If we can say so without sounding arrogant, we consider ourselves quite the Disney World experts. As such, we’ve come across numerous tips and tricks over the years that can help you up your WDW game in big way. Here are just a few.
7. Pick Your Tickets Up at Disney Springs
If your tickets are already purchased and you’re intending to pick them up when you arrive at WDW, you should try visiting Guest Relations in Disney Springs to collect them rather than waiting in line at a Transportation and Ticket Center window or at one of the parks. Doing this the night before your first park day is a big timesaver.
6. Buy a “Tables in Wonderland” Card
The “Tables in Wonderland” membership is one of those things that doesn’t seem to get brought up nearly as often as the Disney Dining Plan does. Which is strange, because it can be a pretty good value if you play your cards right. Open only to Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and Disney Vacation Club members, each “Tables in Wonderland” card allows up to ten guests to get 20% discounts on all food and beverages (including alcohol!) at participating restaurants throughout WDW, along with some other benefits. If your annual food budget at WDW is high enough—namely, if you eat primarily at their table-service restaurants—you’ll find that this program can pay for itself after a while. The card costs $175 for Florida residents and $150 for Annual Passholders and DVC members. Is it worth it? You’ll have to do the math on your own budget to know for sure.
5. Early Breakfast in Magic Kingdom
One of our favorite things to do is reserve an 8am slot for Crystal Palace’s character breakfast buffet. Since the park often opens at 9am, you will get into Magic Kingdom before most people even show up at the gates. It should be noted that the point of this isn’t necessarily to beat the crowds—by the time you finish eating, people will already be making their mad dashes to favorite attractions around the park. However, it does give you the chance to see the place while it’s still pretty much empty, and get some awesome photos along the way.
4. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
Speaking of free experiences outside the parks, a hidden gem worth checking out—and one of the best family activities around—is Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long at the Fort Wilderness Campground. Take the boat over there from Magic Kingdom, and once ashore, make your way to the bus pickup area to be taken to the Meadow Trading Post stop (we recommend riding the “Orange” line). A short walk later, you’ll find yourself at an outdoor theater with two open fire pits where you can roast marshmallows (they sell s’mores kits if you’re so inclined) and hot dogs while a cowboy takes to the stage to lead everyone in song and dance. (Don’t worry introverts, nothing is mandatory). After a while, your favorite chipmunks Chip and Dale come out and make their way through the audience to sign autographs and take pictures. After the show, you’ll be treated to a classic Disney movie under the stars, which changes from night to night.
3. Animal Kingdom’s “Secret” Entrance
Ever notice how long the wait to get into Animal Kingdom can become at times? You don’t necessarily have to wait in those lines. As you approach the entrance, take a detour to the left instead, through the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. Exit the gift shop on the other side, and you’ll find a secret entrance to the park right there in the courtyard. If you do this at rope drop in the morning, it might just help you beat the rush to your first ride of the day.
2. Great (and Sometimes Free) Experiences Outside the Parks
Who says you have to go into the Disney World parks to experience the magic? There’s plenty of fun things to do outside of the four parks, if you’re willing to look for it. For example, you can do a little “resort hopping” by riding the resort monorail around the Seven Seas Lagoon and making stops at each resort—the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary—along the way. This is especially fun to do during the holidays when they’re all decked out in yuletide decor. You can also hop over to Disney Springs and simply enjoy the ambiance as you walk around looking at all the shops.
1. Take the Resort Monorail
Magic Kingdom’s main monorail gets crazy busy towards the end of the night when everyone is leaving. Head over to the resort monorail instead. The line is always shorter and still stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The only caveat is that the monorail seems to appear less often and you do have to account for the added resort stops. But hey, that’s just more air conditioning you get to sit in! There are way more tips we could include on this list, but we’d better stop now so we don’t take up your entire day.
Have fun making good use of this information!