Whenever you plan a visit to Walt Disney World, it is always important to know all the tips and tricks before you go. Each time you visit, you’ll learn more about what to do and what not to do for next time. Here are 15 helpful tips that you should know for your next trip to the most magical place on Earth.
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes!
This is one of the most important tips that I can give you- wear comfortable shoes when visiting the parks. Many people will choose style over comfort and their feet will definitely be feeling it by the end of the night. What many people don’t realize is that you will be doing a lot of walking around each park. There have been days where I walked over 20,000 steps- that’s about 9 miles! Also, be sure to wear your shoes around your house and/or neighborhood to make sure that you will be comfortable walking long distances in them before you go on your Walt Disney World vacation.
2. Schedule a Pool Day
There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that you will want to go every single day of your vacation. Going every single day to the parks can burn you out quickly-especially with all the walking and the humidity. A really good plan is to schedule a rest day (or two) in between visiting the parks. Whether you want to sleep in and have a relaxing day at the pool at your hotel or maybe even have a spa day, it will really help reenergize you for your vacation. Disney resorts have some of the best pools too! If you want to see Walt Disney World Resort’s best pool, check out Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach & Yacht Club Resorts.
3. Rope Drop the Parks
If you can wake up early enough, I highly advise you to rope drop the parks. The term “rope drop” refers to getting to the parks before they open to see the literal rope drop to let guests in. Rope dropping the parks is crucial, especially now, because it is a good way to ensure getting on your favorite ride with little to no wait time. If you rope drop Magic Kingdom, head right over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you rope drop Epcot, head right over to Frozen Ever After. If you rope drop Animal Kingdom, head over to either Kilimanjaro Safaris (because the animals are very active in the morning) and Avatar Flight of Passage. If you rope drop Hollywood Studios, head right over to Rise of the Resistance or Slinky Dog Dash.
4. Pack Extra Clothes
Sometimes we don’t account for unpredictable weather or even getting soaked on a ride. It is always a good idea to bring a change of clothes- whether it be a light jacket in case it gets cool at night or just an extra pair of shorts in case you get drenched on a ride or a passing rainstorm. It is also a good idea to buy a poncho from your local dollar store, Target, etc. because they are pretty pricey at the parks. Another helpful tip is to pack a hat or an extra pair of sunglasses in case you lose them on a ride. According to Disney, over 210 pairs of sunglasses are turned into Magic Kingdom’s Lost & Found every day!
5. Bring Bottled Water
Bringing your own (closed) bottles of water into the park is a great money saving tip. Bottled water in Disney World costs $3.50 and for that price, you could buy a whole case of water at your local supermarket! I cannot stress the importance of staying hydrated enough while outside on a hot Florida day, walking around the parks. Bringing in a few bottles from home can help save you enough money to buy yourself a nice souvenir!
6. Make Advanced Dining Reservations
Walt Disney World has many amazing restaurants that tend to quickly fill up making it nearly impossible to snag a last-minute reservation. With very popular restaurants like Space 220, ‘Ohana, and Cinderella’s Royal Table, advanced dining reservations are a must if you want to be able to dine there. Simply go to your My Disney Experience App and select “Make a Dining Reservation” and select the date and time of your choice. As of right now, dining reservations may be made 60 days in advance. You can also go to Disneyworld.com/dine to make reservations. *Cinderella’s Royal Table requires you to pay in full at the time of booking the reservation.
7. Mobile Ordering!
Have you ever been craving a Dole Whip but as soon as you got to Aloha Isle, the line was really long, and you didn’t want to wait? What if I told you there’s a way to skip the long lines and choose when you can pick up your food? You can mobile order food from many locations across Walt Disney World (parks and resorts) and skip the long lines! Again, you will have to use the My Disney Experience App and select “Order Food”. From there, a list of dining locations and times will pop up and you can choose the food you want and when you want to pick it up. It is a super convenient and easy option, and it is so much better than waiting in those really long lines! The app will alert you when your order is ready and all you have to do, is go up to one of the Mobile Order Pick Up windows, show your receipt and you are good to go!
8. Rider Swap
Are you traveling in a party with small children and one of them is tall enough to go on the ride and the other one isn’t? With Rider Swap, one parent can take the child who is tall enough, to ride the attraction and then swap with the other parent after the ride is over so that they can enjoy the ride with the child as well. It is a great way to ensure both parents can ride with their child without waiting in line twice! When you are getting in line for a ride, let a Cast Member know that you want to use Rider Swap and they will help you with everything you need to do.
