney movies – offered FREE to all Guests at Walt Disney World hotels. Each night a different movie is played on the lawns of Disney hotel property. Upon arrival, visit the Front Desk or Concierge for the movie schedule. You can also call 407-939-2273 for more information.

  88. Forgot to pack some items? Want to save some money on snacks or water (water is pricey in the parks and adds up quick!)? Try ordering from Amazon Prime and have it delivered to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel. Download the PRIME NOW app and start shopping! Your items will be delivered within 2 hours! Read more about how ordering from Amazon.com works!

  89. To heighten Guest personal information security measures, Disney’s Magical Express will eliminate the Resort Airline Check-In delivery process, which includes the distribution of Resort Airline Check-In boarding passes and valet luggage tags directly to Guest rooms. You can still check-in your bags and have your boarding pass printed at the Resort Check-In locations. For more on Resort Airline Check-In, click here.

  90. Did you know that Fort Wilderness hosts a FREE campfire sing-a-long, hosted by Chip & Dale, for all Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guests? This is an awesome opportunity for the whole family to enjoy, complete with sweet treats and drinks for purchase. For more details on this fun night, click here.

  91. For those building a lightsaber in Galaxy’s Edge, know that you can take advantage of package pick-up (in the front of the park) or opt for resort delivery (your package is sent direct to your Walt Disney World hotel) if you choose.

  92. Kimonos Lounge at the Swan Hotel offers late night karaoke for those looking for something to do outside of the parks.  The Swan Hotel is located in the Epcot Resort Area. You can get there by Bus, Boat, Minnie Van, Taxi, Uber or Lyft.

  93. Disney’s Character Warehouse is Disney’s outlet store and carries very heavily discounted merchandise. Looking to save some money on souvenirs you buy? Try shopping here! This store is off property so you will either have to take your own car or call an Uber / Lyft to get you there. For more info on the Character Warehouse Outlets, click here.

  94. If you venture into Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (which is one of my favorite Quick Service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom), you will run into Sonny Eclipse. He’s the singing lounge lizard entertaining Guests. What you may not know is if you ask one of the Cast Members, they will give you a Sonny Eclipse sticker as a souvenir (if they are available)!

  95. Florida weather can be unpredictable from November through February. If you have a vacation planned, consider packing multiple options in your suitcase to combat any weather situation. Click here for options to consider packing.

  96. H2O makes the shampoo, conditioner and body products for Walt Disney World Resort hotels. To take a piece of this home with you, most often the products are sold in the hotel gift shops. You can also purchase many of these items at shopDisney.com (and you may get lucky and get a great sale too!).

  97. Walt Disney World now uses paper straws across the whole resort. As they can be somewhat difficult to use, and breakdown easily, I highly recommend purchasing reusable straws and bringing them with you to the parks. Most come in small travel cases and can easily fit in your park bag.

  98. The Wilderness Lodge Club Level (Old Faithful Club) is the only lounge that serves beer on tap. Throughout the day, coffee, tea, cold beverages, and refrigerated beverages are also available.

  99. 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios arguably has the BEST fried chicken in all of Walt Disney World (Homecomin’ is a close second). If you can’t get a reservations for 50’s Prime Time (or you aren’t a fan of the old school antics), visit the Tune In Lounge right next door. You can order from the restaurant menu at the bar!

  100. If you have growing children, a great place for an annual photo each year to capture their growth is the Character Totem Pole in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. Find this at the entrance to the Gift Shop.

  101. Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom isn’t a full counter service restaurant, but they have some pretty epic ice cream sandwiches and other snacks, plus incredible views of Cinderella Castle!! Looking for that perfect Instagram photo spot? Stop here!

  102. If you are a Florida local or just visiting Walt Disney World and looking for a FREE Christmas activity, head to the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs! Experience over 20 themed trees, incredibly decorated to our favorite movies, characters, attractions and more!

  103. Guests using the Disney’s Magical Express to get to their Walt Disney World resort, and want a picture of the iconic Walt Disney World entrance sign, should try to sit at the front of the bus. Extra tip: Practice using the burst shot on your camera/phone, this will help capturing the photo on the moving bus.

  104. Take a picture of your child(ren) in the morning before your day starts. If you should get separated during the day, you will have a picture to show Cast Members if you need their help reuniting you. It’s also a great way to remember what your child(ren) are wearing if needed.

  105. If you have animal lovers in your traveling party, don’t forget about the nature trails/walks at Animal Kingdom (Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, etc). They are a hidden treasure!

  106. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World hotel, consider buying the refillable drink mug at the start of your vacation. It’s great for sodas, coffees and teas! And makes a great souvenir to bring home! They currently cost $19.99.


TRANSPORTATION TIPS


  1. Need to rent a car while staying at the WDW Resort? You can! Contact the Car Care Center at 407-824-3470 to make a reservation with Alamo or Hertz.  Complimentary shuttle service to and from the Car Care Center can be arranged. Visit your hotel Concierge for more information and assistance. Click here for more details on renting a car at Walt Disney World.

  2. If you are a WDW Guest, you can take advantage of Disney Transportation to get to where you need to go. Disney buses, monorails, boats and the skyliner run well before park opening and 2 hours after park closing. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get to your destination. Read more here on Disney transportation options.

  3. Bus Wait Times are available on the My Disney Experience app. Consult the app 5-10 minutes before leaving your hotel room so you can minimize your wait time at the bus stop.

  4. A sidewalk runs between Hollywood Studios and Epcot and all of the Resort Hotels in-between. Walking from park to park usually takes approximately 30 minutes, sometimes less, and it’s often faster than taking bus transportation.

  5. I recommend not renting a car for your Walt Disney World vacation Now that Disney charges money to park per night at hotels, it can get quite pricey Use the Walt Disney World transportation to get you to where you need to go. If you absolutely need to you can always rent a car for a day or two while on property. There is a Hertz or Alamo on site to rent a car as needed.

  6. There are many transportation options at Walt Disney World. As you are planning your trip, take all of them into consideration. Take time to research which types of transportation go where, as it will help you in choosing a Resort and scheduling your days. Click here for details on all Disney transportation options.

  7. Walt Disney World has two different ways to alert you of Bus Wait Times so you know how long you will be waiting to get to your destination. There are wait times posted at the Bus Stop OR you can access wait times (once you are on property) direct from the My Disney Experience app. My tip is to use these wait times as a guidance. They aren’t always 100% accurate. The bus may arrive sooner or later than the posted time. Keep this is mind as you plan your day or if you need to get to your destination quickly.

  8. Be sure to download the Lyft app to your smartphone before you begin your Walt Disney World vacation.  Create an account ahead of time so you are ready to go should you decide to use Lyft.  If you want to choose a Minnie Van, but do not see the option coming up on your Lyft app (will only show up to reserve when you are on WDW property), visit the front desk of your hotel, concierge or a Guest Relations Cast Member for a special code to add the Minnie Van option to the app while on Disney property.

  9. If you are relying on the bus transportation to get around at Walt Disney World, know that the buses do not travel from hotel to hotel. They only travel from the hotels to the Disney Parks and Disney Springs and back. If you are at a hotel and need to get to another one, I recommend an Uber, taxi or Minnie Van to get you to your destination. For more details, click here.

