Taking a trip to Walt Disney World is exciting but it can be overwhelming, especially for people who have never been before. There are many tips and tricks that Disney pros use and follow every time they head down to the parks. Here is a list of 10 things to remember when trying to do Disney like a pro.
Before you even step food on Disney property, get an idea of what your budget is and stick with it! Do you know where you are staying, if you plan on renting transportation, and how much money you have for food and souvenirs? It is extremely easy to stray from your budget, so have a general idea of what you are willing to spend that won’t leave you and your family in dire straits for when you return. This trip is meant to be fun and memorable! You don’t want to spend your time wondering how you’re going to pay the bills when you get home. Manage your money, and you will be sure to have a great vacation! You may also like Top 10 Budget-Busters At Walt Disney World
9. Manage your time
Just as it’s easy to spend more money than you want to, it is really easy to let time get the best of you. Doing Disney like a pro means having a plan and somewhat sticking to it. For example, don’t spend hours in line for a ride that will have a shorter wait time at night. You will also want to figure out your priorities for the trip. Is it important that you park hop to all four parks in one day? Do you want to ride all of the “mountain” rides? How about see parades you have never seen before? Crossing things off your bucket list means managing your time effectively so pay special attention to what it is you hope to accomplish on your trip!
8. Advance Dining Reservations
Disney pros know that they typically have to make advance dining reservations to eat at the places they want to eat. Restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, ‘Ohana, and Victoria and Alberts rarely accommodate walk ups. In fact, there are some restaurants that you absolutely need a reservation to otherwise there is no way that you would be able to walk in and eat there. Figure out where your family wants to eat and plan accordingly. If character dining is something on your “must do” list, then please make it a point to book your dining reservations to avoid disappointment when you get there! Check out Disney Dining Reservations 101 – 8 Things You Need To Know
7. Fast Passes
Another way to do Disney like a pro is to utilize your fast passes effectively. Say you got into Magic Kingdom for rope drop. The lines for rides are likely to have less wait time first thing in the morning, so you aren’t likely needing to fast pass anything. You can ride Peter Pan, meet Ariel in her Grotto and get in a story time with Belle all within your first hour. I recommend using fast passes during the busier hours when you know you will be in the park, and for rides that always have a long line such as Peter Pan if you didn’t already get to ride it, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and one of the mountains. Of course, you want to think about what your family wants to do and what your priorities are but consider using your fast passes during a busier time so you spend less time waiting in long lines!
6. Rope Drop
Rope drop is essential to Disney pros. You might not want to get up early and go to the park right when they open every single day, and that’s totally fine! However, consider going at rope drop a few times during your trip, especially for Epcot and Magic Kingdom. With Epcot, you will be able to head straight for Soarin’ or Test Track and ride one of those before any lines, and fast pass the other to do afterwards. With Magic Kingdom, you get the benefit of watching the morning show (which is always a treat!) as well as heading towards whatever ride or meet and greet you have been dying to do! If you wait too long after rope drop, you are likely to come in to a very busy park with extremely long lines. Consider rope drop to save time and get more rides in as well!
5. Naps and break time
All Disney pros know that it is absolutely essential to schedule nap times for the kids or break times for the adults. Florida is hot, and sticky, and crowded. You don’t want to overload anyone and end up having temper tantrums and break downs later in the day. Take the afternoon and go back to the hotel to take a quick nap and lay out in the pool for a few hours. Recharge those batteries then head back to the parks for the evening. You will feel much better this way, I promise.
4. Bring your own food
Save time in line and money in the parks by bringing your own snacks and water. I usually bring a refillable Brita water bottle and fill up when I need to throughout the day, as well as some light snacks as well. Disney pros know how expensive and time consuming it can be to wait in line and buy food whenever they are hungry, so bring your own snacks like goldfish, protein bars and fruit snacks to stay energized in between your meals!
3. Map everything out
Disney pros know what they want and how to get it – and you should too! Map out your route! Plan your fast passes so that you aren’t running back and forth across the park all day! Know where the character meet and greets are and what rides are nearby and plan accordingly!
2. Know the crowds
There are so many different websites out there that have crowd calendars and predictions for how busy each park is going to be on a given day, and Disney pros know to check those out ahead of time. Why plan on a day in Magic Kingdom when it might be the busiest park that day? See what the crowds will be like, and try to plan your trip around that. It will save you time in the parks and will make for a much more enjoyable experience as well!
1. Use the My Disney Experience app
The single most important thing Disney pros can do is to use the My Disney Experience app. This app is free to download and it has everything you need to know, from times for the parades and shows, to where the nearest restroom is, to how long the wait times for rides are, and everything in between! This app has been the absolute most useful tool on all my trips to Disney, and it’s something the pros know to always have access to. Do yourself a favor and download it today!
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 Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!