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Images Credit: Disney / Clipart

Disney Hacks We’re Not Supposed to Know

If you’re looking for the best ways to experience Walt Disney World Resort, chances are you’ve done your research. You’ve read the blogs, studied Disney’s website, and talked with Disney-loving friends and family for advice. But, there are a few Walt Disney World hacks we feel like we’re not supposed to know… but are sharing them with you anyway!

Resort Monorail

It’s been a long day at Magic Kingdom Park. The fireworks are done, and there is a mass exodus to catch the Monorail or Ferry back to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), where your car is parked. The lines during Park closing are typically extremely long… so what do you do?

Monorail
Credit: Disney Photo Snapper

Well, we surely never stand in the TTC Monorail line! What many Guests don’t know is that there is also a Resort Monorail line. While this is not an express Monorail, it still goes to the TTC.

Jump on the Resort Monorail. Ride it to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Stay on the Monorail as Guests exit. Then, your next stop is the TTC. This hack definitely beats waiting in the lengthy TTC Monorail line.

7:12 a.m.

7:00 a.m. is an important time for Disney Guests to know. This is when Disney Resort Hotel Guests can purchase individual Lightning Lane reservations at the Disney Parks. This is also when any Guests with a valid Park ticket and Park pass reservation can first attempt to snag a Virtual Queue for EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

So, why worry about 7:12 a.m.? This is the purchase timeout for Guests that have received a Virtual Queue error or made the decision not to purchase an individual Lightning Lane reservation.

If you cannot snag a Guardians’ Virtual Queue or purchase a Lightning Lane pass at 7:00 a.m. before they are all taken, try your luck again at 7:12 a.m.!

Canceling Dining Reservations

Have you ever had a last-minute change in plans while in the Disney Parks or at the Resort and really needed to cancel your day-of dining reservation? If you’ve ever tried to do so in your My Disney Experience App, you likely found out quickly that cancellations are only allowed 24 hours in advance.

Coral Reef Restaurant
Coral Reef (Credit: Disney)

Now, you could call and wait on Disney’s Guest Services line for a Cast Member to help with the cancellation, but this takes time. Instead, the My Disney Experience allows Guests to “Modify” the reservation.

Simply take your reservation and modify it for a future day. Then, once your modification is complete, simply cancel the dining reservation with no issues right in your app because it’s no longer a day-of reservation.

Empty Park After Hours

Get ready to feel like a true VIP! Want to experience a Disney Park nearly empty… of course, right?! Well, we often use a dining trick that gives us the VIP feel of leaving the Park after most Guests are also gone for the day.

Oga's Cantina
Oga’s Cantina (Credit: Disney Fanatic)

Simply check the My Disney Experience App 60-days in advance of your arrival. Look to see when the Disney Park is closing. Disney regularly offers dining reservations at the same time the Park is closing. This means, as Guests are flooding to the exits, you are just beginning your meal.

When you exit the restaurant an hour later, you’ll be left with a nearly empty Disney Park for fantastic photo ops as you stroll towards the Park exit.

Skipping the TTC

The Magic Kingdom parking lot, known as the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), is located over a mile from the Park’s entrance. Guests park their car and take a tram to either the Monorail or Ferry to cruise over to Magic Kingdom.

Transportation-ticket-center
Credit: World of Disney

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The process can be lengthy, and we prefer to skip the security lines and the numerous transportation elements if at all possible. So, instead, we head out early for breakfast on Disney property!

Make a breakfast reservation at one of Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s table-service restaurants, such as Steakhouse 71. Be sure the reservation is well before Magic Kingdom’s rope drop. Enjoy your breakfast. Leave your car in the Contemporary parking lot and simply walk the short distance to the Magic Kingdom entrance.

Not only does this Disney World hotel walking path have its own short-line security, but at the end of the Park day, this is a great way to avoid all the TTC traffic. Take note, however, that there are times Disney’s Contemporary Resort parking guards will issue limited parking vouchers, but this has never happened to us during our visits.

Unlimited Alcohol at Magic Kingdom

Gone are the days of Magic Kingdom being a dry Park. While alcohol is not served at quick-service restaurants or at kiosks throughout the Park as you’d find at EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it is available when dining at a table-service restaurant in Magic Kingdom.

magic-kingdom-fireworks-dessert-party
Credit: Disney

What many don’t know is that you can actually enjoy unlimited alcohol at Magic Kingdom if you purchase and take part in the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party. Not only is alcohol unlimited during this time to enjoy sweets and beverages, but Guests also get VIP fireworks viewing.

Celebration Button

This hack is a super easy one but often gets forgotten! Disney offers complimentary Celebration buttons. While visiting Walt Disney World’s Parks and Resorts, wear one. It doesn’t matter if you’re celebrating a birthday, a family success, or a personal accomplishment… just wear one.

Cast Member Buttons
Credit: DisneyFanatic

Why? Well, you’ll find Cast Members are quick to notice and share congrats, and from time to time, you may even land a complimentary dessert or two during your Disney vacation.

Upstairs Seating

This is another simple one that tends to be easily overlooked. When in the middle of crowds, it’s tempting to go with the flow and follow what others are doing. But, when dining at Disney’s quick-service locations… think outside the box!

columbia harbour house
Columbia Harbour House (Credit: Disney)

Does the quick-service restaurant have an upstairs? Places like Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, Columbia Harbour House, and Pinocchio Village Haus at Magic Kingdom Park all have upstairs seating that is often overlooked and free from crowds.

Landry’s Priority Seating

Don’t have a table-service restaurant while visiting Disney Springs or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park? Become a Landry’s Member! T-REX and Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs, along with Rainforest Cafe and Yak and Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, are all owned by Landry’s.

t-rex-restaurant
T-REX Restaurant (Credit: Disney)

Part of the membership perk is priority seating. No reservation at these locations? Simply walk up to the Cast Member at the host/hostess stand and show them your Landry’s membership card. You’ll be granted priority seating just like that.

There you have it… a little hidden magic! We’ve shared a few of our favorite Walt Disney World vacation hacks that we hope help on your next theme park visit to the “most magical place on earth.” Happy planning, Disney fans!

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, and weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.