  10. Some may not realize that it takes time to get to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. If you are driving, you will park at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and then take the Monorail or Ferry to get to the entrance of the park. Factor approximately 30-45 minutes transportation time (which includes parking, tram, monorail/ferry). Consider longer times during peak times. If you are staying at a Disney hotel, the buses drop you off directly at the entrance, so you bypass the TTC and Monorail/Ferry often shortening your travel time.

  11. When staying offsite, I strongly recommend renting a car. Shuttle services provided at offsite hotels can be unreliable, and having your own rental car will give you the freedom to come and go as you need to.  Just remember to factor in cost of gas and parking fees when driving to and parking at the parks.

  12. If you plan to call a Minnie Van at park closing, keep in mind you will have increased wait times. The Minnie Vans are a very popular transportation option when the parks close and they get busy. Consider a regular Uber or Lyft for a shorter wait time.

  13. If you are visiting Epcot or Hollywood Studios and staying at one of the resorts on the new Skyliner system (Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach or Riviera Resort, I recommend using the Skyliner. It’s a quicker mode of transportation than the buses or friendship boats.

  14. If you are riding the Disney Skyliner and you have an emergency, there is an emergency call box in your cable car. Press the button to speak to a Cast Member about your situation. All of the call boxes are connected, and others on the Disney Skyliner can hear your call.

  15. My favorite mode of transportation is the Minnie Van, because well how can one resist, they are adorable! But they can also be pricey! If you are in a hurry to get to your destination and don’t want to wait for Disney transportation, consider taking an Uber. Use the Uber app just as you would for a Minnie Van, just select a regular car.

  16. The monorail resort loop stop order is Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Consider using the resort monorail when leaving the Magic Kingdom if crowds are very heavy.

  17. It was recently announced that Disney is cutting back on bus service to Hollywood Studios and Epcot at the resorts on the Disney Skyliner loop (Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, Pop Century and Disney’s Rivera Resort) and encouraging Guests to use the Disney Skyliner. Bus service to Hollywood Studios and Epcot will run once per hour. Consider this when choosing a hotel for your vacation.


PLANNING TIPS


  1. FastPass+ reservation window opens at 7:00am EST. 60 days before arrival for on-site Guests. 30 days before arrival for off-site Guests. For on-site Guests, when scheduling FP+ for the length of your stay, you can jump from day to day prioritizing the most popular, hard to get attractions first. Then go back and schedule the lesser priority attractions for the rest of your say. For more FastPass+ details, click here.

  2. As soon as you scan your 3rd FP+ reservation, you can schedule a 4th at any of the 4 parks using the My Disney Experience app.

  3. Be sure to cancel any dining reservations you know you won’t use within 24 hours. You will get charged $10 per person on the reservation if you don’t cancel in time. It can and will add up fast.

  4. Bounce Back offers are promotions you can receive if you book a future trip while you are still on vacation at Walt Disney World. All you need to do is put down a deposit of $200 by 10PM on your checkout date to take advantage of the offer. Dial x8844 from your hotel room to receive the offer and book your next vacation! Click here for all details on bounce back offers.

  5. If you like chewing gum, be sure to pack it. It’s not sold anywhere in the parks.

  6. Free WiFi is available throughout the Parks and Hotels at Walt Disney World.

  7. Be sure to download the My Disney Experience app. The app links all of your reservations (hotel, dining, etc.), you can search attraction wait times, book dining, link PhotoPass photos, and purchase souvenirs.

  8. If you arrive to an attraction to use your FP+ and the standby line is short, get into the standby line and open your phone to change your FP+ reservation to something else.

  9. Consider adding Memory Maker for unlimited on-ride photos plus PhotoPass photographers around the parks. Pre-purchase this to save more money. If you are an Annual Passholder, this is automatically included as an added benefit. à link to Memory Maker (WDW website) and add which AP holders

  10. Refurbishments – As you begin your planning, be sure to check out the refurbishment list periodically to see if any attractions will be down during your stay. Don’t plan around refurbishments because you never know when an unexpected one will pop up, or if something with reopen sooner or later than planned. But it’s a good idea to have an idea so you can manage your expectations.

  11. As you plan your Walt Disney World vacation, plan a trip that is authentic to you, not to anyone else. Friends and family will have their “perfect ideas” and “expert” advice from their recent or previous trips.  And while this is all great, remember why YOU are going to Walt Disney World, and prioritize accordingly.

  12. Use Crowd Calendars at guidelines only. These days the crowds shift constantly at all four theme parks. The Crowd Calendars will give you a general idea of crowds, but they aren’t meant to be perfect.

  13. Pay attention to discounts when planning your WDW vacation. Throughout the year, Disney offers discounts on hotels and dining (sometimes free dining is offered). Even if you already booked your vacation and an offer is announced, you can call and have Disney apply it to your existing reservation, if applicable.

  14. My recommendation will also be to stay on property. There are over 30 hotels to choose from, accommodating all budgets. The benefits you receive staying on property cannot be compared, such as early access to FP+, Extra Magic Hours, and using the Magical Express to name a few.

  15. There are two airports you can fly into when heading to Walt Disney World – Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Sanford Airport. Orlando International Airport is closer to Disney. If you want to take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express or the Minnie Van Service, you need to fly into Orlando International. Be aware when making travel arrangements.

  16. Even if you checked in online via the Walt Disney World website or the My Disney Experience app, you may want to stop by at the Front Desk and ensure there are no packages or messages for you.

  17. Learn the Parks – Learn the Walt Disney World Parks, there are 4 theme parks and 2 water parks. Get to know the attractions, entertainment and dining options within each park. This helps you know what to expect when you visit Walt Disney World so there are fewer surprises.

  18. Be aware when making resort reservations at WDW there are different restrictions on Room Only Reservations and Package Reservations, such as deposits, payments and cancelations or changes. Read my blog post for more details on how this breaks down.

  19. Before you arrive for Day 1 of your WDW vacation, be sure to download the My Disney Experience app and explore. Make sure you are familiar with the features and where to find your resort, dining and FastPass+ Reservations.

  20. Before your scheduling window to book FP+, I suggest practicing, especially if it’s something new to you. As long as you have a linked park ticket to your Disney account, you can choose any day to practice – just be sure to delete any practice FP+s so that it can be scheduled by someone else.

  21. No matter how much you plan, there are going to always be unforeseen circumstances that throw a monkey wrench into the best of plans. My best advice is to be flexible. Know that you can’t control extenuating circumstances and things happen. In my experience, some of the best memories happen when plans go off the rails!

  22. Magic is just that… magic. It happens when you least expect it and it adds to and enhances your vacation experience. Please don’t ask Cast Members for magic (free perks) – it’s meant to happen unexpectedly and surprise you – it’s not an entitlement. My advice is to make your own magic, live in the moment and enjoy every minute! 

  23. Order your Magic Bands promptly when you receive the notification from Disney. Disney needs ample time to send them to you in the mail prior to your scheduled vacation. Your Magic Band will be your most prized possession. It is your room key, park ticket, payment method, photo pass, memory maker tag & more!

  24. If you plan to visit Walt Disney World more than 10-12 times in one year, I highly recommend becoming an Annual Passholder. It will pay for itself. I understand it’s a bigger upfront cost, but it will save you money in the long run. And you will also save money on select dining and merchandise with a 20% discount, along with additional benefits that come with being a Passholder!

  25. Looking to save a little money on your next trip to Walt Disney World? Don’t underestimate a Value Resort or Disney’s campground, if you are looking to stay on property. No matter which value property you choose, you’ll get the same resort benefits as you would at the pricier hotels at WDW, but at a fraction of the cost.

