We’ve all been there; your vacation ends and you start to reflect on all of the things that you should have done differently. There is so much to do at the happiest place on earth, and it is easy to forget certain things or not take occurrences that may happen into account, so here are twelve tips to improve your next trip to Walt Disney World.
12. Give Yourself More Travel Time
One of the great advantages to staying at a Walt Disney World Resort is the complimentary bus or monorail transportation system to all four theme parks and Disney Springs. While this can be a great way to travel, it can also be time consuming. Buses visit the resorts every 15-20 minutes, which can seem frequent, but when there is a long line waiting to hop on, there can also be delays in reaching your destination. It is common to have to wait for multiple buses when there are a lot of people. Guests that are handicapped in wheel chairs or motorized scooters also require additional assistance with loading the buses, which can also delay your ride. Monorails are also often packed and have some of the same dilemmas. Giving yourself plenty of time to travel by bus or monorail is a good idea to ensure you don’t miss any reservations you may have and so that you ultimately have more time to play at the parks.
11. Purchase Tickets in Advance
Purchasing theme park tickets in advance is a great way to get your plans started. Not only can you decide how many days at the parks you want to purchase, but you can start planning how long you will be in each park (especially if you’re park hopping). There are also discounts when purchasing ahead of time online which can save you big bucks. If you are trying to pay off your vacation over a span of time, it will also help to purchase tickets in advance so that you have peace of mind that you don’t have another expense when you arrive at the parks.
10. Schedule Your Fastpasses Early
Speaking of purchasing tickets in advance, did you know that linking your tickets to your my Disney Experience account will allow you to schedule your fastpasses up to 60 days in advance? Most guests take advantage of this as soon as it becomes available to secure fastpasses for those popular attractions with long wait times. Waiting until you arrive at the parks to do this will most likely result in you not being able to select what you want because chances are, the rides with the longest wait times will have already run out of fastpasses. Being able to zip through the rides with the longer wait times will give you more time to experience other attractions and rides in the parks.
9. Pencil In Rest Days
If you came back home completely exhausted from your vacation, you may want to reconsider how much time you spend in the parks next time. Most guests are exhausted after a few continuous days in the parks. If you’re planning a vacation that will last more than 5-6 days, or you can manage it, make sure you plan some ‘rest’ time in between the park days. There are so many activities to enjoy and check out at the Walt Disney World Resorts that are just as fun as visiting the parks. You could enjoy several recreational activities, lounge by the pool, check out new restaurants, and even watch movies under the stars by the pool. Having some time to rest will give you that burst of energy you need for the rest of your park days.
8. Make Dining Reservations
If you walked over to a popular sit-down restaurant on your last visit expecting to be seated quickly (or even seated at all) you may have been disappointed to hear that reservations are completely sold out and there is no room for you and your family. We all look forward to experiencing the magic that Disney offers, but dining is another experience that is looked forward to by many guests. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in the parks and resorts, so while many may wait to see what they are in the mood for to decide where to eat, there is a high possibility of having to wait a while to be seated at the popular restaurants. With advanced dining reservations being quite popular nowadays, you will want to make sure you make a reservation for your restaurant(s) of choice ahead of time (up to 180 days prior to your arrival). This way, you can make sure you will be able to enjoy the restaurants you have in mind without being disappointed with being told they are full for the day or the wait is over an hour.
7. Snag A Show or Parade Spot
If you waited until the last minute to see a parade or show on your last trip, you’ll want to plan ahead next time. The parades and shows at Disney are exquisite and unlike any other you will ever see. Since they are worth the wait, guests often find a spot to sit in along the parade route or show area over an hour before it actually starts. If you don’t plan to grab a spot for you and your family at least an hour before the parade or show, you will most likely end up with little to no standing room to enjoy it. On your next visit, grab your spot so that you have a front row seat. While you’re waiting, enjoy a snack and take in the sights and sounds of the beautiful parks!
