10 Disney Insider Secrets for Vacationing at Walt Disney World

Mickey Mouse at Tusker House for Lunch - Animal Kingdom
Mickey Mouse at Tusker House for Lunch - Animal Kingdom

Here are some tips and tricks from Disney insiders to ensure your Disney Vacation is a great success!

1. Magic Bands – Walt Disney was ahead of his time in many ways, including technology. The Disney Company continues to lead the way technologically, in their theme parks and resorts. Walt Disney World has recently introduced Magic Bands, which function as your ticket media, resort room key, Fastpass+ (more on that later), and credit card for purchases. Each guest wears one, with several color choices. Disney also sells optional accessories to individualize your Magic Band. If you are booked at a Disney resort hotel, you will receive your Magic Bands about one month out from your trip.v

2. Fastpass+ – Before you leave home, go to (or download the app to your device), to reserve ride and show times up to 60 days in advance, avoiding long lines.

3. Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) – It’s a good idea to reserve table-service dining before you go. The most popular restaurants fill up quickly. Call 1-407-WDW-DINE up to 180 days in advance.

4. Character dining – Characters are everywhere at Disney World. Long lines for pictures and autographs develop quickly. To avoid the hassle, consider booking a Character Meal. There are many to choose from, both at the parks and resort hotels. Enjoy a nice meal and see your favorite characters at the same time!

5. Disney transportation/Magical Express – If you are staying at a Disney hotel, consider letting Disney do the driving. Disney’s Magical Express bus service will pick you up at the Orlando Airport, and take you to your resort. While you’re there, Disney provides free transportation to their theme parks, waterparks, and entertainment venues, via buses, boats, and monorails. At the end of your trip, Magical Express will return you to the Orlando airport. It’s a stress-free way to enjoy your vacation!

6. Get a free button – Is it your birthday? Anniversary? Just married? Your first trip? Stop by Guest Services at any theme park, and pick up a free button to wear. Disney Cast Members (and even other guests) will congratulate you!

7. Extra Magic Hours – Almost every day, one or more of the theme parks opens an hour early, or stays open two hours later, for Disney resort hotel guests. This is especially helpful in the summer, when the afternoon temperatures soar.

8. Single rider lines – On some high-capacity rides, Disney needs to fill in empty spaces left over when a group doesn’t use all available seats. If your group doesn’t mind riding an attraction separately, this is a great way to save time in line.

Bonus Tip!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >

9. Package Pickup – Buying souvenirs is great fun at Disney World, for guests of all ages. Rather than toting your packages around the theme park or on attractions, have your packages send to the front of the park, for you to pick up as you end your day. Better yet, if you are a resort hotel guest, have your packages sent directly to your hotel.

10. Photopass/Memory Maker – Are you the one who gets left out of every vacation picture, because you’re behind the camera? Let Disney take your vacation photos for you! Photopass Cast Members are stationed all around the theme parks, to take professional photos of your family’s vacation. When you get home, you can access your account and add borders and icons to enhance your photos. To take maximum advantage of this, purchase Disney’s Memory Maker before you go and you’ll receive all your photos for one price, including ride photos.

Related Articles:

– What is Fastpass+?

– 5 Amazing guest services most people overlook at Disney

– Top 10 Character dining experiences at Disney World

About Jimmie Jones

Jimmie is a retired school teacher from Texas, who has been going to Disney World for 25 years. He has experience in taking large groups to Disney, in addition to taking his own children and grandchildren. Jimmie and his wife Rhonda make annual trips to Disney World, Disneyland, and sail on the Disney Cruise Line.

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