  26. You can use somebody else’s MagicBand/park ticket to use their FP+ reservations. Everybody needs to use their own MagicBand/ticket to enter the park, but you can swap for FastPass+.

  27. If you want to visit multiple parks in one day at Walt Disney World, you will need to add the Park Hopper option to each of your purchased tickets. This is a separate add-on and an additional fee. You don’t have to do this ahead of time, if you aren’t quite sure you will be hopping; you can do so when you make the decision. Just visit Guest Relations and they will take care of it for you.

  28. If you are staying on property at Walt Disney World, this gives you access to Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at the parks. This is a special time when a specific park is open either 1 hour early than general park opening or 2 hours later than general park closing. But keep in mind that many people who stay on property take advantage of EMH and there are over 25 resorts on property. Depending on the time of year you visit, it may or may not be advantageous to you to take advantage of it. Plan accordingly.

  29. Choosing a hotel on the Walt Disney World property is very much a personal preference. A big consideration however when choosing a hotel is how long you will be staying in the room or on the grounds of the hotel (dining, pools, activities, etc.) during your stay.  If you intend to be in the parks all day, every day, it might be worth saving a few dollars and choosing a value resort.

  30. You can use multiple Magic Bands during your trip to Walt Disney World. Each activated band is linked directly to your My Disney Experience Account (Tickets, Dining, FastPass+, Credit Card, etc.).  My recommendation is if you leave additional Magic Bands in your hotel room during the day, be sure to lock them up in the safe. You don’t want anything to happen to them, as everything in linked to them.

  31. When making your vacation reservation using the waltdisneyworld.com website, be sure to check the box for Magical Express transportation. This FREE service takes you from Orlando International Airport to your WDW hotel. This also ensures that you will receive your luggage tags (1 tag per person in your travel party). Once you check your bag at the airport, the next time you see it will be in your hotel room. Disney takes care of the rest!

  32. When using Magical Express (ME), you will receive luggage tags (1 for each person in your traveling party). You can opt not to attach them to your luggage; instead check your luggage as you normally would and pick it up at baggage claim at Orlando Int Airport. Bring your luggage to the ME bus and it will remain with you the whole time. This is a great option if you don’t want to wait several hours for Disney to deliver your luggage once you land in Orlando.

  33. Staying on property gives you the benefit of Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at the parks. This is a special time when a specific park is open either 1 hour earlier than park opening or 2 hours later than park closing. This is different than Disney After Hours, which is a separate ticketed event and offered in addition to EMH. You can do both if you are willing to pay extra for the Disney After Hours Event.

  34. As you plan your vacation and you start to think about strategies and putting together your daily itineraries, consider getting to the park(s) 45 minutes to an hour ahead of the parks opening time. In many cases, the parks open sooner than the noted time (sometimes by 30 minutes), and you can get on some of the more popular attractions first thing in the morning without the longer wait times!

  35. When creating your itinerary or scheduling your FP+ for the Magic Kingdom, it’s a good idea to prioritize Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. All three attractions are extremely popular, especially during busy times. It may be difficult to get a FP+ for all three and stand by line may be long. Decide which one is most important to ride and if you aren’t able to obtain a FP+, visit that attraction at park opening when lines are shorter.

  36. With the recent increase in ticket prices, it’s always a great idea to consider all of your options when purchasing tickets for the parks. Evaluate how many days you will be visiting the parks, what time of year you are visiting (ticket prices are based on the dates you visit, and if you are going to be visiting the parks multiple times in one calendar year. Do the math. It may be more economical in the long run to become an Annual Passholder. The AP ticket did not see a price increase in this recent price change. Something to consider!

  37. When choosing FastPass+ options for your Walt Disney World vacation, know that Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have tiered attractions. You can choose 1 from the Tier 1 category and the remaining 2 from Tier 2. Generally the most popular attractions are in Tier 1 such as Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, to name a few. Magic Kingdom is the only park that does not have tiered attractions, so you don’t have to pick one over the other. Keep this in mind when you are planning.

  38. It is very important to have a general idea of what activities you’d like to do when vacationing at Walt Disney World. Especially if you are traveling in a big group, not everyone will like all the same things. There may be times when splitting up the group to enjoy different attractions or shows might be the best way to ensure everyone gets to do what they want. Do your research before heading to the parks, understand what attractions, shows, dining options, etc. are offered. Decide what everyone wants to do and make a plan! This will almost guarantee that everyone will leave with a smile on their face at the end of the day!

  39. Most of us like to have an idea of where we are going and what to expect before we get to our destination. Going to Walt Disney World should be no different, especially if you are visiting for the first time. I highly recommend before your vacation begins, you do some research and get the lay of the land for each of the 4 parks. There are plenty of free maps available at the parks once you arrive, but you can also find digital maps on the Walt Disney World website or the My Disney Experience app.

  40. I get this question A LOT! FP+ Reservations at Walt Disney World are FREE. It is a benefit you receive when you purchase your tickets. You get 3 FP+ selections per ticket, per day that you are in the parks. You can even select additional FP+s once you use the initial 3 you chose for the day. There is an opportunity for those staying in Club Level at select Walt Disney World Resorts to purchase additional FP+ selections per day. This is optional for those select Guests, otherwise FP+ is FREE. For complete details, click here for more.

  41. When scheduling your FastPass+ reservations, you will select a one-hour window that is most suitable to your schedule and itinerary for the day. Each FastPass+ window allows plenty of time to get to the attraction in order to ride it. Disney Cast Members will sometimes give a 5-minute buffer on either end of that one-hour window in case you are running early or late, but don’t count on that. Be there in time or you may miss your opportunity.

  42. Once you make the decision to visit Walt Disney World and you know the dates of your trip, buy your park tickets. You will have to make some decisions such as number of days, park hopper, etc. But it’s better to buy in advance for a few reasons: 1. You can take advantage of reserving FastPass+ selections ahead of time and 2. You won’t waste time once you get to the parks standing in line for park tickets. This time can be better spent already in the parks and riding the attractions.

  43. I am a BIG fan of park hopping and because I am able to visit the parks frequently, I tend to park hop to maximize my time, visit my favorite attractions, and check out the newest thing in each park. However, if you are a first-time visitor, I don’t think park hopping is necessary. First, it costs a significant amount of $ to add to your ticket, especially if you are going in a big group. Second, as a first timer, there is so much to see and do in each park, I think you will need the whole day to get through it. Should you decide to want the park hopper option later in your trip, you can always add it to your ticket by visiting Guest Relations.

  44. For many, staying off property makes better financial sense. Especially if you are traveling in a big group and need extra space and rooms. There are tons of hotels within minutes from the gates at Walt Disney World that are more reasonable in price than those hotels on property. Many also offer shuttle service to the parks, which saves parking fees as well. There may be other benefits like free breakfast or snacks, that could also save you money. Consider this option when planning your vacation.

  45. When planning for your Disney vacation, it is always important to check the parks and events times for the days you will be visiting. Understand that the time schedule is subject to change at any point, but in my experience, they don’t change often from what is posted. Some parks close earlier than others, the fireworks shows may not show every night, and sometimes Disney adds special events to the calendar, which could close a particular park earlier than normal. These are all things you want to know ahead of time as you plan. The calendar on the Walt Disney World website is kept up-to-date and should be used when planning.

