PlanningThe ParksTips

Tips I Learned On My Disney Vacation

I just got back from our week long vacation to Walt Disney World and if you have been following social media, you know that the crowds are back in Walt Disney World.  Even with high crowds and long wait times, we had a fantastic and magical trip.

There were a few Disney tips that I learned along the way while we were on vacation that I thought I’d pass along so you too can have a wonderful vacation to Walt Disney World.

MK Entrance Crowd

It Is Busy

The first reality that we quickly learned on this Disney vacation is that the Walt Disney World Resort is busier than it has been in a few years.  Families are traveling once again and many of us are taking that trip we weren’t able to in 2020.

As teachers, we have always traveled either during spring break or during the summer months so we are used to crowds; however, this was more than we have ever experienced.

Knowing this head of time, my big tip is to make sure you have a plan and are knowledgeable about the basics of what Disney has to offer.  Knowing what My Disney Experience is, what the park hours are and how to use Disney Genie and Genie+ (if you choose to purchase it) can make a big difference during your Disney vacation.

As you already know which Disney Park you will be in each day because of your park pass, have a plan before you arrive.

Batuu at Night
Credit: Disney Tips

Get There Early or Stay Late

If you are hoping to avoid the crowds that you will want to either be in a theme park early in the morning or stay later in the evenings.

Those staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can take advantage of the early entry offered at all four Disney Parks.  This allows Guests of a Disney hotel to be in the Parks a half hour before Park opening.

Although this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it really does put you ahead of the majority of the crowd which can make a big difference when the day plays out.

A big tip here though is that if you want to truly take advantage of this time, you don’t want to show up at exactly a half hour before the park opens.  To really be head of the crowds you will want to be waiting in line a good half hour before early entry.  This will get you in the front of the lines and ready to rock the rest of the day.

If you want to really have low times, Guests staying at a deluxe resort have the opportunity to experience the extended evening hours.  We stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for part of our trip and were able to take advantage of this at Magic Kingdom.

From 11:00 pm to 1:00 am, we were able to walk on rides such as Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain as many times as we wanted to.  This was a super fun and amazing experience that is offered currently at Magic Kingdom as well as EPCOT and coming soon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It is a huge advantage to be at a Disney Resort right now as the crowds increase.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Ordering is Key

Through the My Disney Experience app, Guests are able to use mobile order and this is a huge time saver.  Guests are able to choose where they want to eat at, choose a time, place an order and then when their window is up click “Prepare My Order” so their food is prepared for them.

We have been using mobile order even before the pandemic; however, it is even more of a time saver than ever before.  With larger crowds, the standby lines for ordering at quick-service locations were extremely long.

We could typically pop right onto the app and mobile order our food saving a lot of time in line.

My Disney World tip here though is to plan ahead.  We typically began thinking about lunch between 9 and 10 and quickly had our supper plans determined between 3 and 4.  This allowed us to ensure that we had a time reserved as we did see time fill up especially in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The great thing is that we were able to adjust, cancel and modify our plans if we needed to, but it was nice knowing we had a time and location determined ahead of time.

Don’t wait in those standby lines if you don’t need to.  Use mobile ordering to get your food faster.

Space Mountain Ride Photo
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff

Memory Maker is a Must

Memory maker is Disney’s photo package that Guests can add to their package ahead of time for $169.  This is something that I always add and absolutely love.

Not only do we love having our ride photos, it is fun to take pictures throughout the four theme parks as a family or even just of the kids.

We have pictures from all of our trips and it is so special to see the kids grow up and capture those magical times together.

I highly recommend the memory maker as it is truly a fun way to capture memories of your Walt Disney World vacation.

Photo Credit: Apple

Phones Are Key

It used to be that we could head to Walt Disney World and disconnect from the rest of the world and our phones, but that isn’t the case anymore.

This trip more than ever before I was on my phone constantly.  From checking wait times, to placing mobile orders to grabbing our next Genie+, my face was in my phone a lot.

Even though I tried to be aware of this and disconnect when I could, because everything in Walt Disney World is going digital it is truly hard to do.

Make sure you have some time where you are away from your phone.  This might be at a meal, at the pool or just in line, but remind yourself to step away.

Also- don’t forget those portable chargers as you will need them.

cast member id
credit: Disney

Cast Members Are Magical

I am not sure if this is a tip or just a reminder but Cast Members are still just as magical as ever before.  It was wonderful to be back in the magic and see so many Cast Members back and providing magic to the Guests.

We are so grateful for the Cast Members who work so hard every day in the heat, rain, cold and other harsh conditions to make magic for the Guests.

Those are some of my big takeaways when it comes to our most recent trip to Walt Disney World.  I hope that it will help you as you plan your vacation.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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