9. Know Where to Sit on Rides
Knowing where to sit on your favorite Walt Disney World rides can give you a whole different ride experience! For example, sitting in the front row of Splash Mountain will get you drenched but sitting in the back will keep you mostly dry. Sitting in the back row of Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Slinky Dog Dash will give you a more intense ride experience. Most people think that sitting in the front row on a roller coaster will give you a more intense experience, but it is not the case with these rides. For Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, sitting in the front of the safari vehicle will make for a less bumpy ride. Also, on Kilimanjaro Safaris, if you want a better view of more animals, sit on the left side of the vehicle.
10. Don’t Expect to See it All in One Trip
Walt Disney World is huge- 27,000 acres to be exact! The four theme parks alone cover 950 acres! With so many things to see and do throughout all of Walt Disney World, it is impossible to do everything in one trip. Magic Kingdom alone has over 40 rides and attractions to do! There is always something new to discover every time you go there. Walt Disney World is constantly changing and updating so it is likely that what you may have seen in one trip may be different the next time you go. There are more rides coming soon too- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and TRON: Lightcycle Run to name a few! There are also lots of rides that recently opened like Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Be realistic and don’t set high expectations of getting to ride every ride when you are making your Disney World plans because it cannot be done in just one trip.
11. Make a Park Reservation
After the global pandemic in 2020, Disney World implemented a park reservation system in order to keep the crowd levels lower and make it easier to practice safe social distancing. Certain days, Disney allows the park capacity to be high, so it is much easier to get a reservation at your favorite park. The weekends, holidays and school breaks will often be more crowded and have a higher park capacity but it also means that it is more likely to sell out for the day-so an advanced park reservation will definitely help. Weekdays are the best times to go due to the lower crowds and you have a better chance of getting a reservation at the park of your choice. Disney also recently brought back Park Hopping so now guests are able to choose a park to start their day at and then “hop” to another park of their choice at 2:00pm.
12. Utilize Free Transportation
Many guests come to Walt Disney World and don’t realize that free transportation between parks and resorts is provided! Rather than pay for transportation between parks, hop on the monorail, a ferry boat, the skyliner or even one of the Disney buses to get from point A to point B. Maybe you drove to Magic Kingdom and wanted to go to Epcot for a few hours to eat and then return to Magic Kingdom for the nighttime fireworks- just hop on the monorail and transfer at the Ticket and Transportation Center rather than drive back and forth between the parks a bunch of times.
13. Don’t Always Trust the Wait Times
I visit the parks a lot and every so often I do little experiments to see if the posted wait time matches up with the actual time that I stood waiting in line. More often than not, the posted wait times are actually longer than the time you will actually spend waiting in line. Sometimes, the wait times are spot on and very rarely are the wait times longer than posted. If you walk past your favorite ride and are discouraged by the long wait time, just get in line and you will most likely be pleasantly surprised. For example, the other day I wanted to ride Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom and it had a posted wait time of 60 minutes. I didn’t see the line going out the door like it usually would for a 60-minute wait, so I decided to get in line and wait. I walked halfway through the queue before I saw any people and I only ended up waiting 14 minutes from the time I walked through the door of the building until the time I was seated on the ride. That’s a huge difference!
14. Baby Care Centers
Baby Care Centers are just simply amazing! For the parents that just want to have a nice break with their child in the air conditioning, the parents who need sunscreen, diapers or any other baby necessity, a mother that needs to breastfeed or warm up a bottle, or the parents that need to change their baby’s diaper, the Baby Care Center is the perfect place. There are Baby Care Centers at all four Disney World parks. At Magic Kingdom, the Baby Care Center is in Tomorrowland next to the Carousel of Progress. At Epcot, the Baby Care Center is in The Epcot Experience Building on the way to World Showcase (right near the Mexico Pavilion). At Hollywood Studios, the Baby Care Center is located right after you enter the park (as soon as you walk in, it’s on the left). At Animal Kingdom, the Baby Care Center is in Discovery Island behind the Creature Comforts building and next to the Disney Vacation Club kiosk. All the Baby Care Centers are very clean and have very friendly Cast Members there to help you!
15. Go on Rides During Parades/Fireworks
Many people visiting the parks love to gather around to watch the parades and the fireworks which means that the lines for your favorite rides are shorter! One of the best chances you have of waiting in a shorter line for your favorite rides is during a parade or the fireworks. People who don’t mind missing one of the very many parades or one of the nighttime fireworks shows should utilize this time to go on one of the popular rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Slinky Dog Dash, Rise of the Resistance, Frozen Ever After, etc. There are no fireworks at Animal Kingdom due to it being too loud and scary for the animals. In order to take advantage of the shorter wait times for the popular rides at Animal Kingdom, either go to the parks at rope drop or ride them right before the park closes.
Now you know some of the best tips and secrets to make the most of your Walt Disney World trip. Hopefully you can use these tips and tricks to have a more enjoyable trip. Remember, every trip you will learn something new that will help you for the next time you go. Be sure to read this and share it with your Disney-loving family and friends!The Orlando Real on