  46. I highly recommend considering purchasing Memory Maker before you begin your Walt Disney World vacation.  It will cost you less money if you purchase ahead of time than if you wait until you arrive. Any PhotoPass photos taken during your vacation will be free for you to download and share via the My Disney Experience app. There are so many PhotoPass photo opportunities throughout the parks. Look for the PhotoPass photographer and don’t forget to ask about Magic Shots! There are also 13 attractions that offer special PhotoPass photos taken during the attraction. It’s so worth it! 

  47. The Magical Express is an amazing benefit to staying on property at Walt Disney World. It offers you free motorcoach transportation to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO).  You will receive a luggage tag before your travel dates to attach to your luggage and Disney takes care of the rest. Once you check in for your flight, the next time you see your luggage will be in your WDW hotel room. However, if you prefer to retrieve your own luggage at the airport, you can. Pick up your luggage at the assigned carousel and bring it with you to the bus. This option does avoid the 3-4 hour wait time for your luggage once you get to Walt Disney World.

  48. When park hours are extended, FastPass + options open up. Keep your eye on added/extended times for the dates you will be visiting. Check FastPass+ selections, you may be able to swap out a FastPass+ for something you originally wanted, but did not get.

  49. Checking in online is an amazing benefit to staying on-site at the Walt Disney World Resort. You can check into your hotel well in advance of your trip.  Visit waltdisneyworld.com to check-in. I do recommend however that you should stop by the front desk at some point in the first several hours of your stay and ensure there are no messages or special information the hotel needs to share with you. If you plan to request an upgrade (not always guaranteed), I’d recommend waiting the check-in at the hotel upon arrival.

  50. If you want to stay in a resort that is completely enclosed (Lobby, Rooms, Restaurants, etc), there are 3 amazing resorts on property that fit this requirement: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge and The Beach Club.

  51. If you are staying on-site at a Walt Disney World hotel, you can do laundry throughout your stay. You can use the Laundry View website by entering the hotel you are staying at to check the current availability of washers and dryers.

  52. Consider renting a stroller from an off-site company vs through Disney. Often times the rental rate is cheaper and you have the ability to use the stroller throughout your entire trip, not just your time in the Walt Disney World parks.  NOTE: Remember new stroller policies went into effect on May 1, 2019 – Strollers must be no larger than 31″ (79cm) wide and 52″ (132cm) long. Stroller wagon are NO LONGER PERMITTED.

  53. Parks will often open 20-30 minutes earlier than the planned/scheduled time. If the park is scheduled to open at 8am, plan to be there by 7:30am if you want to be one of the first to enter through the gates for the day. For offsite Guests: Keep in mind parks may have Extra Magic Hours scheduled for onsite resort Guests, so the parks will open even earlier than noted time.

  54. Take a screenshot of your reservations (dining and FP+) in the My Disney Experience app. If you don’t have internet connection or the app is down, you will have screenshots saved to your camera roll in your phone (just in case you need it).

  55. If your flight arrives after 10:00 PM EST, you will need to pick up your own luggage from the appropriate carousel and take it direct to the Magical Express. Magical Express only collects and delivers luggage direct to your room for flights arriving between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM EST.

  56. When booking FastPass+ reservations, always book in order of “hard to get”, not chronological order. The more difficult it is to get the FP+ (such as Flight of Passage (AK) or Slinky Dog Dash (HS)), the more you should focus on those first, then go back and reserve the other attractions. For more on how FastPass+ works, click here.

  57. When you arrive at Orlando International Airport (MCO), know that Disney’s Magical Express is located in Terminal B on Ground Level. If you arrive in Terminal A, you will need to walk across to Terminal B to catch the Magical Express bus.

  58. If you have multiple tickets linked to your account (For example: tickets that are part of a vacation package, tickets for multiple trips booked and/or an Annual Pass), call Disney and have them set the correct priority for each set of tickets. This way, when you scan your ticket on vacation, the correct one will be used for the appropriate trip.

  59. If you want to take Magical Express at a different time than when your flight is arriving or departing, use a different flight number when making your reservation. You may want to use this tip if you are meeting friends or family at the airport and all traveling together to a Walt Disney World Resort.

  60. If you are taking the Magical Express to your Walt Disney World Resort, be sure to factor in at least 45 minutes of travel time. Know that in most cases, the bus will stop at several resorts to drop off Guests.

  61. If you are traveling with friends or family members to Walt Disney World, I recommend linking them in your My Disney Experience account. Most importantly, this will allow you to make FastPass+ reservations for everyone all at once.

  62. When you book your Walt Disney World hotel reservation, I recommend waiting to book flights right away (if you can). Sometimes Disney vacation promotions pop up that you can take advantage of (and apply to an existing reservation), but they may not cover the exact dates you originally booked. If you are flexible with your dates, you may be able to save some money, since you are not yet locked into flights.

  63. The Gran Destino Tower is now open at Coronado Springs Resort and it is absolutely stunning. If you are looking to stay in a luxury/deluxe hotel at a moderate price-point, this is the place for you.

  64. If you are heading to Hollywood Studios for Rise of the Resistance, there are a few things you should know. The only way to ride the attraction is by obtaining a Boarding Pass. Boarding Passes are booking up within 30 minutes of park opening. Be sure to be at the park at least an hour earlier than park opening, although this does not guarantee getting into a Boarding Pass, but your chances are greater if you get there early.

  65. When planning your magical vacation to WDW, consider some luxury splurges to enhance or make your trip even more fun (and less stressful). VIP Tours, Club Level Fast Passes or using a Minnie Van can help ease your stress on your vacation and add tons of incredible memories.

  66. Once you settle on dates and start mapping out your magical vacation to Walt Disney World, consider keeping a spreadsheet with all of your planning information (Hotel, Dining, FastPasses, Park Events, etc.). Seems antiquated in a digital age? There is something to be said for seeing it all laid out in front of you. Trust me, it helps organize your planning.


SPECIAL EVENT TIPS


There are several special events that occur throughout the year at Walt Disney World. The tips outlined below are specific to those events. Each year I update complete guides to each of these events. For the most current guides, click here:


  1. During special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you can enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM. Even though the ticketed event doesn’t start until 7PM. Take advantage of the extra time in the park!

  2. The Kiss Goodnight usually does not play during special events such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

  3. MNSSHP/MVMCP – Rain or shine! The party must go on! If you are worried about purchasing tickets ahead of time because of potential weather issues you can always buy tickets on the day of the event you choose. Most party nights do not sell out.

  4. MNSSHP/MVMCP – The parade begins in Frontierland, however I am a firm believer that the best place to watch it is from Main Street USA. There is nothing like the backdrop of Cinderella Castle in all of your photos.

  5. MNSSHP – you can visit candy stations more than once, so stock up! If you need additional trick or treat bags, ask a Cast Member. There are plenty to go around!

  6. MNSSHP – Costumes are encouraged for all ages! So be sure to dress up and have fun! The keep us all safe, read through the Disney’s costume guidelines. à link guidelines

  7. MNSSHP/MVMCP – If you arrive at 7PM, there are only 5 hours to meet rare characters, ride attractions, trick or treat, and see exclusive fireworks and parade. To maximize your time and $ at this event, devise a plan and determine your priorities. Just remember, even the best plans can’t often squeeze it all in. Do what is most important to you first!

