You know we are full of expert Disney tips, but even we make some odd choices when it comes to our Disney trips sometimes.
This may not be what people would classically recommend, but trust us — we have our reasons! Would YOU make some of these crazy choices on your next Disney World trip? Or have we just lost our marbles? 😉
Skipping Out On…
This is your Disney trip, so you do what you want. You may find your trip to be even better if you choose to skip out on certain experiences that your facebook moms group said were MUST-DO! That said, here are a few things you have official permission to skip!
Dinner Reservations Every Night
If you’re traveling with a big group, during a busy time, or are trying to stick to a tight budget, making dinner reservations for every night of your trip may end up adding extra stress. There are plenty of ways to be spontaneous and enjoy a nice dinner at Disney without planning it all 180 days ahead of your trip.
We have come to love relaxing and eating at lounges around Disney World. Reservations aren’t needed to eat in lounges, and often you can walk up and be accommodated right away. Even better, some of them even serve the exact same food as restaurants with hot-ticket reservations, like the California Grill Lounge adjacent to the ever-popular California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Also, dear reader, it is more than OKAY to get fast food or counter service for dinner. Or eating a granola bar you brought from home. If you’re focused on doing more or getting the most out of your park ticket, you may not have time to sit down for a long dinner (or more importantly, you may not WANT to stop!). Grab some quick food and hop on those rides as the crowds start to drop!
Going to the Parks Every Day
Did you just audibly gasp? It’s okay, we get it. The parks are why you came to Disney World, right?
Well as wonderful as the parks are, if you are scheduled for a jam-packed week at Disney, it’s hard to enjoy all that fun without some REST. Or maybe you just got into town, don’t have a ticket for your travel day, and need something to do that’s not throwing yourself immediately into the parks? Consider taking a day to spend at your resort or resort hop around other hotels, checking out what dining and activities the other Disney resorts have to offer!
Disney resorts have tons of activities you can take part in (like animation classes at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, painting classes at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn OR free restaurant tours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge). Plus some of our favorite restaurants are at the resorts!
You can also spend a day exploring Disney Springs. There are a bunch of celebrity-owned restaurants and plenty of shopping to keep you occupied.
When in doubt, you can build your own Mickey Rice Krispies Treat at Goofy’s Candy Company — it’s a snack and a show!
If you love fireworks, by all means — go! But if you’ve seen them a bunch of times or just don’t care for them, take advantage of that precious time!
While a ton of other guests are waiting for and watching the show, lines for popular attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain can be much shorter than other times of the day! If you time it right, you can even catch the fireworks while ON a few rides, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain!
Also, don’t forget you can still hop in line for rides right up until the time the park closes, so if you’re all about those rides, make the most of those evening hours and cram lots in!
Although we recommend taking the time to rest, there are still a few extra things we are adding in to make our Disney trip even better!
A Halloween Party…in August?
Okay, hear us out. We know Halloween isn’t until October, but mid-August is actually when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom starts. This is a hard ticketed event meaning it’s an extra ticket (and extra cost) from regular park admission.
Going earlier in the season means you’ll get a cheaper ticket price! The first party this year is on August 13th and prices start at $85, going up to $149 on Halloween night.
The Magic Kingdom closes early on party nights, giving Halloween Party guests lower crowds, access to exclusive merchandise and treats, trick or treating (with free [included with admission] candy!!), and special entertainment.
If you aren’t visiting Disney World while Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is going on, you can go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party through November and December! Tickets and dates for this year’s Christmas Parties haven’t been released just yet, but the same principle applies — the earlier the date, the cheaper the ticket! So grab your pumpkin spice latte in August and pretend it’s Halloween, bb!
Our Own Straws
Strawpocolypse has come to the parks. Last year, most locations around Disney World made the switch to recyclable paper straws over single-use plastic ones. While we’re all for helping out Mother Earth, instead of dealing with soggy straws, we opt to just bring our own!
The paper straws tend to get mushy REALLY fast. If you’re trying to drink a frozen drink with one? Forget about it. You can find affordable sets of reusable straws on Amazon made of metal or silicone — and many even come with a little carrying bag! After trying a lot of different types, I much prefer the stainless steel straws (pick up your own here!). Or #upgrade with Disney reusable straws!
Extra Breaks on Rides
Even if you aren’t taking the full day to rest at the resorts, you can still find a moment of peace while you’re in the parks! The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in Magic Kingdom is often overlooked but it makes for a peaceful ride and a great chance to recharge your mental batteries.
