10 Things You Really Should Know About Walt Disney World

Disney Castle

With any vacation that involves some advance planning, you’re always going to come across some do’s and don’ts for the trip. A Disney vacation is no different—read on to discover ten rules you should definitely follow for a great vacation to Walt Disney World:

1) Start planning early

The earlier you have your stay booked, the earlier you can start making dining reservations, looking into which park tickets you’re going to by, and just doing some general planning. Because Disney does involve a decent amount of planning, you’ll want to start early. Even if you do not have anything set in stone for a while, doing some research here and there, and mentally planning out little things about your upcoming trip can turn out to be a big help.

2) Make advanced dining reservations

For certain Disney restaurants, the only way you are going to get a table when you want to eat is going to be with a reservation. Even if you’re not usually a huge planner, making those advanced dining reservations is a must do if you are set on eating at certain restaurants during your next trip. Don’t see reservations for the locations you want? Try changing up the time, if you can deal with an earlier or later dinner, rather than the usual rush hours, you might have better luck coming up with a table.

3) Download and use the My Disney Experience app

This app allows you to keep track of all of your reservations and Photopass pictures, make Fastpass selections, and view wait times from wherever you are in the park. The app is the easiest way to keep track of everything you’re doing throughout your trip, without ever really having to stop and figure things out.

4) See Wishes, but do not leave right after

Seeing Wishes is one of the best part of any Disney vacation. There is nothing else truly so special as standing in front of the castle with your loved ones watching the most classic fireworks show at Walt Disney World. That being said, do not leave the park in the post-Wishes rush. Even if the park closes when Wishes starts, find a bench to people watch, or take your time going through the shops on your way out, as leaving in the rush simply isn’t worth dealing with the crowd.

5) Stay at a Disney resort

Staying outside of Walt Disney World might be slightly cheaper, but staying at a Disney resort entitles you to complimentary transportation, to and from the Orlando International Airport, and anywhere you’d be going within the Walt Disney World Resort. Resort guests can also participate in Extra Magic Hours, which allows them to enjoy even more time at the theme parks.

6) Don’t pay for water bottles

At $3/bottle, it simply is not worth the money to pay for bottled water. The cost might not sound like so much here and there, but when you’re paying for four or five family members over the course of a week or so this cost can really add up. Instead of purchasing bottled water ask for a cup of water for free from any quick service restaurant in the parks.

7) Rent a stroller/wheelchair/ECV for the week, or bring your own

It’s cheaper to rent a whatever chair you need from an outside company that can deliver it to your resort and charge you a rate for the week rather than the daily in park rate. Of course the cheapest way would be to bring your own, but this can understandably be a bit more of a hassle than renting one.

8) Try new foods

One of the best things about Walt Disney World compared to other theme parks is the variety of food offered, even in quick service locations. Just because you are not sitting down and being waited on, this does not mean that your options for meals will be limited to burgers and hot dogs. Put in some time doing a little bit of research, and you’ll come to realize that Walt Disney World has a number of unique quick service options away from the standard theme park varieties.

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9) Don’t skip non-ride attractions

Too many guests come to Walt Disney World and make their whole trip about fitting in as many rides as they possibly can. Instead of making all of the rides the focus of your trip, allow yourself to take everything in—rides, shows, parades, animal viewing areas, shops, restaurants, even just the décor and atmosphere of different areas of the park.

10) Have fun!

Because Walt Disney World does require some extensive planning, it is important at the end of the day to not sweat the small stuff. Sometimes attractions will go down momentarily, it’s Florida so rain is inevitable, and things might not work out quite the way you planned. Just go with it, and have fun!

Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper

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About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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