  8. MNSSHP/MVMCP – If you enter the park at 4PM (2PM if you are a DVC Member), you should be able to ride 2-3 attractions before the party officially begins at 7PM. Note that FP+ reservations are not available during the party time or from 4PM – 7PM if you only have a party ticket for the day.

  9. Epcot Festivals – Plan ahead! Make a list of your must try items. Leave room for spontaneity and discovery, but having a list will allow you to not miss anything you want to try, and stay on budget (if you have one).

  10. Epcot Festivals – Have a budget and stick with it. With all the food and drink offering at the festival, setting a limit right from the beginning is the best way not to go overboard. My suggestion is to put a set amount of money on the mini special event wristband gift cards. This will help you stay on track. They are great souvenirs too!

  11. Epcot Festivals – Scouting out a place to sit and have a friend hold the table while you get the treats! The festival tends to get crowded, especially on the weekends. And spots to place your food/drink down to eat are at a premium. Or, ask to share a table! It’s a great way to make new friends!

  12. Epcot Festivals – Try new things!! The festival is a great time to experience new foods and drinks. With each small plate ranging from $4-8 each, it’s relatively inexpensive to test your palate. You may like something you wouldn’t otherwise try.

  13. Epcot Festivals – Pace Yourself! With all the options available to us at the festival, we often get excited and dig right in. By the time you hit the halfway point, you’ve had enough. The heat often does not help either. Use your Festival Guide to prioritize what to eat and drink first and go slowly. There is plenty of time to try everything.

  14. Some of the most popular events at Walt Disney World are the Epcot International Festival Events, such as the Flower & Garden (Spring) and Food & Wine (Fall). If you have attended, you already know there are a ton of pop-up booths selling food and drink from around the world throughout Future World and World Showcase for you to experience. My best advice if you plan to indulge in all the delectable culinary delights is to share! The portions are plentiful and if your intention is to try a lot of different foods, unless you share, you will get full very quickly (and you may also run out of money, as the food and drink will add up quicker than you think!).


PARK TIPS


  1. The best time to ride the Kilimanjaro Safari in Animal Kingdom is first thing in the morning. It’s usually feeding time, so all of the animals are out, and it’s cooler in the morning, so they aren’t hiding in the shade.

  2. If you want to beat the crowds, plan to arrive to the parks before they open. All of the parks typically open before the posted time, sometimes up to 30-60 minutes earlier.

  3. Enjoy the must-see rides early. The most popular attractions usually have the longest lines. Most of the classic rides at the Magic Kingdom have a long wait time. Don’t wait until the end of the day, you may run out of time.

  4. Watch the parade at the second viewing when possible. Everyone tends to watch the first parade, so the second is usually less crowded. Take advantage of the attractions when everyone is viewing the parade.

  5. Happily Ever After Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom remains wildly popular. Be sure to stake out your spot to watch at least 45 minutes to an hour before show time. During peak times, you may need to wait up to 2 hours. It’s worth it!

  6. For the best viewing of Happily Ever After, stake out a spot in the Hub or anywhere on Main Street USA. The fireworks and projections are best seen when facing directly towards Cinderella Castle. The closer you are the better [stand near the Partner Statue for the very BEST view].

  7. Be sure to hang around MK at least 30 minutes after closing time. You may get to see The Kiss Goodnight – a special 2-3 minute light show – “Wish Upon a Star” plays throughout the park as Cinderella Castle lights up and twinkles for a final evening farewell.

  8. Cinderella Castle – take family photos in the back of the castle, it is arguably even prettier than the ever-popular front!

  9. Dole Whips are probably one of the most popular snacks at the Magic Kingdom, but the lesser-known Citrus Swirl is just as delicious and can be found at Sunshine Tree Terrace. Citrus Swirl is personally my favorite of the two!

  10. Fantasyland attractions in Magic Kingdom are best experienced first thing in the morning or last thing in the night to minimize waits.

  11. Be aware of party hours at Magic Kingdom during the Halloween and Christmas season at Walt Disney World. On party nights, Magic Kingdom will close at 6PM. Plan accordingly. You will have to exit the park unless you have a separate ticket for that night’s event.

  12. When entering the Haunted Mansion for the pre-show, stand under the young girl with the parasol in the stretching room. That’s where the door to the attraction will open when it’s time to board your doom buggy!

  13. Obtaining a FP+ for Frozen Ever After can still be a bit difficult If yu don’t get one, I recommend uber’ing or taking a Minnie Van to the BoardWalk Inn. If you arrive 45 minutes prior to park opening and enter Epcot via International Gateway – it’s a shorter walk to Norway from the entrance. This gives you an advantage over the rope drop dash at the main entrance.

  14. Immediately to your right as you enter the Muppet Vision 3D building, you will see the “box office”. Hanging there is a sign that says “Back in 5 minutes, key is under mat.” If you lift up the mat you will find that there really is a key hidden under the mat!

  15. Single Rider Lines – Don’t overlook Disney’s single rider line. If you are willing to ride an attraction separate from your traveling party, or are traveling solo, this is for you! Test Track, Rock n Roller Coaster, Millennium Falcon and Expedition Everest all have single rider lines to consider. It could save you time if the standby lines are long.

  16. As you enter the first scene in Owl’s house on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, keep an eye out for a cool homage to the former owners Mr. Toad and his friends. You’ll see a “photo” on the lefthand side wall of Owl accepting the deed from Mr. Toad. It goes by quickly so keep an eye out.

  17. You can experience Turtle Talk with Crush without doing the Nemo dark ride by entering The Seas pavilion through the gift shop exit.

  18. Slinky Dog Dash often has shorter wait times early in the evening or very late in the evening. If you jump into the line within minutes of park closing, expect to wait 20-30 minutes, even though posted wait times say 50-60 minutes.

  19. Animal Kingdom has a second entrance at the back of the Rain Forest Café Gift Shop. If the front entrance is crowded, try using it to bypass the lines.

  20. Some of the roller coasters at Walt Disney World are better experienced at night than during the day. Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and the newest Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios to name a few, are actually more fun at night.

  21. Looking to take a break while at Walt Disney World? The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a great attraction for relaxing, and it rarely has much of a line. Put your feet up and enjoy the ride!

  22. When leaving the Magic Kingdom at park closing, consider taking the Resort Monorail (if the monorail is your choice of transportation). The Express Monorail usually has longer lines. The Resort Monorail will make a few stops on its way to the TTC, but it is usually still quicker when the crowds are heavy.

  23. When you get to the Hub in the Magic Kingdom, do you walk to the right or left? Or perhaps straight into Fantasyland? I recommend heading left towards Adventureland. Crowds tend to go right towards Tomorrowland, so go against the crowds and I think you’ll find shorter lines on the attractions, at least early in the morning.

  24. The first row of Soarin’ allows you to view the screen without any feet dangling in front of you; however, the third row of Soarin’ does not have extra motion like the first two rows, making it a good option for people prone to motion sickness.

  25. A great viewing location for Happily Ever After is from Dumbo in Storybook Circus in Fantasyland. You will obviously however not be able to see any of the projections as they are direct on Cinderella Castle. This is especially great if you’ve seen it many times before and you just simply want to enjoy the fireworks.

  26. Before entering any one of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks, you will need to go through security, either bag check or a metal detector. My advice is to be prepared. Be sure your bags and items are open and ready for security to check them. It makes the process go much quicker and smoother!

