Top 50 Tips For Magical Walt Disney World Trips

Headed to Disney World soon? That’s enough reason to do a happy dance! For anyone that’s spent any amount of time on our blog – they know that we, much like Letterman, love lists. We also love to write reviews, help people come up with strategies for different days at different parks, and cover all kinds of information. Today, though – we wanted to write a more general list. A ‘catch all’ kind of list, full of random, but useful, Disney World tips, that will be helpful for anyone, no matter how many times you’ve gone to the parks. We hope there’s something on this list for everyone – whether it’s your first time going to WDW, or you’re thinking of signing a 12 month lease with the Mouse himself.
1. Don’t pay for water bottles in the parks. Counter Service restaurants, and some kiosks will give you cups of ice water for free!
2. Is the street super crowded on Main Street after a parade or fireworks? Cut through the Emporium instead!
3. You can stay in the park after it closes. The published closing time is when you can’t go on rides anymore/stores and restaurants will be closed. After the park closes is some of our favorite hours to enjoy a peaceful walk around World Showcase, or sit on the hubgrass when it’s not crowded in the Magic Kingdom!
4. BOOK YOUR DINING RESERVATIONS EARLY. Eating is important (especially if you’re us), and things really do fill up fast.

5. Try to get seated in the center of the front row for Soarin. When you get to the front of the line, request these seats from a Cast Member. You will probably have to wait an extra showing before being seated, but it’s worth it.
6. Watching Illuminations? Watch it from the balcony of the gift shop in the Japan Pavilion for an incredible view.
7. Consider using the single rider line if it’s available. If your family doesn’t mind not riding together, it’ll save you valuable time. We always prefer NOT spending our vacation waiting in line.
8. Want to use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? YOU SHOULD! We recommend Small World Vacations for help making your vacation memorable, magical, and stress free!

9. Don’t forget to pick up a free button at City Hall in the Magic Kingdom – they have them for almost every occasion. YOU GET A BUTTON! YOU GET A BUTTON! EVERYBODY GETS BUTTONS!
10. Get to the parks 20 minutes before they open. We say this ALL THE TIME, and that’s because it’s important.
11. Try to nap in the middle of the afternoon – you’ll be able to stay out later, and you won’t have to deal with the worst of the crowds or heat.
12. One of the best ways to save money on your vacation is by renting Disney Vacation Club Points to book your say. We recommend DVC Rental Store.
13. Don’t miss The Kiss Goodnight. It happens approximately 30 minutes after The Magic Kingdom closes, and it’s super magical. You can read about it here.
14. Deluxe Resort Hopping is a great pastime amongst Disney fans, and during the Holidays, they’re decorated to the nines. If you have tickets to a Very Merry Party, you can easily take a day off your tickets, and spend the morning of the party touring the resorts.

15. If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club, buy on resale for the best deal. We recommend Disney Resale Market.
16. Don’t go to Disney World, especially on your first trip, without a plan! We have itineraries for the parks that will help you plan your time.
17. Take advantage of the free wi-fi that’s available in the parks. Your data plan will thank you, since there’s so many moments you’ll want to Instagram.

18. Take advantage of FastPass+. Book them well, book them early. Unless waiting in line is your idea of a super fun time.
19. A Monorail Crawl is a great alternative to ‘Drinking Around The World’, if you don’t have a park ticket.
20. Peco’s Bills has a topping bar (UNLIMITED GUACAMOLE, PEOPLE!!), that make it easy to share one meal between two people.
21. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has a Savannah with over 100 animals doing their best Lion King impersonation. One of our favorite date nights is dinner at one of the amazing restaurants on property, followed by a walk down to the observation points on the Savannah.
22. You can still get in line for an attraction right up until the very last minute before the park closes. This is a great way to ride attractions that have long lines, like Frozen Ever After – just make sure you’re in line before the park closes! You don’t have to be on the ride, just in the line!

