As a vacation planner it’s my job to do everything I can to make sure your trip to Walt Disney World is everything you hoped it would be. While some things I can’t control, like weather and crowds, there are some tips and tricks that will help to make every vacation more enjoyable. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times so chances are I’ve been there done that with just about everything. When you book your trip with me I’ll be sending you a Fairy Godmother Folder before you leave that’s full of these words of wisdom but I’m here to share just a few of these nuggets with you.
Make sure you grab a Times Guide when you enter each park. Shows and special events change daily so pick up a new one each day. This will also list character meet and greets.
When an attraction has two queues always pick the one on the left (people naturally move to the right).
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Florida sun is strong – even in the cooler months. Bring some sunscreen from home to avoid the premium price charged on property.
Purchase glow sticks from your local dollar store before you leave home. Kids love wearing them during the fireworks and night time shows.
Resorts provide beach and pool towels so no need to bring your own.
If you plan on getting character autographs pick up an autograph book and pen at your resort gift shop before arriving at the parks. Many times there are characters at park entrances and you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you don’t yet have your autograph book. Also, purchase a fatter pen for the signings – it’s easier for those big mouse hands to grasp!
Throw a pair of flip flops in the suitcase. If you get blisters from your sneakers these are a great alternative to give your sores time to heal. They are also easy to throw on instead of sneakers when riding a wet attraction. Then simply throw them in your backpack afterwards.
When entering shows in large auditoriums (any of the 4D movies, Hall of Presidents, etc) always let a good amount of people go in before you. Cast Members will ask that the first people in move all the way down the row so by letting others go in front you will get a prime spot in the middle of a row!
Are your feet (or children) tired? Take a nice relaxing ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (Magic Kingdom). There is hardly ever a wait for this 10 minute ride. It will also take you on a quick trip through Space Mountain.
Most counter service restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water. Also if you don’t want fries with the burger then be sure and tell the Cast Member – most combo meals listed on the board can be purchased without the side for a reduced price.
Feel free to bring your own snacks into the parks. There are very few restrictions on what is allowed: no alcohol or glass containers and no large or rolling coolers.
If you are planning on leaving the Magic Kingdom after the fireworks watch the Main Street Electrical Parade from Main Street and then make your way down towards the train station as the parade is ending. Watch the fireworks from the front of the train station and you will be one of the first ones out after the show.
If you’ve already seen a parade or fireworks then use the time during those events to ride some of the more popular attractions. The crowds are always thinner during these times.
If you are in the Magic Kingdom at closing time don’t rush out! The shops stay open after closing and the Castle will give you a special “Kiss Goodnight” about a half hour after park closing. This won’t be listed in the Times Guide (it’s a special treat) but you can verify the time with a Cast Member.
Epcot is very kid friendly and is not just for adults. There are plenty of hands on activities for kids in Innoventions, thrills on Mission Space, Test Track and Soarin’ and so much to see and do at each Future World pavilion. In World Showcase look for the Kidcot station in each country. The kids can pick up a free Duffy Bear cutout in the first one they visit then move from country to country where a Cast Member native to that country will visit with them at the Kidcot station and they can color their mask. This really engages the little ones in the World Showcase experience and makes a wonderful show and tell item when you return home.
On Mission Space: Orange look straight ahead at the screen the whole time to avoid having an upset stomach the rest of the day!
Make sure you participate in the “Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure” in World Showcase ~ it will take you to all kinds of secret locations!
Try to take your Kilimanjaro Safari (Animal Kingdom) earlier in the morning when the animals are more active.
Stock up on cheap disposable ponchos from Walmart or the Dollar Store. Keep several with you in case of pop up Florida rain showers or to wear when riding Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom or Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. Then simply throw them away when you are finished (or give them to guests waiting in line that didn’t get this tip!).
Speaking of rain…don’t let it stop your plans! Throw those ponchos on and hit the parks. Rain actually keeps many of the locals away so you’ll find lower crowds and very few attractions shut down because of rain.
Many of the Disney resorts have their own activities. These change throughout the year so make sure you read through your resort newsletter at check in for all the fun things happening at your resort!
As a Disney resort guest you can have any purchases sent back to your resort. These will be available to be picked up in your resort gift shop the next day.
When you check in to your resort purchase a refillable mug in the counter service restaurant. These mugs are good for free soda fountain, iced tea, coffee and hot chocolate refills at your resort for the amount of days you choose and make great souvenirs. (These mugs are included with all Disney dining plans so get one right after check in).
If you are on one of the Disney dining plans and have snack credits left at the end of your stay pop into any resort gift shop and use your credits for Mickey rice crispy treats. They are so cute and yummy and make great teacher gifts when you get home!
The Electric Water Pageant is a fun and free water parade that floats by the Magic Kingdom area resorts each night (weather permitting). A classic since its opening night in 1971, find a spot along the shores of the following resorts to relax and enjoy ~ Polynesian 9:00, Grand Floridian 9:15, Wilderness Lodge 9:35, Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground 9:45, Contemporary Resort 10:05.
If you are into the pin trading experience at Walt Disney World check Ebay before you leave. Many are sold in “lots” for substantially less than the price in the parks. These are great for trading pins with Cast Members.
Free Wi-Fi is available at all theme parks and resort hotels.
I’ve saved the most important tip for last. Don’t stress! You are on vacation at the most magical place on earth. Things will not always go as planned and that’s ok. These are lifelong memories you are creating so sit back, relax and take time to find the magic.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I provide in your Fairy Godmother Folder when you book a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation with me. I am a travel planner with Travel with the Magic specializing in Disney. My services are always free and I’d love to help plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for all things Disney and check out what some of my clients have had to say about my services on my webpage.