  27. For those wanting to know the times and locations of Character Meets at Walt Disney World will want to pick up a Times Guide located at the entrance to the park. You can also find one at most registers throughout the park. You can also find parade times and show times throughout the day.

  28. At any of the Disney Parks, you can get in line for an attraction up until park closing time. So, if the park closes at 9:00PM, as long as you are in line by 8:59PM, you will get to ride the attraction! **Extra tip: Leaving the park after it closes allows for unique photo opportunities with few people around!

  29. If you are visiting Animal Kingdom, you must experience Flight of Passage! There are 4 Link Chambers on the attraction (A, B, C, and D). Ask the CM if you can ride in Chamber A or B, that’s where you’ll see the infamous hand prints. Don’t worry, the attraction is the same in all Chambers. After you ride Flight of Passage, you’ll head down a long cement-walled hallway. You’ll find the hand prints on the right hand side. The hand prints are JC = James Cameron, director of “Avatar”, John Landau, producer of “Avatar” and Joe Rhode, Disney Imagineer Extraordinaire!

  30. When visiting any one of the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World, you can find attraction stand-by wait times (show times, fireworks/parade times, etc.) on the My Disney Experience App. This can help save you time and plan accordingly, especially if the next attraction on your list is on the other side of the park!

  31. If you are visiting Epcot at Walt Disney World, know that it has 2 sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World opens at 9AM and World Showcase opens at 11AM. You can enter World Showcase to ride Frozen in Norway or if you have a dining reservation.

  32. New Year’s Eve: With Magic Kingdom offering Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks display both on Dec 30 and 31, my recommendation is to see the show on December 30, when the crowds are a bit lighter, and save another park for December 31. Magic Kingdom is the most popular of the parks, and may even experience park closures during the day on Dec 31. It may be worth seeing the fireworks the night before on Dec 30.

  33. If you arrive to Hollywood Studios prior to the scheduled opening time of the park, the first attraction you should run to is Slinky Dog Dash (this is assuming you do not have FP+). This is one of THE MOST popular attractions in the park (along with Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), so if you want to ride it without a long wait time, you need to be in the park early. After that, you can ride Toy Story Mania, Rock n Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror, which also remain very popular attractions.

  34. If you arrive to Magic Kingdom prior to the scheduled opening time of the park, the first attraction you should run to is either Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan (this is assuming you do not have FP+). Both are extremely popular attractions in the park, so if you want to ride it without a long wait time, you need to be in the park early. After that, you can ride any one of the mountains (Space, Big Thunder, or Splash), which also remain very popular attractions.

  35. The Jungle Cruise is thematically tied to the nearby Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen’s restaurant in Adventureland. Both the boat skippers and waitstaff continue the storyline and have a constant spiel of terrific puns that will have you laughing in stitches. Next time you visit Magic Kingdom, be sure to experience both the attraction and restaurant!

  36. If motion sickness is a concern and you are prone to it, take caution when riding Mission Space. The best advice is to look ahead on the ride to avoid additional movement. The attraction spins and twists plenty, so it’s best to stay as still as possible.  There are two options for this attraction; the Orange Team (mission to Mars) and the Green Team (flight around the Earth).  The Green Team is a lesser intense version and better for those who are prone to motion sickness. If you are really, really susceptible to motion sickness, I recommend you skip it altogether.

  37. If you want awesome views of Fantasyland while having lunch or dinner in Magic Kingdom, choose a window seat on the second floor of Pinocchio’s Village Haus or Columbia Harbor House. Pinocchio’s Village Haus is also right next to and overlooks the “It’s a Small World” attraction. If you choose to sit on that side of the restaurant, you can even wave through the windows to those riding the attraction!

  38. Be careful when entering or exiting certain attractions such as Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth, Peter Pan and others as they have moving platforms. Watch your footing and be cautious – some move at a faster pace than others!

  39. When waiting in line for attractions at Walt Disney World, think ahead of time of activities you can do while waiting. Especially if you have young children, the wait times can be long. Play games (there are so many interactive game apps or even use a deck of cards), update social media with the latest pics of your vacation to share with friends and family, plan your next FastPass + or dining option. Any one of these things will help pass the time.

  40. Looking for ways to score points on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin? I am personally terrible at this game!! As you enter the first room, aim for the left arm of the robot on the left side for 100,000 points, and when you are on Planet Z and you see Zurg, hit the bottom target of his space scooter for another 100,000 points.

  41. If you arrive to any one of the 4 parks in the late afternoon and the parking attendants are no longer on duty, drive up to the first several rows to see if there are any spots available. By that time of day, Guests have left or gone to another park, so there are usually plenty of spots open, and then less of a walk to the park entrance!

  42. Not everyone that visits Walt Disney World is interested in the parades and/or the fireworks. Or, you have been enough times, you can skip either or both and be totally fine with that. If you fit into either one of these categories, my tip for you is to make sure you are in the area of the park you want to be in when either of these events at MK start. While walkways are created, traveling around the park especially around the parade route or the hub, becomes difficult. Many of the normal areas get blocked off, or there are just too many people to cut through. Plan a bit ahead so you don’t get caught up in the crowds. It will save you a lot of time!

  43. On Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, when entering the first staging room (the library), immediately go to the far corner (furthest away from the door you enter through). After the TV presentation, the wall opens up under the tv to the rest of the ride. At that point, choose to move towards the left line, it moves quicker.

  44. How do you navigate the crowds at Epcot? I suggest getting to the park at park opening and tour Future World. At 11:00AM when the World Showcase opens, explore the countries, and then later in the day return to Future World. By then, most of the crowds are heading into the World Showcase to explore the offerings. This is especially true during the festivals throughout the year!

  45. When entering the World Showcase in Epcot, head left towards the Mexico Pavilion. They have a fantastic restaurant “San Angel Inn” (you will need reservations), an amazing tequila bar “La Cava del Tequila”, and a cute boat ride attraction called “The Gran Fiesta Tour” all on the perimeter of an outdoor twilight-lit Mexican village and marketplace! On a hot summer day, it’s a great air-conditioned place to cool off!

  46. When visiting Hollywood Studios, if you opt to enjoy the Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction, don’t sit too close to the stage. I would recommend sitting halfway back from the stage. If you sit too close, you can often see the puppeteers on the stage (even though it’s dark) and it may take away some of the magic (especially if you have little ones!)

  47. When visiting Epcot, be sure to really take your time and explore the World Showcase. There are so many hidden gems tucked away in little corners of each Pavilion. It is a treasure trove of unique and interesting finds. The two pavilions that immediately come to mind are China and Morocco. Tucked away behind the facades are so many restaurants, stores and fun photo opportunities. There is so much to explore! Immerse yourself in the country, it really will feel like you are in a foreign land.

  48. The wait times/lines for attractions tend to be shorter just before a parade starts or before the nighttime shows begin. If you are not interested in seeing or watching either, this is a good time to get in line for your favorite attraction!

  49. I cannot stress this enough, height requirements on attractions are there for a reason. Please pay attention to them and please do not try to make your children taller in any way to get them on the attraction. The height requirements are there for safety and you are taking a risk if you try to ignore them. But also know which attractions are suitable for your children before heading the parks. These requirements are posted at each attraction, on the Walt Disney World website and also on adisneystateofmind.com. Know before you go!

