Frequent visitors may be familiar with most of these, but they were all unknown to me before I really started doing my Disney research. Ranging from convenient to insanely cool, hopefully you find one of these 11 tidbits helpful! Did you know that you can…
11. Bring your own food
Yup, Disney allows you to pack your own snacks- even a full meal. Keep in mind that toting around lunch for your entire family might not outweigh the benefits of eating in the park. I think it’s hugely convenient (and money-saving) to be able to bring my own water bottle and snacks, though!
10. Get free water
… and not just from a fountain. You can request a free cup of ice water from any counter service restaurant, and they will provide it to you!
9. Have a cocktail
Some people think that Disney does not serve alcohol, but that isn’t the case. The Magic Kingdom is the last of the parks to do it, but it has begun serving French wines and beer at dinner at Be Our Guest restaurant. It’s a controversial topic for some, who think it doesn’t belong in the parks. Others really enjoy it, especially when strolling Epcot’s World Showcase.
8. Get your haircut
Did you know that the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street does both child and adult haircuts? Check out their “My First Haircut Package” for your little one. I actually think I’ll let my hair grown out before my next trip for this one!
7. Use more than 3 FastPasses in a day
Does anyone remember the days of running back and forth across the park and pulling a paper FastPass every 2 hours? You can’t do that anymore, but now you can get more than 3 in a day. You probably already know that you can schedule 3 FastPasses per day in advance or in the park, but did you know that you can now reserve a 4th (and even more) after you use your 3rd FastPass for the day? You can’t do it from MyDisneyExperience at this point- only from a kiosk in the park.
6. See the utilidors
The tunnels under the Magic Kingdom aren’t for public viewing, unless you take one of the behind the scenes tours. The Keys to the Kingdom Tour will bring you into the utilidors, so if you want to see these underground pathways where the Cast Members have breaks, travel, and get in costume, take the tour!
5. Explore the greenhouses at The Land pavilion
I always love riding “Living with the Land” because I really enjoy seeing Disney’s awesome greenhouses. For under $20, you can sign up for the 1-hour “Behind the Seeds” tour and walk through them with a guide! They’ll even let you sample some veggies that are grown there.
4. Have a special night out with your spouse, even if you didn’t bring a babysitter
You have two childcare options at Disney. In-room babysitting services are provided through an independent agency. You can also opt to leave your child at an activity center where he or she will enjoy movies, activities, games, and even a meal! The kids clubs are located at Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht & Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin.
3. Celebrate a special occasion with a free button
Is it your anniversary? Did your birthday just pass? Is it your first trip? Did you just celebrate a major milestone (new job, graduation, or even a huge weight loss or physical accomplishment)? Stop by City Hall in the Magic Kingdom or Guest Services at the other parks and tell them what you are celebrating! They’ll give you a big badge to wear that says “I’m celebrating!” And yes, it’s perfectly fine to get a birthday button even if it’s not your exact birth date. They don’t check IDs. They’re just happy you are celebrating at Disney! You’ll enjoy lots of well-wishes from Cast Members throughout the day when you wear your button.
2. Ride a thrill ride, even if your child is too small or uninterested
Do you and your wife LOVE Space Mountain, but you have a young child with you? I don’t necessarily recommend making a disinterested (or height-ineligible) child wait in a hugely long line so you can ride something. However, you can use the “Rider Switch” option if you’d like to experience the attraction and a child in your party doesn’t want to. First, make sure the attraction offers rider switch. Then, wait in line. The second adult and the child will get a rider switch pass. You can ride the attraction, and then your wife can ride while you wait with the child (without waiting in line again). If you have two kids with you, you and your wife can even bring the same child on the ride twice while the other waits with the non-rider.
1. Have souvenirs sent back to your hotel for free
If you buy a souvenir that is breakable, large, or just plain inconvenient to carry, you may want to consider having it sent back to your hotel. It’s nice to be able to explore the park without carrying shopping bags. As long as you aren’t leaving the next day, this is a great option. Keep in mind that if you make a purchase late in the day, it may take 2 days to get to your hotel. Be sure to tell the Cast Member at the retail location your departure date to ensure that your packages arrive in time.
Have you taken advantage of any of these 12 experiences? While I’m not interesting in driving a racecar, I’m definitely looking forward to getting a haircut the next time I’m in Disney!