How to Make the Most of Your Disney World Vacation? Get tips from the experts! As many times as my family and I have visited Walt Disney World, I still hunt for and happily accept helpful hints to make our vacation even better than the last. Lucky for me, I have friends that share my Disney passion and have made said passion and love for the Mouse their careers.
So, what do you do when you have friends that have the inside scoop on Walt Disney World? You ask them for their top tips on making your family’s trip the best one it can possibly be, of course! Whether you’ve been to Walt Disney World once or 100 times, there’s always a tip or two that will come in helpful in planning your next trip to the most magical place on earth.
Time and Money Savers
Florida is NOT always hot. Even though you are likely to have great weather in November and December, bring clothes for layers. The $50 sweatshirts for everyone can be expensive. Same for rain, bringing your own rain gear from home can save you money.
Traveling during the school year will result in lower crowds. Crowds tend to increase even when there is just an extra day or two off such as President’s Day or Columbus day. Midweek is also the most optimal time for low crowds as locals tend to visit on weekends.
Don’t try to do it all. When your party starts getting tired, head back to the resort. If they don’t nap, just getting out of the parks will rejuvenate most people. If you don’t see every single thing or ride every single ride, you will still have a magical vacation!!
In The Parks
If you can afford the park hopper, get it. The park that has extra magic hours sounds great. But since most people do not get a park hopper that tends to draw the most crowds to that park. It is likely to be the busiest park that day. So, go to the park that does NOT have extra magic hours. If you have a hopper, you can still go to that park in the evening.
Most people who stay late, do not get up early the next day. So we have found that if you go early to the park that had extra magic hours the night before, that park is now very quiet.
Get to your preferred park at rope drop- you can get so much more done in those first few hours.
If you need a scooter, consider renting one off site. They will deliver and pick up from your hotel and you will have it for all the time you are on Disney property.
Take advantage of single rider lines when available. Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom and Test Track at EPCOT are very popular and have single rider lines.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, pick up a button at your resort hotel or in the parks at Guest Services. It adds to the fun and occasionally you will get a special perk out of it.
Character lines tend to be lowest later in the evening. You can also find reduced lines usually during parade times. We have walked up to characters many times within an hour of park closing.
If it is raining, consider waiting it out. This past trip our best time was “playing” in the light rain. There were no lines for anything. It was still warm. Most people leave especially if it is in the evening. If you do purchase an Official Disney World rain poncho and it tears, you can take to any stand that sells them and they will exchange a new one for free.
When making your FastPass+ selections at 60 days out, start at the END of your vacation and work backwards. You can make your selections for your entire trip at the 60 days out, so more people have already chosen FP for earlier in your trip.
Many counter service meals are easy to share. The double cheeseburger platter is quite large and we often share it. Some people have asked to just buy another bun. I haven’t personally done that but it is something I have read. Then they turn their double cheeseburger into 2 single cheeseburgers with the toppings bar at places like Cosmic Rays you can make a filling sandwich. Cosmic Rays also has a chicken and rib platter that is plenty big enough to share.
Every place that sells drinks has free water. All you have to do is ask.
Most people make multiple dining reservations as you can make your dining at 180 days out. Then as the trip gets closer they will decide more definitely where they want to eat. So if you can’t get the reservation you need, keep trying especially a few weeks before your trip. Also Disney now charges a no show fee, so you have to cancel within 24 hours. I have had luck getting same day reservations the day of for even some of the most sought after reservations.
To save valuable time seeing characters in a park, consider doing a Character meal.
If you have dining credits left over, you can buy bags of candy with the snack credits.
Breakfasts in the park before park opening have many advantages. Lots of photo opportunities and you are also closer to Fantasyland than those entering at the front of the park. At Hollywood Studios, you can get a jump on the Jedi Training line by having breakfast at Hollywood and Vine and being sure you are done before park opening.
If you want to stay on the monorail but the price of rooms is just too much, consider a wing room at the Contemporary. It’s a small walk to the main tower but a more reasonable price.
If you go at Christmas time, take time to visit resorts. They are all beautifully decorated and free to go look around. Also, you don’t have to stay on the monorail resort to ride one. It is a big deal for most kids!!
If you need a specific room request, try faxing the resort ahead of time. They really try to make people happy.
Special thanks goes out to Amy Infanti, Disney travel agent extraordinaire, for her top tips on making every Walt Disney World vacation the best it can possibly be! Amy can be found on on Facebook hunting for savings and trip tips here or feel free to send her an e-mail so she can start planning your family’s next vacation!