  50. I highly recommend you consider taking a tour at the parks when visiting Walt Disney World. For as much as we think we might know about Walt Disney and the parks he created, there is so much more to learn! I recently took the Keys to the Kingdom tour offered in Magic Kingdom and it was fantastic. Our Guide was very knowledgeable and we were able to see some of the “behind the scenes” action. I used to fear that it would ruin the magic. Personally, I think it enhances it! Do it! Take a tour!

  51. When visiting Walt Disney World, keep your eyes and ears peeled for pop-up character spots. Yes, there are many, many planned/scheduled character spots (some you can even get FastPass+ for), but there are quite a few locations where random characters pop-up for photos. Epcot is known for this! On a recent visit, I ran into Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, Baloo, Goofy and Donald. It was not busy and I was able to take pictures with all of them in about 10 minutes. These are some of the best unplanned magical moments created at WDW. Keep your eyes open at the parks! You never know when you’ll run into some of your favorite characters!

  52. Most Guests tend to walk right down the center of Main Street U.S.A. upon entering Magic Kingdom. To avoid the crowds and people continuously stopping to take pictures, look to the sidewalks on the left and right. Use them to navigate your way down Main Street quicker. Shops are also open, if you enter into the Emporium (on your left as you enter into the park), walking through will lead you to Casey’s Corner right before the Hub.

  53. If you plan to watch Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios, you will enter from the top left part of the theater off of Sunset Boulevard. When exiting after the show, you can walk out the right side of theater. This usually puts you right at the entrance to the park. It helps bypass the mass crowds exiting Fantasmic and the park.

  54. If you enjoyed the Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios (permanently closed), you can now get the same experience at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station in Animal Kingdom! Each 25-minute class will offer something different, so be sure to visit often. Disney FP+ is available too!

  55. If you have the option, stay after closing in the parks. This allows you the incredible opportunity to photograph some of your favorite things with minimal crowds/people in the way. You can also shop in the stores up to one hour after park closing.

  56. Depending on the time of year, if Hollywood Studios is showing Fantasmic twice in one evening, choose to see the second show. It will be far less crowded and you’ll have better seats.  Dining packages are also offered for Fantasmic at the Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. This provides you VIP seating at the first showing (if two are offered in the evening).

  57. If you don’t want to wait long for the parade in Magic Kingdom, I suggest watching it from Frontierland or the front of the park (by the train station). These two locations usually don’t require you to show up as early to wait. The parade starts in Frontierland and ends at the front of the park.

  58. Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios lack shade, so I highly recommend avoiding visiting mid-day or when the forecast calls for rain. It’s best to visit very early in the morning or much later in the day, after the sun goes down. Coincidentally, this is usually when crowds are also lighter.

  59. Character Meet & Greets tend to have shorter wait times in Animal Kingdom than they do in Magic Kingdom. Use the My Disney Experience App to view the list of options and wait times for the current Meet & Greets at each park.

  60. Walt Disney World offers incredible tours throughout all of the parks – one of the most inexpensive ones (and very popular) is the Behind the Seeds tour in The Land Pavilion in Epcot.

  61. Consider visiting a park the morning after it had Extra Magic Hours the night before. Chances are everyone converged on the park the night before, so it will be fairly quiet the next morning – crowds should/will be lower.

  62. Scoring a very early breakfast reservation at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios will help secure a good spot in line for Jedi Training Academy registration.


DINING TIPS


  1. Hungry, but only want an appetizer or dessert at a restaurant? Don’t feel obligated to order an entire meal. You can order anything you want at a restaurant (unless it’s a buffet or fixed price meal).

  2. Adults can order from the kids menu at any Walt Disney World restaurant. It’s a great way to save money while still getting a delicious meal for smaller/moderate appetites.

  3. Looking for a quick bite to eat at Epcot? World Showcase has several excellent restaurants, but most are table service. The best counter service in Future World is Sunshine Seasons. Check it out!

  4. The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant and Lounge in Hollywood Studios serves exceptional mixed drinks and lunch/dinner. Be sure to try the infamous Cobb Salad! It makes a nice, light shareable meal if you don’t want anything too heavy.

  5. When making ADRs, select a specific time rather than a meal (eg breakfast, lunch, dinner); you’ll increase your chances of getting a reservation you want.

  6. Be advised that most of the 3rd party restaurants (like some of those at Disney Springs) may not show availability on the Disney Reservation System, but may still have availability on the Open Table App. Make sure you double check!

  7. If you plan on dining at Coral Reef in Epcot, book an early lunch or dinner and check in a bit early to request a tank view for the most spectacular view of the marine life. Your request will usually be accommodated. Depending on your reservation time, you may see divers in the tank participating in Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest or Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour.

  8. Don’t forget about the fabulous dining available at the hotels! There are many amazing restaurants and lounges to choose from! And it’s nice to get away from the parks sometimes.

  9. If you can’t get a reservation to the 50’s Primetime Café for lunch or dinner in Hollywood Studios, considering ordering at the bar at the Tune-In Lounge right next door. They offer the same dining menu at the bar, as they do in the restaurant.

  10. Booking dining is a very important part of the Walt Disney World experience. Make sure to start booking your dining 180 days in advance of your first day of your planned vacation. If you don’t get what you hoped for the first time, don’t give up hope. Be persistent. Keep checking back, people often cancel and time slots open up.

  11. Instead of standing in line for multiple hours throughout the day at the parks for Character Meet & Greets, consider making a reservation for a Character breakfast, lunch or dinner. There you will see/visit and take photos with several characters at one time! Bonus: If you book an early Character breakfast, you can enter the park early and get great photos with virtually no one around!

  12. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, know that you are entitled to a medium or large drink at any counter service. In most cases, you will automatically be given a medium drink – know that you can ask for a large if you want one.

  13. The counter service order stations at Walt Disney World are set up to take orders from both the left and right sides. So if everyone is on one side, don’t follow the crowd. Go to the other side to place your order.

  14. If you get hungry in Epcot, instead of eating at a Table Service restaurant, consider snacking at different countries around the World Showcase. This is a great way to sample different flavors from around the world!

  15. Dining while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort? Like something you ate? Ask the waiter/waitress for the recipe(s), chances are they will share it with you!

  16. Avoid dining at Character Breakfasts first thing in the morning. With parks opening even earlier these days, and Guests taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH), it may be worth reserving a later breakfast reservation (mid-morning), and instead get in line for the more popular attractions first thing in the morning. Also remember Character Breakfasts require a credit card to confirm the reservation, and will charge $10 per person if you are a no show. A later reservation allows you a more leisurely morning. 

  17. Quick Service Restaurants do not accept advanced reservations. During peak times, try to eat in the off hours to avoid longer lines. Eat a later breakfast, early lunch or early dinner. If you are paying with a credit card or debit card, take advantage of the Mobile Ordering feature on the My Disney Experience app to order your food ahead of time at participating Quick Service Restaurants.  When you arrive, go into the app and click “I’m here, prepare my food” and you’ll be notified when your food is ready. Read more on how Mobile Ordering works.

  18. If you are making dining reservations at WDW know that there are several restaurants that do not release all of their availability on the Walt Disney World dining reservation portal. Some of them (such as Rainforest Cafe and Raglan Road) can be called directly, or even found on OpenTable.com to make a reservation.  Be sure to check those sources as well.