6. Arrive Early, Stay Late
Heading to the parks really early and staying really late has its perks. For those that want to try heading there early in the morning on your next trip, you will benefit from being able to head directly to your favorite ride or attraction with little to no wait time. You can also enjoy dining without a huge crowd. Speaking of dining, did you know that you can make a dining reservation for breakfast at the Magic Kingdom before the park opens to the general public? Doing this not only lets you enter and take care of breakfast before everyone runs into the park, but you will also get some fantastic picture opportunities in front of the castle without other people in your picture! Speaking of the Magic Kingdom, there is an adorable welcome ceremony with Mickey and all of his friends to welcome guests into the Magic Kingdom. This is a must for Disney fans to do at least once! Staying late also has its perks! Not only can you take great pictures around the parks without crowds in the way, you can also experience The Kiss Goodnight at the Magic Kingdom. Each evening, the Magic Kingdom wishes everyone goodnight with a beautiful sparkling castle display and a two minute audio recording reminding everyone that dreams do come true. This small ‘ceremony’ is known to bring tears to the eyes of many guests because of how beautiful it is.
5. Plan Ahead With Weather
There are a few things everyone should prepare for before heading to the happiest place on earth, but the most important is probably the weather. Florida’s weather is extremely unpredictable, so it is important to check the weather prior to leaving so that you can prepare to wear the appropriate clothing. Don’t ever assume that you know what the weather will be like either. One year, I headed over to Orlando with my bathing suits, tanks, and shorts (for spring break) and immediately headed to the store for jeans and sweaters because it was 45 degrees. I couldn’t believe it was so cold during spring break! You may have realized on your last trip that you should have brought cooler clothes because of the heat, or maybe you underestimated the cool weather like I did, and should have packed more sweaters. Remember to check the weather before you pack!
4. Bring Extra Cash
There are always going to be moments where you just want to buy an ice cream or bottle of soda or a souvenir from a kiosk. When purchasing these items, for example, it is always a great idea to carry cash. Charging everything on a card can be a pain when balancing it later, so having petty cash for the small stuff is helpful to keep track of how much you are spending. If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can enjoy the luxury of being able to pay for almost everything with your MagicBand. Keep in mind that if you are doing this, there are some places that will not accept payment in this form. For example, there are a few kiosks in the parks that sell unique souvenirs (personalized umbrellas, silhouettes, etc.) that do not accept a MagicBand as a form of payment. In these instances, it’s best to carry cash.
3. Purchase Memory Maker
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and lets be honest, guests take hundreds if not thousands of them when they visit Walt Disney World. The memories created through everyone’s pictures at the parks are very meaningful, so naturally, we all want them to look great. Memory Maker is a fantastic investment to having all of the pictures you want of your family for one price. They are taken with high quality cameras and will provide ways to add magic, borders and stickers to your pictures. This can be purchased at the parks but by the time you realize it’s available, you may have missed a few days of your trip, and you will also be paying more for this feature. Purchasing this in advance will not only ensure that you will get all of your pictures from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave, but it will also allow you to save up to $20.
2. Carry A Water Bottle
We all know that Florida weather requires us to stay hydrated due to the harsh heat. Water bottles are about $2.50 each, so having to buy these constantly for your family can be very expensive. Consider bringing in your own water bottles that you may have purchased in bulk from a local grocery or convenience store, or refill them at the water fountains around the park. If you aren’t fond of the taste of Florida tap water, feel free to ask for a cup of water at a quick service restaurant. The water at these locations is free and filtered, which is great to fill up your water bottle with or to sip on while you enjoy the park.
1. Stop and Smell The Roses
Sometimes with all of the hustle and bustle of a Disney vacation, you may regret not being able to stop and smell the roses. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to enjoy some of the small stuff that the parks and resorts have to offer. For example, the Magic Kingdom recently had a renovation in the hub area where beautiful areas of grass were installed. This is a great place to sit and lounge in throughout the day and just enjoy the park in a different way. This is just one example, but next time, be sure to take it easy some days to really soak up all of that Disney magic!
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