23. With the dining plan, you can get either a large or a medium drink at a counter service restaurant. They will automatically give you a medium – but this is America, and BIGGER IS ALWAYS BETTER. Make sure to ask for the large.
24. We never eat breakfast in the parks, as it’s the one meal we don’t like at Disney. Breakfast in the parks is usually sugary, overpriced, and low on nutritional value. We pack a box of protein bars in our suitcase, and eat those instead.
25, You’re in Florida and it WILL rain at some point on your trip. I don’t think we’ve ever been on a Disney trip that it hasn’t rained. We always throw either ponchos, or mini-umbrellas in our daypack, so that we’re prepared for sudden storms.
26. The coffee at Disney is Joffrey’s, which loosely translated, means dirt water. We usually bring Starbucks VIAS with us, head to the Kona Cafe for a French Press, or stop at any of the Starbucks at the four parks!
27. Trader Sam’s is one of the coolest bars at Disney World (and quite possible anywhere). It’s at The Polynesian Village Resort, and themed after the Jungle Cruise.

28. Ask for refills and ketchup at The Whispering Canyon Cafe (or if you’re really brave, wear a Universal Studios shirt!).
29. If you’re paying out of pocket for your meals, consider making your table service reservations for lunch time. A lot of times you’ll pay cheaper prices for the same ambiance and food.
30. Consider booking a breakfast reservation at The Magic Kingdom before the park opens. This is a great way to feel like you have the park to yourself (even if it’s just for a little while).
31. We think that the first two weeks of December are the best time of year to go.

32. Disney Springs (unlike its predecessor, Downtown Disney), is truly worth your time. We recommend spending half a day here, or at least several dining reservations.
33. Don’t try to exit the park right after Wishes. It’s a mad-house. You’re better off waiting in the park for a half hour, then exiting and not having to wait in a long line for a monorail/bus.
34. Disney PhotoPass Photographers are more than willing to take photos of your family using your own camera.
35. There’s a phone charging station where the Tangled bathrooms are in Fantasyland.

36. If you love a dish at a restaurant, you can request the recipe. Many times, they’ll bring you a card with the recipe on it.
37. We always bring a swimsuit, even when we’re going in the winter. Florida’s weather is weird, and there’s been many trips that we’ve swum at Christmas.
38. The Electric Water Pageant is a nightly parade on the Seven Seas Lagoon – and it’s free to watch! It starts at approximately 9 pm, and we love to watch it from the beach at The Polynesian.
39. There’s several places you can meet Mickey Mouse, but the best way is by meeting him right off Main Street, at Town Square Theatre. This is a special experience, because this Mickey Mouse talks, and can have a full conversation with you. It’s one of our favorite Disney experiences.

40. Right now, the longest lines in the parks, are for Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Toy Story Mania. If these are on your ‘must ride list’ – get to the park BEFORE it opens, and head straight there – or get a FastPass!
41. There’s lots of great treats at Disney World – but you HAVE to try a Dole Whip. There’s a reason that people put them on t-shirts, fridge magnets, and bumper stickers.
42. Check park hours before you go so you can plan your time accordingly!
43. Disney Hotels will store your luggage on your arrival day, if you get there before check-in, or your departure day, if you want to hit the parks before your flight!

44. You walk a LOT at a Disney Park (over ten miles a day!), and wearing comfortable shoes will save you a lot of pain. We normally take several pairs that are well broken in, and alternate them throughout our trip.
45. Budget for souvenirs. Even if you don’t think you’re going to want to buy any on your trip, most people are powerless before a Disney Gift Shop. We recommend budgeting $50 per person in your party on your trip.
46. If the line for the Monorail is long, take the Resort Monorail line instead. It will still get you to the Transportation and Ticket Center, or The Magic Kingdom (whichever is your final destination), but a lot of times the lines are much shorter.

47. Order the A La Carte Corn Dog Nuggets at Casey’s Corner instead of any of the hot dogs. It’s a filling, inexpensive meal, and it has a cult following (including us!).
48. Try to watch Wishes from Main Street U.S.A. – there’s plenty of places to watch the show, but the best view is with the Castle, and Main Street in your site, for the most magical viewing experience.
49. The most convenient hotels to the parks are the deluxe resorts on the monorail loops, or the deluxe resorts by Epcot. The Epcot resorts are within walking distance to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which is convenient for large parties, or families with small children. We love staying in the Epcot Resort Hotels and the Monorail Hotels, because of how easy it is to get to the parks.
50. Cast Members are some of the most resourceful, kind people you will ever meet. They aren’t magicians though, and can’t control the weather, or rides breaking down. Your best bet is to treat them with kindness, respect, and to go out of your way to be super duper nice to them.

We love Disney World (obviously!), and we hope that our hodge-podge of random tips, helps your trip go more smoothly, and helps you enjoy a more magical time.