You’ll get a tour above Tomorrowland, a glimpse inside Space Mountain, and it’s a GREAT place to people-watch — while you people move! Be sure to look out for the original Progress City model (what would later become Epcot!) during your ride.
Another great slow ride is the Liberty Square Riverboat. There aren’t too many seats, though, so be sure to try and snag one if you want to rest during the 22-minute ride around the river rather than stand.
Doing Our Own Thing By…
We love our friends and families, but when things get busy on a Disney trip (especially if you put in a lot of effort planning), we just need a minute. And sometimes that can be the best for the group too!
Walking to a Far Away Bathroom
Not all bathrooms at Disney World are created equal and sometimes putting in a few extra steps can have a major payoff!
Sometimes, the nearest or most popular restrooms are small and crowded. Or if you’re trying to use one after a show — forget it. So strap on your pedometer and head to other restrooms tucked away (they’re usually not that far!).
Some of our personal favorites are the NEW restrooms between the Imagination Pavilion and World Showcase, and the bathrooms to the right of The American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot (they are huge and never crowded). The restrooms near Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom are a bit more isolated and usually seem to not get too busy as well.
If you’re looking for a way to drastically cut down on your attraction wait times, be sure to take advantage of single rider lines!
It is single rider, so you won’t get to ride with your group, but you’ll all get to ride faster! We’ve seen Test Track stand-by lines at over an hour with the single-rider line somewhere around 10-20 minutes.
You can also take advantage of single rider lines at Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, along with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just remember, if you hop in line with your friends or family, chances are you WILL be split up when riding, so don’t get your hopes up!
Special Ordering Our Meal
Disney World is typically super accommodating with special diets and requests, so if you need something, ask! If you’re allergic to something or just hate cilantro (US!), ask for your dish to come without it.
Most table service restaurants have an allergy-friendly menu that lists which items are free from the top eight allergens along with which items are vegetarian and vegan — just ask!
If you’re booking an Advance Dining Reservation, you can note on the reservation any allergies in your party and your reservation ticket will be marked so the server knows right away. Or, just be sure to let your server know at the beginning of the meal.
If you have extra questions about the allergy menu your server can’t help with, the chef is usually willing to come out and help you out. This can be especially helpful at buffets where the chef can walk the buffet line with you and point out which items are OK for your diet or allergy. Don’t be afraid to ask — they’re happy to do it!
Take Advantage of Bonus Magic By…
Sometimes it pays off to not follow the crowds and enjoy certain experiences outside a sea of people!
Hanging Out in World Showcase Before It’s Open
The World Showcase in Epcot officially opens at 11AM, but coming from Future World, you can enter Mexico and Norway to the left and Canada, the United Kingdom, and France to the right when the park opens for the day.
The left side will likely be crowded with guests racing to Frozen Ever After or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion, but if you go to the right you can often enjoy a completely empty and quiet UK Pavilion. The gardens here offer a dose of tranquility pretty much any time of day but the morning is especially calm.
If you’re looking for breakfast and don’t want to snag School Bread in bustling Norway, you can also head back to the France Pavilion for one of our favorite quick breakfast stops, Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. Pretty much everything freshly baked at this wonderful bakery is a slam dunk, but they also have some of the best value Disney Dining Plan snack credit items that can easily become a meal! Grab an inexpensive breakfast like a Roulé Lard et Fromage (basically a huge stuffed cheese and bacon roll!) and stroll a calm World Showcase to kick off your Epcot day!
Watch the From Fireworks Outside of the Park
You may already know you can see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. But if you can’t get a reservation here or are just looking for a more casual spot to watch them without fighting the crowds IN the park, one of our favorite viewing spots is the beach of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
They normally play the music on the beach once the show starts and (in case you need one more reason) you can enjoy a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai or a Lapu Lapu from Tambu Lounge while you watch. Heavenly. You’ll even get a chance to watch the Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon just before the fireworks begin as well!
Mastering having a great, stress-free time at Disney World is an art. What works for one person won’t for another. So think about your Disney World bucket-list priorities as well as what you like and dislike, then plan to make sure those things do (or don’t!) happen. Adding more and more to your Disney World vacation can add extra magic, but sometimes opting to give yourself a moment of calm can save you time, money, and sanity. 😉
What are some of your favorite non-conventional Disney choices? Let us know in the comments below!