1. Book Your FastPass Reservations Ahead of Time.
Whether you call Walt Disney World’s extraordinary customer service, or you purchase your theme park tickets through the My Disney Experience website, the next thing you should always do is book your FastPass selections for the duration of your trip. When you’re going to the parks for the first time, you want to ride as many things as possible, and thankfully, due to the My Disney Experience website, you can customize preferred times and dates for all the rides you’ll sure to be screaming your head off on!
2. Book Disney’s Magical Express
Immediately after booking your flight and hotel, book Disney’s Magical Express. This complimentary transportation takes you directly from the airport to your hotel. The 45-minute to an hour drive is spent watching old Mickey Mouse cartoons, tips on what to expect at your Walt Disney World resort, new rides, and of course, a friendly, Disney-employed bus driver who makes your travel time feel like nothing.
3. Check-in at Your Hotel Before Your Visit.
One of the many perks of utilizing the My Disney Experience website is that you can do hotel check-in before you even arrive on Walt Disney property. This allows you to start your magical vacation that much faster! I have two trips coming up in September and October and I’m already checked-in for both!
4. Link Your Credit Card to Your MagicBand.
Another perk is that you can link your credit card to your MagicBand. I love doing this because it gives me the flexibility to cutback on the baggage and fear of losing a card in the park.
5. Purchase Memory Maker
Memory Maker allows you to access unlimited photos from rides, such as Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, and allows you full access to downloadable content.
6. Stay in A Walt Disney World resort Hotel
Not only will you have complimentary transportation to all of Walt Disney World parks, but you’ll also get the added benefit of experiencing Disney’s Extra Magic Hours. These extra hours occur at a different park each night and offer an early morning or late night experience exclusive to those staying on Disney property. This allows you to experience the park before or after it closes, getting to spend extra time on your favorite rides with shortened wait times. It’s just one of the many perks staying in a Walt Disney World resort has to offer.
7. Make Dinner Reservations Ahead of Time
If you purchased both your park and hotel tickets ahead of time, you can also make dinner reservations up to 180 days in advance through the My Disney Experience app and website. While it may seem difficult to figure out where to eat so many months before your trip, booking a meal at one of the popular dining experiences like Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom or The Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios is recommended.
8. Get FastPass for Exclusive Rides
My recommendation would be to make sure you’re getting a FastPass for the extremely popular rides in each park that are going to have more than a 2 hour wait at any given time. These exclusive rides are Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, Slinky Dog Dash at the newly opened Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, and surprisingly, Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom.
9. Utilize the Daily Entertainment Schedule
Every day at each park, there is a not-so-secret schedule of when fun and exciting street shows will take place. Utilize the My Disney Experience app to find out when these performances will be taking place.
10. Purchase a Park Hopper Ticket
While it’s true that a park hopper will cost you a bit more money than an average ticket, the end result is worth it. The capability to visit the different theme parks in the same day ensures you never miss a beat in what the Disney parks have to offer.
11. Pack Snacks For Your Vacation
Before your trip, stop in at your local dollar store and buy some food that won’t melt in the Florida heat and will be able to be packed in your luggage both on the plane and in the park. Even by supplementing your own snack twice a day, helps save a ton of money especially if you’re going down as a family of four.
12. Ride Attractions During the Fireworks
You have to watch the fireworks at least once on your magical vacation, but after you do, use that time to access some of the biggest rides in the park.
13. Schedule a Day at Your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
Having a day at the resort and taking advantage of the view, pool, hot tub, restaurants, and even arcades can provide countless fun for hours for the whole family. The resorts are custom-built to inspire relaxation and tranquility for adults, while remaining fun and exciting for kids.
14. Go on a Tour (And Other Things)
Signing up for a behind-the-scenes tour or getting a massage at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a way for you to experience all the amazing perks that you ordinarily don’t realize Disney World offers.
15. Create a Souvenir Tradition
Transform an ordinary vacation by creating a souvenir tradition! Creating that tradition is a fun little way to let the world know that this place isn’t just a vacation for you – it’s home.
16. Visit Other Resorts
While there’s so much that your own Disney World Resort hotel can offer, it’s fun to visit the other hotels across Disney property, too. This allows for unique dining experiences, such as Olivia’s Cafe in Disney’s Old Key West Resort, or Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, if you’ve always dreamt of visiting turn-of-the-century Atlantic City.
17. Wear Sneakers
Even if you hate sneakers and never, never wear them, do not wear flip flops or any other uncomfortable shoe into the parks. You will regret it. Do your feet a favor and wear the right kind of shoes.You'll still look good in pictures, folks, I promise.
18. Experience All Aspects of a Land Before Moving on To The Next
While there’s nothing wrong with hitting up Space Mountain and then trekking all the way to Liberty Square to visit the Haunted Mansion, it takes up a lot of time when there’s enough entertainment in one land. Start at one side of the Magic Kingdom and experience everything before moving on.
19. Stop at Every Photo Opportunity
In Tomorrowland, there’s the now, famous Purple Wall, plus character meet-and-greets, picturesque backdrops and everything in between that will serve as great tokens to look back on. Most big backdrops have a Disney photographer there who will take a picture for you. If you purchase Memory Maker, this is just another example of how you can capture these fun-filled memories.
20. Have Fun
Be mindful to take a step back and relax and enjoy everything there is about the best theme park in the world. Don’t stress and enjoy every moment of this trip because vacation goes by in a blink of an eye.
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!