There’s something about letting folks in on my personal Disney vacationing secrets. I’m happy to share my top tips for saving money, finding free things in the parks, and even giving tips about what teens will enjoy. Because of my family’s love of Walt Disney World, Mr. Locke is often asked questions about our vacations and he loves giving advice, too. So it hit me: What would a dad want to know about Walt Disney World ahead of time that only another dad would understand? I asked my husband for a dad’s guide to Disney World and received some knowledgeable, and downright hilarious, responses.
Visiting Walt Disney World as a child, I had a completely new take on vacationing there as an adult. With nearly 30 years in between visits, not only had the theme park changed, my perceptions changed- and most of it was for the better. Having written that, here’s what I wish I knew (and that another Disney-loving Dad had told me) the first time I visited Walt Disney World as a dad.
1. Dad’s Guide to Disney World: Where Can I Find a Beer in the Theme Parks?
Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland Expansion
Epcot: Almost in all of the World Showcase Pavilions, happily. If you happen to visit during an International Festival (Food & Wine in the fall and Flower & Garden in spring) you’ll be able to find specialty beers in outdoor kiosks throughout the World Showcase as well.
- Mexico: La Cava Del Tequila
- Norway: Norway Beer Stand
- China: The Joy of Tea
- African Outpost: Refreshment Outpost
- Germany: Biergarten
- Italy: Tutto Gusto
- The American Adventure: Liberty Inn
- Japan: Garden House
- Morocco: Spice Road Table, Tangerine Café and Morocco Beer Cart.
- France: Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie
- United Kingdom: Yorkshire County Fish Shop and Rose & Crown
- Canada: Le Cellier and Canada Beer Cart
Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Dawa Bar: Adjacent to Tusker House Restaurant, Africa
Pongu Pongu & Satu’li Canteen at Pandora – The World of Avatar
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- ABC Commissary- Commissary Lane
- Backlot Express-Echo Lake
- Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner-Echo Lake
- Fairfax Fare- Sunset Boulevard
- Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge- Hollywood Boulevard
Tip: If you’re staying on-property, check the counter service restaurant in your resort of choice- they sell beer by the bottle!
On the fence whether to stay onsite? Here are the best perks of staying at a Disney World Resort.
2. Dad’s Guide to Disney World: Where can I Watch Sports?
Walt Disney World on-property resorts have poolside bars with multiple televisions- surely you can find your fave sport on one of them. If not, the cable television in the rooms are decent so you shouldn’t have a problem.
Headed to Disney’s BoardWalk area? Definitely stop in the ESPN Club. If you can’t find something to watch on its 100 screens (including in the bathrooms!), you’re probably not going to find it anywhere.
3. Dad’s Guide to Disney World: My Body Has Never Hurt So Much. Where Can I Find a Hot Tub?
WDW likes to call them spas, but if you are staying in a Moderate or Deluxe Resort, you’ll probably find one near the pool area. Staying in a Value Resort? Sorry, Charlie.
4. Dad’s Guide to Disney World: Is There A Way to Not Be a “Mule”?
Carrying around bags of souvenirs can get old really quick, especially when you’re trying to enter and exit theme park attractions. If you’re staying on-property, you can have all of your family’s souvenirs sent back to the resort to pick up at the gift shop the NEXT DAY.
If you’re not staying onsite or the wife and kids can’t wait until the next day to play with their new Disney gear, rent a locker near the front of each theme park entrance. Cost is not terrible ($10 per day for large, $8 for small) and you can head back and forth as many times as you like in a single park day up to one hour after closing.
5. Dad’s Guide to Disney World: Patience and Pace are Virtues.
You don’t have to get in a hurry to see everything- slow and steady wins the theme park race. Take it easy on your feet and body, wear really comfortable shoes, mosey around the parks, and take as many breaks as you need.
My most important rule? Head back to the resort and take a nap during the heat of the day. You’ll avoid the peak crowds, kid meltdowns, nearly-unbearable heat, and you can head back to Magic Kingdom before dinner ready to catch a nighttime show and fireworks. As end of day draws closer, attraction lines thin out, too.
Do you have any WDW questions for Mr. Locke that only a dad could answer? Let me know in the comment section below!