  19. Before booking dining at Walt Disney World, I recommend reading reviews about the dining locations you are considering. Not all restaurants are equal in quality. Reviews will give you a general idea of the food quality, atmosphere, staff, etc. Keep in mind however they are only opinions, and like restaurants, not all opinions are equal in quality. Be sure to also review/compare menus from one restaurant to another – make sure the dining location has the type of food you are looking for.

  20. Tusker House is one of the most underrated character meals at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. I think it is truly a hidden gem; the food is delicious and the atmosphere and vibe is fun and playful. The characters are engaging and visit each table in an orderly manner – Tusker House is all the fun without the character chaos you may experience in other character dining locations! 🙂 You’ll get to meet Safari Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Mickey! It is a wonderful experience not to be overlooked!

  21. If you are on the fence about the Disney Dining Plan, a great alternative is the Tables in Wonderland membership, which offers a 20% discount on all food and beverage (including alcohol) at most Table Service Disney restaurants (subject to some blockout dates). Tables in Wonderland is exclusive to Annual Passholders, Florida Residents, and Disney Vacation Club members.

  22. If there are animal lovers in your family, try booking dining at Sanaa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village.  Ask for a window seat to experience watching the animals on the savanna.  Note that the menu is inspired by foods from eastern Africa, which is greatly influenced by India. If you like Indian food, you will enjoy the offerings at Sanaa. They are most well known for their bread service, which includes 5 different breads and 9 different accompaniments. Try it, it’s a hit!

  23. You don’t have to be staying at a Walt Disney World hotel to take advantage of their fabulous dining experiences. Some of the best restaurants are in Disney World hotels such as Ohana, Sanaa, Artist Point (which now offers Storybook Dining – a Snow White character dining experience), California Grill… I can go on and on! If you are not staying on property, you can park at the hotel for the time you are dining, let them know at the gate what time your reservation is and they’ll let you through. Staying on property? Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time for Disney transportation or use Lyft or Minnie Van service to get to your destination.

  24. Before leaving a Table Service restaurant, ask for a drink in a to-go cup. You can either get a refill on whatever non-alcoholic drink you were drinking or ask for something different, but either way, this will provide you with extra hydration and save you from buying another drink later in the day!

  25. Large groups may have difficulty making dining reservations for their entire party. Try making separate dining reservations and ask to be seated together when you check-in. There are no guarantees your entire group will be seated together, but Disney restaurants do their best to accommodate Guests.

  26. When visiting the France Pavilion in Epcot, be sure to stop by the bakery “Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie”. It’s a bit deceiving as when you first walk in, you may think it’s a gift shop, but in the back is a fabulous bakery selling pastries, macaroons and more! Note that the same quiche and creme brulee that are served at “Chefs de France” are also served here at a savings! And don’t pass up the Napoleon, the best selling item at the bakery! I personally LOVE the macaroons and never miss out on picking a few up when I’m visiting!

  27. When visiting Epcot, do you stay in the park to eat or do you consider other dining options on property? If you don’t mind leaving Epcot for a while, head out through the International Gateway entrance/exit located between the France and UK Pavilions, and explore Disney’s BoardWalk area. It’s about a 10-minute walk from Epcot. There are great dining options on the BoardWalk, and it’s also a nice break from the crowds. Extra tip: You also get amazing views of The Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts for stunning photo opportunities!

  28. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, know that you not only can use your dining credits at the parks and hotels, but there are also a variety of restaurants in Disney Springs that accept them as well. This opens your options up even more when vacationing at Walt Disney World. There are so many unique dining options at Disney Springs. If you cannot get a reservation using the Walt Disney World dining reservation system, try Open Table (opentable.com) for more availability options.

  29. If you are looking to maximize your time during the day and evening at the parks, consider booking any one of the many dessert parties offered at the parks. This allows you extra time in the park to finish riding the attractions before joining other Guests at the dessert party where you’ll enjoy special VIP treats, drinks and priority viewing of the nighttime show. There are additional fees, however in many cases, it is worth the extra cost for the magnificent view of the fireworks or show without having to wait a significant amount of time.

  30. Want to try the Fish & Chips in the UK in the World Showcase at Epcot? Try ordering from the Quick Service location, Yorkshire County Fish Shop! It’s located just steps away from Rose & Crown Pub and offers the same great tasting fish & chips for a savings of the cost. This is a great alternative if you have trouble getting a reservation to Rose & Crown or you simply don’t want to spend too much time sitting down at a Table Service Restaurant. Using the Quick Service also allows you more time to explore the World Showcase!

  31. This may come as a surprise to some, but kids under 3 eat FREE at Walt Disney World! Disney’s suggests that any kid under 3 can eat off of their parents plates (not literally, they can have their own physical plate!), but you get the idea. This is the case for most character dining options and buffets. Knowing this when planning your dining may impact your decisions on where you can or will eat. It also can and will even save you a lot of money in the long run!

  32. I highly recommend when planning your days for your Walt Disney World vacation, you choose at least one Table Service restaurant per day. This can be subjective because it does depend on how much or how little your family eats, however I suggest having at least one solid meal at a sit-down restaurant each day. The remainder of the day you can choose from counter service options and/or snacks. This is a great way to help manage your budget if you are not on the Disney Dining Plan.

  33. Even though Walt Disney World suggests canceling Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) 24 hours ahead of time, my recent experiences have suggested otherwise. You can now cancel dining reservations up to midnight the evening before the reservation direct on the My Disney Experience app (vs calling to cancel) and without penalty. If you know well in advance you will not be using the dining reservation, best to cancel and give someone else the opportunity to book the reservation.

  34. If you are booking restaurants that require pre-payment (Ex: Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue or Spirit of Aloha), consider doing this on the website vs the app. Chance are, if you trying to make the reservation on the app, you will be prompted to call to complete the request.

  35. Consider splitting Quick Service meals throughout the day. This way you don’t fill up too much during one meal and you can try different restaurants throughout the day. This also allows you more chances to take a break in A/C!

  36. There are quite a few Landry’s restaurants located at Walt Disney World: T-Rex Cafe, Rainforest Cafe and Yak n Yeti (to name a few). If you sign up for their club membership, you’ll receive perks such as a $25 credit during your birthday month, priority seating and 10% off merchandise. There is a one-time $25 fee to join, but you will get that back in restaurant credits, so it’s essentially free to join.

  37. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan at Walt Disney World, consider not using your dining credits on Signature Dining. It is highly unlikely that a meal at a Signature Dining location will cost twice as much as a normal Table Service location and it will cost 2 dining credits as opposed to 1.

  38. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, you can order a regular OR large drink at Counter Service restaurants. The default is regular, so you need to request a large if that is what you want.

  39. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, considering using snack credits for Starbucks drinks. Adding extra syrups and espresso shots is included and can make a snack credit worth about $8.

  40. If you are making dining reservations 180 days in advance of your vacation, be sure to make them in order of difficulty, not chronological order. You can jump around when making them, it doesn’t have to be sequential order. This may help get those hard to get reservations.


TECH TIPS

  1. Turn the flash off on your camera/phone by default since you can’t use it on most attractions or during shows at Walt Disney World. If you need it, you can turn it on manually.

  2. Use the battery saver mode on your phone to extend the battery life on your phone during the day while you are visiting the parks.

  3. If you record video, how you plan to share it may dictate how you record it for the best output. For example, if your intent is to post the video to YouTube or play it back on your tv/laptop, the best way to record is by holding your phone horizontally instead of vertically.


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